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Trader Joe's Secrets

Shortly after college, I left Utah for a three-year stint in Arlington,Virginia. After my years on the East Coast, I found my way back out West, settling in Southern California. In my time away from the Beehive State, I have seen and done a lot. I’ve lived a stone’s throw away from the country’s finest museums and monuments, and just minutes away from some pretty incredible beaches. But, possibly just as life changing, is for the past six years, I’ve lived within walking distance of a Trader Joe’s. Frozen mandarin orange chicken? Be still my heart.

When I found out that a Trader Joe’s would be opening in Salt Lake City, I was delighted at the thought of my family and friends enjoying some the treats I’d been raving about for all these years.  Since 80 percent of the chain’s products are Trader Joe’s brand, you won’t find Trader Joe’s goods anywhere else, and the prices can’t be beat.

After my years of shopping at Trader Joe’s, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite products, and I feel it’s only fair to share the wealth. Here’s the rundown:

  1. Frozen croissants – leave them to proof overnight, and enjoy fresh, hot croissants in the morning. All three varieties – plain, chocolate or almond – are worth trying.
  2. Frozen mandarin orange chicken – delicious and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. I like to pair mine with steamed rice and some of Trader Joe’s frozen edamame beans.
  3. Kosher dill pickles – these taste like the pickles my grandma used to make. I simply can’t get enough.
  4. Par-baked french bread – take this home and finish it in your own oven. It’s the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal.
  5. Truly handmade flour tortillas – your quesadilla will never be the same.
  6. Spiced apple cider – the perfect beverage for a cold winter night, and great for the holidays. This is a seasonal product, so get it while you can.
  7. Triple ginger snap cookies – if you like ginger snaps, you must try these.
  8. Canned peaches in white grape juice – great for children and adults alike.
  9. Organic basil marinara – perfect for pizzas and pastas.
  10. Pizza dough – you’ll find this in the chilled section near the cheeses. Homemade pizzas have never been easier or tastier.
  11. Salsa Authentica – the red and green varieties are equally delicious.
  12. Herb popcorn and movie theater popcorn – already popped and ready to eat, this is a great go-to snack.
  13. Peaches/mango and cream yogurt cups – portable and delicious.

Now that I’ve shared my favorites, tell me – what are your best finds at Trader Joe’s?

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