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Trader Joe's Products (2002–2011)


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#331 KatieLoeb

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 12:46 PM

I just tried one of the vegetable lasagna and really liked it. I'd certainly buy that again.

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#332 markk

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 02:48 PM

I just finished a Shepherd's Pie for lunch, and it definitely has a packaging issue with the gravy boiling over. Maybe it needs to be heated on low for a while and then turned up to high? The "blast on high for 9 minutes" directions seem a little suspect.

Anyway, the pie is definitely somewhat bland. But it's also only 380 calories and 7 grams of fat, so it's on the lighter side, and that explains why the gravy isn't richer and the potatoes are watery instead of creamy. Whether the sacrifice in quality is acceptable obviously depends on what you're looking for.

TJ's frozen stuff varies widely in both quality and healthiness, but I've found several things I keep in the office freezer so I can have lunch for $2.50 instead of $6 to $10 at a nearby deli. For between 300 and 400 calories there's the shepherd's pie, chicken sesame noodle bowl, veggie tamales, corn and black bean enchiladas, a couple different kinds of vegetable lasagna, the aforementioned eggplant parmigiana, and three-cheese cannelloni.

All depends on what you're looking for.

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I was looking for "enjoyable" at the bare minimum, and certainly didn't get that .
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#333 NoNiceTime

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 11:56 AM

I would like to echo the recommendation of the Tuscan Pane bread. My wife and I also like their soups,especially the cream of tomato. I like TJ Turkey Jerkey too. Not too preservatives or nitrates

#334 Tess

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 01:27 PM

I bought some of the Chicken Chile Verde and thought it was OK for the calories and fat. (I go by Weight Watchers points in assessing frozen meals. It does seem like a lot of the TJ products are trying too hard to be healthy and lack a certain seasoning punch, as well.)

I'm a happier with TJ products that are assembled but not quite "meals." A recent standout for me was a frozen vegetable blend called "Greens" or some such. It had edamame and spinach and a couple other vegetables. I sprinkeld it with sesame oil, used it as a bed for some spicy seared tuna. Next time I'll add some cucumber or avocado or something, maybe some pieces of nori or shaved bonito.

I try a lot of the vegetable mixtures and am usually not that disappointed. The Thai green beans were OK. I'll add some tofu or shrimp to something like that for a meal. Like mizducky, I use TJs plain frozen fish sometimes. I miss the dirt-cheap rock shrimp they used to sell-- a casualty of Katrina?

#335 CaliPoutine

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 05:58 PM

I was at TJ's today in Ann Arbor, MI. Didnt buy any frozen foods, but I did hear a customer inquire about his favorite beef stirfry. The cashier told him a lot of the foods are out of stock because TJ's is not carrying any more products from China. I used to get an Asian mushroom blend( frozen) that I really loved.

They discontinued my favorite real blueberry syrup( no HFCS, just maple sryup and blueberry juice). I'm totally bummed about that.

#336 DCP

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 12:51 PM

They discontinued my favorite real blueberry syrup( no HFCS, just maple sryup and blueberry juice). I'm totally bummed about that.

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Shame, that. I just finished the dregs of a bottle a couple days ago and had it on the list for a next visit.

As others have noted, products can be hit-or-miss. When you have a hit, though, it's often cheaper and/or better than what you get at other grocery stores. Their no-questions-asked return policy (didn't like it? No problem.) goes a long way toward helping find the hits.

The Tuscan Pane is also our go-to bread when not baking homemade. Frozen 10-20 count scallops are also shockingly good, and more consistent than the local supermarket. Without a good, accessible fishmonger nearby, we find much of the IQF (individually quick-frozen) fish indispensable.

And I may just be being picky but just cause they slap a Trader Joes label on things doesnt make them better then items in other stores...

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For what it's worth, their standpoint on house-brand items is that they are one of two things: either private-label versions of products they like without the branding and associated markup (in other words, same thing as the grocery store but cheaper) or reformulated versions made without trans fats, artificial colors/flavors, or GMO.
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#337 MomOfLittleFoodies

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 07:55 PM

The Southwestern Chicken Quesadillas and the Lemongrass Chicken Stix are 2 items that I buy almost every time.
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#338 Pierogi

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 01:04 AM

This doesn't qualify as a "meal" per se, although it could. I had them for breakfast each day this week....

Several months ago I got a box of frozen chocolate croissants at TJs. You let them thaw & rise overnight at room temp and bake them off. They were AMAZING. I'm on the hunt for at least another 2-3 boxes when I make the TJ trip this weekend. So so good.

And I second the vote for the frozen veggie mix with the edamame and spinach. It also had green beans in it. It was excellent. As are the flash-frozen fish, they have a good selection of wild caught varieties. And at least in SoCal they have a frozen, breaded orange chicken that, stir-fried and combined with their General Tsang's stir fry sauce makes a good, quick meal with rice.

Try the chocolate croissants. You will NOT be disappointed.
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#339 Liz_W

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 01:31 AM

I'm pretty wary of TJ's prepared food, but have found a few things we keep in the back of the freezer to keep us from ordering in. The cheese and green chile or beef tamales are good, unlike the chicken tamales, and go well with their roasted garlic salsa. Their shu mai, vegetable or shrimp gyoza, and spinach artichoke dip are tasty as well. Oh, and I love their frozen organic sweet corn.

I'm not a fan of the frozen meat and fish, though the fresh meat section isn't bad, and is one of the few places I can find free range / organic meat in my neighborhood. The coffee's good, and they always have fair trade / organic. As for the fresh vegetables, I'd rather buy from the farmer's market. I hate prepackaged veggies and fruit; it always seems like such a waste. Especially when one out of four of each packaged quartet seems to go bad prematurely!

#340 Jean Blanchard

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 06:58 AM

Our TJ's carries Niman Ranch bacon. Really good!

#341 YWalker

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:32 PM

They have several frozen items I like to keep on hand so that my 11 and 15 year old sons can be responsible for fixing dinner from time to time. We all like the barbecue teriyaki chicken and the orange chicken. Usually one of the boys will fix one or the other of those, along with the Asian veggies and some steamed rice once a week. I also like the turkey sausage stromboli --- I keep some in the freezer, either to take to work for lunch, or as a quick grab a meal at home.

#342 dockhl

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 05:51 PM

I just got the White Bean and Basil Hummus. VERY tasty, creamy and had pine nuts and oo on the top. Fewer carbs than garbanzo bean. (6 rather than 11, I think)

#343 chezcherie

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Posted 09 March 2008 - 09:58 AM

on the "what's new" shelf this week--jo-jo's enrobed in dark chocolate. get behind me, satan!
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#344 mukki

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 10:19 AM

I love the peppermint JoJos -- I think I ate a whole box last December.

Other favorites:
Tarte D'Alsace
PB Cups
Beef tamales
Masala "burgers"
Wood-fired oven pizzas from Italy
Organic dairy products
Grass-fed ground beef

#345 JAZ

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 05:39 PM

I'll second Markk's recommendation for Tarte d'Alsace -- it's a thin cracker-bread style crust topped with creme fraiche, caramelized onions, ham and gruyere. I've also tried one of their pizzas -- I can't remember if it was Pizza Margarita or a four-cheese -- which was better than most frozen pizzas.

I like their frozen shrimp and vegetable potstickers, but wasn't too impressed with some chicken empanadas I got. The filling was pretty good, but there was no way I could find to make the crust anything but soggy.

#346 DCP

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 09:25 PM

I'll second Markk's recommendation for Tarte d'Alsace -- it's a thin cracker-bread style crust topped with creme fraiche, caramelized onions, ham and gruyere.

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This is one of our favorites as well. I just made a dinner last week out of one lurking in the back of the freezer - at 600 calories for the whole thing, not terribly unreasonable.

Of course, eating it inspires me to duplicate the effort, particularly tasting the caramelized onions and having a batch of onion confit in the fridge.
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#347 Pierogi

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:56 PM

I'll second Markk's recommendation for Tarte d'Alsace -- it's a thin cracker-bread style crust topped with creme fraiche, caramelized onions, ham and gruyere. I've also tried one of their pizzas -- I can't remember if it was Pizza Margarita or a four-cheese -- which was better than most frozen pizzas.

I like their frozen shrimp and vegetable potstickers, but wasn't too impressed with some chicken empanadas I got. The filling was pretty good, but there was no way I could find to make the crust anything but soggy.

JAZ, ditto and ditto (and Markk too). The Tarte d'Alsace is amazing, and the potstickers and the frozen pizzas are very good. I actually saw the chicken empanadas for the first time last week, and grabbed them for my end-of-the-week-its-Martini-Friday-and-I-ain't-cooking dinner, and thought exactly the same thing. Loved the filling but the crust was like wet cardboard. Had half of the package the day I bought them, and ditched the rest.
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#348 nliedel

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:41 AM

Stopped by there, (Ann Arbor) yesterday. I picked up the chocolate croissants, Tarte d'Alsace, my yummy tamales (chili and cheese) and a couple other things. Not a ton of stuff, oh and flowers. Cheap and gorgeous. We are eating the chocolate croissants right now and my husband loves them. Cripsy layers with a chunck of warm chocolate in the middle. Nicely done. I am pleasently surprised.
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#349 mukki

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 05:58 PM

I forgot one of my favorites: the chocolate croissants. Made by Galaxy Desserts and also sold at Williams Sonoma (for a LOT more $!). You have to thaw & let them rise overnight and then bake them off in the morning. Delicious!

The mini plain croissants are good, too, though I'd prefer full size. And I just saw that they're now carrying pecan sticky buns which I'll have to search for next time I'm in the store (again, sold unbaked & frozen).

#350 viva

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 06:32 PM

There are no Trader Joe's in the state of Texas?!?! The hell. How can I move to such a state?
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#351 Pierogi

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 11:03 PM

I forgot one of my favorites: the chocolate croissants. Made by Galaxy Desserts and also sold at Williams Sonoma (for a LOT more $!). You have to thaw & let them rise overnight and then bake them off in the morning. Delicious!

OMG, yes. Those are like crack !!! I have THREE boxes of them in my freezer right now, since I'm paranoid they'll stop carrying them.
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#352 dockhl

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 11:27 PM

I love the Persian Cukes. $1.99 (or $1.69....I forget) @ TJ's. $3.99 at Albertsons !

#353 mukki

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 09:44 AM

I forgot one of my favorites: the chocolate croissants. Made by Galaxy Desserts and also sold at Williams Sonoma (for a LOT more $!). You have to thaw & let them rise overnight and then bake them off in the morning. Delicious!

OMG, yes. Those are like crack !!! I have THREE boxes of them in my freezer right now, since I'm paranoid they'll stop carrying them.

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I'm paranoid, too, and always buy a few boxes at a time. I fear that one of these days they just won't be there anymore!

#354 cajungirl

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 10:51 AM

Well, I was just heading to TJ's for OJ, eggs and milk... But! I guess my basket will be a lot fuller than that after browsing through this thread...hmmmm chocolate croissants you say? Sounds delightful :wub:
Just a simple southern lady lost out west...

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#355 Boy R D

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 11:45 PM

Has anyone tried their Greek styled yogurt? The brand name is fage. I'm telling you, I think I like the full fat version more than sour cream and it's half the calories.
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#356 gfron1

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 07:10 AM

Its actually called Total Fage and is available at all sorts of stores. My favorite is the whole with honey.

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#357 tsquare

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:41 AM

Has anyone tried their Greek styled yogurt? The brand name is fage. I'm telling you, I think I like the full fat version more than sour cream and it's half the calories.

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TJ's has "greek style" yogurt that has a house label, and Fage that is from Greece. The two are not the same. Guess which one has the buzz?

#358 JAZ

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 09:00 AM

I tried the frozen Italian meatballs, and was favorably impressed -- nice texture and good flavor. They're huge, though. I wish they had a small version.

#359 Reignking

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 10:01 AM

Try the chocolate croissants.  You will NOT be disappointed.

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Due to these recommendations, I did get some, and they were excellent. A must-buy...

#360 tirgoddess

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 02:07 PM

Regarding the meatballs - you should be able to get the party size, they are the same as the larger ones, just smaller. The turkey meatballs aren't bad either. Some of the frozen entrees are Amy's brand (Whole Foods). The frozen Italian (made in Italy) are good with embelishments, like the olive tapenade or drained, rinsed, and chopped artichoke hearts. Whole wheat toaster waffels are good and less expensive (Van's brand). Try the Chimichurri rice - low cal, add more peas and carrots, goes great with pork, chicken, and fish. The vegetable nests, are tempura strips of kale, leek, carrot. Serve with white fish sans the sauce packet. The vegetarian enchiladas pack a lot of flavor, there is some small dice tofu in them but lots of vegetables. Great dish to heat at work as it is low cal/fat as well.

Trader Joe's also has really good curry Naan bread, good with the roasted red pepper spread and goat cheese baked in oven. The brown and black TJ labeled goat cheese is actually Laurel Chenel from Northern California. It is fabulous and inexpensive. The English Cheddar with carmelized onions is good too, at parties, everyone always wants to know what it is.

One decadent thing that they have there is the Mediterranean Cheese Yogury, TJ label. It is great atop the Punjab Chooley or Madras Lentils that come in heat and serve pouches. The heat and serve Indian Food is also good to bring camping, I pour it over a baked potato with the yogurt or cheese.

Also in the grocery isle, black beans for 69 cents a can, and the Cuban style ones are good also, they seem the same as the S&W brand at 1.89 a can in other stores.

The heat and serve carnitas are very good and low cal as well. It is best to heat over a vented pan, most of the fat (there's not much) renders off, shred into warmed salsa verde, serve with side of black beans and cumin and handmade White or whole wheat tortillas.

Our store now has a flax seed cracker - that is wonderful with cheese as it has a great texture and doesn't take away from the cheese. The cereals are basically the same as Kellog's et al but much cheaper.

Plugra and Kerrygold butter is cheaper and in No. Cal a pound of regular butter is 1.69.

I love to hear what folks are buying and liking at Trader Joe's. Please chime inon your olive oil opinions. There quite a variety and I would like to try something new. My store is very close to home and the pricing is very good, espeically for these times.

PS Sorry for misspellings.

Edited by tirgoddess, 06 July 2008 - 02:08 PM.