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TRADER JOE'S:Microwave friendly

Can anyone advise me as to items from TJ that can be put straight in the microwave and come out palatable? My husband and I come to LA twice a year for family reasons, and we have to stay in a suburban hotel which has a reasonable-size fridge (no freezer), but only a microwave. We go out, but since we're there a total of 1 1/2 months, we need to eat in a lot. In the past I have used Fresh and Easy, which were great for chill foods, but now that they have been taken over by Wild Foods, I think that this section will shrink. What does TJ offer that's good in terms of chill-prepared or frozen that's both nutrious and delicious?

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  1. TJ's frozen Indian entrees are quite good for what they are, i.e., frozen food. The meat is scarce, but the sauces are tasty.

    1 Reply
    1. re: coney with everything

      I was shocked (and not at all happy) with how little meat there was in a Lamb Vindaloo I tried once. It also was quite tame for a supposed vindaloo.

      For Indian/Pakistani dishes, I much prefer to go to a good Indian or Pakistani grocery store. There's a lot available in the freezer section and also shelf-stable entrees and sides. Reasonably priced, more generous portions, more generously spiced, too! Several brands to choose from but I've found the MTR brand to be quite bland and tasteless compared to others.

    2. I second the Indian, especially the Palak Paneer. There is also a frozen item called Cod Provencal that I like a lot. The texture of the fish, once done, is so good it's hard to believe it's frozen.

      They also have a large selection of delicious premade salads, though there are some misses. The kale bistro salad and the one with wheatberries, quinoa, and butternut squash are my favorites.

      1 Reply
      1. I agree about the Indian dishes, as well as adding most of the frozen pasta entrees and individual entrees.

        The Spinach Artichoke Dip is good just as a dip or tossed with pasta.

        Any of the frozen Fried Rice and frozen Vegetables would be tasty, easy and quick.

        Frozen French Onion Soup is delicious, but I've only baked it in the oven. I'm sure it would be fine microwaved though.

        You may already do this, but have you thought of taking a slow cooker with you? That would give you many more homemade options.

        2 Replies
        1. re: TXMandy

          You might also check out http://www.whatsgoodattraderjoes.com/ They have great reviews with a lot of microwaved products.

          1. re: TXMandy

            I second the spinach artichoke dip.

          2. I've seen quite a few microwave-packaged entrees etc. in their chill chest, chicken masala etc., but since I don't have a mw I've never tried them. My guess is they're no worse than comparable stuff in the supermarkets and possibly better.

            1. Here are a few things we did on our last road trip and other suggestions:

              Fresh section:
              Curried Chicken Salad with Flatbread
              Microwave tray of asparagus
              Cajun Blackened Chicken Alfredo
              Chicken Enchiladas
              BBQ Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket or Chicken
              Pancetta, Peas and Pasta
              Balsamic Chicken breast (the Lemon is good too)
              Lemon Chicken Salad
              Spinach Salad in a bag with goodies
              Just Chicken (you could add it to the above salad, etc.)
              Meat lasagna

              Frozen:
              Indian meals
              Mac n cheese
              Bean & Cheese burritos

              If the store you're shopping at while you visiting has the individual pretzels, use those as buns for the BBQ meats, delicious!

              And there's always the option of amazing cheese, salami, crackers and a lovely glass of wine ; )

              1. Along with the Indian and Asian foods people have mentioned, don't forget their terrific frozen rice packets, which microwave in just a few minutes.

                Lately I've been really enjoying the new "Sai Tung Green Curry" -- it's vegan, microwaves in a few minutes, and is as good as the Thai curries from the delivery place near me, for about $3.

                1. In the refridgerated section the chickpea salad and vegetarian grape leaves are good, avoid the pre-prepared veg sushi (chewy not fresh tasting seaweed and bland rice), the produce section has chopped bagged veggies that would work well steamed in the microwave with TJ's 21 seasoning or whatever condiment you like

                  1. It's been a few years, but they still carry it, and I've liked in the past the stuffed peppers in the fresh prepared foods case (red bell peppers with a turkey-tomato-rice filling).

                    I see you say you won't have a freezer, in which case you may want to try the shelf-stable Indian dishes. They come in foil pouches, but you can empty them into a dish to heat.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Those shelf stable indian food are good! Some can be really spicy too (if you like that), the dal and chickpea one- chana masala?- are what i've liked most. Great combo with their frozen cooked brown rice or the naan

                    2. The reduced guilt mac and cheese is a staple in my fridge.

                      1. Any of the frozen tamales or burritos are good when prepared in the microwave. They would be fine left in a refrigerator for a couple of days before eating. Pick up some jars of salsa and hot sauce and tortilla chips to go with them.

                        1. I like the greek-style chicken with orzo in their refridgerated section. I'm also a fan of the Cubano wrap.