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Must Haves at Trader Joe’s

by Kristeena

Trader Joe’s is by far my favorite grocery store of all time. They opened two locations near me in the past couple years and I have been obsessed since the moment I stepped foot in there. I love the ambiance, the food selection, the price, the employees, everything about it! Between the things I must get every time and suggestions from friends I have complied a list of Trader Joe’s must haves.


Mandarin Orange Chicken- This was voted “Favorite Overall” in the 2016 Customer Choice Awards. It is quick to make and has great flavor. The orange sauce is just sweet enough but not overpowering like some orange sauces can be. $4.99 for 22 oz bag.



Vegetable Fried Rice- I always pair this with the Mandarin Orange Chicken for a quick & yummy weeknight dinner. Both together are enough for feed 2 and still have enough for leftovers the next day. They also make a Chicken Fried Rice which is really good. $2.99 for a 16 oz bag.



Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions- It is a rich cheese with sweet & savory caramelized onions adding great flavor. If you don’t like stronger flavor cheeses this probably isn’t for you. $8.99/lb but you can get smaller portions, I get a good block for about $3.50.


Reduced Guilt Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip-
I am a HUGE fan of dips, all kinds of dips, but they usually aren’t the healthiest things to eat. This dip is a great low fat, low calorie choice. Made with kale, spinach, Greek yogurt, water chestnuts, red peppers, carrots, green onions, garlic & other seasonings. 16 oz tub for $3.99.




Parmesan, Garlic & Herb Pita Chips- This is a great chip to use with the Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip but beware if you don’t pay attention you will eat the whole bag in one sitting. They also have Sea Salt, Cinnamon & Sugar, and Multigrain with sesame seeds. I haven’t tried any of those flavors but I am sure they are just as good. $1.99 for a 6 oz bag.




Chipotle Black Bean Dip- This is a fat free, no cholesterol, vegetarian bean dip. Contains chipotle chilies in adobo sauce are pureed into black beans which gives a combo of smokiness and mild spiciness. $1.69 for a 12 oz jar.




Chocolate Chip Cookie Dunkers- Need I say more? Think chocolate chip cookies that are the perfect shape for dipping into milk, coffee, ice cream, whatever you heart desires. The bottom of each cookie is dunked in chocolate coating taking the basic chocolate chip cookie to another level. $4.99 for a 24 oz tub.



Premium Wild Salmon Burgers- These burgers are made with wild pink salmon from Alaska, skinned & deboned, then tossed in a mirepoix seasoning (which is a combo of carrots, celery and onions) and some sea salt. They don’t need to be thawed, can go straight from freezer to grill which is a such a time saver. $5.99 for a 12.8 oz box of 4 patties.


Cowboy Caviar Salsa- This salsa is meant to be a pizza topping! I would never think to put salsa on pizza but I trust Trader Joe’s knows what is best. This salsa is a mix of black beans, corn, onions, and red bell peppers, pickled in a blend of chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and lime juice concentrate. Gives a great southwestern-style kick to your pizza. $2.49 for a 13 oz jar.




Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets- To start the chickens used for this product are raised on an all-vegetarian diet, without the use of antibiotics. Wheat flour is used for the breading and they are clear of 7 major food allergens, including: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts. Out of the oven you get a crispy exterior with a moist, tender center. $4.99 for a one pound bag, which is about 16 pieces.




Balsamic Glaze- Made in Modena, Italy this balsamic glaze is the ideal balance of sweet and bitter. Perfect for salads, as a drizzle over meat or fish, or as a dessert topping over berries or vanilla ice cream. $2.99 for a 8.5 oz bottle.





Turkey Bacon- This turkey bacon is made with boneless, skinless thigh meat from turkeys that are not treated with antibiotics. It is 97% fat free and has no added nitrites, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives but still has that delicious apple wood smoked, bacon flavor that a lot of other brands lack. $2.99 for a 8 oz package.


Triple Ginger Snaps- If you love cookies & ginger these are the treat for you. They get their ginger flavor from crystallized and ground ginger. Try them with some vanilla ice cream or cookie butter for a yummy dessert. $3.99 for a 14 oz tub.



Goat Cheese & Sundried Tomato Ravioli- Anyone who knows me know that goat cheese is one of my all time favorite foods. Just the other day I had an AMAZING grilled salmon over a fried goat cheese ball with balsamic onion confit on top but I digress. These raviolis are a quick, simple weeknight meal. The outside is a spinach pasta and of course inside is a goat cheese, sundried tomato mix. $2.99 for an 8.8 oz. container .


Organic Vodka Sauce- All the ingredients in this vodka sauce are organic from the tomatoes to the cheeses to the cream and the herbs. I used this sauce over the goat cheese & sundried tomato ravioli and it is a great combo. $2.99 for a 25 oz jar.




Roasted Seaweed Snack- These sheets of seaweed are dried and roasted with a touch of oil (sesame & canola) and sea salt and then cut into strips. They are crunchy and have a nutty flavor. Each package has about 60 calories. 99 cents per .4 oz package.





PB & J Bars- The kid in me loves these bars. The outside is made with oats, peanut butter, rice flour and peanut floor while the inside is a sweet, strawberry fruit filling. These bars are low in sodium, no cholesterol, and 8 grams of whole grains per bar. They are also certified gluten free and kosher (dairy). $2.69 for a 7.4 oz box which contains six 1.2 oz bars.



Uncured Bacon Jam- Bacon jam! Need I say more?! Free of artificial ingredients, it’s essentially uncured (no added nitrates/nitrites) applewood smoked bacon, simmered down slow with onions, dark brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar until it’s dark and rich. Put it on sandwiches, toast, or just eat it straight out of the jar. $4.49 for a 8.5 oz jar.



Charles Shaw Wine-
Charles Shaw wine aka Two Buck Chuck has been in Trader Joe’s stores for 10 years. This is probably one of their most popular & well known products. You can get Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinto Grigio, and White Zinfandel. The price varies depending on your state, here is the breakdown:
$1.99 in CA; $2.49 in OR & WA; $2.59 in ME; $2.79 in GA; $2.99 in  NV, AZ, NM, TX, IL, IA, NE, KY, WI, MO, IN, MI, MA, NJ, DC, NC, SC & FL; $3.29 in VA; and $3.79 in OH.

Speculoos Cookie Butter-
Last, but definitely not least, COOKIE BUTTER!!! Before I went to TraderJoe’s for the first time I asked the Facebook world what I HAD TO HAVE and every single person said cookie butter. Now I know why. This stuff is ridiculously good. I eat it straight from the jar by the spoonful. I actually haven’t even tried it on anything but I imagine there are endless possibilities. There are 3 different varieties: Original Smooth, Crunchy and Cookie & Cocoa Swirl. Original & Crunchy are $3.69 for a 14.1 oz jar and Cookie & Cocoa Swirl is $3.99 for a 14.1 oz jar.


What are your favorite things from Trader Joe’s??


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