Happy Monday, y’all! How was your weekend?
My weekend was great—I had a great time with some former coworkers at White Ford Bronco on Friday night, and spent a beautiful day at Bull Run Winery on Saturday celebrating my sister’s birthday. The weather was perfect, and I am so glad that spring seems to have finally sprung! On Sunday, I woke up early for a sweat session at Orangetheory and then spent the better part of the day running errands, doing chores around the apartment, and catching up on my DVR. I finally got around to watching the Suits finale and loved getting a sneak peek of Meghan Markle in a wedding dress! I have long loved Suits, but don’t think I’m going to watch the new season without Patrick J. Adams character, Mike Ross, and Meghan Markle’s character, Rachel Zane—all good things must come to an end, and I wish the show had realized that!
If you’re anything like me, Trader Joe’s is one of your favorite grocery stores, so I thought I’d do a round up of some of my favorite products to buy. These are some of my favorite posts to read on other blogs because I always get so many good ideas—so definitely let me know if you have any favorite products I may have missed! I’ve also shared a few Trader Joe’s hauls on my Instagram Stories and think you all like them, so let me know if you’d like to see more of those.
(As an aside, since I’m not one to lug my DSLR with me on my routine grocery store runs, the picture above is from my visit to the South of the James Farmers’ Market in Richmond last September. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in town!)
FROZEN FOOD /
Gnocchi al Gorgonzola—I’m not a huge pasta person, but this gnocchi is so good. I actually feel guilty saying this, but I like it better than most gnocchi I’ve had at high-end Italian restaurants. It takes about five minutes to prep because all you have to do is heat a tiny bit of oil in a skillet and drop the bag in, which makes for an easy weeknight dinner when paired with a salad. I can usually get two meals out of this if I practice a lot of self control.
Chicken Fried Rice—there was one point last year where I always had two or three bags of this chicken fried rice in my freezer because I was obsessed with it! Much like the gnocchi, I honestly like it better than most fast food Chinese fried rice options. I can usually get three meals out of the bag, and since its $3, it works out to be about $1/meal. That’s hard to beat! I top mine with soy sauce to add a bit of extra flavor.
Spinach & Kale Bites—I mentioned this on Friday, but my friend Molly got me hooked on these spinach and kale bites. I’ve been using them as the vegetable side to go along with my main protein for dinner, but I think they’d also be great as an appetizer at a party or snack for a girls’ wine night.
Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons—these are one of my favorite weekday lunches! I cook these mini wontons up in a bit of oil, leave them on a paper towel to cool down and soak off the oil, and then divide them into two tupperware containers for different meals. Four pieces only have 50 calories, and they’re very filling. I dip mine in soy sauce.
Bambino Pepperoni Pizza—whenever I need my pizza fix, I always reach for one of these bambino pizzas. They’re more crispy when done in an oven than the microwave, so I tend to eat these more for dinner or on the weekends. There’s also a plain cheese version available.
Spelt Risotto with Vegetables & Chickpeas—I love risotto, especially in the colder months, and this one is delicious. It’s super easy to heat up on the stove—it only takes about five or six minutes—so it’s been a weeknight staple for me since I’ve discovered it. I usually pair it with grilled chicken or turkey meatballs.
Cookie Butter Cheesecake Bites—eek, these are my guilty pleasure! I only buy these on rare occasions and then limit myself to one or two squares at a time, but they are so good. They’re in the freezer section, but I keep mine in the fridge once I get them home so they’re softer.
FRESH FOOD /
Mexican Style Corn & Quiona Salad—this quinoa salad is a recent discovery of mine and has quickly become a weekly staple. Mexican-style salads are my favorite, and this one has a great dressing. It’s also very filling, so I love eating this after a workout to refuel with some clean food.
Green Goddess Dressing—as I also mentioned here recently, one of the reasons I love expensive salad places is because they have the freshest dressings. This green goddess dressing is the closet store-bought dressing I’ve found to something homemade—it’s insanely good. Added bonus, it’s made from simple, whole ingredients so it’s guilt free.
Mini Goat Cheese Medallions—my best friend Molly and I have these at almost every movie night! They are the perfect portion size of goat cheese for one, which I really appreciate since I live alone—there’s nothing worse than having a big block of cheese go moldy because you can’t eat it fast enough. I take these for an afternoon snack at work to pair with some fruit or crackers.
Cilantro & Chive Yogurt Dip—sadly, this dip was recalled in November because of listeria concerns, but I check about once a month to see if it’s been restocked because it is the best yogurt dip ever. One of my guilty pleasures is dipping potato chips in this dip, but it’s also great with veggies or as a dipping sauce for turkey meatballs.
Southwestern Chopped Salad—when I don’t want to spend $10 on a salad for lunch, I’ll buy this salad kit and top it with some rotisserie or grilled chicken. I also love using this kit as the side salad for anytime I’m doing a Mexican food night. The dressing that comes with this salad is great!
Teeny Tiny Avocados—these mini avocados are the perfect size! Before I discovered these through Monica, I felt like I only ever used half of an avocado, and I hated wasting food and money like that. These are the perfect size for a piece of avocado toast or on a salad.
DRY GOODS + OTHER ITEMS /
Chili Lime Seasoning Blend—hands down, TJ’s chili lime seasoning blend is my favorite flavoring in my spice cabinet. I use it on roasted veggies and to season taco meat and it has a great flavor profile. It’s not spicy and balances the savory and citrus profiles of the chili and lime perfectly. If you pick up anything from this list the next time you’re at the store, make sure it’s this!
Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend—a cult favorite from Trader Joe’s for good reason! I’m a huge fan of everything bagels, but try to make them more of a special occasion treat. This seasoning means I get that delicious flavor more often! My favorite way to use this is on avocado toast.
Honey Mango Shave Cream—you can’t beat this shave cream for the price—at my store, it’s usually around $3. It’s so moisturizing, and smells really good!
Olive Oil Spray—this is a pantry staple for me—I use it almost anytime I cook something on the stove and find it works better than Pam or something comparable.
Multigrain Crackers—I always have a box or two of these on hand! They’re great with any kind of cheese, as a vehicle for dip, for a day at the vineyard, or to munch on solo. I love that they’re multigrain and don’t taste overly sugary.
I’d love to know what you love from Trader Joe’s—drop me a comment below so I can add your suggestions to my grocery list!