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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Trader Joe’s items that make your life more convenient

Whether you recently started living in your own apartment or are looking for quick meals on the go, this guide has you covered
Cheese and Tomato Pizza. Photo by Layla Ward.

After freshman year, the idea of moving into an apartment seemed like such a luxury. Much more space, my own room and not having to eat in the dining hall. I was beyond excited to be able to make my own food and eat what I truly wanted. I could make the meals I wanted without having to wait in lines at the dining hall, and would not have to choose from a limited variety. But also, because it meant I could choose my ingredients and alter the food I was making as I desired.

With this being said, I am not the best cook and do not always have the time to make gourmet meals after classes once I get home. Because of this, I have turned to other options to help me get through the week. As an avid Trader Joe’s shopper, I have created a grouping of convenient, but also very good, meals and snacks I now live by.

Starting with breakfast, we all know it can be hard to find something that is good on the way to class. I often am in such a rush to class that I forgo breakfast. But this has been solved due to some Trader Joe’s options that do not leave me having to do a whole lot of work in the mornings.


Whether it is a weekend or a weekday, I find most mornings I am looking for something quick and easy. For this reason, I recommend the Trader Joe’s overnight oats. They are easy, come in many different flavors and will leave you full for the duration of class.

If it happens to be a special occasion or a weekend, the chocolate croissants are perfect. They taste super good, are very easy to make and leave wherever you are smelling heavenly. The only thing to take into consideration before buying them is you have to leave them out the night before you plan on baking them. Do not make the same mistake as me and forget this, you will be disappointed in the morning when you can no longer make them.

Chocolate Croissants. Photo by Layla Ward.

Breakfast is not the only meal I find myself rushed to make. I tend to also be in a time crunch when I am making my lunch in between classes. For this reason, I have found a couple of pre-made Trader Joe’s lunches I rely on during the week.

One of my personal favorites can be found with the sandwiches and wraps. It is one of my favorites of their pre-made salads, the Green Goddess Salad. I like to keep a couple of these in my fridge during the week, making for a quick and tasty lunch. If you do have the time, I find making a salad is a better option, and I like to use some of their pre-cooked chicken that you just have to heat up. This way it is easy to make a quick salad and add chicken for protein and to help make the salad more filling. This chicken can also be found in the same section as the salads and wraps.

As for dinner, this is the one meal I have more time for. I find myself looking forward to cooking dinner just because I have the freedom of time to make something a bit more complicated than breakfast and lunch.

My favorite meal I make for dinner is a salmon poke bowl. This is using fresh salmon from Trader Joe’s, rice, cucumber, frozen edamame and their salmon rub. Simply cook the salmon with the Trader Joe’s Salmon Rub Seasoning Blend and put it over a bowl of rice with cucumber and edamame or any other topping of your choice.

If you do happen to find yourself in a crunch for time, it is no surprise Trader Joe’s has quite a variety of frozen meals to choose from. One of my personal favorites is the Cheese Filled Fiocchetti with Pink Sauce. It is easy to make and one of the best frozen pastas I have ever had. Another classic frozen pasta is the Cacio e Pepe, which is very good especially if some chicken is grilled and added in.

Another personal favorite of mine is the beef and broccoli prepared with some rice. It has great flavor and is one of my staples when it comes to frozen foods. Finally, and perhaps my favorite thing to have, is their cheese and tomato pizza. It is a very simple pizza, but, if doctored up properly, can be very good. Personally, I like adding basil, mozzarella and tomatoes after cooking it and drizzling their balsamic glaze over top. It is very easy to make and is made much better by adding a couple of extra ingredients over top.

If you do have the time to prepare a pizza and would rather have homemade pizza rather than frozen pizza, Trader Joe’s also has the ingredients to make a great flatbread pizza. The first ingredient you will need is Trader Joe’s flatbread. Then you can add some of their pre-made sauces found in the pasta section. From there you can add the cheese of your choice. I like adding their mozzarella. Then any other toppings and needless to say they have plenty. Some of my personal favorites are the prosciutto, arugula and their balsamic glaze and/or their hot honey. It does taste much better than a frozen pizza and allows for one to personalize the pizza with toppings of their choice.

The final thing Trader Joe’s always knows how to do right is dessert. I find the frozen bananas dipped in dark chocolate are a game changer. They can be found in the frozen section along with a plethora of other desserts.

Dark Chocolate Bananas. Photo by Layla Ward.

Not only this, but they have a great assortment of cookies, both seasonal and not. Some of the best cookies that can be found year-round are the dunkers, perfect with a glass of milk, and almond chocolate chunk cookies. Some of the best seasonal ones are the toffee covered in chocolate dipped in nuts that arrive during Christmas and the maple leaf cookies found in fall.

A recent addition I recently discovered that is becoming essential for me when I go to Trader Joe’s are the Brookie Caramel Candy Clusters. They are the perfect after-dinner treat and are a crowd favorite with everyone who has tried them.

Transitioning from dorm life to apartment living has opened up a world of culinary possibilities for me. This has been made much easier in large part due to the convenience offered by Trader Joe’s. Their quick breakfast options like overnight oats and chocolate croissants and satisfying lunches with pre-made salads and wraps have made Trader Joe’s my go-to for grocery shopping.

Even for dinners when I have a bit more time, Trader Joe’s offers a variety of fresh ingredients and frozen options that make cooking a bit more enjoyable. Trader Joe’s also never disappoints with their tempting selection of desserts, from classic cookies to their frozen treats. Overall, Trader Joe’s has truly become an indispensable part of my daily life, making balancing school and cooking much more effortless.

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