Trader Joe’s Favorites … My Recommendations


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I have so many favorites at Trader Joe’s that I discover (and continue to discover) and re-purchase time and time again. I often get asked about products I would recommend to someone who is heading to Trader Joe’s to pick up some healthier-for-you or point friendly options.. Many of these items have been featured on my blog. If there is a related post to an item listed, I will link that to the original posts review.  I will update this list as I find/try additional products that I enjoy.
But without further ado … come do a little shopping with me! Here are some of my Trader Joe’s favs/recommendations:
FRESH:
Fresh fruit (seriously, they have THE best apples, etc)
Produce (I recommend purchasing their produce if you know prices of produce in your local shopping center)
Broccoli Slaw
REFRIGERATED:
PREPARED MEALS:
Traditional meatloaf
FROZEN:
Berry cherry blend
SEASONINGS:
21 season salute
Everyday seasoning
Coconut oil spray
SAUCES:
Low fat marinara
CONDIMENTS:
Pumpkin Butter (SEASONAL – Fall)
Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly
DIPS:
Hummus (Garlic, Chipotle Pepper, Horseradish)
SNACKS:
Cookie butter (original and crunchy)
DESSERTS:

DRY/BOXED:

Trader Joe’s Beer Battered Onion Rings

These Trader Joe’s Beer Battered Onion Rings are frankly the best frozen onion rings I have ever had.  You can say that statement alone saying a lot!

In my opinion, most frozen onion rings are rather, well, disgusting, or if they’re not, they’re truly mediocre. These particular onion rings have stolen the show from the moment I’ve tried them because they are just plain delicious. They’re crunchy, they’re sweet, they’re nicely battered.  They truly remind me of the onion rings I get at my local beach (which are dipped in a pancake batter and fried).  These give me that same flavor without all the added fat and calories.

To make these, I simply pray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray, layer out my onion rings and I spritz the top of them with spray.  As the bag suggests I bake them halfway through, then flip and cook an additional 7-10 minutes.  They come out nice and crispy, the onion inside the ring is plentiful, soft, sweet and not overpowering.  A little sprinkle of salt when they’re done, a little ketchup to dip them in and I’m a happy camper!  They’ve been a continuous staple in my freezer since I first tried them.

A serving is 3 ounces (which usually means 5 rings), which is 140 calories or 4 points plus values.

4 Year Healthiversary

4 years ago today, I decided I had enough. I was tired of hiding myself from the world, tired of punishing myself for being overweight, tired of being embarrassed to go to buy clothing merely because I had outgrown the clothes I had.  I was even more tired of being embarrassed to go out to eat because I’d always have to question if I’d be able to fit into the booth, or if the table could be pushed out so I could fit comfortably, or if people would watch my every move.. I was mortified to hear people whisper about my size or little kids look at me with wide eyes because I was so vastly overweight.
I knew I was overweight, I knew the world knew I as overweight. My family would try to gently approach the subject hoping it might push me in the right direction to put my health on the front burner instead of leaving it on the back one. But until you yourself want to make a change, it won’t happen.
I personally decided that I had to do something about my health and possibly impending health problems, so I found a local Weight Watchers meeting and walked in around 5:10pm on Thursday, February 25, 2010 and signed up. I knew I could lose weight (I was a WW member in the past) and I certainly knew I could try new things … but did I know I would lose 180+ pounds after 4 years? I didn’t. And that certainly amazes me every single day.
I’m proof that if you want something for YOURSELF bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Is my journey done? Am I at my goal weight? No, it’s not and I’m not … but I do know I will get there in time. This isn’t a race, there is no finish line, and there are only milestones and goals to achieve. It certainly isn’t always easy, and there are times that things get real rough … but it is undoubtedly worth it in the end.

Harvestland Chicken Burgers

Harvestland Chicken Burgers are an item I would have probably never stumbled upon if it weren’t for Instagram. My local super Wal-Mart is constantly rearranging their frozen foods section and since then one needs a microscope to find anything that’s not a frozen dinner.  Since I’ve ventured into the frozen chicken/turkey burger realm, I’m always open to trying new burgers.
Harvestland chickens are raised with no antibiotics, have an all vegetarian diet and have no animal by-products. There are no hormones or steroids added and the burgers themselves are made with all natural ingredients.  Each chicken burger patty is ¼ pound. The great part about these burgers is they are uncooked and are seasoned. I like the fact that they are seasoned because chicken tends to be very plain and if it’s not seasoned, I find chicken has a distinct “chicken taste” for the lack of a better description. I did of course add a little burger seasoning to one side before cooking just to add an additional level of seasoning.
There are 6 burgers in each box, which the only downside is they come packaged with 3 burgers in a pouch. I was able to cook my burgers in a hot skillet straight out of the freezer. There was no need to defrost them and they cooked up evenly and perfectly in under 10 minutes. Even cooking them in a frozen state the burgers retained their moisture while cooking and were moist and delicious. I refrigerated the leftover cooked burgers and reheated the following day without the product quality degrading. Overall I was quite pleased with these burgers and will undoubtedly be purchasing them again.
They were perfect served on a light hamburger bun, with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard.  Also thanks to the 22 grams of protein in each burger they are mighty filling. Winner, winner, chicken burger dinner!
Each burger is 150 calories or 3 points plus values.

Edy’s Slow Churned Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Sundae


Sometimes a person is just in the mood for some good hearty ice cream … and in my case, thatt is good hearty ice cream that’s slightly healthier for you.  Since I’ve introduced myself to Edy’s Slow Churned line (or Dreyer’s if that’s the side of the Rocky’s you’re on), I’ve had a pleasant time trying the different flavors that suit my fancy that the brand offers. It just so happened that Edy’s Slow Churned Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Sundae sounded delicious to me, so I picked it up one trip through the grocery store.
What sold me on this ice cream was merely the picture and the description printed on the container. “Chocolate ice cream with brownies, peanut butter ice cream with fudge swirls and chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips.” Chocolate and peanut butter surely can’t be a bad combination.  I mean, Reese’s have been in business how long? Admittedly, chocolate ice cream isn’t my favorite … but if peanut butter is involved in that chocolate ice cream, I’m pretty much sold because the two just pair together perfectly.
The ice cream itself is smooth and creamy. It’s sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. The chocolate ice cream is at the forefront, but the show stealer is undoubtedly the peanut butter ice cream, chocolate chips and brownie bits.  All aspects of the ice cream are noticeable and make for a deliciously tasty dessert/treat. A ½ cup serving is definitely enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and my craving for ice cream.
A serving is ½ cup which is 110 calories or 3 points plus values.

Joseph’s Flax Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I have been a huge fan of Joseph’s bread products for as long as I can remember. Mediterranean food is big in my area and since I’ve grown up eating it, pita bread has been a staple that I reach for. Over the last year, I’ve been trying to eat more wheat based breads (with the exception of hamburger buns and light Italian bread). So when I spotted the Joseph’s Flax Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Pita Bread I decided to pick up a pack.
These particular pita breads are sold in 2 sizes – one is a larger round pita, whereas these are small “personal sized” pita bread. I have tried both varieties and I find I enjoy this particular type a lot more than the larger size. The pita is on the thinner side, but it is filling due to it being made up of oat bran and whole wheat, it also helps that each pita packs a punch with 5 grams of protein. If you’re used to classic white flour based pita breads, you’d undoubtedly notice a difference in taste … but once you are used to the wheat bread taste, it’s delicious. The one thing I love about these breads is they are so universal. They’re the perfect size to stuff a hamburger into, deli meat, tuna salad and they’re great for a personal sized salad pocket. They’re also standalone delicious for a personal sized pita bread pizza.
A serving is 1 pita which is 50 calories or 1 points plus value or you can have 2 pita breads for 100 calories or 2 points plus values.

Weight Watchers Ginger-Lime Bundt Cake

When I had picked up the new Weight Watchers Good Deal cookbook at my local Weight Watchers meeting, I had marked off a number of recipes that I wanted to try. One of the desserts I marked off to make was the Ginger-Lime Bundt Cake.  Since I had made another recipe which used lime and ginger, I had those two main ingredients on hand … so as a stress reliever one night I decided to bake and whip up a delicious specialty.
Prepping the cake took truly not much time at all.  I followed all directions as listed and baked my cake for the full 45 minutes. I was left with delicious perfection. My end result didn’t quite resemble the photograph in the book (the top of my cake puffed out and cracked a bit) instead of it being flat on top.
After my cake cooled, I drizzled the glaze over it and within 5 minutes it had set. The cake was definitely far moister the same day it was baked, whereas it was good, but a little drier the days following. Taste wise the cake is pretty delicious – it’s got a citrusy vanilla flavor to it and the ginger plays off perfectly with the other flavors without being overwhelming. I do have to say, when I saw the serving size I felt I would be a little jipped … but the cake is undoubtedly a dense, filling cake. It’s very reminiscent of a pound cake.
The cake itself serves 20 people and each slice is 181 calories or 5 points plus values. Well worth it, in my opinion!

Chicken Taco (Crock Pot)


A couple weeks ago I popped into Subway for lunch and noticed they had a new sandwich on the menu – a Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt. I ordered my typical black forest ham sandwich, but my mother ordered the Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt. Upon sitting down to eat out lunch she gave me a small piece to try … and I my taste buds were thoroughly amazed. So amazed that I wanted to try to recreate the dish at home in a way that was “point friendly” for me.
I knew going into it that it wouldn’t be exact … but if I could come close, it’d be a success.  And I have to say, it was pretty darn successful! I used taco seasoning and ranch seasoning over fajita seasoning. The meat mixture was flavorful and was perfect in a sandwich while the next day it was perfect over salad.
The closest I could come to Subway’s flat bread was to use Flatout Foldit’s. My local grocery store only had Flatout’s everything flavor in stock, so that’s what I used.  I picked up a bag of Frito’s and added just a few to my sandwich.  Whereas in classic Subway fashion, I chose to use my own toppings: pepper jack cheese lettuce and tomato.
Serves 8. 4 Points Plus Values. 2/3 cup serving.
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds raw boneless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 1 medium uncooked onion, sliced
  • 1 medium (or 2 small) uncooked bell peppers, sliced
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
  • 1 cup Chi Chi’s Salsa, medium
Add onions and peppers to the bottom of a crock pot. Place the chicken breast over the vegetables. Sprinkle with steak seasoning, garlic powder, taco seasoning and ranch dressing seasoning. Top with salsa – cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours.
After about an hour of cooking stir together all ingredients and allow cooking down together.
When the dish is done, turn off the crock pot and remove the chicken from the pot. Place chicken on a plate and shred with two forks. Return shredded chicken to the crock pot and stir to combine with the vegetables and sauce.
Allow to cool for roughly 20 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken a tad before serving.

Weight Watchers Smart Ones Fire Roasted Vegetable Soup

I’m typically not a person who reaches for soup on a cold day, but lately my taste buds have been gravitating towards soups/stews.  So while the weather has been less than stellar in my area, I decided to try out one of the frozen Smart Ones soups I had tucked away in my freezer.
I have tried vegetable soups in the past, and for the most part they’re not usually my “forte” because of the tomato base. So that thought in the back of my mind was the main reason I held off on giving this soup a try sooner. I heated the soup in the microwave per the directions and enjoyed this along with my dinner.
I have to say … the soup is pretty darn good! Although with the name “fire roasted vegetables” I assumed that simply meant vegetables that have been charred over an open flame. Well … that’s the case in one aspect, but “fire” in this instance also means this soup is spicy! I certainly wasn’t expecting the heat but it ultimately made the soup that much more delicious. It certainly wasn’t that plain ole tomato base that I’m not a big fan of.
Each bowl is 60 calories or 1 points plus value.

Chobani Flip Key Lime Crumble


When Chobani Flips started popping up on my local grocery store shelves, I in turn started seeing them posted all over social media outlets. I admit, I was intrigued by some of the flavor options but in a way, talked myself out of purchasing right away because in the past I have found Chobani Greek yogurts to be a lot sourer than my taste buds enjoy. I admit, I had found a few flavored Chobani yogurts that I enjoyed, but overtime even those began to make my face pucker.
Just recently while at the store, I spotted the Chobani Flip Key Lime Crumble which is the flavor I initially wanted to try first but couldn’t find. This particular flip is a delicious blend of key lime low-fat yogurt which comes with a side of graham crackers and white chocolate bits. The yogurt itself is mildly sour on its own, but once the graham crackers and white chocolate bits are folded into the yogurt it becomes a deliciously yummy experience. All the flavors blend together perfectly and make for a scrumptious breakfast, snack, or even a dessert.  Way to go, Chobani!
A container is 180 calories or 5 points plus values.