trader joe's: the real mvp

A couple of weeks ago, Kath made a Trader Joe’s run, and she asked me what we usually get when we shop there. I rambled on for about ten minutes, which is why I thought this post might be necessary. The only groceries we regularly get from another store are our coffee, meat, and a few other local items. Whether you’re a newbie or a TJ’s junkie like me, I hope you find something new to try from this list. I’ve also included a recipe using one of my favorite TJ’s items.

gen's trader joe's list:

Produce:

  • Bananas
  • Baby Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Apples (Honeycrisp)

Refrigerated:

  • Eggs  
  • Bacon (all varieties, but the Black Forest is especially good)
  • Fage Yogurt (Plain, Total 0%)
  • String Cheese
  • Organic whole milk
  • Kerrygold Butter
  • Cabot Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Triple Creme Brie

Frozen:

  • Fried Rice (Japanese Style and Vegetable)
  • Sweet Potato Frites
  • Breaded Mozzarella Sticks
  • Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower (very spicy!)

Pantry:

  • Scalloped Cracker Trio (this is where we should have gotten our crackers re: Date Night In post)
  • 3 Seed Beet Crackers
  • Sesame Oil
  • Clarified Butter
  • Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup (by far the best of the boxed soups, in my opinion)
  • Dried beans, quinoa, pasta, pearled couscous
  • Jarred pasta sauce (Tomato Basil Marinara and Arrabiata)
  • Raises the Bar granola bars – chocolate chunk
  • Salsa (Harissa and Salsa Autentica)
  • Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips
  • Charles Shaw wine ($2.99 a bottle).

Seasonal:

  • Pumpkin Soup Crackers
  • Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • Taste Test of Caramels (12 varieties of caramels, just as awesome as it sounds)
  • Bollywood Popcorn

Stretch Your Leftovers Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • One Bag of Trader Joe’s Fried Rice (Japanese Style or Vegetable)
  • Eggs- not optional, no matter what Kath says. (She hates eggs.)
  • Butter
  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy Sauce

Optional but kind of the point:

  • Leftover Rice
  • Extra Vegetables Wilting in Your Fridge or Freezer

Instructions:

  1. Scramble your eggs in a small pan. I like to use clarified butter for this step, because it helps the eggs to cook evenly. Set aside.

  2. Heat a large pot or wok over high heat. Add butter once pan is hot. I use a lot of butter, but a pat should do.

  3. Add the frozen rice and any extra frozen vegetables. Cook until softened (about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your pan), stirring frequently.

  4. Add eggs, leftover rice, and any extra fridge vegetables. Add soy sauce to taste. Stir another 3-5 minutes or until all cooked through.

  5. Add sesame oil to taste (approximately ½-1 tablespoon).

  6. Enjoy!


kat's trader joe's list:

We haven't really converted over to buying most of our groceries at Trader Joe's, but it feels like we're slowly making the switch, even though there are some things we can only get at our beloved (yet often too expensive) grocery store.  I should also mention that I meal plan at the beginning of the week for our week's meals.  So we don't normally have a "typical" week's worth of groceries.  There are a few things, though, that I do only want to get from Trader Joe's, and those are listed below:

Produce/Plants:

  • Plants (eucalyptus leaves particularly, but I've gotten an orchid and other greens there too, and the prices are great)
  • Kitchen herbs (prices can't be beat for rosemary plants, basil, etc.)
  • Bag of onions
  • Bag of pink lady apples (like $3 for a whole bag of organic apples)
  • Mandarin oranges/citrus fruits
  • Tri-colored carrots

Refrigerated:

  • Specialty cheeses
  • Milk
  • Hummus

Frozen:

  • Pizza.  (If we don't have pizza at least once a week, the equilibrium in our family is thrown off entirely, and TJ's has some good, inexpensive pizzas with interesting, delicious toppings)
  • Fried Rice (per Gen's recommendation)

Pantry:

  • Dark chcolate peanut butter cups or dark chocolate covered almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Veggie and flaxseed tortilla chips
  • Coffee (it's relatively cheap, and Miriam loves to play with the coffee cans)

Seasonal:

  • Dark chocolate covered peppermint Joe Joe's (these. are. ridiculous.)
  • Mini gingerbread men
  • Peppermint hot chocolate
  • Pumpkin gorgonzola flatbread

*I absolutely DO NOT like TJ's queso.  If I could eat queso the rest of my life I would, but for some reason I do not like their queso.  I tried it yesterday and was so mad about how much I didn't like it and how I felt like I wasted so many calories that I texted Gen about it and complained for about half of the day.  Sorry if you love the TJ's queso; I wasn't a fan, so I'll stick to my Tostitos and other fake-tasting delicious cheese dips.

After looking at this list, it's clear that I have two priorities when it comes to groceries:  pizza and chocolate, particularly Christmas chocolate.