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Best quick meal you make with trader joes products

I love to make quick kebabs with their pork tenderloin. I throw a quick marinade of lemon and olive oil on the tenderloin and skewer it. Doctor up their refrigerated tzatiki sauce with some extra fresh garlic. Throw the frozen naan bread on the grill right when the pork is done cooking. Serve with some sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion. So convenient and fresh tasting. Ive made it in the broiler if too lazy to grill.

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  1. Your comments leave me trying to understand how Trader Joe's pork loin is better than pork loin from another source and whether its worth buying their Tzatziki sauce if you have to add more garlic. I'm also curious as to why you'd use Trader Joe's products for what you describe rather than products offered by other commercial outlets. Perhaps I've missed the point.

    5 Replies
    1. re: todao

      I think it's because Trader Joe's has somewhat of a cult following and understandably so: they sell good food for good prices - much less than Whole Paycheck. With that said, fans of Trader Joe's like to talk about their favorite products from there, their favorite dishes they make using Trader Joe's products, deals they found at Trader Joe's, etc.. It's not so much they think they're products are necessarily better than other places, it's more of just an opportunity for like-minded Trader Joe's fans to talk about what they like and how they use it in a dish so others can learn from them, get ideas, or simply relate to what they're saying since they probably have the same products at their local Trader Joe's.

      1. re: todao

        Well the raw garlic in the sauce is a personal preference. If you add it and don't eat it that quickly though, the garlic will completely overwhelm the sauce (and you will taste it for days).

        1. re: todao

          It's a discount grocery store. need I say more?

          1. re: todao

            It saves having to make another stop? Trader Joe's meats are decent: I don't usually buy them as I will purchase meat as part of my regular grocery shopping at a store that has much better produce, but if I happen to be at Trader Joe's for the monthly wine shopping and I see something that might be good for dinner I'll buy it. I don't use their products as much as I used to, but there are a few I keep on hand, like their enchilada sauce.

            1. re: todao

              While I generally like Trader Joe's, I've had nothing but bad experiences with their "fresh" meats. I had to return them about three times, due to a really strong sulfur smell when I opened the package. I've heard this is sometimes due to the meat packing facility injecting gasses into the packages to make the meat look bright red, but I wasn't taking any chances.

              Also, the quality of their frozen pizzas has gone way downhill. You can get a DiGiorno frozen pizza for the same price that has way more toppings, sauce and a much bigger crust. Trader Joe's pizzas are always too dry because there is so little sauce or cheese on them, and the crust is like flat cardboard.

            2. years ago, i had a dish i made for a boyfriend that loved this... i took some diced onion (TJ's), sauteed with some minced garlic (TJ's cubes), then adding in some of their fresh pre-cooked salmon, add in a good amount of the jarred eggplant tapenade; heated through and served on some cooked tortellini. garnished with a little freshly shaved parmesan.

              1. as a busy mom to an incredibly spirited 9.5-month-old - I certainly appreciate what TJ's has to offer. I'm not sure that I've ever made a meal entirely made of of TJ items, well, aside from lunch perhaps. I'm a big fan of their veggie masala burgers, naan... though, I make my own tzatziki. As I was saying when I started - I appreciate their sides. I like their chimichurri rice, I like their steamed beets and lentils, their frozen gnocchi's are good. I don't have time to make stuff from scratch every night of the week so we head to TJ's once a month, every other month and stock up on a few things that help keep my sanity in order. Their convenience foods are much cheaper than our small town grocery store prices. I also like their seasonal goodies - loving the pumpkin stuff out right now.

                I'm sure this thread really belongs over on the chains board. You'll probably get a lot more responses.

                4 Replies
                1. re: tiffeecanoe

                  I had to feed a big group of teenagers on short notice. I made a super-simple pasta sauce with canned tomatoes and added TJ's turkey meatballs and served it over spaghetti.

                  I only go to TJ's once a month or so, but always stock up on turkey meatballs. I tried out the pumpkin bread mix last week and am slightly ashamed to say that I loved it.

                  1. re: Allieroseww

                    I've heard great things... we're big fans of their pumpkin pancake/waffle mix! The pumpkin cream cheese is pretty darn delightful too, I was gobbling it up all last week on cinnamon raisin bagels!

                    1. re: tiffeecanoe

                      I just had a sample of the pumpkin pancake/waffle mix; they made it dollar size & served it with whipped cream, syrup & toasted almonds. Indeed it was good! Kids would have made me buy a box on the spot; however, I happened to have bought pumpkin puree the other day & was planning on making bread, but am going to try (semi:) homemade pumpkin pancakes this weekend. Of course it may not taste as sinful, lol. Next time, the box.

                  2. re: tiffeecanoe

                    You know I posted it in Chains but think it was moved somehow....Good to hear about the steamed beets. I wish they had raw beets but the ones at my sunday market are better anyway. I find beets cook so well in the microwave that I never buy them pre-made but I was always curious if they were any good for an in-a-pinch or on-the-go meal.

                  3. 1.TJ's Traditional Marinara sauce (18-oz jar), High Fiber spaghetti, Meatless (or meat) Balls. Add salad.
                    2. Same sauce or Pesto (refrigerated tub, not the jar!) plus any of the raviolis or tortellini. Salad.
                    3. The frozen Salmonburgers, British Muffins (or the plain English muffins), Wasabi Mayo, Tartar Sauce, tomato. Toast muffins lightly, smear condiment(s) of your choice on each half, cooked Salmonburger and slice of tomato between. Potato salad (refrigerator case) is a good side.
                    4. Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce, Light Coconut Milk, Roma tomatoes, zucchini, onion, extra-firm tofu, Multicolor Quinoa or Brown Basmati rice. Combine sauce and coconut milk. Squeeze excess moisture from tofu, cut into bite-size cubes, toss in a bowl with Vietnamese fish sauce and Sriracha (not available at TJ's, darn it!). Cut tomatoes in half and de-seed/pulp, then slice. Cut up zucchini, slice onion thin. Cook onion in pot with some olive oil, then add tomato and zooks, salt lightly and cook, covered, until soft. Transfer tofu to pot with a slotted spoon, stir, then pour in half of the curry/coconut mixture (refrigerate remainder for up to two weeks). Bring to gentle boil, cover and let simmer while you start cooking the rice or quinoa, then transfer pot to a hot tray or warm oven until grain is done. Serve curry mixture over rice or quinoa. This would also be good made with chicken, fish or shrimp.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I love how that curry recipe sounds. Thanks for posting.

                      1. re: IndyGirl

                        You're very welcome. It was my first invention using tofu, and I'm still pleased at how satisfying it is to a carnivore (me!). The vegetables can also be varied; onion and the Romas are a constant for me, but I've had chunks of boiling potato in there with green beans, all from TJ's (I like the mixed green and yellow ones).

                      2. re: Will Owen

                        I am all over the salmon burger.

                      3. You asked for an easy recipe. I have a TJ's within about a five minute walk and during this very hot summer lived mostly off Caesar salad with grilled lemon chicken made with TJ's ingredients. Ingredients: olive oil, really good wine vinegar, salt, pepper, canned anchovies OR a good dollop of Worcestershire sauce, raw egg, grated parmesan and lots of romaine lettuce. Prelim: mince

                        1. Ground turkey + package of Bok Choy mix in fresh produce section (if your store still carries it; if not, use kale or the bag of greens in same section).
                          Season turkey according to taste and form into burgers. In electric skillet or fry pan, cook burger on first side. Turn, cover with entire bag of bok choy mix, add lid and cook until turkey patty is brown and cooked inside and veggies are steamed down. Serve with bread on the side if you wish. This is one of our favorite fast go-to meals, done in less than 30 minutes.Edit

                          1. A bag of TJ's frozen blueberries or strawberries bought to a boil for a minute with just a little water and some sugar then thickened with cornstarch, served hot on French toast or waffles. Have not tried this with their other frozen fruits but I see definite potential.

                            1. Take 1 pkg drumsticks (5 or 6) and sprinkle or smear well with seasoning (I use cajun or curry). Put in a baking pan and pour some juice or yesterday's ginger ale or other going-flat soda pop - @ 1/3" worth. Lay some green beans or zucchini cut in lengthwise quarters in the pan as well. Put in toaster oven at 350 along with a sweet potato. Cook for @ 45 minutes.

                              That's my no-brainer TJ menu.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Sharuf

                                That sounds try-worthy.

                                1. re: olyolyy

                                  At my local TJ you can get really cheap drumsticks, which is another incentive.

                              2. In the last month I made two really good quick meals with Trader Joe's products. The first was REALLY quick - I made some basmati rice and served three frozen Indian entrees with it - saag paneer, curried eggplant, and Chana masala - delicious. The second was a bit more work, but not that much - I made polenta and served pulled pork (from the refrigerated section) over it with a poached egg on top. I love TJ's!

                                1. Would love some ideas for great vegetarian meals using TJ products. Thanks!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: IndyGirl

                                    Not exactly a main, but a great vegetarian side is Lentil Salad. Use one package of TJ lentils (in refrigerator case), mix together with one container TJ Bruschetta Sauce (sauce, not mix), half a small block of feta cheese, crumbled, and julienned fresh basil to taste. It's great!

                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                      I make something I call BBOTY (breakfast burrito of the year)....It is basically the whole wheat organic wraps, warmed, with a slice of the ***unprocessed*** American cheese, a slice of the nitrate-free ham, grilled, eggs scrambled with the mini sweet bell peppers(diced), lots of thinly sliced green onions and the tiniest dollop of sour cream(sometimes). Roll burrito style, cut diagonally and devour. Not sure if you eat eggs though.

                                      1. re: olyolyy

                                        Wow, that sounds really good! Shake your BBOTY!

                                      2. re: IndyGirl

                                        Polenta fries- cut a tube of polenta into sticks, place on greased cookie sheet, season, bake till crispy.

                                        1. re: IndyGirl

                                          This isn't a recipe, but the TJ's frozen black bean burritos are vegetarian and so, so good.

                                        2. TJ's often runs contests for recipes/meals using a specified number of their products. I have never paid attention but I assume these can be found through their website. There IS, or was, a cookbook using TJ products but it was not connected to TJ's. This non-affiliated site:
                                          http://www.traderjoesfan.com/ contains hundreds of such "recipes". There are probably other similar sites and blogs.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            The problem with the cookbook (especially) and such blogs is that many products are discontinued.

                                            1. re: olyolyy

                                              Yes! I hate that about TJs... discontinued products! OR sometimes you just can't find them at the one closest to you. I love the Tarte d'Champignon and the last time we were able to get to TJs it was nowhere to be found :( I also couldn't find my pistachio white chocolate chip cookies, hmphhh!

                                              1. re: tiffeecanoe

                                                I got a Tarte aux Champignons last night - I noticed they had a double stack of them and NO Tarte d'Alsace. If they're discontinuing those I'm going to go buy them out! Especially after Mrs. O thanked me profusely and repeatedly for having fed her that.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  What the heck! This is why I get frustrated with Trader Joe's! The nearest one is 3 hours from here so we stock up - ha! I have 4 Tarte d'Alsace in the freezer right now. They better have Champignons next time. They're both SO delicious! I will cry if they discontinue them.

                                          2. One pound chicken breast chopped, add to one jar TJ's Curry Simmer Sauce and one package TJ's frozen fire roasted peppers and onions. Simmer until cooked through and tender, serve with rice. Quick, easy, balanced, and yummy.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Jimisi

                                              This sounds great I will check out the curry simmer sauce. I would love this drizzled with coconut milk.

                                            2. Their Mandarin Orange chicken. I usually sauté some sliced carrots and make some rice, and it's dinner.

                                              1. I have yet to try it myself, but my daughter really likes to cook up some of the bul-ko-gi marinated beef from the refrigerated section and serve it with some of the kimchi fried rice.

                                                I made a great breakfast last Sunday from the lowfat multigrain french toast (frozen), turkey bacon (refrigerated) and yellow potatoes (produce) that I cooked into hash browns. Having the french toast ready-made saved loads of time and dishes to wash.

                                                I have made really good fajitas from the refrigerated adobo (?) marinated beef roast. We cooked it up on the grill, also grilled some onions and peppers, thinly sliced the meat and served it with tortillas. I've been wanting to try the Mexican marinated chicken this way, too.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: AmyH

                                                  I find the marinated chicken is wayyyy over salted

                                                  1. re: olyolyy

                                                    Thanks, that's really good to know because I can't use a lot of salt, so even normally salted things can sometimes taste too salty to me.

                                                2. I've got TJ's frozen battered eggplant slices in my freezer now. With a jarred tomato sauce and some mozzarella you've got a quick vegetarian dish.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: AreBe

                                                    Oh, I've never seen those! Must find them!

                                                  2. Pizzas, using TJ's shredded mozarella, pizza sauce (in the refrigerated section), and either their fresh pizza dough or frozen garlic naan bread for the crust. Their pepperoni is very good, or sometimes I get the packaged asparagus/mushroom/onion mix in the produce section and sautee that for a vegetarian topping.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: DeeCee

                                                      I love that garlic naan and love the idea of using it as a pizza crust! Brilliant! BTW, I started buying that naan at least 7-8 years ago, and am SO relieved that they still carry it.

                                                      1. re: IndyGirl

                                                        agreed! one of our favorite lunches are garlic naan pizzas. I find their frozen one to be so much better than the one over in their baked goods area.

                                                    2. I make bastard fish tacos using frozen fish nuggets, corn tortillas, and a slaw from the shredded cabbage, real mayo, lime juice and cumin.

                                                      I also make a meatball soup with the frozen party meatballs, organic free range chicken broth, pico de gallo, tomatoless corn salsa and baby spinach.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                        I love the fish taco idea, those are always in my freezer

                                                        1. re: Savour

                                                          LOVE that idea. We do, well, bastard, as you say shrimp tacos by picking up the cheapy popcorn shrimp from Aldi, actually! Guilty little pleasure around here once a month or so!

                                                        2. Pizza Bianca -- with their pizza dough, creme fraiche instead of tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella, blue cheese, sage and walnuts (toast them first). DELISH

                                                          1. I make a super-simple dumpling soup with the ginger-miso broth and frozen dumplings- either chicken or shrimp.

                                                            The steamed lentils and prepared beets also make a nice salad with a vinaigrette.

                                                            1. I used a different crust because I do not like TJ's whole wheat pizza crust, but aside from caramelized onions that I'd made previously, a top-notch pizza I made recently was from TJ items: topped unbaked dough round with caramelized onion, crumbled bacon cooked from the TJ package of uncured ends, frozen figs that were thinly sliced before thawing, then on top, slices of the cambozola cheese.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                that sounds awesome.

                                                              2. Really glad to see this thread has been resurrected!

                                                                1. Heat up their frozen Lamb Vindaloo, add salad, result: one quick meal.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: DonShirer

                                                                    Lamb Vindaloo -- OH YES! Since it's just lamb with sauce and rice, you gotta add some veg. Lay some zucchini strips or green beans on top of the rice before putting it all into your toaster oven. Or Have an artichoke or half an avocado for salad. Great meal.

                                                                  2. A few things:

                                                                    I made homemade lamb sheekh kebabs with ground lamb and a Shaan spice mix (+ finely diced onion, garlic, ginger); made some brown basmati rice and serve with TJs frozen channa masala and palak panner. The palak paneer is excellent and I always have some on hand to serve as a side. the channa masala is a little sweet for me, but will do in a pinch.

                                                                    I use the fresh whole wheat pizza dough and top with any number of things. their refrigerated pizza sauce is good, but even the jarred sauce is tasty. TJ's prosciutto is my daughter's favorite -- carefully draped on top of the pizza baked with TJs shredded mozzarella.

                                                                    Fri night we had philly cheesesteaks with the TJs shaved steak, seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sautéed with diced onion (also a TJs cheat) on ciabatta rolls topped with TJs thickly sliced pepperjack cheese. yum.

                                                                    Ground turkey tacos -- ground turkey browned with diced onion and TJs taco seasoning, piled into TJs hard shell tacos, shredded cheddar, salsa authentic, corn salsa and guacamole. all TJs seasoning and toppings. As a variant -- same ground turkey seasoned with taco seasoning and onions, made into burritos with refried black beans on the handmade whole wheat tortillas (love these!) with the same toppings. If I have leftover ground turkey taco meat I'll take it to lunch as a "burrito bowl." layered with brown rice, TJs organic black beans, salsa, shredded cheddar, baby spinach leaves, etc.

                                                                    I use TJs thai style shrimp fried rice as a quick side to many things. I love the flavor of this frozen product immensely. i usually sautee some onion, crushed garlic with some ham or turkey bacon. i dice up some of the TJs baked tofu, whatever leftover roasted veggies I have on hand, diced... then add the frozen rice and cook as directed. Usually I serve this alongside any kind of asian inflected protein (Trini chinese chicken, usually).

                                                                    1. You can make a super-quick, really good pasta sauce with TJ's artichoke tapenade and black olive tapenade. A little olive oil, microplane some garlic into it & microwave for about a minute; add the artichoke & black olive tapenades and heat some more. Serve over one of TJ's fresh pastas.

                                                                      1. lentil soup

                                                                        saute their mirepoix
                                                                        add lentils and water and simmer until lentils are done
                                                                        add salt and pepper
                                                                        serve with toasted french bread

                                                                        about 10 minutes of attention will get you a meal

                                                                        1. Tonight we had pulled pork sandwiches:

                                                                          - Half-baked rolls
                                                                          - BBQ pulled pork
                                                                          - Coleslaw made from the shredded cabbage, carrots (grated by me), green onions (sliced by me), and a dressing of mayo, whole grain mustard, sugar, and apple cider vinegar

                                                                          It came together in 15 minutes and was so good!

                                                                          1. You can use their frozen mashed potatoes (which come in a bag, of mini frozen discs) to make home made Gnocchi. Just defrost some, and mix with a little egg, parmesan cheese and maybe some ricotta too if you got it, and some flour until it forms a dough. Roll into a log, and cut off chunks (you can decorate them too with the tines of a fork). Then just drop them into boiling water for a bit until they start floating and are cooked through. Serve with their jarred marinara sauce.

                                                                            Their Sesame Ginger dressing is awesome on their Chopped Broccoli salad, you could also throw some almonds on there as well for extra crunch.

                                                                            I really like their Turkey Meatballs and their jarred Marinara sauce, but I would also simmer them with their frozen carrot blend (yellow and orange carrots chopped into coarse chunks) and their frozen bell pepper strips for some extra veggies. Then serve it over their rigatoni and topped with a generous amount of parmesan cheese.

                                                                            Also, their California garlic powder is fantastic.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Atomic76

                                                                              Ingredients

                                                                              1) TJ's Roasted Red Pepper soup
                                                                              2) TJ's Goat cheese rounds, individually wrapped
                                                                              3) TJ's raisin rosemary crisps

                                                                              Steps:
                                                                              a) Open up on of the goat cheese rounds to get the chill off.
                                                                              (Warning, This is the most difficult step. These little things are NOT easy to open up! Need a knife or scissors. But as my dad used to say, "If you start applying extra pressure with a knife to something you are trying to cut or open, ask yourself, "Am I about to be an idiot?" (i.e., would you cut yourself if the knife slips, breaks etc...)

                                                                              However, they are worth it. Delicious, and NO WASTE.

                                                                              b) Heat up the soup

                                                                              c) Add cheese and crackers to soup!

                                                                              That soup has the most wonderful unami going on. The goat cheese + crackers are icing.

                                                                            2. Broccoli Slaw - buy their packaged slaw and add dressing of your choice. I use their mayo with some ground toasted sesame seeds, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil to make a quick Asian dressing.

                                                                              Lasagna - use TJ's lasagna noodles, frozen spinach, parmesan, mozzarella, and marinara sauce to make a quick lasagna. All you need to add is some fresh ricotta.

                                                                              Pizza - their mozzarella (block cheese, not the shredded stuff) is one of the best brands out there and the refrigerated pizza dough works well in a pinch. Skip their pizza sauce which tastes like tomato paste and get a can of San Marzano tomatoes to use for hte sauce instead. Just puree and add salt and dried herbs.

                                                                              Hummus wrap - Just combine TJ's tortillas, hummus, mixed greens, roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, feta, and dressing of choice. No cooking required.

                                                                              Tuna Salad - canned tuna and TJ's tabbouleh

                                                                              Smoked salmon wrap - combine TJ tortillas with garlic aioli mustard, smoked salmon, and bagged salad of your choice

                                                                              1. I like to boil up a package of their butternut squash ravioli. Meanwhile, sauté two medium or three small diced zucchini and two pinches of saffron in a bit of butter. When nicely sautéed, stir in a little more butter and toss with the drained pasta. Serves two with a side salad.