If you are among the few who have yet to regularly worship at the altar of Trader Joe’s, prepare to be indoctrinated. While the grocery chain has aisles of ready-made meals you can buy and make as is, there are plenty of easy Trader Joe’s frozen meal hacks to up your dinner game. And just to be clear, Trader Joe's selection of frozen meals are no joke. Have you seen their chocolate lava gnocchi?
For those who frequent Trader Joe’s, you’ll know they put out new products often, usually with the turn of the seasons. You can keep up with Trader Joe’s latest goods by reading their Fearless Flyer announcements or following the store’s official podcast — yes, in these peak podcast times, even grocery stores have podcasts — Inside Trader Joe’s. And if you really want to immerse yourself in the world of TJ’s, you can do so easily on Instagram. In addition to Trader Joe’s official Instagram, there are dozens of accounts paying homage to Trader Joe’s goods like @traderjoesobsessed, @traderjoeslist, and @traderjoesaficionado. Basically, if you’re looking for 24/7 food inspiration, the community/cult of Trader Joe’s fans welcomes you with open arms and a jar of cookie butter.
Here are 11 Trader Joe’s frozen dinner hacks to take your meal to the next level.
Don't Forget Your Veggies
Not only are frozen vegetables often cheaper than fresh—and can taste just as good—they give you more options to easily up your pre-made dinners. It’s an easy add but one that’s equally easy to forget you have the option to do. Wish your Broccoli Cauliflower Gratin also had some kale? You can make that wish come true!
Spice It Up
If you’ve never explored Trader Joe’s spice aisle, you’re missing out on fan favorites like Everything Bagel seasoning and Chile Lime seasoning. Throw a dash of your favorite TJ’s spice into your next frozen meal, like some Trader Joe’s Mushroom Umami powder into this potato gratin for extra flavor.
Fancy Up Your Mac
Can’t choose between mac and cheese and pizza? How could you? They’re both perfect. Take Trader Joe’s (already perfect) frozen mac and cheese and add some tomatoes and mozzarella for a Caprese-style mac. Combine Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with some pepitas and goat cheese.
DIY A Pizza
When you’re feeling slightly more motivated than just throwing a readily-assembled pizza in the oven, utilize Trader Joe’s frozen pizza crusts. You can top them however you like with the literal shelves of sauces, toppings, and cheeses Trader Joe’s has to offer. If you need some inspiration, Trader Joe’s recommends this shwarma pizza.
Don’t Underestimate Adding A Sauce
Making some frozen black bean burgers? Add fig butter and goat cheese for a different flavor profile. Your frozen meal not spicy enough for your taste? Instead of just dousing it in sriracha, try adding Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce. Trader Joe’s refrigerated section is a gold mine for easy stir-in options or yummy toppings for your frozen dinner.
Make It A Casserole
Want to give a frozen meal a little more substance? Turn it into a baked dish like Trader Joe’s taquito casserole. Throw your favorite enchilada sauce, cheese, and black beans in a baking dish with some taquitos, and you’ve got yourself a shameless way to enjoy taquitos as more than just a vessel for guacamole.
Turn It Into Soup
Soup is, in my very correct opinion, one of earth's most underrated meals. If you’re looking for another way to enjoy Trader Joe’s frozen wontons or frozen potstickers, try incorporating them a wonton soup. Just add them to a pot with chicken or vegetable stock, a container of Trader Joe’s Mirepoix, some soy sauce, sesame oil, and voila! A whole new world of wontons.
Is there anything cheese can’t make better? Add some ricotta and greens to your Trader Joe’s Gnocchi di Gorgonzola. Turn your Trader Joe’s sweet potato fries sweet potato chili cheese fries. Honestly, adding some of Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella to a frozen pizza makes for an easy improvement on an already easy dinner.
If all else fails, pair your frozen dinner with some Trader Joe’s $2.99 wine. That makes every meal exponentially better.