$180 Trader Joe's Shopping Haul | Must-Have Items!
Okay so here is your next fun fact about me...I am a Trader Joe’s fanatic. I have been absolutely obsessed for years and have built up an arsenal of must-have items. I find Trader Joe’s to be very affordable for the quality of items, and the variety is unmatched. So sit back and get ready for an aisle by aisle journey of my monthly Trader Joe’s haul.
My neighborhood TJs is one of the only locations within 30 minutes from me, and add that on top of a pandemic...what do you get? An even bigger line wrapped around the building, and it is 100% worth the wait. Once I hear the glorious words, “okay, you’re up next! The carts inside have been cleaned and are ready to go”, it is game time. I am one of those people who 1.) still physically write out a grocery list and 2.) organize it by aisle according to my store. So first up on the list is PRODUCE. I have some staple items in the produce section that I did not buy this haul because; honestly, it was so packed that I got overwhelmed and rushed myself. The beginning of the produce section is where you can find their flowers (and yes I buy myself flowers every haul... 10/10 recommend)
Teeny Tiny Avocados *not pictured* (For avocado toast, tacos, sandwiches, literally anything)
Green Goddess dressing *not pictured* (Great dressing for salads or sandwiches)
Salad Kits (Ceasar and Kale are my favorites)
Shallots (I’ve switched over to shallots as my onion replacement in meals. I just love the subtle onion flavor it gives a dish)
Garlic (I have 5 bulbs of garlic in my house at a time, it literally goes with everything)
Lemons (I try to be good about drinking hot water with lemon in the morning and cold lemon water throughout the day)
Potatoes (good ‘ole fashion versatile side dish)
Asparagus (another staple veggie side in our house)
And that concludes our produce section. I would love to be that person that eats all the fresh fruits and veggies and leafy greens...but my ADHD self forgets I have them and they go to waste. Produce is one thing I tend to go to my regular grocery store (ShopRite) on a weekly basis to get what I need for the week of meals.
The next section is one of my absolute favorites in TJs, and while they are not the best discount deals….they are an absolute must so treat yourself with the deliciousness of the pre-marinated meats!
Peppered Hanger Steak (Featured in my Weeknight Steak Taco recipe on the blog!)
Chicken Breasts (Versatile protein...but my favs are chicken cutlets or lettuce wraps *recipes to come*)
Cabernet Beef Pot Roast (Easy InstaPot recipe coming!)
Balsamic Beef Tips *not pictured* (So delicious in the InstaPot over some egg noodles)
Sweet or Spicy Italian Sausage *not pictured* (Staple in our house for pasta dishes, sausage pepper sandwiches, etc)
Bulgogi Beef *not pictured* (Delicious Korean marinade that is great with stir fried veggies and white rice)
Grass Fed Ground Beef *not pictured* (Staple for tacos, meatballs, etc)
Ground Pork *not pictured* (meatballs)
Once I have put all of those in my cart, I have to muster up the strength to stop and move away from the meat section. Next up, the pantry aisle.
Cans of Tuna in Water (used in pasta salads, tuna salad wraps, etc)
Whole Wheat Spaghetti (I used this for my shrimp scampi pasta but it’s delish for any sauce)
Brown Rice Pasta *not pictured* (The starchy brown rice pasta thickens up almond milk sauces that I have tricked my picky family into thinking are delicious fattening meals...recipe to come)
Bread Crumbs (Staple in our house for chicken cutlets and meatballs)
Almond Macadamia Milk (shelf-stable milk alternative that converted this milk only lover. Used in shakes, pasta dishes, Mia’s chocolate milk *yes i tricked her and she loved it*)
WINTER ITEM ALERT!! Stroopwafel Cake mix (will post a review soon)
Pita Bite Crackers (staple in our house for hummus, dips, brie cheese, etc)
Banana Chips *not pictured* (super yummy snack)
Pistachio Nuts *not pictured* (speak for themselves)
Seltzer *not pictured* (personal favorite is mandarin orange)
The next aisle….is my personal heaven and the BULK of this shopping list...FROZEN SECTION!! TJs frozen section is a foodie’s dream. Their asian foods, appetizers, ice creams, proteins, everything ever sold in the frozen section, is restaurant quality and SUPER cheap. I tried to organize this by the cuisines so that you can easily just throw things in the cart as you go, because yes….you should be writing a TJs shopping list as you read this.
Argentinian Red Shrimp (Have the best lobster texture when cooked and the best shrimp you’ll ever make. Want to impress someone? Make these shrimp!! Recipe to come)
Arugula and Prosciutto Flatbread Pizza *not pictured* (super easy dinner for one OR appetizer for many)
Joe’s Diner Mac and Cheese (super creamy and delicious mac and cheese)
Big Soft Pretzels (speak for themselves)
Spinach Artichoke Dip *not pictured* (have easily eaten an entire thing myself)
Butternut Squash Gnocchi *not pictured* (has its own sauce, perf for an easy side dish OR main pasta dish with a protein)
Cauliflower Gnocchi *not pictured*
Hold the Cone Mini Ice Cream Cones (EVERY FLAVOR EVER YOU’LL THANK ME LATER)
Basmati or Jasmine Rice *not pictured* (easy 3 minute microwavable bags that have the best texture and delicious white rice)
Pork Gyoza *not pictured* (best dumplings ever, and I will have 2 bags in my freezer at all times)
Chicken Soup Dumplings (heavenly, delicious pillows of heaven)
Tempura Shrimp (best appetizer and come with the best dipping sauce)
Thai Shrimp Gyoza (review coming soon)
Beef & Broccoli (easy at home takeout dinner)
Mandarin Orange Chicken *not pictured* (most popular TJs item, and rightfully so)
I am sure you think I am crazy for the amount of frozen foods but these will last me the entire month and they are the perfect lazy weeknight solution.
Next up is the refrigerated section...which I could also get lost in for hours and empty my bank account while I’m at it.
Trader Joe’s Half Butter Sticks *not pictured* (I absolutely HATE when a whole stick of butter is hanging out in the fridge absorbing food smells, so these half sticks are the PERFECT solution)
Tangerine Juice (More subtle citrus taste than orange juice)
Chocolate Milk (I make my own cold brew mochas at home *half cold brew half chocolate milk*)
Any TJ prepared greens salad *not pictured* (I’m a sucker for any asian flavors. These are fresh so do not stock up on them, just get as many as you think you will eat within a week)
Any TJs fresh pasta *not pictured* (the ravioli are amazing *lobster, butternut squash, cacio e pepe, and the truffle mushroom ones are my go-tos)
TJs garlic dip *not pictured* (great to dip veggies in as a snack)
TJs 3 Layer Hummus Dip *not pictured* (super yummy dip to use those pita crackers with!)
TJs Triple Cream Brie Cheese (Most delectable cheese ever, and cheaper than grocery stores)
TJs Reggiano Cheese (Go to for pastas or chicken cutlets)
Trader Joe’s has the best array of cheeses and meats for an affordable charcuterie board. I’ve seen so many videos of people who have done a really beautiful and yummy board for under $30 with TJ meats and cheeses. They are all really great quality and who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board?! TJ has all the crucial components for a good board: meat, cheeses, fruit, something crunchy (tons of dried fruits and nuts), jam, and something sweet *chocolatey preferably*.
The last and final section is the liquor section, and honestly….I won’t give you a list on this because it is COMPLETELY a personal preference. I am a red wine girl (unless you put Hampton Water Rose` in front of me) and I love the TJ Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. They have a huge selection of craft beers, white claw (by the can!!), and tons more.
My whopping total came out to $187.98 (cheapest haul I have done yet) and all of this food lasts me over a month. Let me know your favorites at Trader Joe’s and how you like my suggestions! Happy Shopping!!