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My Favorite Trader Joe's Items [old]

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!

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
Exotic mushrooms/shiitakes
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
Mushroom Ravioli
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)
Turkey Stromboli
Seafood Blend- Squid Rings, Scallops, Shrimp or
Calamari rings ( good for quick protein/seafood addition to a soup or entree)
Cilantro cubes
Mocha Fudge Bars
Tropical 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
Salmon caviar
Pate in mini loaf- shaped crock

Clementines Box
Bags of Baby Spinach

Baked Goods:
All scones
Almond croissants
Triple ginger gingersnaps in tub

Dry Goods:
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
Salsa verde
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.

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  1. 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.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chemchef

      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).

      1. re: mdepsmom

        gee, you know, when i do it, i do it in a toaster oven which heats up FAST. i place the chicken on a tray in the lower rack slot of the toaster oven, cover w/ an inverted 8" square aluminum pan; cook til hot,( 10 min.?);remove alum. pan 3? min. til crisped. tadaaa!!

        1. re: mdepsmom

          I also usually use my small toaster/convection oven. No sense heating up the large oven for that small amount of food.

          If there's a will, there's a way....

      2. 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.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordeaux

          I actually prefer the Organic Ginger Snaps to the Triple Ginger. They actually taste more homemade. I really want to prefer the Triple because I love crystallized ginger but each time I have it I wish I'd bought the Organic one's instead.

        2. 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
          keylime pie
          frozen fish

          TJ's please come to Florida

          1. I'm drooling reading everyone's list. Let me add my recent discovery at Trader Joe's...Frozen boxes of Bon Bons! Vanilla, Chocolate, with cookie bottoms. They looked harmless but after one bite...oh,my,god! Addictive.

            2 Replies
            1. re: synergy

              Oh no, I've only knew about the coffee flavor. Now I have to try all the flavors.

              1. re: choctastic

                I haven't tried the coffee flavor...I could easily eat the entire box and more. :-)

            2. 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:-(

              1. 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 edamame
                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.

                2 Replies
                1. re: kauz

                  There's a review online of the glass one: http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti....

                  I actually bought the one in the glass jar today, hope it's at least edible!

                  1. re: mstinawu

                    Turned out to be quite bland with sparse amounts of tiny little clams. =( I wouldn't buy it again.

                2. 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.

                  1. 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.

                    1. 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!

                      1. 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.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          i am wicked picky about gnocchi being very light pillows; are TrJ the more chewy version?

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            I wouldn't call these chewy, especially since they're stuffed. If you don't get the timing on them exactly right they can be a little gummy, though, so if you're really picky, you probably wouldn't like them.

                        2. 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!!!

                          1. 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
                            mesquite honey
                            grade b maple syrup
                            dried fruit
                            wasabi almonds
                            truffle brownie mix
                            chocolate hazelnut spread
                            olive oil
                            kung pao sauce
                            jarred garlic
                            white balsamic
                            rice wine vinegar
                            chili and sesame oils
                            tangerine juice
                            greek yogurt
                            many niman ranch meats
                            blueberry beer
                            tiramisu gelato
                            frozen fruit
                            frozen gnocci gorgonzola
                            frozen oatmeal
                            frozen brown rice
                            baby green beans
                            fire roasted corn
                            sweet potato fries
                            mac and cheese
                            onion soup
                            frozen fish
                            triple ginger snaps
                            baby peanut butter cups
                            as much english toffee as I can fit in my cart!

                            1. 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 patés
                              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.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ntuitive1

                                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 Broccoli
                                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
                                TJs Pasta
                                Honey Roasted Peanuts
                                Litely Salted Nuts
                                Mexican Red Sauce
                                Dolmas (refrigerator section)
                                Sausages (cheese & pork, chicken with red wine)
                                All Cheeses

                                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.....

                              2. 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.

                                1. 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
                                  President butter
                                  Fage Total Greek Yogurt
                                  Savory Sweet/Tart Trail Mix
                                  Oriental Rice Crackers
                                  Colossal cashews
                                  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
                                  Balsamic vinegar
                                  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.

                                  1. 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.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Their tofu is not only dirt cheap, it's the best packaged tofu I've ever had, by a mile.

                                      1. 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.

                                        1. Frozen mac&cheese, olives stuffed with jalapenos, gyoza dipping sauce and chicken gyoza, tabouli, red pepper hummus, at Christmas, peppermint bark!

                                          1. 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.

                                            1. Almond butter
                                              Nuts of all kinds
                                              Dried apples w/cinnamon
                                              Dried Bananas
                                              Greek Yogurt
                                              Cheese, Cheese, Cheese
                                              Melange a tois - frozen pepper mix
                                              Frozen onion tart - WOW!!!
                                              Jarred crushed garlic
                                              Fresh basil
                                              Fresh flowers
                                              Frozen basil
                                              Frozen cilantro
                                              TJ chocolates

                                              .... just to name a few

                                              1. 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.

                                                1. Chocolate covered espresso beans. I bought a 1# bar of the TJ 72% dark chocolate yesterday. Possibly the worst dark chocolate I've ever tried.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                    I agree! I bought the same dark chocolate bar, took a bite, and had to go brush my teeth! Yuck - weird texture and taste. Don't know how that made it to the shelves...

                                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                      Surprised to hear that -- those 72% "Pound Plus" bars are our favorite. We actually prefer them to Lindt, Valhrona, etc.

                                                      1. re: Steve Green

                                                        I also like them, but probably not to Valhrona. They are reported to be Callabaut.

                                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                                          No way are those 72% TJ bars Callebaut. The taste and rtexture is not even close. The TJ bars contain Soy.

                                                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                            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."

                                                    2. 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)!

                                                      1. 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.

                                                        1. Everytime i go the list seems to grow...

                                                          Natural Peanut Butter
                                                          Roasted red pepper and tomato soup (box)
                                                          Rosemary marcona almonds
                                                          Stilton cheese
                                                          Go Lean bars
                                                          Light string cheese
                                                          Shredded wheat (frosted)
                                                          Raw almonds
                                                          White cheddar popcorn
                                                          Frozen turkey-sausage stromboli
                                                          Vegan bbq riblet things (so good!)
                                                          Hot and sweet mustard
                                                          Lite coconut milk
                                                          Olive oil
                                                          Sundried tomatoes
                                                          Dried pastas
                                                          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.

                                                          1. The tomatoless corn salsa.

                                                            1. 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.

                                                              1. Wow, great list. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                Lately, theyve been discontinuing all of my favorites here in NJ:

                                                                balsamic vinegar spray bottles
                                                                naan bread
                                                                papadum chips
                                                                sundried red peppers

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: yankeefan

                                                                  I just saw the naan on Sunday in Westfield, as a matter of fact, they had 2 different types.

                                                                2. Some of my favorites:

                                                                  green tea low fat yogurt
                                                                  flat iron marinated steak (in the fresh meat section)
                                                                  organic kosher dill pickles
                                                                  chicken/beef taquitos
                                                                  spicy black bean dip
                                                                  frozen stir fry veggies
                                                                  masala simmer sauce
                                                                  frozen naan
                                                                  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

                                                                  1. 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!