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Wednesday, May 9

The Goods: Trader Joe’s Shopping List

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I know, I know…those of you without a Trader Joe’s nearby are sick to death of me talking about it! Listen, if you just move somewhere with a TJs you’ll be happier. Really!


Reader Jenny said she has a chance to get some TJs stuff this weekend and wondered what is good. The real question – what isn’t? People ask me all the time what to buy at TJs, so thought I’d share a “quick” TJs shopping list. I’ll divide it by perishable/non-perishable and share my most favorite items. Please share your favorites as well!

Non-perishable:
– Simmer sauces: There are tons of these throughout the store – Indian, Italian, Asian. All the ones I’ve tried are great…Cuban Mojito, Spinach Punjab, Masala, Marsala, Picatta, Cacciatore, Orange (asian) are a few.
– Chocolate covered pretzels (dark chocolate!)
– Great trail mixes, dried fruit, bagged nuts
– Candy nuts – you know, Cocoa Almonds (YUM), etc.
– Whole wheat pasta
– Cereal – TJs brand knock-offs are yummy and great prices on all the cereal
– Kashi TLC crackers – cheaper at TJs
– Hawaiian Potato Chips – salted
– Blue Corn Chips – salted
– Chocolate chips (cheap and GOOD)
– Olive oil and oil spray – good prices
– King Arthur’s flour – great flour, less expensive here
– Pasta sauces – good prices, great flavors
– Canned beans, veggies, fruit – all good prices

Perishable:
– Frozen prepared foods are GREAT. Gnocchi, Mandarin Orange Chicken, Stir Fry packs, Hors D’Ouevres (so many options)
– Frozen meats are well-priced and good
– Eggs are CHEAP
– TJs smooth and creamy yogurt – come in 6-pack, so so so delectable
– Bagged veggies – just snip corner and microwave for perfect veggies
– Pizza crust – in refrig section
– Cheese – I get all my cheese at TJs, cheaper, yummy
– Butter – $2/lb
– Fresh flowers – prices can’t be beat, long-lasting, beautiful
– Cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese – I get all this stuff at TJs
– Breads – they have great fresh breads – totally beats grocery store

Oh my, I could go on and on. I’m going to stop. I’m certain I’m forgetting things – please share!

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73 Comments »

  1. 1
    Angela

    Ok, I am de-lurking. I have been reading your blog for a while now -and I love it. You have even inspired me to actually start making a “this week for dinner” list every week!

    We tried out the TJ’s Orange Chicken – and it’s great!(I walk by it every week without giving it a second look, so thanks for the rec) My kids, or hubby, could not get enough of it.

    I love pretty much anything from TJ’s. They have whole wheat mini pita pockets that are lots of fun for kids lunches and snacks. They also have a really good creme fraiche. And their frozen rapsberries are wonderful and a great price.

  2. 2
    thomalee

    Hi, I’ve never posted, but I’ve heard about your blog from 2 different friends now! I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan. We like the cheddar garlic sourdough bread and the Creamy Tomato Soup. The spicy hummus is good with either pitas or any of the crackers they have. We also like the granola bars…sweet, salty and tart trek mix bars and cereal bars. The just mango (dried mango) is wonderful and of course the fresh salsa. I could go on…
    I need to try the simmer sauces.

  3. 3
    Kelly

    just ran in to TJ’s today, for a few “little” things, and had to resist dumping EVERYTHING into the cart.
    I too love the sauces, they are all good, you really can’t go wrong.
    Chocolate covered peanuts are a great pick-me-up
    Trader Joe’s Os (their version of Oreos) are AWESOME. I prefer the vanailla, but the chocolate is also good.
    Produce is always good.
    Frozen stuff to die for – love the chicken fajitas, orange chicken, etc.
    I especially like the frozen cubes of garlic other herbs… perfect for cooking.
    We just tried the stuffed chicken breasts that they sell in the frozen section… dang good!

    In the meat section they have this sliced sirloin, that is great for philly cheese steak sandwiches.

    hmmm… what else?

  4. 4
    Deidra Smith

    You have read my mind!!!!

    Last night I was thinking how there should be a Blog that let’s customers/friends of Trader Joes and Costco come and give their opinions on what tasted great and not so…Just like a star system on recipe sites.

    It is so hard when you are trying to make a great meal on a budget and spent some time on it and then you get the “yeah honey it was grrreeatt”…(you usually convince yourself that indeed it tasted good…only because it took so long to make or so much $$$)…then a week later he confesses that he would rather not have that ever again!

    Thanks for the list!

    If your making Indian food…The Nann Bread in the freezer is by far better than the fresh!

    Im with Jane on the Chocolate Chip comment…By far the best…And I am a chocolate snob!!!!hehe!

  5. 5
    Jules

    Here are a couple things I pick up regularly:

    Frozen pineapple, mangos, blueberries and raspberries (great for smoothies, fruit salads, just popping them in your mouth)

    Frozen veggies–green beans, broccoli and corn

    Drinks–Orangina, Blood Orange Italian Soda (so many good ones)

    For kids–String cheese, multigrain circle crackers, TJ’s pirate’s booty (by chips), Cheese squares

    Spices–so cheap and good!

    Sun-dried tomatoes in jar (great for pasta dishes, sandwich spreads, etc)`

    Their pound plus chocolate bars—great for baking, making chocolate covered pretzels (huge and cheaper than a hershey’s bar and from Belgium!

  6. 6
    Jenny

    Thanks for the ideas! I am just going to email my sister this link. Heh.

  7. 7
    Lindsey

    I heart Trader Joe’s.

    When I go there I seriously spend half what I would at a regular grocery store. And when I’ve gone to a regular grocery store to get something that I can’t get at TJ’s, I am wondering what I am doing there.

    MILK. I love their milk. We drink a ton of milk and it’s cheaper, stays fresh longer and tastes better–no hormones either.

    I have adapted our weekly menus to fit Trader Joe’s. If they don’t have it, I don’t need it–unless it’s something very specific.

    It’s fun to read what every else buys there!

  8. 8
    Jessica

    “..those of you without a Trader Joe’s nearby are sick to death of me talking about it!”- aka Jessica. :) Wait, I’m not sick, I’m just sad I can’t have these awesome things! And from the looks of it I’m the only one who can’t get to one. Always the outsider, sigh.

  9. 9
    Shane and Becca

    Hi! I love the flour tortillas so much, they are to die for. Along with the Salsa Verde. I also love the nuts (I just found pepitas there–roasted/salted and plain! Can you believe them?!), kalamata olives, Heart to Heart cereal, the yummy tomato soup, and anything frozen. Have you noticed how inexpensive the fresh herbs are too? Where else can you buy fresh tarragon for $1.50?

    We are SO excited, because our TJ’s just bought the store next door and is expanding! So exciting!

  10. 10
    Jane Maynard

    I forgot – the drinks are GREAT! lots of fun sodas. also, Hansen’s soda is WAY cheaper than anywhere else. :)

    thanks for all your comments!!!

  11. 11
    Tuesday Girl

    I live right near a Trader Joes but mine is too small. I stop there for a few things every week but I prefer my whole foods.

    BUT Tjs has a great snap pea chips that I cannot find anywhere else.

  12. 12
    Working Gal

    I LOVE Trader Joes – one of my favorites is the Portuguese Bean and Sausage Soup. It comes in a jar and is so yummy.

    I agree with one of the earlier posters who recommended the frozen naan bread.

    Like angela said above, I too, have been lurking for a few days.

    Love your blog!

  13. 13
    Stephanie

    We have to drive over an hour to 90 minutes for Trader Joe’s in Ohio, and I make the trip as often as I can it’s so worth it for the savings and good food!

    I love their frozen Spinach Artichoke dip, ready in minutes.

    Their beef is fantastic! Along with cheeses and fruits, veggies, herbs, nuts, and everything else already mentioned.

    The oils and Trader Joe’s brand cooking sprays are so much cheaper than name brand.

    Their bread is great as is the wine. They have vanilla beans, paste, and extract that is pure and cheaper than anywhere I’ve ever seen.

    But my FAVORITE Trader Joe’s purchase ever has to be White Truffle Oil. $8.99 for the most delicious, exquisite food topping I can think of!

    Good luck, you’re in for a serious addiction! My sister and bro-in-law live in Colorado and when they come home they buy items and ship cases of wine back home that is still cheaper than if they’d buy the wine in CO.

    I need to pack a cooler next time so I can get some of their Orange Chicken, I get cravings everytime I read it on here!

  14. 14
    Deidra Smith

    Hey Stephanie,

    What do you use the White Truffle Oil on???

    I would love to get the recipes…

    Thanks,

    Deidra
    deidrasmith25@yahoo.com

  15. 15
    nena

    Jessica, you’re not the only one on the outs! Our closest Trader Joe’s is in Atlanta, about 4 hours away (never been to it).

    My brother is getting married in California in a month, and my husband and I will be making a quick weekend trip. We’ll be there for less than 30 hours but have scheduled a TJ’s stop so I can buy groceries…and then pack them in an extra suitcase to bring home on the airplane.

    Incredibly pathetic scheme, but I’m excited about it! Thanks to everyone for sharing some fabulous shopping ideas.

  16. 16
    Stephanie

    Hi Deidra and anyone else interested in White Truffle Oil, no specific recipes, though you can google truffle oil to get some recipes and ideas.

    You can use it to “enhance” so many foods! I put it on potatoes, pasta, bruschetta, eggs, etc., etc.

    In my opinion it goes well with almost anything that takes garlic or mushrooms, and a drizzle will give a perfect addition to make food spectacular!

    One of the easiest, tastiest things I’ve made is pizza with Robiola cheese (I found it at Whole Foods) and White Truffle Oil drizzled on top, so simple, but so decadent!

    No doubt anyone who tries it will come up with all their own favorite uses, it’s one of those things you just have to try to become a believer, and Thank God for Trader Joe’s prices since I haven’t seen other bottles for less than $32!

  17. 17
    e

    hi jane.

    a friend gave me a link to your blog, and I am so happy!
    I am constantly looking for new, yummy & easy meals. Looks like I am in the right place.
    I am a HUGE fan of TJs as well.
    You have some good suggestions already, but I have two words for you…

    CARNE ASADA

    It’s in the fresh meat section. Pre-marinated, 5-10 minutes on the barbeque, and you have THE best base for tacos.
    Try it. I know you’ll get hooked!

    I have a photo blog, but I occasionally talk about food (hey, we all gotta eat!) here’s a link to my “good eats” section…
    http://elizabethharris.typepad.com/_/good_eats/index.html

    I have been thinking about a TJs favorites post for a while… you have inspired me to do that soon!

    nice to “meet” you.
    -elizabeth

  18. 18
    Leslie

    Has no one mentioned the double cream brie yet? SO good (it’s got a real “bite” to it) and WAY cheaper than I have seen anywhere else ($3.99/lb). Try it with their Multi-grain crackers.

  19. 19
    Jane Maynard

    Cuban Mojito is no longer available everyone. I just noticed I have it pictured. So sad.

  20. 20
    Collette

    I can’t believe no one mentioned the Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn. It’s the best snack food I’ve ever had. Perfect. Don’t forget the Double Roasted Salsa or the Tri-Tip. The tri-tip is great cooked on the grill or charred on the grill and then slow cooked in a crock pot. Almond meal is a MUST for baking. Personally I’ve been craving the cream filled strawberries (frozen) and even though most cheesecake is WAY to heavy for me I love the key lime cheesecake (not the pie). Throw some chicken breasts and a jar of Double Roasted Salsa in the crock pot and you have great chicken for salad, tacos, burritos, rice, etc.

  21. 21
    emily moore

    Trader Joes is my favorite! I love the 4 pack avacados, string cheese, papaya mango salsa, KETTLE CORN, $1.99 bagels, mango smoothie in the fridge section, par baked baguette tastes like you are in France, spinach dip, hummus, cafe twist cookies, veggie chips, chicken drumettes, tarte alsace, mini cheesecakes, I could go on and on and on and on. A new Trader Joes is being built as we speak closer to our new home. I am so excited.

  22. 22
    Katelyn Farrar

    Oh my goodness! I have heard so many great things about this Trader Joe’s place. The closest stores to me are about an hour to an hour and a half away(not fair they have 3 that close together, but still so far from me!). Well today, I decided to take a little road trip and check it out. I have to admit I finally see why I have heard so many wonderful things! So many great prices too! Well worth the trip! I got the refrigerated pizza crust, jasmine tea, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, canadian white bread, pesto tortellini, salad mix, whole wheat penne pasta(only $.49 for a whole pound!), honey nut o’s, and some yogurt. As soon as I walked in the door, I made a salad with the mix I bought, fresh mozz, sliced prosciutto, and halved grape tomatoes. I tossed it in a Garlic Expression Vinaigrette that I bought yesterday at Fresh Market and am now addicted. Thank you so much, Jane, for turning me onto TJ’s! I am forever grateful!

  23. 23
    Jane Maynard

    you’re welcome! :) so glad it was a success!

  24. 24
    Michele

    For those of you who are weary of powdered/boxed mac n cheese, the frozen Joe’s Diner Mac n Cheese is VERY good and passes the toddler test with flying colors.

  25. 25
    Heidi

    I must be the luckiest person alive – we have two, count ‘em, TWO Trader Joe’s within 10 minutes of our house. One is even within walking distance. I’m so sad for those of you who are Joe-less. Would you like one of mine? My favorites: freeze dried fruit (the only fruit my picky daughter will eat), the nut selection, braided spicy mozzarella, and most of all, the peanut butter cups and dark chocolate covered caramels. To totally die for.

  26. 26
    Heidi

    I forgot one thing – Everything Crackers. Same toppings as an everything bagel. My picky children LOVE them.

  27. 27
    denebug

    Trader Joes is not quite as great on the East Coast as it is in California. We still go there every couple of weeks for dried fruit, nuts and trail mixes, unsweetened soy milk, dairy products–buttermilk, cream, butter, milk, pasta, honey whole wheat pretzel sticks, and frozen veggies. We started using the canvas bags 6 years ago in San Diego and they’re still great. And the people at TJs know how to load a canvas bag efficiently.

  28. I love to talk about Trader Joe’s because I always get inspired to try new things. I did a list at my blog a few months ago… http://chefdruck.blogspot.com/2008/05/why-i-love-trader-joes.html but it’s already time for a new one.

    My new favorite TJ products are: the baked sugar snap pea chips, the cheese fondue, and the pizza dough.

    My kids are fanatics of the frozen mac and cheese.

  29. Hi, this is my 1st time here. I love Trader Joe’s and am so happy we moved about 3 minutes away from ours. I started posting some of my TJ favs in photos at my flickr and the TJ flickr group. Yes, there is a group out there! lol

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/92575284@N00/pool/7751413@N05/

  30. 30
    Jane Maynard

    I should have known there would be a Flickr group! :) thanks for sharing…

  31. 31
    kay henn

    I love this blog. I’m a TJ regular and really enjoy reading and reading this blog. I wish there was more up to date info on products. I’ve been shopping at TJ for years and have tried so many of their products. Favorites, are the frozen fruits to use for smoothies, the Marsala sauce for simmering, I use if for boneless pork-chops and serve on the frozen Jasmine Rice. Their cubed minced garlic, basil, parsley, cilantro. Hate it when I can’t find something that I love and they don’t have it anymore. Flowers, wine, candies, fresh salads, etc., etc., etc..

  32. 32
    amy

    I make a beeline for TJ anytime I am in a city that has one. I did not see anyone mention the dark chocolate covered edame – so delicious try it! Also the crossiants – plain and chocolate. The coffee. I could go on and on.

  33. 33
    Jennifer

    Frozen artichoke hearts
    Unfiltered cranberry juice (large bottle)
    granola bars
    chocolate-covered almonds
    maple leaf cookies (seasonal–ooh, they are so good!)
    blue cheese in the small plastic container
    dried cheese tortellini
    frozen pizza (large and small, for emergency meals!)
    WHOLE WHEAT NAAN (if my husband finds out I went to TJ’s without getting this, he gets very mad)
    frozen fish
    frozen gyozas
    tuna in olive oil
    roasted flaxseed peanut butter
    bagels (whole grain, and much better than other store-bought bagels)
    frozen berries
    tortillas
    marinara sauce
    VEGGIE FLAXSEED TORTILLA CHIPS!!!

  34. 34
    Jane Maynard

    you had me at “frozen artichoke hearts” – thanks for adding to the list, jennifer! :)

  35. 35
    Jenna

    I love trader joe’s too! Here is what I like to get.

    Enchilada sauce
    Dried Cranberries
    Fiberful Fruit Bars
    Caribbean Fruit Floes
    Mandarin Orange Chicken
    Potstickers
    Pretzel slims
    Cranberry-Apple butter
    Pumpkin Butter
    and the little fruit slices that are kettle cooked

  36. 36
    Lena Kubota

    there’s a great website called http://traderjoesfan.com with reviews of new products, and also recipes to try, review, or post. Sometimes it’s frustrating when people are raving about a product your TJs doesn’t carry, though.

  37. 37
    Jane Maynard

    yes, that IS frustrating…that happens with costco, too. thanks for this link! woo-hoo!

  38. 38
    Leslie G.

    What a wonderful blog – found this through Pioneer Woman and found that one courtesy of an article in the LA Times.

    I have been very fortunate to have had TJ’s as part of my grocery shopping experience since I was a kid – and I began with the trail mix selection. I am from the city in CA where they started (Pasadena) and the original store is still there and booming along with the 2 other newer and huge ones that were blessedly added in Pas.

    They have a great and helpful staff – I don’t think I have ever had less than a cheerful TJ’s employee. Their return policy (if ever needed) is always no questions asked.

    I have loved so many of the things that I see on others’ lists and find myself thinking of: Pizza sauce, pesto, Diner macaroni and cheese, Parmesan Ranch dressing, Spicy Cider, Teriyaki chicken breasts, mini peanut butter cups, mascarpone, goat cheese pizza, Asian pasta salad, NY Baked Cheesecake, lemon curd, haricot vert green beans and great prices on nuts, dried and frozen fruits, cheeses, meats, dairy and wine. I just tried their Gingerbread mix this year and I like an assertive gingerbread – this was fabulous.

    I practically shed tears when something I like is discontinued and I do let them know. Are you listening TJ’s??? I want you to return some of the simmer sauces, the garlic olive oil (that one nearly killed me), the sesame oil, artichoke bruschetta, sprouted soy crunch bread, 4-Cheese vegetable dip, dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and vanilla paste.

    Whenever I think of leaving CA for another state, among the most important criteria along with weather, cost of living, employability is whether or not there are enough TJ’s!

  39. 39
    Jennifer

    Just found this lovely blog. I’ll be back but as for Trader Joe’s – my new favorite are the chicken lemongrass rolls in the freezer section. I stocked up and used them for all sorts of holidays shindigs and everyone wants to know where I got them. Served with some soy sauce, sesame oil and scallions – they are divine!

  40. 40
    Vanessa Lee

    We are a military family stationed in Naples, Italy. Thank goodness I have a sister in law who does my monthly Trader Joe’s runs…

    Stretchy Fruit for my son who goes to Italian kindergarten… needless to say all the bambini want it.
    Chocolate covered anything for us all.
    Always four jars of Habenero lime salsa
    two cartons of butternut squash soup
    all dried fruit – funny can’t get the blueberries, cherries or cranberries here in Italy (dates another story)
    All trek mixes
    all granola bars
    coffee
    teas
    and huge huge huge bars of bitter, bittersweet, milk and white chocolate!

    Now when in person, I buy just about every frozen thing there to include their desserts… YUMMERS!!! (that’s my way of saying Yum)
    I love their yogurt, creme fraiche and fresh produce…

    Hopefully, when this tour is over, we’ll be back in southern California where I can resume my love of Trader Joe’s… and so want to work there one day! Ring the bell! Wear a cool shirt and all. However, my husband has strict orders when it comes to retirement: There must be a Trader Joe’s nearby…I’ll even drive two hours to get to it if I have to!

  41. 41
    Ohanna McKenzie

    I love TJ’s!! We don’t have one in our town, but when I am going to an are I know has one I always pop in. Luckily, there are several 30-60 minutes from home and close to my kids travel activities!! This past Saturday I went and had an overflowing cart. I felt strange as everyone just had a bag or two. They must shop every day! I thought the prices were wonderful especially for the quality of the food. I especially love their sauces and frozen spanakopita! My mother is kosher so I am happy to be albe to grab some fresh beef and chicken that I can serve her for dinner!

  42. Great for people with kids! The dairy section has so much to choose from that is from cows without the added growth hormones. My older daughter loves going to TJ’s (samples, stickers, balloons). She also loves the dried strawberries and mangoes. Just about everything we try is delicious (except the desserts in the cooler sections…not much luck with those). A good thing about Los Angeles….there’s a TJ’s about every five minutes.

  43. 43
    tom

    TJ’s Orange Chicken is really great. I have been thinking about a TJs favorites post for a while. You just inspired me to do that soon.
    lyon shaw patio furniture

  44. 44
    Jane Maynard

    Okay, I need to do an update!
    – Milk chocolate covered raisins (way better than costco’s)
    – I now like the milk chocolate covered pretzels better than the dark chocolate…what’s getting into me?!?!
    – chocolate frosting mix
    – frozen mac & cheese
    – the little yogurt cups that come in a pack of 6 that are creamy – one pack is blueberry and vanilla, the other strawberry and banana…that yogurt is just so darn creamy and good.

    I’m sure I have more…I’ll just comment again when I think of them!

  45. 45
    AllisonS

    Hard to believe I dont’ see two of my favorites posted by anyone yet:
    Thai Red Curry sauce (stir fry some chicken, red peppers, broccoli, etc and then pour this over the top and warm — makes a great dish over rice!)
    Pad Thai Noodles & Sauce (in the grocery section). Make a quick an easy pad thai by supplementing this with sauteed chicken and broccoli (or snap peas, peppers, etc.)!

  46. 46
    matt

    - Blueberry instant oatmeal (daughters devour them- made with whole milk and a small pat of butter after they come out of the microwave)
    – Pound+ dark chocolate bar (3 chunks make a easy peasy dessert)
    – TJ’s Fruity Flakes (dried fruit snacks for the kiddos)
    – Dark chocolate covered nuts, especially the ones with salt too
    – Cheap but good wine

  47. In the old days before TJ’s hit San Diego, I would take coolers when I visited friends in LA. Thankfully, those days are long gone…Don’t miss the healthy microgreens in the fresh produce/salad section…The aioli mustard is fantastic (but salty)… white tapers for table…cardboard, extra-wide kitty scratch boards…I love Trader Joe’s!!

  48. 48
    Nicole

    Strawberry granola, we buy 3 boxes at a time. The pumpkin souffles are yummy, not too sweet, gluten free for my mom, but make sure you don’t cheat and microwave them, yuck. Strawberry and green tea mochi ice cream. scallop/mushroom frozen dish…kinda liquidy but rally good.

  49. my tried-n-true TJ’s list: PB puffins, ginger chews, greek yogurt, honey wheat pretzels (and pumpernickel ones) pumpkin butter, and organic peanut butter. but my #1 item (shockingly) is their meatless meatballs, in the frozen section. it’s better than the regular meatballs, and immediately makes any dish delicious.

    i add it to pasta:
    http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/eating-style/

    roasted veggies:
    http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/good-presentation/

    sandwiches, salads, etc…

  50. I really love their white whole wheat flour for baking bread.

  51. 51
    Becca

    We don’t have a TJ nearby, or in the same state, even. But whenever we go to my in-laws I head there to stock up on dark chocolate pretzels, Soyaki sauce, and blueberry cereal bars. The former are an addiction, and the latter are something that my preschool-aged kids love for a quick breakfast or snack. And they’re SO much cheaper than Nutrigrain bars.

  52. 52
    Grace

    TJ’s Soyaki sauce! You simply must try it. I made the best chicken wings ever with Soyaki. My family went crazy for them. They also have surprisingly good frozen burritos, which is something I just wouldn’t buy anywhere else. And at Christmas, their Peppermint pretzels are so good they sell out almost immediately.

    • Deb

      How did you make the wings??

    • Deb – I deep fried them in canola oil (360 degrees) in a huge stainless steel skillet until they were extra crispy, Bring them to room temperature before frying. It makes a huge difference in how well they turn out! Then I added the wings to the pot of sauce for a few seconds, coating them very well. For the sauce I just poured a whole bottle of the Soyaki into a pot, heated it until it had reduced a good bit, and then added 2 sticks of butter. People go crazy for these wings. They are salty and a bit sweet and just different.

  53. 53
    Elizabeth

    I could write the LONGEST list of everything I love at TJs, but I’ll just add a few. Sweet potato fries in the frozen section, Asparagus Risotto (also frozen), Garlic Asiago Bread, Soyrizo (soy chorizo), Spinach Salad mix, Black truffle flat bread, baked blue corn tortilla chips, tomatillo salsa

  54. 54
    Anna

    1. “salsa style” Refried beans. So much better than any other brand and simple bean/cheese/veggie burritos are our go-to lunch. (weight watchers friendly too) 2. whole wheat tortillas. Really basic but, again, much better than other available brands. I also like the multigrain crackers, the strawberry/banana yogurt packs already mentioned, organic yellow corn chips, a couple of their salsas are fantastic (yellow chili? tomatillo?), and my son will down an entire bottle of pomegranate limeade if I don’t stop him first.

  55. 55
    amy

    We love the frozen croissants – both the plain mini ones and the larger chocolate filled ones, soyaki sauce, pita crisps, mushroom tunovers, fresh basil, bruschetta sauce, sparkling clementine juice, cheese sticks (in the cracker section), and triple gingersnaps are our top favorites. But we love lots of things at TJs. Shouldn’t read this when I’m hungry….

  56. 56
    Heidi

    Frozen Naan!!!! Cereal and bread and the fresh flowers!!

  57. Ditto on the frozen croissants- YUM. And their OJ is priced reasonably- the non-concentrate kind. Their milk is always cheaper and never spoils early like our chain store that’s a bit closer. I also love their ice cream and their cheese selection is lovely. I love TJs!

  58. 58
    Emily

    Mascarpone cheese, marinated carne asada and all the snack food. Oh and I love the mango shaving cream and you can’t beat $0.99 greeting cards!

  59. 59
    Janna M

    I can’t live without TJ’s organic ketchup and Grade B Maple Syrup. I always have a couple extra bottles in the pantry.

    My TJ’s list usually includes:
    Chocolate croissants, cat cookies (vanilla or chocolate), chocolate covered almonds, frozen berries, vanilla, raspberry preserves, fruit leather, dark chocolate bars, orange-cranberries, apple-chicken sausages… I feel like I could go on forever. I won’t buy those items anywhere else.

  60. 60
    alyssa

    Casava Chips and the PowerBerries (both TJ Brand) are my favorite items!!

  61. 61
    Kim

    We do our main grocery shopping at TJ’s each week, so we eat a lot of their stuff, but the stand-out favorites:

    Peanut butter cups (regular size and mini are both good, but I prefer the regular for the texture

    Lemongrass Chicken Stix in frozen section

    Peppermint Joe Joe’s, and the Peppermint Joe Joe Ice Cream

    Italian Blood Orange Soda and Grepefruit Soda

    Yogurt–we buy the big cartons and they are so creamy!

    Cheeses–such a good price, I buy all our “special” cheeses there (only get cheddar from costco because its really cheap there).

    dried fruits

    frozen fruits–especially love the pineapple and mango

    frozen veggies–green beans especially are really good and taste fresh

    whole wheat naan (although after reading all the recommendations, I’ll have to try the frozen naan)

  62. 62
    Nancy from Mass

    We have 2 favorite items from Trader Joes. One is their Chili Sauce the other are their Frozen Croissants. They are lovely!

  63. 63
    Mrs. Day

    TJ”s is always packed, but I make it a point to go for these items:

    Reduced Sugar Raspberry and Strawberry Fruit Spread
    Organic unsalted Creamy peanut butter
    Frozen blueberries and mango
    Soy Creamer (for coffee)
    Frozen Pizza Parliano
    Frozen Mac and Cheese
    Tomato Bisque
    Baby Spinach and Arugula
    Individual packed goat cheese medallions
    Walnut pieces and other nuts (much cheaper than WF!)
    Ground Flaxseed
    Pineapple Spears
    Greek Yogurt
    Almond milk
    Whole Wheat Tuscan bread
    Black Mountain Pinot Noir

  64. i love TJ’s jams & jellies. most recently we finished blackberry preserves, and now we have some raspberry ready to be opened. i must say i prefer whole food’s natural PB–its not as oily as TJ’s is. i also like TJ’s hawaiian chips and their salt & pepper chips. pasta, island soyaki, light coconut milk, and spices are other things we stock up on. the nearest one is about 75 minutes away so when we go, we load up!

  65. We just got a Trader Joe’s about a year ago and I love it there! Here is a list of my favorite things:
    -Maple Leaf Cookies (oh.my.word. the most amazing cream filled cookie ever!)
    -Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bar
    -Spinach Artichoke dip, in the freezer section
    -Gorgonzola Crackers
    -White Cheddar Popcorn
    My kids also love the Gummie Tummies Penguins and their apple white grape juice boxes.

    :)

  66. 66
    Morgan

    Walking into Trader Joe’s, for me, is like a four year old walking into Disney World. Ahh!

    These are my favorites:
    -Sunflower Butter….YUM
    -Sliced Cremini Mushrooms in a resealable package.. (very convenient!!)
    -White Bean and Basil Hummus (you will fall in love after one bite.. promise)
    -Dried Mango (amazing in oatmeal)
    -“Pick your own beers” pack (I love variety!)

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    Amanda N

    We got one in Iowa about six months ago, and I have only been there once, but I kept on grabbing things i wanted to try- i will for sure be getting the strawberry banana yogurt and the orange chicken- seems everyone is swearing on it =)I love love love the milk chocolate bars with whole hazelnuts
    the milk chocolate toffee, spicy chai latte- put in a blender and froth it up a bit- delicious, the frozen beef burritos, i am going to try the sweet snap peas- im thinking of putting them in a salad- but not sure what with? lemon squares from freezer section,i could go on and on =)

  68. 68
    Chris

    Dijon mustard, frozen artichoke hearts, wasabi peas, Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna, and the most unusual item Danish Dinner Candles, only $3.00 for 8 candles that burn great and don’t drip

  69. 69
    Sarah

    A great way to bring in the new year!

    I recently started going to Trader Joe’s in Monterey… my reason ~ Gruyere Cheddar cheese. The perfect blend of two fabulous cheeses.

  70. 70
    Becky

    Cranberry Walnut Braid bread (however sadly they stopped carrying it…I bought up a bunch when the cashier told me it was being discontinued…)

    Chocolate covered vanilla caramel chews up by the check-outs

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