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Trader Joe’s Frozen Food Favorites (plus meal plan)

 

I am not big on food prep nor do I really feel like whipping up involved recipes every day of the week.

I think part of the reason I get away with my way of meal preparation is because I rely on a bunch of frozen food favorites from Trader Joe’s to help me get our food on the table without much fuss and as fast as possible.

frozen food favorites from Trader Joe's

There is nothing wrong with meal planning from your freezer so long as you select lots of nutrient-dense frozen foods to stock up on, rather than survive solely on prepackaged processed sodium loaded frozen meals.

While most grocery stores can offer you terrific frozen food options, lately I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s and have come to rely on these frozen food favorites:

Frozen vegetables: Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of frozen vegetables, both seasoned and unseasoned. I tend to go with the unseasoned frozen vegetables so that I can prepare them my own way but have bought a few of their seasoned blends which I have used in various dishes or have mixed with the unseasoned frozen vegetables to extend the flavoring.

My How To Roast Frozen Vegetables post is one of my most popular posts ever – be sure to check it out if you missed it.

Fun fact: Frozen vegetables are nutrient dense, just like fresh! In fact, frozen vegetable may contain even more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants because they are frozen at peak ripeness.

Frozen fruit: Perfect year round to add to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods and snacks. The same theory applies to frozen fruit as the frozen vegetables – lots of nutrients and antioxidants just like the fresh fruits.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal: While I do make my own fresh oatmeal, these frozen blocks of steel-cut oatmeal are perfect for emergency meals when you are short on time, ran out of the oatmeal you prepared ahead of time (it happens to the best of us) and need your steel-cut oatmeal immediately.

Organic Pizza Crust: We are loving this pizza crust and use one every week for pizza night!

Trader Joe's frozen organic whole wheat pizza crust

While Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of frozen pizzas, we prefer the plain crust so that we can add our own toppings while also avoiding the extra ingredients and sodium.

Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers: Dr. Praeger’s veggie burgers are not exclusive to Trader Joe’s but I do find that they are sold at a good price on a regular basis. Trader Joe’s does have other veggie burgers, however, I like Dr. Praeger’s for their minimal list of ingredients. Plus, my son really likes them which is a rarity when it comes to anything with a vegetable involved.

Frozen Fully-Cooked Rice Medleys and/or Quinoa: Total convenience right here! I love these steam pouches which contain no added ingredients or salt.

frozen rice

 

The Sometimes & Extras:

I call these frozen foods the sometimes and extras because Trader Joe’s is either out of these frozen foods, has discontinued them (I am talking about you, onion rings) or they only end up in my shopping cart when my son is with me.

I try to avoid a lot of the frozen food options because even though they may look yummy and you are in Trader Joe’s, that doesn’t mean they are healthy/low in fat/low in sodium/necessary to eat on the regular.

Vegetable Bird’s Nests: My son loves these and since they are made with kale and carrots, I justify them as his vegetables.

Vegetable Birds Nests

I usually serve them with stir frys or when I make him unfried fried rice (need to share that recipe I think).

Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets: Usually a bag in the freezer.

Low Fat Fish Sticks – Not always in the freezer but on occasion.

Wild Shrimp: I do not eat fish on a regular basis but sometimes when Trader Joe’s has the frozen wild shrimp in stock (which isn’t often), I buy it because it’s the best frozen shrimp I have found. Remember, you want wild caught fish, not farm raised!

Missing from the Trader Joe’s frozen section lately:

  • Onion rings
  • Wild Shrimp
  • Whipped cream
  • Greek frozen yogurt
  • Sweet potato tots

weekly meal planning menu

SundayVeggie Fajita Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

MondayBaked Falafel Salad Bowls – Will heat up a frozen pouch of brown rice and add extra vegetables too.

Tuesday – Pizza Night! Using the frozen organic pizza crust and then picking toppings from these 15 fall pizza options.

Wednesday – Veggie Burgers served with Roasted Potato Wedges & Veggies – The plan is Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers, but if I feel like it, I may try following this guide to building the perfect veggie burger

ThursdayStir Fry BowlsMade with another pouch of brown rice, frozen vegetables and the bird’s nests on the side.

Friday -Out

Saturday – Out

In case you missed my Trader Joe’s Favorites For Runners post, click here 🙂

Frozen food favorites from Trader Joe's plus next week's meal plan #traderjoes #mealplan… Click To Tweet

*****

3 frozen foods always in your freezer?

3 things you are doing this weekend?

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  • Gretchen | Gretchruns November 13, 2015, 8:13 am

    Have you ever tried Trader Joe’s pizza dough? It’s SO good and really easy to use! It probably takes longer than the crust to use, but I think it’s so much better! It’s probably also cheaper, so you might want to give it a shot! I always have pierogies, frozen mango and chicken in my freezer!
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 13, 2015, 8:27 am

      I have tried it but we decided we like how this crust comes out better. I still have some of those fresh whole wheat doughs though frozen in my freezer!

  • Katie @ katiesfitscript November 13, 2015, 8:29 am

    Their chicken nuggets are THE BOMB! haha! Also, I don’t know if you’ve tried their guilt free chicken salad, but I really love that too!!! I always have froyo in my freezer… #guilty lol!
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 13, 2015, 8:31 am

      I haven’t tried their chicken salad ( I don’t eat meat/poultry), but I should pick it up for my son – thanks!

  • Michele @ paleorunningmomma November 13, 2015, 8:44 am

    I think I need those frozen gf chicken nuggets for emergencies!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Chewy Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies {Paleo}My Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:49 am

      Definitely check them out, my son likes them. He also likes the applegate gluten -free chicken nuggets and Bell and Evan’s (I used to love these when I still ate chicken).

  • Ellie November 13, 2015, 9:04 am

    The things I usually have in my freezer are bananas, burritos and squash (random, I know). I don’t really eat too many frozen things unless I am on a banana ice cream kick, then I go through bananas like it’s going out of style!
    This weekend I am working at the running store, going to church and maybe getting waffles with a friend for lunch today.
    I wish there was a Trader Joe’s near me, but I have found a lot of great stuff at Aldi’s and the Dollar Store that are cheap supplements to the produce I eat (cookie butter FTW!)
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:48 am

      I made banana ice cream the other day for the first time in a while. So good!

  • Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl November 13, 2015, 10:12 am

    I always keep some frozen wild salmon fillets, veggies, and some Seeds of Change quinoa or brown rice microwavable packets on hand so that when I come home tired I can toss together a ten minute healthy dinner. Frozen works well because it sucks to buy too much fresh food, unexpectedly not eat in, and then have it go to waste – OTOH, it also sucks not to have food in the house when you’re starving! I usually just steam the frozen veggies but I have to check out that post of yours now 🙂
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:48 am

      Definitely try roasting the frozen vegetables, it’s a nice change and really really good!

  • Jamie November 13, 2015, 10:24 am

    3 frozen foods always in your freezer: bananas, acai berries, and cauliflower

    3 things you are doing this weekend: SoulCycle, visiting my best friend in NYC, and watching the Giants (duh) 🙂
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:47 am

      Hope you are having a great weekend! I really need to try SoulCycle already. What am I waiting for?

  • Sarah @pickyrunner November 13, 2015, 10:28 am

    I need to make pizza night a thing. And I need to try TJ’s pizza crust. I mostly just eat frozen green beans, peas, and corn. Oh and ice cream… that counts, right? 😉
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:47 am

      Definitely try the pizza crust, if my son likes it, it has to be good.

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine November 13, 2015, 10:44 am

    I love TJs Mahi burgers and the chicken lime burgers! Those rock!!!
    My freezer is usually just packed with my gluten-free bread, veggies, and all the “extras” from my recipe development 😛 Haha!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:46 am

      My recipes end up in the freezer too lol. There’s only so much we can eat of the stuff before it would all go bad.

  • Anne November 13, 2015, 10:50 am

    I always have TJs frozen vegetables in my freezer. Top 3 are probably brussel sprouts, some plain stir fry mix they always have, and spinach. I usually have frozen edamame as well as bunch of their frozen fruits. I don’t know about your store, but they’ve been missing the frozen cauliflower rice now for months in mine (I live in the DC area). Another good option for frozen plain vegetables (I’m like you; I don’t like anything added so I can do my own thing with them): Bird’s Eye makes some good simple veggie mixes–they have one with broccoli, cauliflower, & carrots, one with water chestnuts, and one with edamame. Usually they’re on special at the local grocery chains here (like 2 for $4 or something).

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:46 am

      I haven’t seen the frozen cauliflower either which is surprising because I think it was pretty popular! We love the bird’s eye mix with the water chestnuts, broccoli, snap peas and carrots! I wish they would put less carrots and more water chestnuts!

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes November 13, 2015, 12:36 pm

    My freezer always has the strangest things it in: celery, carrot, and onion scraps for the next time I make stock (I freeze them to save them), dark chocolate chips, and leftover soups and chilis frozen for easy meals. I used to always have frozen berries on hand also – I should buy some soon now that they’re out of season.
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:45 am

      Every freezer needs some frozen chocolate. I love having a stash. I have some frozen cookies too, you know, just in case we need one.

  • Liz November 13, 2015, 11:11 pm

    i love those steam pouches of brown rice! So perfect for a quick dinner with a stir fry. Trader joes seriously makes some of the best prepared frozen food!
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:44 am

      Those steam bags are seriously awesome, I wouldn’t make my own rice ever again.

  • Sheena @ Paws and Pavement November 14, 2015, 4:14 pm

    I try to always have Trader Joe’s frozen bag of peppers, Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat pizza dough and frozen chicken in my freezer.
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    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2015, 6:44 am

      We like that whole wheat pizza dough too, I have a few in my freezer!

  • Janelle @ Wholly Healthy November 14, 2015, 10:29 pm

    Never would have thought to freeze steel- cut oatmeal. Great idea!
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