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Five Favorite Things to Buy at Trader Joe's

Everyone's go-to grocery for last-minute meals, basic supplies and Two Buck Chuck!

From sweet to salty to savory, has it all. Gorgeous produce, tasty meats and cheeses and, above all, wonderfully fun and yummy indulgence items like I’ve listed below. These are my top five. I’d love to hear about yours!

1.    Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants

I can't resist sharing my family’s favorite breakfast item. The boys went crazy for them and they're oh-so-elegant (and oh-so-right-out-of-the-box...). Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants are available in the freezer section and you just leave them to rise overnight on a lightly buttered baking pan. Then, in the morning, pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Perfection! Light and fluffy with a yummy warm center of dark chocolate. Perfect for a delicious breakfast with family or a more glamorous brunch. 

2.    Trader Joe’s Bold and Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce

Years ago, my husband and I lived in Washington, D.C., where we frequented a great place for honest-to-goodness barbecue called “Old Glory.” There, you could order pulled pork sandwiches with reckless abandon and just drown yourself in barbecue heaven. Well, imagine my elation upon finding that same sweet smoky flavor from back then in the condiments aisle at Trader Joe’s! TJ’s Bold and Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce takes me back to those wonderful sauce-encrusted days. And for an easy pulled sandwich, just throw four fresh chicken breasts in your crock pot, add a bottle of TJ’s sauce and cook on low for six hours. Then, take your potato masher and smush is all up and pop it on big yummy rolls for the ultimate barbecue sandwich. 

3.   Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds

Everyone tells me you’re supposed to eat a handful of almonds a day for good health. Do Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds count? Because who could resist these savory little tidbits made with Belgian chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and turbinado sugar? Now, you might not think the sea salt would make all the difference, but, listen, it’s like eating chocolate and potato chips at the same time but much healthier.

4.    Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken

Around the Zeigler household, there are nights when nothing but Chinese food will do. Usually, these nights are followed by a McDonald’s frosty, but that’s beside the point. For a long time, the only way we could satisfy those cravings for all things Chinese was to order in from one of our many favorite restaurants in the area. Now, with Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken, all we have to do is preheat our oven, warm the delicious sauce and, in about 20 minutes, we’re ready to go.  There’s a General Tso’s taste to it that we just adore and it’s perfect with Trader Joe’s microwaveable brown rice.

5.    Trader Joe’s Plain Pizza Dough

Growing up, if we wanted to make pizza at home we reached for a Boboli crust. Nowadays, when my family is hankerin’ for homemade pizza, we make a beeline for Trader Joe’s Plain Pizza Dough. It’s amazingly delicious and so fun to make! The dough (available in the refrigerated section near the cheeses) comes in a plastic bag, just ready to be kneaded and flattened at your house. When you get home, take the dough from the bag and let it rest for about 20 minutes on a floured surface. Then, grab that dough (yes, it’s very sticky), knead it and flatten into a round pizza-like shape. Then, top with your favorite stuff (Trader Joe’s also sells pizza sauce, which really is divine) and pop in the oven for about 10-15 minutes and you’ll have a fabulous homemade meal or snack. Also available in whole wheat (which is also fabulous) and garlic herb (which I haven’t tried).

Katie M. Zeigler March 05, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Oooo..Creek Diva - I haven't tried the pesto pizza yet...will do! And we adore those cinnamon rolls - and love that you can bake them right in the tray!
Mom of the Horde March 06, 2011 at 07:15 AM
1) Sunflower Seed butter... it's half the cost of the stuff at Target or Whole Foods, and made by the same company. 2) Mandarin Orange Chicken... my kids LOVE it. 3) Pizza dough... it's good and it saves me a lot of time 4) Soy Yogurt... my milk allergic daughter loves it 5) Black Toad beer... my husband really likes it
Ann March 06, 2011 at 09:02 PM
- Joe's Tater Tots are indeed awesome - Chicken potstickers...my kid's go-to after school snack - Olive oil...best price and quality around - Eggs...For taste and freshness I like TJ's eggs better than any others. They're locally sourced from California too so they didn't get recalled in the Great Egg Scandal last year. - Sun dried tomato pesto...it's in the fresh salsa/dip section near the cheeses. We use it on everything from turkey sandwiches, to grilled cheese, to pizza Non food: - Dishwashing detergent...powder in the green box. I tried the liquid and wasn't impressed. - Vitamin E oil...I use it for blisters, age spots, and general moisturizing. It works better than specialty cosmetic oils that cost 10 times more.
Creek Diva March 07, 2011 at 02:20 AM
@Ann, yes I love their eggs! The organic large brown ones have been a staple in our house for years. Recently they've been out of stock. We had a whole dozen eggs in December that were double yoked! The sliced turkey from Columbus is tasty, wild sockeyed smoked salmon, organic pasta sauce (cheaper than most conventional traditional supermarket brands) and the lemon yogurt (with lemon zest!) is so tasty.
Creek Diva March 08, 2011 at 07:22 AM
Add another to the list, the "Spa" line of face wash and cream both under $5. A steal!

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