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.

Garlic Naan Pizza

I originally purchased Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan after seeing it posted on Instagram (see that post here). Around that same time, I started seeing garlic naan pizza from a fellow instagrammer who has as much of a love for Trader Joe’s as I do.  That of course imprinted on my brain and I had wanted to try it since.  I finally got around to planning having garlic naan pizza … and having garlic naan pizza I did!
I always fawn over DiGiornio’s garlic bread pizza but now I can have my own version at home which is far less guilty – plus it can be personalized however I want it. Another great part is that my little personal pizza is done in a matter of minutes after a trip into the toaster oven.  So how did I assemble my pizza?
1 frozen garlic naan, 2 tbsp pizza sauce (I used Trader Joe’s), 1/3 oz Kraft fat free mozzarella, 4 slices Hormel turkey pepperoni, and a few sautéed peppers and onions. Delicious, simple and only 5 points plus values!

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants

Whenever I’ve been in Trader Joe’s I’ve noticed one of their decadent desserts in the freezer section, but had always passed it by … until I finally bit the bullet and purchased the Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants. Low and behold I’m not sure why I ever waited so long.
The croissants are sold packaged in a box of 4 and are housed in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s.  They are certainly a dish one must plan to have because the croissants have to be placed onto a baking sheet to proof for 9-hours. I decided to sit them out overnight and I baked them off the following morning. The croissants have to be placed pretty far apart from one another because they do balloon do nearly triple the size when thawed and fully proofed. Since my oven is on steroids my croissants baked up to a fabulous brown color in 13 minutes.
I transferred the cooked croissants to a dish and allowed them to cool. A few hours after they were done I enjoyed one and they’re perfect. They’re flaky, soft, chocolaty and totally delicious. They’re rather decadent and one of the best chocolate croissants I have ever had (I want to be honest and say I do not have a local bakery/restaurant that sells homemade croissants so I’ve always had packaged chocolate croissants). They’re good the following day as well … although they’re at their peak of freshness anywhere from after baking to 4-hours into cooling.  Admittedly, they are that good that I’ve purchased another box to tuck away in the freezer!
Each croissant is 320 calories or 9 points plus values.

Meatball & Pepperoni Pita Pizza

This is a special little treat I had made for myself for nearly half a week. I was in the mood for pizza, but since I was trying to be “good” and not order out pizza I decided to make some healthier pita bread pizzas for myself.  They turned out to be delicious, extremely low in points and nailed the pizza want on the head.
I used 2 Joseph’s Flax Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Pita Breads and between the two bases topped it with ¼ cup canned tomato sauce that I doctored up with a bit of spices (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic, Italian seasoning). I then divided out 1/3 cup of Kraft Fat Free Shredded Mozzarella and topped each pizza. I had some thick cut turkey pepperoni in the fridge so I took 2 slices (0pp) and cut it into quarters and topped each pizza. I then took 1 Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatball and cut it up into pieces and topped my pizzas with it. Since I enjoy my pizza with veggies I cut up some red onion and sprinkled it over the top.
I popped the pizzas in a 350 degree oven for roughly 8-10 minutes and took them out when the bread was crispy. They were perfect, tasty and delicious. Plus they were a guilt-free 5 points plus values! 3 for the pita, 1 for the meatball and 1 for the cheese.
Winner winner, pizza dinner!

Taco Tuesday on a whole new level

Tuesdays are known as “taco Tuesdays” on social media. What does that mean? Well, for starters it means having tacos, in any shape or form, on a Tuesday. I admit I don’t always follow the taco Tuesday form; I merely have tacos whenever I crave them whether it’s a Tuesday, a Thursday or a Saturday.  On this particular day I decided to transform taco junk (see recipe here) into a delicious salad.
What’s pictured is ¾ cup of taco junk, 4 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole (see review hereand 2 tablespoons of Chi-Chi’s medium chunky salsa, alongside a big salad topped with 1 tablespoon Panera fat free poppyseed dressing.
This whole bowl was only 6 points plus and was ultimately delicious.

Trader Joe’s Organic Split Pea Soup


Pea soup is wiggling its way into my favorite soup of all time. Granted, it took me over 27 years to give pea soup a try … but once I got past the “it’s green!” issue I found the soup was absolutely delicious.  So when I spotted the Trader Joe’s Organic Split Pea Soup I decided to pick a can up.
Once in a bowl and heated the soup is on the thinner side of thick. If you’re used to pea soup with ham in it, you’ll notice a definite flavor difference – which is to be expected. But if you can get past that, the soup is truly not that bad. It could be flavored up a bit with a little bit of extra black pepper. I’ll always feel homemade is so much better but this was great to have on hand for a quick and easy meal. The soup is tasty and filling, so definitely a winner in my book. As mentioned on the products label, it is both organic and vegan.
A serving is 1 cup for 100 calories or 2 points plus values. OR you could have the whole can for 200 calories or 4 points plus values.

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole

I’m not sure what’s taken me so long to post about this wonderful find I’ve purchased from time to time at Trader Joe’s. I thought I posted about this dish eons ago, but I didn’t … so here we go!  Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole is one of the most delicious guacamole’s I have had to date. Granted, I’m not the biggest fan of guacamole, but this is just a slam dunk.
The guacamole is creamy, thanks to the Greek yogurt, yet it has subtle chunks of veggies and avocado mixed throughout it. There is a noticeable cilantro flavor in the dish, but it’s not overwhelming on the taste buds. Admittedly, cilantro isn’t one of my favorite flavors, but it’s mild enough that it boosts the flavor and is really refreshing on the palette. Overall, I find the dish balances itself out quite well with all the flavors. I enjoy this with tacos, over chicken burgers or hamburgers, over salad, with nachos, etc. It’s versatile and a huge favorite of mine.
A serving is 2 tablespoons which is 30 calories or 1 points plus. Here’s a little fun fact for you … you can have 4 tablespoons for 60 calories and its still 1 points plus!

Trader Joe’s Trader Ming’s Chinese Style Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)

I was introduced to Chinese style pork buns a few years ago at my local Vietnamese grocery store. The store would bring in some baked goods from the Boston area on Saturday mornings. I haven’t been able to find them as of late, so needless to say when I spotted these Trader Joe’s Trader Ming’s Chinese Style Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao) at Trader Joe’s, I made sure to pick them up.
The buns are what I would call medium sized, in comparison to the big ones I’ve seen sold elsewhere. Heating them up is fairly easy because they come out perfect in the microwave! All that’s required is a dampened paper towel, a microwave safe dish and a 45 second trip in the microwave. The end product comes out perfect – hot, soft and delicious. If you’ve never had Chinese pork style buns the filling is sweet barbecued pork which is cut up into tiny little pieces. The bun itself is a cross between a soft , chewy and slightly spongy texture.
These are definitely one of the best frozen pork buns I have tried.
A serving is 1 bun, which is 160 calories or 4 points plus values.

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Trader Joe’s Trader Giotto’s Penne Arrabbiata

Every time I shop at Trader Joe’s, I notice their frozen Italian meals, but have always decided to pass on them for the time being to try something different. Well, I finally bit the bullet and picked up a bag of Trader Giotto’s Penne Arrabbiata after seeing them purchased in a YouTube video.
I had the bag stashed away in the freezer and one night when I wasn’t really feeling the idea of cooking dinner, I pulled this out and popped it into a pan. Frozen pasta dishes can usually be hit or miss because pastas sometimes don’t fair well after being frozen. But I have to say, this dish was perfect. The pasta came frozen along with quarter size bits of sauce. That definitely was interesting to me because I was anticipating a bag of frozen pasta, along with a bag of frozen sauce. The dish itself came together quickly; the sauce was melted and blended with the pasta in less than 7 minutes.
The pasta is a perfect al dente and the sauce is delicious. It’s a smooth tomato sauce, which has a slight bite of spice to it, which becomes more and more noticeable as you eat it.  It’s definitely not overwhelmingly hot, but it has a nice spice in the background which is a perfect, delicious dish.
The one thing I noticed was that even though the package listed 3 servings, there was a little less than 2 servings in the bag (a little over 1 ¾ cup).
A serving is 1 cup, which is 200 calories or 5 points plus values.

Taco Salad

I find myself on “Taco Tuesday’s” reaching for my salad bowl instead of the taco shells. If I’m in the mood for the crunch, I will incorporate something crunchy (a broken up taco shell or tortilla chips) into my salad. This way I’m one in the crowd and I don’t feel I’m missing out on anything.  Other times I simply skip the tortillas and make a “normal” taco salad.
This is one of those bang for your buck type of meals. It’s filled with greens, lean meat and flavorful components (taco seasoning and salsa). For those folks on Weight Watchers you can see there are many power foods in this dish. It’s satisfying, it’s filling and it’s incredibly low in points.
Pictured, I have tossed salad (romaine, baby tomatoes, cucumber and red onion), 3 oz of lean ground beef cooked with taco seasoning, 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s Queso Dip, 1 oz of Trader Joe’s Organic Tortilla Chips, Chi-Chi’s medium salsa and a few jalapenos to balance it all out.  All of this for 6 points plus values!