My Favorite Trader Joe's Items [old]
- opinionatedchef Feb 25, 2008 12:16 PM
This is my updated list. After many years of trial and error (and yes, I do take part in the TJ policy that one can return whatever one is unhappy with, no questions asked), these products have made my list. I'm offering this in the hopes of adding to your use of Tr J's.
Some itmes may not be available in your TJ, but you can urge them to get them! Plse do rspond with your favs as well!
TRADER JOE'S SHOPPING LIST:
Crackers and chips:
Stoned wheat thins
Parmesan pita toasts
Blue bag potato chips
Trader Giotto crostini (best crackers for cheese I have found)
Mini multi seed rice crackers
Snap Pea Crisps ( i am completely and helplessly addicted)
Southwest Flat Bread -addictive
Stir fry snow pea mix
French green beans(HARICOTS VERTS- stir fry these; do not blanch))
Grilled corn; Sweet Organic Yellow Corn
Artichoke hearts(nuke 2 min.; much better than in jar)
Mandarin orange chicken (in a pinch) ; Stir fry Citrus Chicken
Chicken spring rolls- both Coconut and Lemongrass types
Tamales- Grn chili and cheese, and Chicken, and Beef- all are excellent
Mini Beef Tacos
Steak Beef Burrito
Chicken Enchiladas Salsa Verde
Tr Joe’s Spinach Pie (not Filo Factory version)
TJ's eggplant parm in filo (good flavor but yes it is mushy)
Tarte d'Alsace w/ gruyere and ham(what a tremendous product)
Seafood Blend- Squid Rings, Scallops, Shrimp or
Calamari rings ( good for quick protein/seafood addition to a soup or entree)
Mocha Fudge Bars
Niman ham,corned beef
Shaved Steak- great for Beef Udon Soup
Flour tortillas: Spinach, Red Chili,
Corn tortillas (much better/more flexible than Whole Foods')
Mexican layered dip
Hoomus 3 Layer
North Atlantic (navy label)smoked salmon
Grated parm (watch out- this can go moldy)
Parm Reggiano chunks (this is exp., so make sure you pick out pieces
with as little rind as possible.)
Italian Truffle Cheese
Aged Old Amsterdam Gouda w/ black rind
Smoked Jack Cheese
Pepper Jack cheese
Goat cheese crumbles
Aged gruyere in white paper wrap
Cilantro Yoghurt Sauce- great on toasted onion naan w/ shishkabob and fresh tomatoes
Greek yoghurt w/ honey on the side
Greek tzatziki yoghurt sauce
Pate in mini loaf- shaped crock
Bags of Baby Spinach
Triple ginger gingersnaps in tub
Brown Rice Medley -wonderful components for color and texture
Multi grain Pilaf in foil pouch
Indian(vaccuum packed in foil pouches in box):
Eggplant ; Dal
Indian(vaccuum packed in foil pouches in box):
Eggplant ; Dal
Trotolle Pasta – great shape for catching sauce between its coils
All nuts/ roasted sunflower seeds
Thai chili lime cashews
Raspberry chocolate trail mix
Peanut Toffee- in black bags
Dark chocolate bars- the single source ,and the larger tr joes bittersweet
and extra dark ones( i use all these for baking)
Jasmine Green Tea bags
Calcium w Magnesium
Artichoke Crowns Marinated (jar)
Canned hearts of palm( neat addition to salads; though some of theirs are too fibrous)
Thai Coconut, Mojito and Moroccan simmer sauces
Vodka marinara sauce
Salsa with corn and black beans
Black truffle oil (better than the other cheap[less than $25] ones i've tried)
Black tea unsweetened, in jug (the bottled one is better but more exp.)
Refried Beans (can)
Cuban Black Beans
My fav. no-brainer Tr J dinner:
In a little hot oil or bacon fat, sear a salt and peppered 3 lb. boneless pork loin roast in a dutch oven or heavy lidded pot. Pour over this 2 jars of TrJ Mojito Sauce. Bring to boil, remove from heat and place in 300 degree oven for 2-3 hours , basting /turning a few times, til pork reaches 145 degrees and is tender. Serve with Multigrain (in foil pouch) and can of heated Cuban Black Beans. wowee gee Mr. Bill!
I use leftovers of this pork to make Cuban Sandwiches with TJ Niman Ranch Petit Ham Half
and grated gruyere, chipotle sour cream, dijon and sliced kosher dill pickles.
Frozen brown rice
Frozen Vegetarian Pizza (the large thin-crust one, imported from Italy)
Raw Almond Butter (best price in town!)
Lightly salted pita chips
I worked for TJ's for 5+ years (no longer do). Here are two of my favorite quick and easy "recipes" with TJ's products:
Mandarin Orange chicken-prepare according to package directions, serve with frozen brown rice (prepared according to package directions), mixed with frozen peas (heated quickly in the microwave). This meal is relatively healthy and on the table in 15 minutes!
TJ's Salsa Verde makes an excellent guacamole when mixed with diced ripe avocado. I used to be the demo person, and this was one of my favorite things to demo... people couldn't believe how easy it was and that it was only two ingredients! Serve with Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips.
I just have to ask . . . how are you getting the mandarin chicken, prepared according to the package instructions, to the table in 15 minutes? You have to first preheat the oven to 400, then keep it at 400 (empty) for 10 minutes, then bake the chicken for 15-21 minutes. This is a minimum of 30 minutes (assuming a minimum of 5 minutes to preheat your oven to 400).
I SO agree on the spring rolls, although I rate the coconut ones a tad higher than the lemongrass.
I DARE anyone to not be addicted to their TRIPLE GINGER SNAPS cookies. Clear plastic tub that I usually find situated above their frozen cases. These cookies are LETHAL! Like eating crunchy pieces of butter studded with crystalized ginger pieces. I think they are made with dried ground, crystalized, and fresh ginger.
I miss TJ's so much I live in florida and we have not TJ.
my favs were:
all nuts and dried fruits
almond and peanut butters
frozen green beans
cherries in jar
TJ's please come to Florida
What section is the cilantro yogurt sauce in? Next to the refrigerated salsas & hummus? I was just watching Sunday night's Ultimate Recipe Showdown on Foodtv (burger cookoff) & thought I need a sauce for my spiced turkey burgers & this sounds perfect.
Also, I just discovered the Reduced Guilt Pita Chips today...light & crisp, yum! A little high on the sodium though:-(
I may have to try that mojito pork recipe - sounds easy and tasty.
Frozen naan (NOT the bakery area naan)
Shelf stable palak paneer (cannot remember the brand)
Any guesses as to what my long-day-at-work-and-no-mood-to-cook meal is?
Frozen fish filets (salmon is my favorite)
Dry pasta (the whole wheat rotini are pretty good)
TJ's used to carry a can of white clam sauce that went perfectly with a pound of spaghetti. They discontinued it, but their latest flyer lists a jarred white clam sauce. I'll have to give it a try.
I have been pretty surprised by the Trader Giotto tiramisu. It tastes great, and has a very competitive price. Also, the smoked trout (canned) is amazing.
When the escargots en brioche (in the frozen foods section) are around (seasonal, I believe) - I buy many many boxes and squirrel them away.
Am also a big fan of the peanut butter cups - Reese's will never taste the same after you try the ones from TJ's.
I LOVE the savory rice crackers (the small ones in the bag). They are unbelievably addictive! I also really like their roasted red pepper hummus and their taboule. The Chickpeas in a can are great... they are super fresh and very crunchy (the way they should be) and the low calorie wheat bread (only 45 calories) is really good as well!! I love that place!
I love many of their products, but my new fave is the frozen gnocchi with pesto filling.
One product I rarely see on these lists is the raspberry sorbet (Sharon's). The lemon is good, too, but it's not quite as smooth at the raspberry. At 80 calories a serving, it's my go-to dessert when I'm calorie counting.
Spinach and Chive Fetuccini
Truffle Fudge Brownie Mix
The Grapefruits (they're only 49cents right now...yum!)
Bag o' Baby Spinach
Bag o' Shredded Carrots
Bunch o' Crimini Mushrooms
Bunch o' Raspberries
The Eggs for $1.19
All the Ritter Sport Chocolate BArs with Hazelnuts
The Jars of Marinara
The list above is my basic shopping "must have" list every 10 days.
Yippe for TJ's!!!
I am an hour out from TJs so we stock up pretty heavy when we go...must haves are:
pecan maple granola
steel cut oats
grade b maple syrup
truffle brownie mix
chocolate hazelnut spread
kung pao sauce
rice wine vinegar
chili and sesame oils
many niman ranch meats
frozen gnocci gorgonzola
frozen brown rice
baby green beans
fire roasted corn
sweet potato fries
mac and cheese
triple ginger snaps
baby peanut butter cups
as much english toffee as I can fit in my cart!
Wow, what a great list! I love the following items:
The frozen fruit, like the blueberries
The chipotle ranch fries (awesome!)
The olive tapenade
The Sicilian caponata (eggplant salad) - imported and great, tastes like mama made it
The bananas (cheap and good)
The cheese - all of it - very cheap and good
The creamy soups - Butternut Squash, Butternut Apple, Tomato with Roasted Red Pepper. (low fat, reasonable sodium and taste great).
The frozen uncooked shrimp. Recipe ready, inexpensive and excellent
The aged balsamic vinegar - Again inexpensive and good.
The baguette - in my area, excellent.
The shrimp fried rice (low fat and good if you're on a diet but love fried rice)
The canned clams
The coconut sorbet
The frozen, shelled, ready to eat edamame
I could probably think of more but those are the ones that leap to mind right now.
Trader Joe's used to be my closest market... since becoming a home owner it's now 20 minutes away in an off beat direction, so I now stock up once a month. The things that make it to my cart EVERY time:
Creamy Cilantro Dressing (refrigerator section)
HoneyCrisp apples (when in season)
Parmesan Asagio French Bread
Mango Black Tea
Bay Blend Coffee
Sea Salt Pita Chips
White Cheddar Popcorn (pink bag- incredible!)
Frozen Turkey meatballs
Rainbow Ice Cream
Frozen Chopped Spinach
Frozen Haricots Verts
Frozen Pizzas- BBQ Chicken and Palermo
Macaroni & Cheese
Black Bean & Vegetable Burrito (cook twice as long on med-high- yum!)
Frozen Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Cans of Tuscan Marinara Sauce (I use these when making Sunday sauce & meatballs....shhhhh!!!)
Jars of Organic Marinara
Honey Roasted Peanuts
Litely Salted Nuts
Mexican Red Sauce
Dolmas (refrigerator section)
Sausages (cheese & pork, chicken with red wine)
My go-to TJ dinner:
Sausage & Pepper Sandwiches
Sautee sausages (any kind) with sliced red & yellow peppers. Serve provolone cheese and Parmesan Asagio French Bread. Top with Mustard. Mmmmm.....
I don't go to TJ's very often any more, but when I do, I always stock up on Lara bars. These are in the "energy bar" section, but unlike most bars, they're real food. The entire ingredient list on the "cherry pie" flavor reads as follows: dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries. I used to carry a couple in my daughter's diaper bag as emergency snacks, but unfortunately she's developed a peanut allergy, and her allergist doesn't want us to give her tree nuts, either. But I still carry them as emergency snacks for myself (necessary precaution for an insulin-dependent diabetic).
I did try to duplicate these at home with dried fruit and nuts, but it didn't cost much less and was a lot of work. Also, I could never get the bars really structurally sound.
That is one heck of a list! LOL
The triple gingersnaps are always first on my "Best of TJs" list.
Frozen Turkey Sausage Stromboli
Frozen fire-roasted corn
Organic sweet frozen corn
Fage Total Greek Yogurt
Savory Sweet/Tart Trail Mix
Oriental Rice Crackers
Slightly salted whole almonds
TJs Ginger Gelato (seasonal, I think)
Pumpkin ice cream (I think by Rainbow, and also seasonal - I have one left in my freezer - if you ever see it, BUY IT!)
A Fig Walks Into a Bar fruit bars
An Apple Walks Into a Bar fruit bars
TJs Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal (at $1.99 for a box of 10, it's a 20 cent mid-morning snack!)
Grade B maple syrup
Extra-virgin olive oil
TJs pasta, but mostly their pennette - I prefer the small size of them vs. larger penne
I used to include their tri-tips, but unfortunately, they switched providers, and the ones they get now seem to be tougher, fattier, and just generally not as good.
Trader Joe's has the best peanut butter IMO. Their Organic Creamy Salted Peanut Butter with Valencia Peanuts beats any brand I have ever tasted. The peanut flavor is fresh and intense with a good mouth feel, and I can stir in the oil without breaking the knife like other oil separated PB.
Chicago style pizza (love that cornmeal crust), any Trader Giotto's frozen pizzas, eggplant parmigiana, tzatziki, frozen raviolis, marinara sauce, meatless meatballs, cookies (especially Cat's cookies), and veggie masala burgers (yum!). I do a lot of home cooking, so don't rely on TJ's pre-prepared foods that much. But I do like the quality of their foods.
Frozen mac&cheese, olives stuffed with jalapenos, gyoza dipping sauce and chicken gyoza, tabouli, red pepper hummus, at Christmas, peppermint bark!
Try TJ's chocolate covered peanuts. These are no ordinary, lame chocolate covered peanuts. They use blister peanuts that are very crunchy and they also add a hint of salt.
Put these side by side with a Reeces peanut butter cup, and I'd choose these anyday.
Nuts of all kinds
Dried apples w/cinnamon
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese
Melange a tois - frozen pepper mix
Frozen onion tart - WOW!!!
Jarred crushed garlic
.... just to name a few
I'm suprised so many here consume so much frozen pre-prepared food. My favorites are TJ's Kuai coffee and chocolate covered frozen bannas. Our store is small and I'm still finding my way around.
As does Callebaut. From their site:
"Soya lecithin is a key ingredient in Barry Callebaut products from the GMO point of view. Soya lecithin suppliers must ensure traceability and identity preservation from the soya bean to the lecithin delivered to Barry Callebaut sites worldwide."
Black pepper cashews, sea salt and chocolate covered caramels (available around Christmas for a mere $4.99 compared to the $16 ones at William-Sonoma which were not even good) whatever brand of packaged cheddar cheese slices are in the deli section make the best grilled cheese, dried wild blueberries, and of course beer (I like to get Oranjeboom tall boys- like cheap Heinekin)!
Many already-mentioned items are on my TJ's list, although they seem to have someone monitoring my cart and discontinuing the things I like the most! RIP to the canned yellowfin tuna,multi-shape dog biscuits, dried pears (re-introduced ones not as good), cranberry-apple tea bags, phyllo-wrapped brie, sticky toffee cake, Ganong fruit jells.... Not already mentioned current staples: English Cheddar with Caramelized Onion, frozen Halibut, Tamari-Roasted Almonds, Bulgogi, Meyer Lemon Cake mix (I use butter, not oil, and add a cup of coconut - while not a lemon fan, I adore the milder Meyer), Cream of Tomato Soup, Roasted Red Pepper&Tomato Soup (both in shelf-stable cartons), Pinachio cookies, Caramel/Cashew Cookies, white chocolate chips,
4-cheese frozen mac&cheese, brown basmati rice, spaghetti lunghi,couscous with ceci. Rarely have I been disappointed in anything from TJ's.
Everytime i go the list seems to grow...
Natural Peanut Butter
Roasted red pepper and tomato soup (box)
Rosemary marcona almonds
Go Lean bars
Light string cheese
Shredded wheat (frosted)
White cheddar popcorn
Frozen turkey-sausage stromboli
Vegan bbq riblet things (so good!)
Hot and sweet mustard
Lite coconut milk
Chocolate-orange sticks (throw them in the fridge - omg)
All natural vanilla Joe-Joes (i pretend the "all natural" makes them healthy)
whole wheat dough+pizza sauce+italian blend cheese for delicious homemade pizza
And always, a random bottle or 2 of wine. They had some TJ's Syrah a few months ago that was a steal at $5/bottle, but that has quickly disappeared.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of TJ's frozen vegetables. They have interesting combinations (there's an edemame and corn succotash that even my husband will eat) and everything is trimmed neatly and consistently, with none of the odd woody/twiggy/iffy bits you find in so much frozen food. And the variety of dried fruit snacky things is really good.
Some of my favorites:
green tea low fat yogurt
flat iron marinated steak (in the fresh meat section)
organic kosher dill pickles
spicy black bean dip
frozen stir fry veggies
masala simmer sauce
shelf stable daal (dal?)
fresh pressed apple juice (my 3 yo says: Mommy this juice tastes like I'm eating an apple!)
handmade corn and flour tortillas
mediterranean hummus (with the pine nuts on top- HEAVENLY!)
maple chicken breakfast sausage links
four cheese frozen mac& cheese
frozen jasmine rice
I am also surprised that so many buy LOTS of frozen food. The things that I have to have and are not mentioned here - are:
Frozen Garlic in little cube trays - makes cooking so simple (also basil)
TJ's version of Popchips - completely cured me of my chip addiction
In the FRESH section - Chicken Lasagne - a SUPER quick meal when in a hurry
Lundberg Brown Rice Cakes - schmear peanut/sunflower butter and go
Dark Chocolate Mint Creams - one or two after dinner and you can skip dessert!
and lots and lots of the items that you all choose also!