Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Trader Joes Favorites - Part TWO

Last spring I blogged some of our favorite things from Trader Joe's and it was one of my most popular posts of the year.  Trader Joe's is about 5 minutes from my house and right by the dance studio where Griffin goes and so it's easy for us to pop in and poke around.  I know that lots of y'all don't live close to a Trader Joe's and are trying to figure out if it's worth the trip OR live close by but get overwhelmed when you go in so I thought I'd share some of our current favorites so you can add them to your list for your next trip.

***Edited to add*** 
This is not ALL that our family eats.  These are simply things that I purchase at Trader Joes and we typically don't have all of these on hand at the same time.  I purchase the bulk of our groceries (produce, meat, dairy, etc.) at either Kroger or Market Street.

I typically cook dinner for our family Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights and those meals will include things like that I have posted under my recipes tab above.  Dave works Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights so I'll usually do something quick and easy on those nights like grilled cheese or a Trader Joe's frozen chicken entree with rice and we do pizza on Fridays :)

I'm not a huge dessert person, but do like something sweet in the late afternoon and this dark chocolate sea salt caramel bar is a favorite to break a piece off of and get my "chocolate fix".




The sliced French brioche is delicious and made the BEST French toast.  It was seriously amazing.  Dave also made a pretty killer grilled cheese with it as well.


This chunky chocolate chip cookie dough is just as good unbaked as it is baked and we love that you can just break off what you need.  TRUST me on these!


We LOVE Trader Joe's Scandinavian Swimmers and I grabbed these gummy Xs and Os last week and they are SO GOOD!!!  I put a few in the kids yum boxes yesterday and everyone loved them.


These garlic and cheese breadsticks make it into my cart more often than not but they're so good for dipping in soup!


And speaking of soup...


... this creamy tomato soup is my favorite!  I love that I can open it, pour a mug, eat it with a grilled cheese (or breadstick!) and have the rest for another day.  It's delicious!

I only found out about the creamy spinach and artichoke dip this past weekend but we're hooked!  You make the whole thing in the microwave and it's creamy and delicious and SO GOOD!  I served it with their pretzel roll sliced and I could have eaten the whole thing myself but I refrained ;)



 These cereal bars (particularly the blueberry, strawberry and apple flavors) are a regular morning grab and go...


And while I don't buy all my produce at Trader Joe's their avocados can't be beat.  These teeny tiny ones are awesome because most of the time you use the entire thing at a time and you don't have to try to cover and save it without it turning all gross.  My bag of 6 was $3.


And speaking of just the right size these hold the cone ice cream cones are perfect for kids or grownups who need just a little something after dinner :)


I always find their butter to be a great price and love that it comes in half sticks...


... and possibly the BEST TJ find of all time are the sweet potato frites.  We spread them out on a cookie sheet, bake them at 425 for 20 minutes and they're crispy (but still soft in the middle) and SO SO SO GOOD!


I throw some garlic salt and then sea salt on top, toss them all together and we all enjoy.


We just tried these sweet apple chicken sausages and they were super tasty.  They definitely have a sweet taste and would be so good cooked, diced and served alongside scrambled eggs.  (These don't have casings either - so if your kids are picky about that these might be for you!)


These silver dollar pancakes are so easy in the mornings because you can pop them in the microwave and they're the perfect size for dipping...


Their juices are some of our favorites...


... and we all love having these in the fridge :)  YES!!!!


Their cheeses are some of my favorite things to buy there (their Brie is out of this world!) and after buying their grated parm I don't think I can go back to the stuff in the canister :) 


We always like to have their lite string cheese on hand...


... as well as the mozzarella (I dice this up and put it in lunches)...


... and their shredder parmesan is AWESOME!


I LOVE guacamole and was skeptical about this one at first but it's JUST as good as regular guacamole and I don't have to feel so bad about my guac to chip ratio :)   Plus it doesn't brown nearly as quick because of the greek yogurt.


I picked the spinach and kale greek yogurt dip up on a whim and it's Dave's new favorite thing.  I pick up a container every weekend and he loves it with pretzel chips.


Enough said :)


We've tried a lot of different hummuses and the Mediterranean is the BEST.  I do have to scrap some of the top stuff off to the side for my kids, but it's so good!


This is a sauce we pretty much always have on hand in the fridge for those nights where I don't have anything planned and need to throw together a pasta dish really quick or want something extra yummy to go over tortellini.


I also love their minced garlic...


... and the cinnamon swirl bread (toasted and topped with a little bit of butter) is one of my breakfast must-haves.


We do smoothies on a regular basis and we really like their frozen berries...


... and their spinach is always a bargain.


For an easy weeknight dinner we like to have their frozen chicken teriyaki, mandarin orange chicken and jasmine rice in the freezer.  You make all of it in the microwave but it doesn't taste like it at all!  All three of my kids will eat these and they couldn't be easier.



These are another recent discovery and my kids ask for them almost every morning.  We've only made them in the oven but I've heard that you can put them in the toaster as well!  They bake up crispy and with a fried egg on top - PERFECT!


I love these stuffed shells for a lunch at work...


... and these have been a guilty pleasure of mine this week :) 


Their Trek mix (the one with cherries and cranberries) is something we keep in the pantry and it makes a great school snack in a little baggy and is something that we all like to grab a handful of when we're on our way out the door.


Their bread and baking mixes are all good but the pumpkin (and banana!) ones are the ones I like to keep in the pantry.


My kids FAVORITE thing from TJ's are the party meatballs.  I'll put two bags of these along with a jar of marinara sauce in my dutch oven on the stove top until they're heated through and with a side or two we're good to go.  It's seriously the easiest weeknight meal of all time.  You could serve these over pasta (spaghetti and meatballs), on sub rolls (meatball subs) or just solo with some veggies on the side.



We LOVE cheetohs and while these aren't quite as good as the originals they're pretty darn tasty and if you're going to eat a cheese puff these are the healthier option for sure :)


I've pretty much replaced all other salt with pink salt and it's good on EVERYTHING!


 I didn't have high hopes for the mozzarella cheese sticks but my kids gobbled these up and they were actually just as good as Sonic (I know, I know - high standards - hahaha)



We all adore these mini chicken tacos...


... and the frozen chicken burrito bowls (which I forgot to take pictures of!) are a lunch staple for me.  They're full of quinoa, peppers, chicken, cheese, black beans, etc.  Seriously so good.  I'll occasionally add a little bit of extra cheese and some diced avocado as well.  



I am officially addicted to these cinnamon apple snack sticks - they're kind of like those veggie straws - but seriously taste like apple pie.  



... and I can always find a reason to grab a bag of flowers (and rarely spent more than $6).




The ONLY thing that we've bought at Trader Joe's that I haven't been a big fan of is cookie butter.  I was so excited to try it for myself and maybe I just don't know what to put it on, but didn't love it on graham crackers or bread.  If you love cookie butter let me know how I should be eating it!

Here are a few other things I like to pick up at Trader Joe's...
- Their spray sunscreen
- Their seasonal tin candles
- Body butter (it's so cheap and so good!)
- Dog treats
- white cheddar puffs
- pistachios (best price around!)
- these little packages of salami sticks for Luke's lunch
- their apple/veggie pouches

So, there you go!  Current TJ's favorites!  If you have a favorite that I need to try out leave it in the comments and if you want to see my post from last Spring you can check it out  HERE.

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

72 comments :

  1. So glad you picked up those avocados!!! Life-CHANGING !!

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  2. We love so many of your favorites! The cheese sticks, mozzarella sticks, and guacamole are must haves. We love their frozen green beans (the only green beans my kids will eat). I do the same with the party-sized meatballs, but also make Italian Wedding soup with them (just add chicken broth, TJ's frozen chopped spinach, and ditalini pasta - done!). The orange chicken is a family favorite. We always have it on hand. I use cookie butter as a replacement for peanut butter in baking (my daughter has a peanut allergy). At Christmas, I make cookie butter blossoms - http://mcculloughfive.blogspot.com/2013/12/cookie-butter-blossoms.html. I also make really good cookie butter chocolate chip cookies. I'm with you - I wouldn't eat it plain. Some other favorites of ours are their version of Rice Krispies, bagged lettuce/salads, fresh salsa, tortilla chips, fresh tortillas, and taco shells.

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    1. I would have never thought of using it as a peanut butter replacement - that's awesome! Thanks for the tip!

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  3. Your recommendation of the no guilt guac has made my life better. It's a bold statement, but it's true. You HAVE to get the Everything But The Bagel Seasoning too. It's awesome on pretty much everything. And their Puffs are delicious and a fraction of the price of Pirate's Booty!

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  4. Girl!!! You made a haul! That’s a lot of TJ love. You must try the truffle potato chips!!! And then call me immediately. :)

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    1. Ha! It wasn't all in one trip - I've been saving pictures over the past few trips :) And how have I missed those?!?! Adding them to my list for the weekend!

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  5. Next Saturday, I need to just shop with you :) .

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  6. Pretzels!! You need to try dipping pretzels in cookie butter. So good - to the point that I can’t buy cookie butter anymore because my husband and I show zero self control.

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    1. I'm still skeptical but we'll give it a try :)

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  7. Cookie butter is delicious on a sliced apple!

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    1. I'm literally making a list so the next time I get it I know what to eat it with :)

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  8. Cookie butter is so good on apple slices or just by the spoonful ;) I also replace it where peanut butter is needed in recipes.

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  9. We love their potstickers and croissants (the filled and unfilled kinds). We also love to grab our fondue ready to go (but it's seasonal). That pretzel bread is some of my kids absolute favorite. xoxo ERIN

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    1. How have I never tried their croissants?!?! Thanks for the tip!

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  10. Melt the cookie butter in the microwave a bit and then drizzle it over ice cream :D

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  11. We have a Trader Joe’s about 30 minutes away from us. I’ve never been but after seeing your recent posts I’m going to have to go! Everything looks so good! 😊

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  12. Love that you share your favorites with us! I had the pretzel bread and spinach dip last night! We thawed in microwave and put in oven to fancy it up a bit! Loved it! Might of just been my dinner :)

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  13. Cookie butter on a banana! Yummy!

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  14. My kiddos love the JoJo cookies ( TJ’s version of Oreo)many of the items you mentioned are regular in my cart I also buy :the potstickers and wontons, Greek feta salad dressing, fruit leather,maple syrup, white cheddar puffs ( like pirate booty) multipurpose cleaning spray ... I’m sure I’m forgetting something...

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    1. I LOVE feta so I added that to my next shopping list and we love the cheddar puffs!

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  15. I had found a recipe online that used cookie butter in cookies. It was good!!!! I am like you and didn't really get the hype. Then I made cookies with it and was hooked on those! I really enjoy the mexican corn from the frozen section. Delicious! Cooks in the microwave in 4 minutes.

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    1. How have I missed the corn?!?! Adding that to my list for the weekend!

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  16. THe corn/wheat tortillas are AMAZING! Absolutely love Trader Joe's. I just got the cookie butter, so we will see...

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    1. The Kroger right by our house makes AMAZING fresh tortillas so I'm a little bit biased but I'll give theirs a try :)

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  17. LOVE these posts!! I watch your Instastories and have a newfound love for TJ! I used to never go there, because I didn't know what to get, but your suggestions have seriously been awesome! Love the spinach/kale dip! I like cookie butter on top of their chocolate covered banana slices called Gone bananas, but peanut butter is just as good to me too! :)

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    1. It can be overwhelming at first so I totally get it!

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  18. we go to TJ's about once a month (it's 45 min away) ... and a lot of your faves are always on my list. Sadly, we did not love the gummy x&o's, but that's the first miss we've had in a while.

    one of our MUST buys is the pre-made pizza dough. Not only does it make great pizza, I've made pretzels & cinnamon rolls out of it. I mean, I can make my own dough ... but this is $1.29, so why would I? LOL

    Chocolate croissants in the frozen section are also life changing. They smell SO good & look beautiful on a plate. They taste so, so good.

    Other must buys: fresh flowers, various cheeses (currently enjoying bacon cheddar), beer bread mix (when they have it), colombian coffee Kcups, salted caramel hot chocolate, butter, spray can whipped cream, puff pastry, MAC & CHEESE, applewood bacon, and the cowboy caviar salsa.

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    1. Oh the croissants....those are amazing! I was so skeptical, but so good.

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    2. How did I forget the dough?!?! We LOVE their pizza dough (and sauce!) too - adding several of your suggestions to my list!

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    3. in the interest of full disclosure, I've only had the chocolate croissants, I can't speak to any of the other flavors. they're so good (and pretty) that I I've wrapped them in cellophane for teacher treats.

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  19. I’m pretty sure we have matching Trader Joe’s carts. So many good things! I think the X & O gummies are just the cutest.
    https://www.suburbansoiree.com

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  20. While I like the flavor of Cookie Butter- it's not my favorite to spread on things either. However- the Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies are out of this world. Seriously- they are amazing!! And thanks for the tip about the Spinach and Kale dip- it is delicious. Also, the Vanilla JoJo Cookies are a fave, ten times better than a Golden Oreo!

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    1. I don't think I've seen the cookie butter cookies before! But maybe I just glanced over them since I didn't like cookie butter?!?! Trying them out STAT!

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  21. I need a trip to Trader Joe's! It's about 30 minutes from my house but I'm thinking I need to try these things. Thanks for sharing! :) I haven't tried their cookie butter but I LOVE Biscoff cookie spread. You don't need to eat it with anything other than a spoon!

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    1. When you go let me know what you try out and love!

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  22. We love TJs, but live over 3 hours from one. When we travel, we bring a cooler and stock up. The absolute best way to eat the Chicken Apple Sausage is with sweet potatoes & apples in a skillet. We eat this weekly at our house. Seriously THREE ingredients - no spices or seasonings even. It is fast and simple, plus the kids love it!
    Here's a recipe I have used:
    http://www.momendeavors.com/2014/11/one-pan-paleo-chicken-apple-sausage-sweet-potato-skillet.html

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  23. These all look great! We don't live near a Trader Joe's. Do you know if you can order from them online?
    https://www.simplytish.com/


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  24. The closest TJ for me is 2 1/2 hours away in Indy. Good news...my children are both in Indy. Momma's coming to visit and we are doing a TJ stop while I'm there. Could you just text me this list so that it can be my grocery list? LOL

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  25. We love Trader Joes! Some of our favorites are the frozen mac and cheese, frozen microwavable brown rice, the frozen sweet and sour chicken (I add in a can of pineapple and chop up a green pepper), frozen chicken fried rice, frozen sweet corn, frozen pesto linguine with tomatoes, blueberry waffles, canned chicken noodle soup, the 6 packs of the 4 oz yogurt cups (the banana is so good!), the chedder cheese sticks, the jojo cookies (their version of oreos). Love me some TJs!!

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  26. I'm so glad you didn't like the cookie butter either - it was waaaay too sweet for me! I will for sure be referencing this! I picked up the rice and frozen chicken last time you talked about TJ's and we love it! That organic jasmine rice is THE BEST!

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  27. Cookie butter with apple slices! OR just a spoonful straight into your mouth :)

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  28. I can't live without their frozen minced garlic cubes. The flavor is great and they're super easy to use!

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  29. I can't live without their frozen crushed garlic cubes. The flavor is great and they're so easy to use!

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  30. Forgot about the cookie butter. My kids like it on waffles instead of butter or peanut butter. They still add syrup tho. Pretty sweet

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  31. The dark chocolate covered pretzel thins are amazing! The purple bag. Also, the frozen mac and cheese is to die for.

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  32. I’m not a huge cookie butter fan....but the cookie butter swirled with chocolate?! That is tasty!!

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  33. Trader Joe's is about an hour from my house, but I am making another trip this weekend! Thanks for the tips! Love the spinach dip!!

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  34. I love everything you mentioned above but I also love their beef and broccoli, their tea tree face wipes and the shaving cream. They are AMAZING!!

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  35. You MUST try the Salsa Verde next time you go! We live in Amarillo, but seriously, every time we come to the metroplex to visit family, we buy a CASE of it. My husband LOVES it, and has seriously eaten 3 jars in one week before! And it less than 2 bucks a jar, so it's so crazy affordable. It isn't spicy at all, but has great flavors. My kids eat it with a spoon! Ha! We also like their gluten-free chicken nuggets, and they have frozen fruit bars that are layers of raspberry, pineapple, and lemon (I think), that are delicious and such a yummy summer treat! I so wish we had a TJ's in Amarillo (or even Lubbock), b/c we would shop there all the time!

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  36. How have I missed the tiny avocados? So perfect!! And I am so glad someone else said they didn't like the cookie butter- I thought I was alone- ha! Love their flowers... and my college freshman got three mini flowers for her dorm window before she went back to school after Christmas. Love that she shares my adoration of TJ's:-)

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  37. I'm impressed by the cleanliness & organization of your fridge!

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  38. Love their Farro and Barley. The best crumbled Gorgonzola and I just got turned on (through yet another blogger😊) to the 5 seed almond bars...oh my, so good. Like a chewy granola bar with all the warm seasonings and tastes of fall. Great with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon. AND...riced cauliflower in the freezer section. I'm going to do one of these posts soon too.❤️

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  39. Everything about this post makes me sooo happy! I recently have been shopping at TJ's and am looking to broaden my list of must haves! Can't wait to include some of your suggestions in my next shopping trip!

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  40. After reading all the yumminess I had to go to Trade Joe's during my lunch hour. The Dark Chocolate Bar is amazing. But sadly my Trader Joe's doesn't sell the breadsticks. Thanks for sharing all your favorites!

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  41. Trader Joes is my favorite. I've been shopping there for 10 years now. Their jars of salsa on the chip aisle! We do the turkey meatballs...also, all of the frozen turkey hamburger patties. The rest of my famity likes the basic ones, but I also love the chili-lime. I often treat these patties like ground turkey and break them up for dishes bc they are a great price

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  42. Their Guiltless Mac n Cheese is fabulous! I love it! just nice to heat that up with a side salad for lunch some days. I also love their Lavosh Flat bread for pizza's and their frozen fire roasted veggies for the flat bread pizza or the fish taco bowls I make. heat up and throw in. So good! We also use the Lite shredded mozzarella. Its so good!

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  43. *Unexpected Cheddar-delicious, addict!
    *Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (my husband eats very little desserts, but can polish off a QUART of this all on his own, the secret's out!)
    *Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette! Use on their broccoli slaw with green apple, walnuts and dried cranberries! serious compliments!
    *Uncured Pastrami (add to your charcuterie board with the unexpected cheddar!)
    *Sparkling water liters (great new flavors like winter sangria and cranberry orange-my college-aged kids think they're the best around!)

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  44. So. Many. Favorites. Seriously, so many of your suggestions have become my favorites too. A few other things I love is the frozen asparagus risotto (I could really eat this every night), frozen vegetable stir fry that I have added a variety of things too before, chili lime seasoning and "everything but the bagel" seasoning, head-to-toe moisturizing balm and the deli fruit and nut spinach salad. - Amanda @ www.thegoodstuffbyajaespoo.com

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  45. Peanut butter filled pretzels!

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