It’s a sad story. I spend so much time on this blog raving about all the things I love about Trader Joe’s. You’d think they pay me for all the publicity, but no, they don’t even know I exist. Well, except for the wine-tasting guy. He knows me.
I’m always hearing from people that they love the idea of shopping at Trader Joe’s, but they don’t even know where to start or what to get. As a general rule, most grocery items at TJs are better quality and contain much fewer “mystery” ingredients, if any. Some are pricier than your regular grocery store, but a lot are surprisingly cheaper. If you’re shopping organic, for example, the prices are a much better deal than buying organic elsewhere. You also can’t beat it when it comes to wine and cheese, two of my favorite items.
Rather than rant for days about all the ways shopping at Trader Joe’s will make your life better, I thought I’d start with 10 of my favorites. These are items that you’ll almost always find in my house, along with a couple newer discoveries I wanted to share.
Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah
Cheese is, hands-down, one of the best values at Trader Joe’s. If you were to compare the prices to any other grocery store, TJ’s wins every time. I usually discover new cheeses when they sample them with the wines, which is how I found this one. They soak the cheese in syrah, which gives is such a great flavor without being too rich. It’s usually only about $5 for a block of it and makes for an awesome pre-dinner snack. With crackers and wine, of course…
Honey Moon Viognier
This white wine was purchased on a whim last week and I’m in love. There were only 3 bottles left on the shelf, which I usually take to be a good sign. For $5.99 it can’t be beat. It was fresh and crisp, but not too sweet. I hate overly sweet white wines and loved how drinkable this one was.
Raisin Rosemary Crisps
These crackers are the bomb. TJ’s has a million crackers to choose from and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. These are my favorites, though, because you can’t get them anywhere else but TJ’s. They’re only $3.99 a box and have a ton of great flavor.
Trenatre Rosso Red Wine
I know, another wine. I’ll get to actual food soon, I promise, but I have to tell you about this one. I literally buy a bottle EVERY time I go to TJ’s, it’s that good. It’s only $5.99 and is a three-part blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Montepulciano. I can personally attest that it goes really well with homemade pizza.
Organic Superfood Pilaf
One of my favorite frozen side dishes at TJ’s! And so good for you. Listen to this ingredient list: Water, Organic tri color quinoa blend (white, red, black quinoa), organic sweet potatoes, organic carrots, organic kale, organic onion, organic red bell pepper, organic EVOO, organic garlic, sea salt, organic spices. It’s $3.99 for a bag and it’s another one of those toss-in-the-pan and stir kind of deals.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
This one has been a favorite of mine for years and is pretty popular with TJ shoppers in general. It’s in the freezer section and if you pair it with their vegetable fried rice (also in the freezer section) it makes for a really good weeknight dinner.
Best. Snack. Ever. A bag of these babies is only $1.49 and will last you all week. Or a couple days, depending on how quickly you eat them. It’s just whole green peas, oil, and salt, but it makes for a very addictive snack. They’re super crispy and have just the right amount of salt.
Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies
I may have eaten a whole box during the course of one work week. If you’ve ever eaten the legendary TJ cookie butter, you know what a great idea this is. One box is $3.99, so go buy it now.
Organic Tomato Basil Marinara
I love making homemade marina sauces, but on a weeknight there just isn’t a lot of time. Enter TJ’s Organic tomato basil marinara for only $2.29. With nine all-organic ingredients that you’ll recognize, this is a great convenience pantry item that is full of wholesome stuff. I love keeping a jar on hand for those fast meals that I can pull together in 30 minutes.
Obviously, I love these because they are made with scallions (my last name is Scallion, in case you don’t get the joke). I don’t really know what it is about these, but the second I tried them I couldn’t get enough. They’re made with onions, leeks, carrots, scallions, mushrooms, egg, soy sauce, and a couple other things. You could be healthy and bake them, but pan-fried in a bit of oil is my favorite way.
What’s your favorite item at Trader Joe’s?