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 🙂

[bctt tweet=”Frozen food favorites from Trader Joe’s plus next week’s meal plan #traderjoes #mealplan #frozenfoods #fitlfuential”]


3 frozen foods always in your freezer?

3 things you are doing this weekend?

Panera Bread Coffee and My New Favorite Fall Recipe

Question for you: When you are given access to the self-service coffee station at a restaurant such as Panera Bread, is there a limit to how often you can refill your cup even if it is assumed the refills are free?

And, is it wrong to refill your cup one more time to take with you only to be enjoyed the next day heated up in the comfort of your own kitchen?

I only ask because this is my method. Easily 3 days a week.

I find that working from Panera Bread can be quite lovely. I stay focused on my tasks while drinking (and refilling more times than I care to admit) delicious coffee.

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I was even treated to passed appetizers yesterday. Well, not exactly, they were just passing around samples of some type of spinach quiche. Don’t mind if I do…

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But, um, where is the spinach?

Anyway, I situate myself at Panera Bread because I find that working only from my house leads me to distraction. I end up doing laundry, cleaning a closet or cooking. Or baking.

Or all of the above.

I came across this recipe for the Harvest Roasted Veggie Curried Avocado Coconut Rice Bowls the other day while reading the blog, Iowa Girl Eats. If you don’t already read her blog, you must. Great recipes. Great blog.


She shared the link to the recipe which is actually from the blog, Half Baked Harvest  and I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

Any recipe that involves butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts roasted and mixed with coconut rice topped with nuts, cranberries, avocado and cheese? How could I not make it immediately?

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When you read the recipe, it will look like there are a ton of steps and ingredients. It appears that way, but in reality, it’s not all that difficult. Roast your veggies.

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Add in your cranberries and nuts (I went with walnuts instead of pecans).


Cook your rice. I took a short cut here by heating up a steam bag of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and then added it into a pot of the coconut milk/coconut water.

I never cook with coconut but let me just say, it is my new favorite comfort flavor and craving making me super excited to try out some of the other recipes my fellow bloggers have posted using coconut milk.

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I mashed up with the avocado with the ingredients listed in the recipe but in all honesty, I think plain avocado would have complimented the dish just as well.

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Assemble your bowl with all the fixins – topped off with goat cheese.


I did a good job, right?

When I say this is my new favorite comfort fall meal, I mean it. I could eat this bowl every single night for dinner.

I think it would work with or without the cheese (I actually left it off of my plate last night), with or without the avocado (even though I LOVE  avocado)….The flavors from the roasted vegetables combined with the creamy coconut rice mixed with cranberries and nuts is enough to put a smile on my face.

I would consider next time adding a can of organic chick peas and/or possibly throwing some quinoa into the rice or doing all quinoa.

So many possibilities I tell you…

Here is the link again to the recipe. I would repost it fully but since I really did follow it, it is worth just clicking over to view the post.

While I had the oven on, I decided to go all out and make my famous fudgy brownies.


You know you want one.

I actually halved the recipe since I didn’t need a full tray of brownies and it worked out perfectly.

I don’t know about you but I always get nervous when halving or doubling a baking recipe; I have found that when I double cookie recipes, they never come out the same to me.

Based upon the activity that took place in my kitchen, I turned a random Tuesday night into something special, yes?

Even if the Islanders did lose to the Rangers.

I am off now to get some work done. I swear there are not enough hours in the day lately!


Do you cook with coconut milk?

Favorite fall vegetable?

Do you have trouble doubling/halving recipes?




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