What I Buy at Trader Joe’s


I don’t know about you, but dinnertime at our home can be stressful.

Sometimes I forgot to defrost something. Sometimes I forgot we didn’t have an ingredient I need and some nights (okay, a lot of nights) I’m just too tired to actually make dinner myself! On nights like these, I call upon my faithful friend named, Trader Joe.

Since I don’t want to add another weekly grocery trip, I usually go to Trader Joe’s about once every few months to stock up on freezer foods. While I don’t usually like a lot of freezer foods from other grocery stores, I do like the options at Trader Joe’s. They not only taste good but if you look at the ingredient lists, they have fewer ingredients (read, less processed) and have better ingredients than what I’ve found elsewhere.

Here are a few of my favorite freezer foods from Trader Joe’s!  I’d love for you to share your favorites in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Brown Rice – This rice is perfect to go with several of the other items mentioned below and is pretty much always stocked in our freezer. One box has three small bags. I find each pouch serves two adults and one toddler, so plan accordingly. While this can easily be made at home, I find having this in my freezer really saves my sanity at dinnertime some nights.

Chimichurri Rice – This is super easy to cook on the stove.  While my four-year-old isn’t a huge fan (it has a lot of flavor!), my husband and I love it. I usually add one bag of the brown rice (above) to stretch it a little bit. Goes great with any sort of Mexican themed meal or even a rotisserie chicken!

Vegetarian Burritos – Easy to cook and pretty good for a frozen burrito. Once again, my daughter wasn’t a huge fan, but my husband and I are! They only take minutes to throw into the oven and when served with one of the rice options above, makes a really easy meal! They also have chicken versions of these, which I haven’t tried, but assume are tasty!

Vegetable Fried Rice – Gosh, love this Trader Joe’s find and cooks up in minutes! They also have a chicken variety. I sometimes add in other veggies I need to use up or even a can of water chestnuts. This goes great with a rotisserie chicken or with the egg rolls, mentioned below.

Vegetable Egg Rolls – My husband and I really like these and they only take 20 minutes to bake. I serve them with the rice mentioned above. They also carry a variety with chicken, which are good as well.

Trader Joe's

Frozen Broccoli – I like this so much better than the kind you steam right in the bag. Even though I have to actually exert a small amount of effort to boil water in a pan to make it, it’s still SUPER easy.

Roasted Corn – This is so much tastier than corn from a can. Since it’s roasted and not just plain corn, it has a little extra flavor. I love using this in burritos or burrito bowls. One bag lasts us a few meals.

Peppers and Onions Mix – LOVE this! I use it for burrito bowls, along with the roasted corn and brown rice I mentioned above. I usually sauté it in a pan with a little olive oil. Peppers and onions are super cheap to buy at the store, but with small children, I don’t always have the time (or energy!) for prepping them for meals.

Mashed Potatoes – I was a little skeptical about these, especially when I opened the bag and saw the clumps of potatoes… but they were surprisingly good! Now, if I was cooking a meal like Thanksgiving, I would take the time to make them from scratch, but for a weekday family meal, totally using frozen!  They were a definite time saver.

Multi-Grain Waffles – I keep these in the freezer for mornings when we’re running late and might need to take the food on the road.  These don’t make too much of a mess in the car, of course without maple syrup!  If eating at home, they’re great with syrup (obviously), peanut butter or even fruit and yogurt. My daughter loves these.

Trader Joe's

3 Cheese Gnocchi – My husband isn’t a huge gnocchi fan, but I love it. Even my daughter liked these. They only take a few minutes to cook on the stove and were fairly inexpensive. I also like how they change up the usual pasta routine. One bag doesn’t make a lot, so I usually get two bags and have a tad leftover for our family of four. (Two adults plus two small children)

Reduced Guilt Mac ‘n Cheese – If I’m making mac ‘n cheese and it’s just one of those days when I don’t even have the energy to make a boxed version, this is my even quicker alternative. My daughter and I both like it and it has enough sauce to cover a side of steamed broccoli. If I cook some extra whole wheat noodles to add in, one box makes enough for my toddler and I to share.

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese – I think this only comes out in the fall, but it’s really good!  The package serves two and has enough sauce to add in some extra noodles or broccoli. It’s definitely a Trader Joe’s fall favorite at our house!

Pasta Alfredo – My whole family, four and one-year-old included, love this!  I’m not usually a fan of jarred Alfredo sauce, but we love this version. It cooks on the stove in a matter of minutes and if you have the energy and time, you can easily add in some chicken, mushrooms or broccoli to make for a more filling meal! It doesn’t make a lot, so I would suggest getting two bags to feed a family of 3+. This is a Trader Joe’s must!

Turkey Meatballs – These are great! Since they’re pre-cooked, they re-heat in no time at all. We love them for meatball subs or spaghetti and meatballs. Even my toddler smiles when she sees we’re having these for dinner!

Do you have a favorite freezer food from Trader Joe’s?  If so, I’d love for you to share it with us, below!

In addition, if you are looking for ways to save money while grocery shopping, read more here.

Trader Joe's