Who doesn’t love Trader Joe’s? They really are a one-stop-shop for most every family’s grocery needs, and their specialty items are really very good. The options are so plentiful that it can sometimes be overwhelming for shoppers to really figure out what’s a good buy and what can stay on the shelf.
While my favorite items list could go on for a few pages (sauces! desserts! all the cheeses!), these 16 items are the ones I buy nearly every single time we hit Trader Joe’s – they’re our family-friendly staples and ones that could work for many families, I’m sure.
Not listed: the chocolate mini cones that I cannot. stop. eating.
I doubt there's a top Trader Joe's buys list that doesn't have this Mandarin Orange Chicken on it, and there's a good reason why: it's the best. I always have at least one in the freezer for those nights you need a quick dinner on the table, asap. Heat it up in less than 15 minutes and serve over rice with a side of veggies – this is one of those meals I don't have to constantly urge my kids to finish eating.
I love to cook, but I don't always have to foresight to, you know, plan ahead and pre-marinate chicken with a complicated array of spices. This one stays stocked in our freezer, too. It's super tasty and a decent dupe for my homemade shawarma – serve on pita or naan with lettuce, tomato, and a faux-tzatiki (plain yogurt, lime, salt, pepper, cumin and finely chopped cucumber and parsley).
While I've tried to cut out most white flour in our house, pre-made pastas, like ravioli, tortellini and gnocchi, are hard to avoid because, let's face it, they're delicious. These gnocchi are a super yummy pasta option, with a touch more nutritional value than the regular yummy stuff.
Trader Joe's has an intense selection of ravioli and they're all really good. My kids' favorites are the butternut squash triangoli and the mushroom and the porcini mushroom and truffle triangoli tossed, both tossed in browned butter with a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Yum. For our family of four, we need two packs per one meal.