I promised this post a long time ago (and have had the photos in my phone for a million years) but with the holidays, it just seemed to never make the docket. But today is the day.

I’m spilling the beans on my all time favorite Trader Joe’s products and what type of items I no longer purchase (and why – hint: it’s gross).

1. Flowers

If you follow me on Instagram, you knew this was coming (and you won’t be shocked by #2 either). I love the Trader Joe’s floral section because the price simply can’t be beat. I usually grab longer lasting flowers like hydrangeas, roses and tulips.

I actually never pick up a pre-made bouquet because I think you get more bang for your buck if you spend the same amount on two or three bundles and build your own bouquet.

Honorable Mention: the mini orchids make great gifts for teachers, friends, bosses, hostesses and the holiday boxwood wreaths (for $9.99!) are unreal.

2. Wine.

Duh. I made a collage of the ones I pick up most often. I really, really struggle to buy wine anywhere else when I know I can have an entire bottle for $3.99 from Trader Joe’s.

3. Cheeses

There is no better cheese section than Trader Joe’s. If you are hosting a get together or party (that isn’t big enough to require a Costco run, who btw has an awesome cheese selection) I can’t say enough about the TJ cheese selection.

I grab at least one goat cheese on every trip and the slicing brie is the best thing ever invented (put it on a turkey sandwich with sliced green apples. yes, please).

4. Frozen Fruit

I keep a huge variety of the frozen fruit bags in my freezer at all times to make smoothies for the baby. Pineapple, the cherry blend, mixed berries and strawberries are a must.

I add spinach, water and yogurt and know he’s getting at least some nutrition to cancel out all of those chicken nuggets.

5. Turkey Meatballs

These are perfect for a toddler.

I microwave them for lunches or add them to the gnocchi (#9 below) for dinner time.

6. Balsamic Glaze

This may be my all time favorite TJ find. It is heaven on grilled asparagus, roasted carrots or smothered all over my all time favorite recipe, Bruschetta Chicken.

Honorable Mention: the olive oil in the adorable can from the very first photo in this post
(that does actually have a nice flavor)

7. Frozen Waffles and Silver Dollar Pancakes

Another toddler mom win. Breakfast is served in the right portions and with no prep work because this toddler mom is not a morning person. A

 tip I learned from Britt will help in the morning shuffle – dust with powdered sugar instead of syrup to skip the sticky clean up.

8. Gnocchi

This is an absolute must in my house. We keep it in our freezer at all times because there is no easier, faster, more delicious week night meal.

It’s the perfect serving size for two adults (or two adults and a toddler) and if I want to beef it up a bit I’ll add the turkey meatballs or serve with grilled chicken breast.

The other night I cooked a few basil chicken sausages that I had in my freezer, chopped them up and tossed them into the gnocchi and got the thumbs up from Justin.

Side note: he adds parm to his, I add feta to mine!

9. Parmesan Asparagus Risotto

Another permanent option in my freezer – to beef this one up I’ll grab frozen shrimp, sear them in olive oil and garlic and them toss into the pan of risotto as it’s finishing up.

Obv, you can add chicken to this or it makes an amazing side to pork tenderloin.

10. Frozen Rice

Nothing is easier than these frozen bags of rice. Enough to serve two, cooks in three minutes in the microwave and the texture is awesome.

We prefer the brown and jasmine but they are all good!

11. Corn Chili Salsa and Corn Chip Dippers

Holy Hannah do I love this corn salsa. The first time I had it I managed to eat like the entire jar. At a friend’s house.

So classy.

It’s a tomato-less salsa that is sweet and spicy and makes a killer dip, too!

And P.S. I like the corn chip dippers better than Frito’s.

12. Traditional Meatloaf

This is the perfect dinner for nights when Justin has to work late.

I warm this up for him and he loves it – a perfect man meal that isn’t super time intensive, especially when he never knows when he might be able to sneak out of the office so I have little warning to prep.

13. Spiced Cider

This is a seasonal item for Fall but I buy two or three bottles when they hit the shelves.

It smells like perfection when heating on the stove and mixes perfectly with winter rum for a spiked cider.

14. Cheese Sticks/Straws

I’ve made the Paula Dean Cheese Straws from scratch many times but I probably never will again because these cheese straws are so good.

Trust me on this one, I’m southern, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to Cheese Straws.

Honorable Mention: the pita crackers in the pic – I love the regular and wheat! 

15. Mandarin Orange Chicken

We love a ton of the Chinese food style frozen meals but we always come back to the Mandarin Orange Chicken!

Seriously, dinner is ready in minutes when you microwave a bag or two of the frozen brown rice and pour a glass of wine.

And what I never buy:


I’ve tried many, many times to give Trader Joe’s a chance when it comes to produce, but time after time I am disappointing or plain grossed out by rotten apples, moldy grapes or soggy spinach.

I once turned over a bag of green apples in the store and saw that they were so moldy and rotten that there was brown liquid all over the inside of the bag.

Not a good look.

I will say that Trader Joes has an amazing return policy (even if you simply don’t like something you can return it – and they’ll let you open and sample anything in the store before you buy), but who has time to drive back to the store to show off moldy grapes?

It’s easier to just steer clear and grab produce at the grocery store when I head there to stock up on paper towels, detergents and cleaning products.

After narrowing down this list, I could probably do a second post of seasonal faves but I’ll spare you and save it for another day! 

Any Trader Joe’s items that I must try??