Best of Trader Joe's – Part I

Trader Joe’s or TJs (as many of us fondly call it), is one of my favorite places to shop in Bay Area, California. I am sure TJs has made it to the hearts of many other people who regularly visit the store for not only day to day grocery items, but also look forward to something new that they introduce in store.

Not only the fresh fruits, veggies or salads section is admirable, even the frozen meals here are very popular. Each product that they have in their store has amazing quality and taste. Although there are some things which do come in not-so-good-in-taste criteria, but that ratio is very, very small compared to the other items which are extremely popular.

I would say if you’ve not yet been to Trader Joe’s, go ahead and give it a try. And if you’ve been there and love their products, you are likely to enjoy this post. Sharing part 1 of the Trader Joe’s series here, these are the current most loved things in our home. Most of the TJs products listed here today are my favorites in terms of their use in baking. Enjoy!

1. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Trader Joe's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Trader Joe’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

The semi-sweet chocolate chips by Trader Joe’s have been the best one I’ve used in my bakes so far. These are a little big in size compared to the chocolate chips by other brands, but the flavor they impart to the bakes, especially chocolate chip cookies, is amazing. You can easily find these chocolate chips in the TJs baking aisle.

TJs chocolate chips contains unsweetened chocolate and cocoa butter, along with vanilla extract and cane sugar. I find the balance of cocoa and cane sugar perfect in these, and the hint of vanilla adds to the chocolate chips flavor. I have used them in a lot of bakes, including, cookies and cupcakes. My daughter loves eating them just out of the packet too. So, go and grab one, you won’t regret.

Some of the bakes using the Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips include:

2. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Trader Joe's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Just like the semi-sweet chocolate chips, the cocoa powder by Trader Joe’s also has a wonderful flavor. This is also available in the baking aisle in the store. Again, I have tried other Cocoa powder brands too, but TJs one imparts a unique flavor to the final dish.

I love the way they have beautifully packaged the product in a brown box, which, by the way, is too easy to open and close. And has enough room on top that you can measure the cocoa powder easily using measuring spoons or cup for a recipe. Trader Joe’s cocoa powder, as their packaging claims, is made using special beans, which are the Tumaco cocoa beans, grown in Columbia. These beans impart the special flavor to the cocoa powder. Whatever it may be, the thing that matters is that the bakes I’ve tried using this cocoa powder have a great taste and I look forward to more and more bakes using this one.

Some of the bakes using the Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder include:

3. Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce

Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic Marinara
Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara

Marinara Sauce, as most of us know, is a tomato based sauce which is usually made with a blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic and some herbs. It is the most versatile sauce I have ever tried, which complements the taste of so many dishes. Be it pizza, pasta, lasagna, quesadillas, this sauce imparts a great flavor to anything it is added to.

Although preparing marinara sauce at home is super easy, but if you are running out of time, the Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce can definitely come in handy. There are different versions of Marinara Sauce available at Trader Joe’s, but the Roasted Garlic Marinara, by Trader Giotto’s is my favorite one. I use this sauce religiously in different dishes, especially pasta, pizza and lasagna, but recently, I have tried making many fusion dishes with the marinara sauce. Trust me, if you have Trader Joe’s Marinara Sauce at hand, serving a meal to the unexpected guests is going to be a cake walk.

Some of the bakes using the Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara include:

4. Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries

Trader Joe's Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries
Trader Joe’s Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries

Dried fruits and nuts are the one thing, which you will find in most of the homes. There are a numerous options in nuts available in the market, and so are the dried fruits. Every other fruit is available in a dried form these days, and these are loved by all, for eating raw or using them in various bakes.

Berries are the favorite fruit for many of us, but being seasonal, these are not available all year around. That’s when their dried forms come in handy. Dried cranberries are available in different brands at various stores. But this one, by Trader Joe’s, which is the orange flavored dried cranberries, are unique. Though cranberries are a little tangy already, but the flavor of orange adds a different kick to them. I have tried cookies and cakes with these, but, I love them the best in breakfast cereals. If you are having overnight oats, the addition of these orange flavored cranberries by Trader Joe’s will add the perfect sweetness (with some zesty flavor). How do you use these dried berries? Let me know in comments.

Some of the bakes using the Trader Joe’s Orange Flavored Dried Cranberries include:

5. Mexican Style Cheese Blend

Trader Joe's Mexican Style Cheese Blend
Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Cheese Blend

Cheese, the name itself is full of oomph, is such a great dairy ingredient, which can make any dish pleasant and flavorful. Try making any pizza, pasta, quesadilla, with just any kind of veggies, meat or beans, you are definitely going to find something missing. Add in a shot of grated cheese, and the dish will have a whole new definition to it.

This blend of cheese by Trader Joe’s, the Mexican blend, is very popular among Trader Joe’s fans. The Mexican blend comprises of four types of cheese, which are Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Asadero Cheese and Queso Blanco cheese. The mexican blend of cheese is a great choice for making tacos, burritos, quesadillas and other mexican dishes, but I love to use it as a topping in Italian dishes, like pasta and pizza, and even some fusion recipes that I try at home. This one is insanely delicious and melt in mouth. Go for it!

Some of the bakes using the Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Cheese Blend include:

Do you have any Trader Joe’s favorites too? Let me know in comments. I would love to know yours. Till then.

Adios Amigos

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