Food & Drink

The Best Trader Joe’s Buys You Can Doctor for Dinner

I’ve been a Trader Joe’s fan for a while, and once I became a mom, I especially loved that I didn’t have to spend hours at a mega-grocery store to stock up on our mealtime favorites.

Now that my kids are older, they love Trader Joe’s (aka Crazy Joe’s) because they get their own cart and can earn a lollipop and stickers for finding the panther stuffed animal (plus, they love grabbing those Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups as much as I do). I love it because I can stock up on a few favorites that can be easily made into quick weekday meals that the whole family loves.

For this list, I sourced from some of my own family’s favorites and polled a few friends (and also Trader Joe’s aficionados) to put together these Trader Joe’s buys you can doctor up for a super quick and convenient weeknight dinner.

The ingredient MVP of this list is a bag of spinach, so always be sure to grab at least one.


All the Gnocchi

I love every TJ’s gnocchi flavor, but these are our go-to recipes.

Gorgonzola Gnocchi

  • Add frozen peas
  • Seven-minutes later, you are eating dinner. It’s amazing, and my six-year-old can almost eat an entire bag by herself, so we usually double up.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

  • Add 2-3 chicken sausages, sliced
  • Cook the chicken sausage first in saute pan, then add the gnocchi
  • Add a bag of spinach, cook until wilted



Pre-Cooked Chicken

Find it near the deli meats. We use this as protein in salads and quinoa bowls for weekday lunches, but it also works well to speed up dinner prep, such as in the two recipes below.



Chicken Stir-fry

  • Pre-cooked just chicken
  • Asian frozen veggies
  • Frozen brown rice


Thai Chicken Curry

  • Pre-cooked Just Chicken
  • Frozen riced cauliflower
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 jar of Thai Yellow Curry Sauce



Frozen Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp Tacos

  • Bake shrimp
  • Warm tortillas and add coleslaw, avocado slices and either Green Goddess dressing or Sweet Chili Sauce



Frozen Gyoza



Dumpling Soup

  • Gently boil chicken or vegetable broth
  • Add frozen Veggie or Chicken Gyoza for 2-3 minutes
  • Add spinach or other greens
  • Finish with diced green onion



Trader Giotto’s Italian Pizza Crust

Friday nights are pizza night in our house and make your own (MYOP) is our very favorite – especially because we have a kid who somehow doesn’t like melted cheese. Pro-tip for Trader Joe’s crust: the directions say you can make the pizza with raw crust, but we always bake the crust for 10 or so minutes before adding the toppings and baking for another 10 minutes. Also, don’t stress about the perfect shaped pie. We still haven’t mastered a perfect circle or square yet.



Prosciutto di Parma Pizza

  • Brush cooked crust with olive oil
  • Add a whole pack of Trader Joe’s prosciutto
  • Generously sprinkle with parmesan.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes
  • After cooking, sprinkle fresh arugula on top



Sausage and Spinach Pizza

  • Brown 2-3 sweet Italian sausages, breaking them up with a spoon
  • Add a bag of spinach to the pan and cook until wilted
  • Brush cooked crust with olive oil and add sausage and spinach
  • Top with Trader Joe’s Mozzarella or Quatro Formaggio and bake another 10-12 mins