It’s no secret as to why Trader Joe’s is one of America’s favorite grocery stores—the stores themselves are fun to shop, all of the packages are creatively designed, and who can resist cookie butter? Most of the company’s products are repackaged under a private label, making for awesome prices, and it never fails to introduce new, on-trend items like cauliflower rice and harissa. Do we need any more convincing?
The true savvy shopper knows that the grocery and produce items are worth a shop, but that the best deals lie within the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle. Simply requiring a quick defrost, most Trader Joe’s frozen items cut prep time on recipes and introduce creativity into mealtime. Frozen items like tuna burgers and semi-dried apricots can be a cook’s best friend, all they need are a few inventive tweaks to make for impressive meals.
Potstickers (Chicken or Pork)
Simply steamed, frozen potstickers are a great solution for a quick weeknight meal. Serve alongside a dipping sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little brown sugar for a complete dinner or lunch.
Organic Riced Cauliflower
One of the most versatile Trader Joe’s frozen products, riced cauliflower can be turned into a complete low-carb meal in minutes. Add sauteed vegetables, shredded chicken, or any veggies waiting to be used in the fridge to make an any-style stir fry. Just a note: This frozen product does contain some salt, whereas the fresh riced cauliflower in the produce section is simply vegetable.
Handsome Cut French Fries
If there’s ever a food that you don’t need to make from scratch, it’s French fries. Let the flash freezer do the work. All you need to do is bake on high heat and eat by the forkful alongside a plate of salad (if you’re being good). Trader Joe’s also has garlic and sweet potato options, still perfect for stuffing your face with potatoes.
The only thing standing between you and freshly baked croissants for breakfast is a few hours of proofing the pastries (as long as you can remember to put them out the night before!). Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants are rich, flaky, and a super decadent way to start any morning. They also taste anything but previously frozen.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Last minute get-together? Trader Joe’s has you covered with everyone’s favorite: spinach and artichoke dip. You never have to tell anyone it comes in a solid block once you serve it hot and melty inside of a bread bowl or even baked with chicken breasts for an easy dinner party idea.
Trader Joe’s has lots of frozen fruit options, from frozen smoothie berries to acai puree to these magical gems: semi-dried apricots. Once slightly thawed, they can be eaten like a dessert sweet or cooked down for jam or pastry fillings anytime of the year.
Another crowd favorite, shrimp toasts are a great way to get the party started. You can top the toasts with sliced green onions for a gourmet party buffet, or bake up a tray anytime for a meal, served with a fresh green salad.
Good-quality fish can be hard to come by in a few parts of the country. Trader Joe’s frozen aisles are filled with lots of fish options, but the tuna burger patties might be the best deal. You can get creative with the toppings, maybe chopped avocado and cilantro or a sweet chili sauce and Asian slaw—any way you like ‘em, these burgers are a super fresh and healthy option for mealtime.
Mandarin Orange Chicken
Baked to crispy perfection and tossed in a tangy, gingery sauce, Trader Joe’s mandarin orange chicken has been a crowd favorite for years. This meal idea is perfect for steamed rice or sauteed snap peas, and comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese
Everybody. Loves. Mac ‘n cheese. Top with steamed broccoli if you’re feeling guilty, crumble with bacon if you’re feeling like a queen— either way, this rich and creamy frozen item is ideal for any comfort food kind of night.
Head image courtesy of The Trader Rater.