Food

Trader Joe’s Breakfast Hack

Trader Joe's Breakfast Recipe Hack

Earlier this winter, I went upstate with a group of female friends. For breakfast, our pal Erin Jang busted out the most delicious egg scramble with only a handful of Trader Joe’s ingredients. So, to kick off a month of Trader Joe’s meal hacks, she’s sharing her “recipe” with hash browns and pancetta…

Trader Joe's Breakfast Recipe Hack

Recipe: Breakfast Egg Hash

You’ll need:

TJ Frozen Shredded Hash Browns
Cooking oil
TJ Citterio cubed pancetta
Six eggs
TJ shredded Mexican cheese
TJ pico de gallo salsa (mild)
Avocado, sliced
Scallions
Salt and pepper

Fry a bag of frozen hash browns in a pan with cooking oil. Cook until brown and crispy. Layer on the bottom of a big dish.

Cook cubed pancetta in a hot pan. Remove crispy pancetta (reserve the oil from cooked pancetta) and put on a plate with a paper towel to absorb extra grease.

In the pancetta oil, cook eggs. Scramble lightly and season with salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat when the eggs are almost done, and sprinkle a layer of grated cheese on the eggs. Cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

Use a spatula to layer the cheesy eggs onto the hash browns. Sprinkle crispy pancetta on top.

Layer with big spoonfuls of pico de gallo (minus the liquid so the dish doesn’t get watery), avocado and thinly sliced scallions on top.

Trader Joe's Breakfast Recipe Hack

Thanks so much, Erin!

So easy, right? What Trader Joe’s hacks do you have?

P.S. More Trader Joe’s meal hacks, and the best snacks at Trader Joe’s.

(Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Ha I love how much this hack has blown up. I just saw it referenced in my daily newsletter from The Kitchn

  2. We do a version of this for camping wrapped in the TJ’s ‘Tortillas del Comal’ and tinfoil. We grill them on the camp stove or over the fire in the morning.

  3. Cass says...

    Made this today go breakfast with Aviko hash browns (for those in NL and possibly elsewhere). Forgot to get salsa so just finely chopped cherry tomatoes. Was delicious!

    • Sue says...

      Yaaaas, fellow Dutchy, goeie tip!

  4. H says...

    We do a version of this for camping wrapped in the TJ’s ‘Tortillas del Comal’ and tinfoil. We grill them on the camp stove or over the fire in the morning. Instead of pancetta I use ground turkey sausage with italian seasoning, carmelized onions instead of scallions and habanero hot sauce instead of salsa, no avocado. I defrost the hashbrowns but otherwise don’t cook them and I spray the tinfoil with a little canola oil spray.

  5. Bri D says...

    Looks AMAZING! Gonna have to try this!

  6. ok WOW that looks AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!! I dont have a Trader Joes (so sad) but I def want to try and recreate this dish. mmmm.

    XO, Katie

  7. Lenae C says...

    Ha I love how much this hack has blown up. I just saw it referenced in my daily newsletter from The Kitchn.

    I also picked up the ingredients for this recipe from TJ’s on my way to the mountains this weekend, where we were staying at my cousin’s cabin. I made everyone breakfast one morning, and it was a hit!

  8. Swapping seasoned sausage, chorizo or crumbled bacon in for the pancetta is delicious and a little more accessible.

  9. Yumi says...

    One of my all time faves – Their prepared steamed lentils mixed together with Bruschetta – equal portions. You can top crackers, salmon, chicken, dip it with chips. So good!!

  10. My Trader Joe hack is pretty simple. I take a packet of that frozen organic rice (3 packets in the box), and put it in a pan. Then I open a can of the TJ’s black beans can, rinse them out then put them in the same pan as the rice. I add a bit of olive oil, coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and some salt. I add garlic powder if I have it. And I either make it for my lunch or put it in my kid’s thermos for school lunch :)

  11. Holy cow, this looks SO YUMMY! I love how you can snag all of the ingredients at TG’s but also there’s a bunch of variety in here too. YUM!

  12. kimberly says...

    i love your TJ tips! i’ve been enjoying trader joe’s vegan kale, cashew and basil pesto atop their frozen cauliflower pizza crust. finish with lots of arugula tossed in meyer lemon (both also available at TJ) and sprinkle with salt (preferably maldon). fresh and tasty.

    • Factory girl says...

      This sounds amazing.

  13. Angela says...

    Love TJ’s. Just a reminder that anyone watching blood pressure, that ‘no preservatives’ (all of Trader Joe’s) typically means high sodium. Be sure to mix fresh produce with your prepared foods.

  14. Carrie says...

    I make a version of simple bulgogi with TJ! (not the pre-marinated kind that they sell, which I don’t love)

    Shaved steak (in the meat aisle)
    1 jar of the Korean BBQ sauce (in the grocery aisle)
    a handful of shredded carrots
    (and if I feel like it, a big handful of the shredded cabbage)

    I just marinate the steak in the sauce for 30 mins, and then just toss everything together in a pan, and top it off w/ some sesame oil (TJ obviously). And if my kids were eating seaweed snack that day, I just grab a few and crumble it on top on the serving plate…and just serve it w/ white rice.

    (BTW, can we do an Instant Pot series too after this one?)

    • Min says...

      Love the IP idea!

    • Shira says...

      Yes, I’d love some Instant Pot inspiration! I bought one for Hanukkah, and it’s still sitting in the box. I’m a little intimidated!

  15. Just in from Paris after 5 years deprivation of TJs! Reading this at 4am Why are they not open 24 hrs? This is new York not Paris.
    Thanks for all the TJ tips. I will read all before foraging tomorrow. Cant wait!

  16. LOVE this hack! TJ’s is the best for quick kids dinners! I have a quick spaghetti sauce recipe using a few ingredients from TJ’s that I make once a week every week. ;)

    • moreteaplease says...

      Please do share your TJ’s spaghetti sauce recipe!

  17. Sarah says...

    This barely counts as a hack, but it’s so good — Trader Joe’s chocolate coconut milk ice cream with sea salt. On it’s own, the ice cream is pretty good. But with a good sprinkle of Maldon salt? It’s next level. It’s so creamy and chocolately, and the sea salt tempers the sweetness perfectly.

  18. Maria says...

    Copenhagen calling. I notice from the picture that TJ actually has the weight of the products in grams on their packaging – great service. It would be so helpful for us European readers if you mentioned that in the hacks as well, so we have a chance to find similar products and try the recipes.

  19. Sara says...

    One of my favorite Trader Joe’s products is their frozen Chicken Chili Lime burgers. I cook them on the stove in some olive oil, and then top with sliced avocado, spicy Chipotle sauce (or Sriracha) and a slice of cheese or sour cream. DELICIOUS! Recently I had some tortillas in the fridge so I threw it all in there for a twist on a burrito, or I’ve served them on buns. They’re awesome!

    • Hilary says...

      We do something similar, but with the Quinoa Veggie ‘Cowboy’ burgers – one morning, my husband randomly added these as the ‘filling’ to a breakfast burrito (cook burger slightly then chop and add 1-2 eggs to pan). It was AMAZING. We now eat them as the filler for our taco nights (with
      regular taco toppings), and it’s a great veggie option to add to the rotation. I felt compelled to share in the spirit of TJ hacks, even though it feels like I’m letting out our little secret :). They are great with TJ’s flour tortillas (also the best).

  20. Sue says...

    So making this for dinner tonight served with Whole Foods sliced peasant bread toasted with my MILs home made raspberry jam!

  21. Emma says...

    Love TJs and their frozen pepperoni pizzas! Two nights ago, I whipped one out, topped it with some mushrooms and jalepeno, cracked an egg in the center and popped it in the oven for 15 minutes at 425! A little shaved parm on top and you basically have a restaurant pizza in the comfort of your own home!

    • Emma — that sounds AMAZING. Did you pre-saute the mushrooms and jalapeno before putting it onto the frozen pizza?

      I might have to try this this weekend. :)

    • Min says...

      Great idea! Thank you Emma.

  22. Angel says...

    I make something similar. I put TJ’s frozen roasted potatoes with peppers and onions, TJ’s frozen chopped 3 color peppers, and TJ’s frozen diced kabocha squash (seasonal only) in a frying pan and cook all together until finished. Then I scoot them to the side of the pan and scramble some egg (or fry it) in the same pan and pour it all out into a bowl.

  23. Rachel says...

    This sounds so delicious! I recently started mixing a spoonful of cowboy caviar salsa and some shredded cheese to my scrambled eggs when they’re just done cooking – it’s so good!

  24. Kate says...

    Everytime there is a Trader Joe’s post I get so envious that we don’t have this store in Australia!

    • Cass says...

      I’m with you from the UK/ Netherlands. My heart sinks when I see these posts!

  25. Laurie says...

    You just said you’re doing a month of Trader Joe’s hacks… and now I’m going to bed with a smile on my face :)

  26. Briana says...

    I discovered frozen hash browns this past weekend and feel like life just got a little bit better.

  27. I love your Trader Joe’s hacks. More posts like this please! :)

  28. Anna says...

    How many does this feed?? :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hmmm, we had it with fruit salad and toast, etc. but i would estimate 4 people if you’re eating just this?

  29. Tip for making vegetarian – TJ’s has a super tasty soy chorizo that could definitely take the place of pancetta if you also substituted some oil in!

    • Helga Thomsen says...

      Thanks!

  30. Lori says...

    This is PERFECT timing. I’m headed to the Smoky Mountains to hike with my daughter and four of her friends for spring break, and was just sitting here thinking about stuff to feed them. Yay!

  31. Sharon says...

    Now THIS is my kind of cooking!

  32. Emma says...

    TJs hack: open unexpected cheddar. finish in one sitting. tell no one

    • Kat says...

      Hahahahaha THIS

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahaha

    • Brooke says...

      Oh my word, thank you Emma for this belly laugh (And knowing who we really are when alone ?)

    • Maiz says...

      HAHAHAHAHA!!! (pairs nicely with any wine.)

    • Katherine says...

      YES. I got me some of this based on a previous CoJ recommendation (either direct from y’all or from the brilliant comments, I don’t remember) but I don’t know how I’ve lived my life so long without it.

    • Sylvie says...

      <3

    • Spatula says...

      100%

  33. Michele says...

    I love that you can always strike up a conversation with other shoppers there as everyone likes to give reviews of the items they have tried. Lately, I have been loving the sliced Tuscan bread with Brie and Apricot preserves made as a grilled cheese sandwich. A sweet and savory treat!

    • Oh meh gggaawwwwwdd *drool*

  34. Cindy says...

    I’ve been using the same ingredients, minus the avocado & salsa, but adding spinach & onion to make a “quiche” .

  35. Emily says...

    Joanna, I love so many of the recipes you share but these Trader Joes hacks will be right up my alley!!

  36. A says...

    I have never commented before, but I just have to share an experience I had at Trader Joe’s. I was shopping with my little boy who had not yet spoken a word. Developmentally, he was behind in speech and I was anxious about it. We entered the produce section and then, from his seat in the shopping cart, he pointed to the bananas and said “Bana!” I had been waiting for him to speak for so long and could not believe my ears. Had he actually just said a word?! I gasped and turned to the other people in the aisle and asked if they heard it too. All of these kind people excitedly said, “Yes! We heard it! Your son said ‘banana!’” I had so much pent up worry for my son and felt overcome by this moment and his first word. Suddenly a Trader Joe’s employee appeared with flowers and gave them to me, saying, “These are banana flowers. Congratulations on the first word.” I will never forget that moment of kindness. Best grocery store ever.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      A, this is one of the sweetest things!!!

    • Kelly R says...

      Tears in my eyes.. that is so sweet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i’m tearing up!

    • Kelly says...

      This is the best story ever. Totally made my day!

    • Lori says...

      Love

    • Katie says...

      This made me tear up too. What a lovely story. I had a similar positive experience at my Trader Joe’s. I was having a really hard week and at the checkout the cashier asked me how my day was and I said “fine, thank you, “ but started crying as I said it and she just walked away and came back with a beautiful bouquet and said, “I hope you feel better soon.” It was so kind and really brightened my spirits and reminded me of the power of being seen .

    • Emily Jasnowski says...

      This also made me tear up! Celebrate all the little moments!

    • Emme says...

      As a pediatric speech therapist I LOVE this story. So so sweet.

    • Janis keppler says...

      Aww. I love my store too! I don’t know where they find these kids, but they are the best of the best!

    • A Martin says...

      So sweet!! Tears!

    • Laura C. says...

      Wonderful story, I wish we had TJ here, or people whit that kind of spirits.

    • Bets says...

      Crying. So happy for you and proud of your babe :)

    • Leia says...

      I’m tearing up! That is so awesome! What a sweet and thoughtful gesture from the employee. Ok, now I need a Kleenex!

    • anna says...

      This is seriously the best story ever. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Megan says...

      The absolute best story ever. <3 <3 <3

    • Cara says...

      I love this so much. My son barely spoke until he was three, and my gosh, the worry. This makes me want to pick up some banana flowers for the weekend.

    • Kate says...

      Awww!! Trader Joes did a similar thing for us! I was newly pregnant with horrible morning sickness, and my husband was in Trader Joes trying to find something (anything!) that didn’t make me puke. I wanted a cereal bar, but one that didn’t SMELL like cereal. (Pregnancy weirdness FTW!) The Trader Joes employees not only opened boxes of cereal bars so he could smell them, they gave him a giant bunch of “Future Dad” flowers, to congratulate him on being a dad in the near future. :) They have earned my business for life!

    • Mary says...

      I love this story! After I had my second baby, a little girl. I brought her there to do some shopping after her pediatrician appointment when she was about 2 months old. And the cashier gave me some ‘Congratulations Flowers’. They also are always so patient when my 3 year old would slowly hand them groceries while naming each and every one of them. It’s just such a great experience at Trader Joes! :)

    • Teresa says...

      As a crew member at my local Trader Joe’s, this makes me so happy and proud. It’s moments like this that made me want to be part of the TJ’s family in the first place!

  37. Janine says...

    I’m also so psyched for this month of posts!

  38. Kaitlin says...

    Much as I love cooking from scratch, being pregnant has severely limited my outward energy (I have the same amount of energy, just directed towards building a human!) So, thank you for this series!

    That said, I live in Canada, land of Loblaws (which actually has a great private label like TJ’s!). Could I kindly ask, on behalf of every CoJ reader who doesn’t have access to TJ’s that you include weights of the pre-packaged ingredients? I get that these are fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants sorts of recipes, which is why I love them. But I want to make sure that when you say “TJ Frozen Shredded Hash Browns”, I understand that you mean a 20 oz bag and not, say, a massive 40 oz bag!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, good idea! we will try to add!

    • Amy says...

      Yes – another Canadian here who would find weights super helpful! I’m using to translating ounces to the ever-efficient metric system anyway ;) And the Loblaws label (PC brand) is also be great – we love the Montreal-style steak spice bacon and maple marshmallows!

    • Amanda G says...

      Amy – maple marshmallows sound delicious!

    • Lilu says...

      Or a shout out for us Europeans!! We don’t have TJ’s and I get so sad and envous when I see such posts!

  39. I’m an Aldi’s person (shopping at Aldi’s fills me with the same glee as finding a designer top at Salvation Army– hidden treasure of savings), but some weeks when I’m in a funny mood or feeling the itch for something different I’ll venture into a TJ’s. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Laura says...

      Fun fact: Trader Joe’s is actually Aldi (Aldi Nord) and U.S. “ALDI” is Aldi Süd..! :D

  40. Jen says...

    We moved to London about 8 months ago and the thing I miss most (besides, you know, family and friends), is Trader Joe’s. We used to have two within 1.5 miles and it is just the most delightful (and delicious!) place to grocery shop. And, oh, the assortment of toddler-friendly snacks! Alright, I’m off to cry while dreaming of dark chocolate sea salt almonds and unexpected cheddar and pita bite crackers and bruschetta and their mcdonald’s-style hash browns! I could go on and on…

    • Jill says...

      Please share your toddler friendly snack ideas!

    • S says...

      Ah! When we lived in London for three years I missed Trader Joe’s so much…and now back in Seattle I miss all the amazing food in London so much. Hopefully you have friends that can bring you things…like, say 6 bottles of black bean dip ?

  41. ARC says...

    TJs Pancetta is the best. You can use it for sooooo many things. My kids love it pan-fried with orecchiette pasta and broccoli. So tasty. Looking forwards to TJ meal suggestions.

  42. I’m currently living in Ecuador with my three daughters (ages 8, 7 and 1) and my husband for 3 months. One of the things I miss most about the USA is cooking the way I’m used to. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the food here (the fruit is so fresh and the avocados are amazing!) but preparing food at home is a lot more work. For example, I’m making my second pot of chicken stock from chicken feet because ready-made stock or broth is just not available here. It’s the little things.

  43. Love the easy meal ideas but… why the Trader Joe’s affiliation? You can buy this stuff at any grocery store!

    • Andrea says...

      A lot of the TJ stuff doesn’t have an equivalent in a regular store. It
      is quirkier or slightly higher end, in my experience. This mainly applies to the more prepared stuff that people combine. The main recipe above could be cobbled together from a regular store.

  44. Judy says...

    I love Trader Joes! Whenever I check out at Trader Joes, I ask the cashier what their favorite TJ’s food is. I have gotten some really great recommendations from the employees over the years (plus it’s a fun conversation starter). Thank you for this post.

  45. A Martin says...

    We recently moved to Davis, CA and the cashier told me that most TJ’s have a store mascot and a stuffed mascot (in Davis it is a yellow duck but each store has its own) is hidden in the store. If your little finds it, they get stickers or candy. I have been shopping at TJ’s since college and my mind was blown. My 2 kids are always excited to look for the mascot. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.buzzfeed.com/amphtml/samstryker/trader-joes-is-the-bomb-dot-com

    • Jess says...

      Our store in Los Gatos has a cat- but it’s so scraggly and dirty looking I wouldn’t want to touch it!! But it’s funny nonetheless.

    • Anna says...

      Yes! I shop at the Princeton, NJ TJs and our mascot is a tiger, of course. My three year old knows to look for it (we call TJs The Tiger Store), but she doesn’t know about the lollipops yet ; ) Hint: it’s always hidden out of reach, so look up!

    • Kim says...

      My daughter used to look for the gorilla in our Alameda, CA store, but now that she’s 10, she skips that part and heads straight for the treasure chest at the front of the store to grab a goodie.

    • Heidi says...

      Ours in Tulsa is a Bison!

    • Leah says...

      Phoenix Az here… our bunny was just replaced by a brand new raccoon!

    • Ours in Livermore, CA is a stuffed lobster — Mr. McPinchy! :)

    • Mary says...

      My favorite store in Oak Park, IL is Curious George.

  46. Sammy says...

    It looks very delish! On an unrelated note, I’m tired of seeing the word “hack” everywhere. There are supposed “hacks” for everything these days – many of which aren’t! I can’t wait for this word to go out of style.

    • Sammy says...

      Oh – looks like I’m out of luck. When I Googled “hack is an overused word,”I came up with several articles complaining about the same thing since 2014. Sigh….

    • sasha says...

      I hate the word *bespoke*.

    • sasha says...

      I don’t know how we get through the day ??

    • Madeline says...

      Can I jump in on trendy word hate? “Curated” makes me groan every time. Ugh.

    • patricia blaettler says...

      “curated” ugh.

    • Lisa says...

      This thread is my people.

    • Sharon says...

      Can I add “farm to table” to the list?? I am certain there are legit reasons it needs to be listed on restaurant menus, but Im so over hearing everyone reference, “oh, well it’s farm to table” as though that is a guarantee that the restaurant is delicious, amazing and all other “good” things.

  47. Lane says...

    Man, I wish we could get a TJ within two hours. :(

  48. sasha says...

    Nearest Trader Joe’s is two states and 10 house away. Sad isn’t it.

    You give up a lot to live in Montana. Good news is we still have feet of snow on the ground and no end in sight. Three more months of winter probably. Who likes spring anyways?!

    • Lars says...

      I LOVE winter!! Maybe I need to move to Montana. I’m sad the snow is all melted here in Michigan. :(

  49. Hannah says...

    Favorite hack: tomato soup with TJ’s chimichuri rice (in the frozen section). Just sauté the rice and then add the soup. Super easy and insanely delicious!

  50. Kristiana says...

    LOVE that you’re doing this for this month’s meal section. I work at Trader Joe’s for a part time money hustle and I absolutely love my job there. Thanks for highlighting!!

  51. Irina says...

    I used to love TJ’s Thai rice noodle soups when we lived near a Trader Joe’s. Sadly, it looks like these soups are gone from the store that we used to frequent but perhaps other locations still carry them? They are basically dry rice noodles with seasoning and oil packets and they cost 99 cents. After cooking the noodles (add boiling water, cover, and let sit), I used to add cubed tofu or a sliced hard-boiled egg; any bits of veggies I had on hand, such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peas, mushrooms, green onions, ginger and garlic; and season with the broth with soy sauce and sriracha. A filling, healthy and comforting noodle bowl in just minutes!

  52. I love making fish tacos using the breaded fish in the freezer section, tortillas, avocado, cilantro and a mix of hot sauce and ranch dressing. Serve with limes! Easy and yummy!

    • Maiz says...

      Me, too! Same, but I mix sriracha with a little mayo and lime juice.

    • Kate says...

      This sounds delicious!!

  53. Court says...

    Love this!!! You should do a Costco hack. I know in NYC ya’ll don’t have them, but as part of the “suburb folk”-I live and die with Costco.

    • Carrie says...

      Amen! Love Costco so much!

    • sasha says...

      Laughing out loud, just got back from a Costco run!

      I made a ton of things with their pesto, and that giant bag of spinach. A couple huge handily found their way into my lunch, that yummy pasta, beans and tomato paste recipe posted here last month. Used Costco for the pasta, garlic, tomato paste, salt and my addition of spinach.

    • Andrea says...

      fwiw, there are costcos in nyc. we live in 450 sf, so they aren’t really an option, but they exist.

  54. Carrie says...

    It’s a shame I’m 20 minutes from the nearest TJs! I never get over there, but after this I might have to. These comments are making me so hungry!

  55. Kiana says...

    I think I’d start my day with heartburn. Can you please feature some more diet friendly ideas?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, coming right up!

  56. Trixie says...

    Mix a bag of frozen Sorrento gnocchi, the gorgonzola gnocchi, some cooked pancetta or bacon, and will a bag of mixed baby kale in there. You can also sub in some cooked chicken. Delicious and ready in 10 minutes.

    • K says...

      We love using TJ’s gnocchi. We add mushrooms and chicken. Delish.

  57. Laura says...

    I love Trader Joe’s. I had an experience there on Monday. I was browsing the aisle where the ready-made salads are and this song starts playing in the overhead speakers. I didn’t notice it, but then, people just start singing. They’re not singing loudly, but singing enough to where it’s definitely not a hum. The lady next to me, the man passing behind me. I walked towards the frozen pizzas and people were singing there too. And everyone just keeps casually shopping while I’m looking around feeling like I’m in a musical. I think it was the nonchalance of it – as if this was a normal thing. I didn’t even know the song.

    P.S. I later Googled the lyrics and the song was Giving Him Something He Can Feel by En Vogue.

    • Lisa says...

      what a great feel good moment especially for a Monday! love it! :)

    • Heidi says...

      This is the greatest Cup of Jo comment I have ever read. ;)

    • Chandra says...

      I’m always singing in TJ’s they have the best playlists AND if I’d been in there I would have been shooo dooping as well. Amazing!

    • Alice says...

      What an experience, what a comment. So fun and sweet.

    • Lisa says...

      Yes! My Trader Joe’s is in Philly, and I will never forget the day I was in there and “Eye of the Tiger” started playing. During the intro, everyone sort of looked around as if to say “We got this,” and then…epic. People were literally singing and running through the aisles a la Rocky. So fun.

  58. Lesley says...

    One of my favorite one pan throw together Trader Joe’s meals is their “Joe’s Typical Breakfast”

    https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes/breakfast/joes-typical-breakfast

    I just sub out tomato paste for half-ish jar of salsa mixed in and top with guacamole, sour cream, lime! Just made it last night…comfort food to the max :)

  59. Lia says...

    I love that you are doing a whole month of TJ’s hacks! My absolute favorite product is their frozen rice. I always hated cooking rice because it took forever and it was never quite right. Now, I just pop the bag in the microwave for 3 minutes and have a perfect 2 cups of rice. Now I can make curry and bibimbap and sushi bowls and half the work is already done.

  60. Eloise says...

    A TJ’s cashier turned me on to their frozen potatoes & green beans (Country Potatoes with Haricots Verts & Wild Mushrooms) combined with scrambled eggs — it’s an excellent quick breakfast that feels like fancy brunch.

    • Angel says...

      I make this too!

  61. Lauren says...

    I’m SO looking forward to a month of these hacks!!

    I also follow a lot of the simple recipes on the Trader Joe’s website, https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes. They are always adding new recipes as they update their products seasonally. Everything is straight forward and fairly quick! Plus, all items in their recipes are carried in their store, so a one-stop-shop as a city dweller is FANTASTIC!

    One of my favorite lunches is their simple lentil salad:

    Mix together in a large bowl: 1 Package Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils (refrigerated section), 1 Package Trader Giotto’s Bruschetta Sauce (refrigerated section), and Crumbled Feta. That’s it! Takes one minute and lunch at work for the better part of the work week. Sometimes I eat it over a bed of greens, but also great on it’s own or as a side!

    • Eloise says...

      That Bruschetta sauce is so good. It also makes the foundation for an excellent margherita pizza!

    • Lori says...

      It’s also delish scooped up with tortilla chips or pita. (But what isnt?!)

    • Angel says...

      That sounds amazing! I bet it would be good to sub burrata for the feta too.

  62. Andrea says...

    Easy fish tacos:

    -small flour tortillas
    -frozen fish sticks (they have some with less breading and lower calories)
    -shredded cabbage from bag (purple and green cabbage) mixed with fresh lime juice
    -avocado slices
    -Tj’s cilantro dressing

    • Lizzie says...

      This is my go-to! Great minds :)

  63. Stella says...

    I’m a college student and Trader Joe’s is the most accessible grocery store to me so I’m always looking for easy meals. Recently I’ve been cooking TJ’s spinach and ricotta tortellini. I usually add some peas to the tortellini, I cut little pieces of TJ’s cooked, uncured bacon and add that in (so easy because it’s already cooked!), and I mix in a chunk of TJ’s grass-fed Irish butter and sprinkle some salt and parmesan on top. It’s WAY GOOD!

    I’ve also been making my own sweet potato fries in the oven with olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. I never have any leftovers when I make a pan of them.

    • The garlic herb chicken sausage is a STAPLE in my house! My husband and I love to cut it up into bit sized pieces and roast it (425 for about 15-17 minutes) then put it into salads, pasta, scramble — anything! Or we just BBQ the links whole and put them on a hot dog bun or serve them on their own with some of TJ’s garlic aioli mustard (another staple) for dipping.

      Suddenly so hungry…

  64. Megan Ritchey says...

    “To kick of a month a month of Trader Joe’s hacks!” So excited for this!!!

  65. KP says...

    This sounds so good! To curb how much I was spending on fancy salads (sweetgreen) I started buying the same ingredients from Trader Joes and making my copied version at home a few times a week. TJ’s makes cheese bites that are pretty close to whatever they use in their kale caesar salad.

  66. Sarah says...

    I LOVE Trader Joe’s!

    My favorite hack:

    The Southwestern Chopped Salad mix + Cowboy Quinoa Burgers (You could also stuff it in a corn/flour tortilla)

    • Carrie says...

      Yum!!!

    • AC says...

      question! So do you break up the burgers and put them on the salad?

    • Sarah says...

      Hey AC!

      Yup, exactly. After I place it in the microwave, I plop it right on top. Honestly, I feel the pair were made for each other. You could also top it off with TJ’s Cilantro Salad Dressing if you’re into cilantro.

  67. Madison says...

    The best part about Trader Joe’s is that I always think I’m spending more than I am, and by the time I get to the register I’m pleasantly surprised by how little I spent (compared to a normal grocery store).

    • Jeannie Rodriguez says...

      My husband did an item-by-item comparison between a normal grocery store and Trader Joe’s… milk, eggs, cereal, fruits/veggies… everything was cheaper at Trader Joe’s! People lump it in with Whole Foods and think it’s expensive… it’s not at all!

    • Heather says...

      I agree! My mom couldn’t believe I shop at Trader Joe’s thinking it was like Whole Foods. It really is so affordable.

    • My husband and I are always shocked how little we end up spending. We’ll get an entire weekday menu and it’ll almost always come to about $80 TOTAL. And that’s including things like pre-made salads and other snacks, so we aren’t even TRYING to save money. But we always do!

      Heather — my parents are the same way. They spend so much going to Safeway, and would save so much by buying the equivalents at TJ’s. I’ve almost convinced them to change their ways!

  68. This breakfast hash could easily be supplemented (or supplanted) by the soyrizo and/or soyrizo + frozen riced cauliflower. Highly recommend. The soyrizo + riced cauliflower also makes an excellent taco filling :)

    • Joaquina says...

      You beat me to it…was going to offer a vegan option. I find it tiring to always see recipes featuring dairy/eggs/meat. Trader Joe’s has so many vegan options! Thanks for your comment!

    • Brittany says...

      LOVE the soyrizo. Last night I made scrambled eggs with soyrizo and my meat-loving boyfriend was positively raving about the “sausage”. When I told him it was soy, he asked if I was trying to trick him, ha!

    • Lizzie says...

      I’m not vegetarian and the Soyrizo is great! Such an easy meat substitute.

  69. Anna says...

    I am a die hard TJ’s fan. Most of the employees at our local store know my kids by name, and high give them all around the store. It’s the best.

    We love breakfast hash. The traditional frozen latkes are delicious if you want a change from hash browns.

  70. caroline says...

    Best TJs hackI have, as of late, is cooking their frozen dumplings in their boxed Miso Ginger broth. Dinner in under 5 minutes!!

  71. Sophie says...

    I loved Trader Joe’s! I’m so excited to see what’s to come in your month of recipes. This one looks amazing!!

  72. Oh man, this looks gooood! I only go to TJ’s now!

    Kim

  73. Kat says...

    Yes! This looks amazing, and I absolutely love your Trader Joe’s posts. At least one or two weeks out of the month, I’ve been eating that amazing Southwest Salad for my work lunch. So EXCITED!

    • Megan says...

      I literally just ate it at my desk while scrolling through these comments! ha!

  74. Hillary says...

    Love TJ’s hacks! We keep many of their frozen items on hand for easy and quick meals when we need it, which has helped us to order less takeout over the years. We buy the frozen brown rice packets and will mix them in (after microwaving) with many of their frozen Asian entrees – kung pao chicken, shiitake mushroom and chicken, Mandarin chicken, etc. Adding in some TJ’s sriracha and/or green dragon sauce and letting it all meld together in the pan really heightens the flavor!

    Also, we regularly do pizza night with all TJ’s ingredients (we used to use the fresh dough, but now they have the same dough in a 2-pack frozen format which is SO MUCH EASIER)

    1. Genova pesto base, cubed pancetta, carmelized red onion, goat cheese and fresh mozerella

    2. Tomato-based pizza sauce, pepperoni, mushroom, red onion, fresh mozerella

    Both sauce bases are in the refrigerated section next to the fresh pizza dough, and we cook the mushrooms/onions/pancetta prior to putting them on the pizzas. Pure pizza magic!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yuuummmmmm.

    • The frozen crusts have been out of stock in Chicago since December :( If you find them, stock up! They’re amazing!

  75. TJchump says...

    This is great. I don’t have a TJs close to me, and I know it has a lot of awesome stuff, but when I walk in there, I kind of scratch my head and feel lost. Your guidance will save me from just buying cookies and potstickers. haha

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! hope this helps. although nothing wrong with cookies and potstickers, haha :)

    • Nina says...

      haha yes, I call it the snack store because I feel like I go in and get a whole bunch of snacks and no real food for meals.

  76. Brilliant series idea! I’m part of a facebook group called Trader Joe’s Meal Hacks. What did I even eat before TJ’s?

    • leia says...

      omg I am totally looking up that FB group….

  77. Tonia says...

    We sadly don’t have a TJ where we live (although, perhaps it’s a good thing as I would FOR SURE spend all my money there) but we do this same breakfast all the time!! Sometimes we make the hash browns from scratch (we grow potatoes and always have tons on hand) and sometimes when we’re lazy we use the frozen variety. Swapping seasoned sausage, chorizo or crumbled bacon in for the pancetta is delicious and a little more accessible.

  78. Emma says...

    TJ hacks!!! The anticipation of this literally made my morning.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes!

  79. Carolyn says...

    Just last night I made TJs frozen Chana Masala and Palak Paneer, served over leftover roasted yams and quinoa, topped with TJs Haricorts Vert. So good, so fast!

  80. Erin G. says...

    A vegan/veg option and a personal favorite is a TJ’s super awesome, super quick salad (use all or some combination of):
    Fresh:
    Fav bag of greens (I like Power to the Greens)
    avocado
    spring onion
    grape/cherry tomatoes

    Packaged:
    cooked lentils
    roasted beets
    roasted sweet potatoes
    hearts of palm
    olives
    sweet and spicy pecans (I mean! Salad game-changer)

    Chop and toss with salt and pepper and a little of your favorite dressing (one of mine is a simple honey mustard, which is just mayo:honey:mustard in a 4:2:1 ratio roughly – I like mine a bit more mustard-y). Sometimes I heat the veggies for some nice hot/cold action, but often just toss it all in cold. Five minute, really delicious, healthy week night dinner.

    • Caitlin says...

      This sounds so good! I love trader joe’s cooked lentils! you can do so much with them.

  81. Julia Hogan says...

    SO EXCITED that you are doing a month of TJ meal hacks! As a working mom of two little boys Trader Joe’s saves my life daily. Its literally the only way that, between picking kids up and trying to hit a semi early bedtime complete with baths and books , my husband and I get any “real” time with our kids every day. Or with each other :)

  82. Sami says...

    SO excited for this series!! I just made the pulled bbq + mango salsa tacos from a previous TJs post last night! :D

    • Sarah says...

      Ditto!!! I LOVE those!

    • That original TJ’s meal hack post, Joanna, is basically the Holy Grail of TJ’s Hacks.

      I scoured through every comment and wrote out by HAND what felt like an official compendium, which I carried in my purse for months as an immediate shopping resource. We tried literally two DOZEN recipes your readers recommended — our absolute favorite being the fish tacos made with flour tortillas, frozen breaded fish, island salsa, and a quick coleslaw made with the packaged shredded cabbage, TJ’s mayo (THE BEST MAYO EVER) and a dash of vinegar. I feel like we make this almost once a week — it’s so filling and delicious!