These 9 Cheap Trader Joe's Foods Will Make Your Dinner Party Look Hella Fancy

Trader Joe's

Hosting a dinner part always sounds like a wonderful idea, until you get to the part where you have to host a dinner party. You spend three days cooking a meal that people eat in 25 minutes and later takes you four hours to clean up. What do you do when you want to entertain guests but don't know WTF you're doing? Never fear — Trader Joe's is here. These nine Trader Joe's foods will make you seem like an incredible hostess even though your dinner usually comes out of a take-out carton with a plastic fork and knife. Shhh... nobody has to know.

It's all too easy to underestimate how hard it is cooking for a party, and there are a number of fears that will eventually keep you up at night, including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. What if I overcook the chicken?
  2. What if I undercook the chicken?
  3. What if I leave a hair in the potato salad?
  4. What if I overcook the outside of the chicken and undercook the inside?
  5. What if people find out the spaghetti sauce isn't homemade?
  6. Why?

While it's nice being able to say you made everything from scratch, you aren't Julia Child and life is too hectic.

Make things easier on yourself and stop at Joe's. He has the answer to everything. Here are nine items that are as good as homemade. In fact, if you can't cook a can of soup without burning the house down, they're even better.

Mandarin Orange Chicken
Trader Joe's

This is one of Trader Joe's best products, and for a good reason: it doesn't taste like it was ever frozen. Thaw that ish out, put it in a pretty bowl, and throw the empty bag in the dumpster out back. If anyone hints at it having been defrosted, lock them in the bathroom for the rest of the night.

Unexpected Cheddar
Trader Joe's

Another Trader Joe's favorite, their Unexpected Cheddar tastes like it came from the expensive section of the store but actually has a much prettier price tag. Grate it up and sprinkle it all over you meal like you're Salt Bae. Your guests will be so distracted by your charisma that they won't even care what type of cheese it is.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Trader Joe's

Having your gluten-sensitive friends over for pizza night? Joe's cauliflower crust is a good compromise between Domino's and DiGiornio, since it's kind of pre-made but you kind of have to do some cooking, too. Spooning canned sauce and dumping shredded cheese on a pre-made crust counts as "cooking," right? Good.

Chocolate Almond Butter Tarte
Trader Joe's

Look at you, fancy Nancy. Crisp, buttery cocoa crust. Creamy almond butter. Chocolate ganache. We like all of those words. Destroy the box and serve it warm. If you're feeling a little extra, smear some flour on your face so people think you actually baked something.

Paso Robles Cabernet
Trader Joe's

It wouldn't be a party without a little vino. Impress your guests with your extensive collection of wine, and grab four or five bottles from Joe's. Won't they be so blown away by your expensive taste in alcohol? JOKE'S ON THEM — this bottle is less than $10.

Cannelés de Bordeaux
Trader Joe's

Look who went and put their fancy pants on. An unwritten rule in America says that anything French-like in nature automatically receives +10 cool points. Your guests will think you're incredibly cultured and ~*sophisticated*~ when you serve up some of Joe's Cannelés de Bordeaux. Don't ask us how to pronounce it, but we're pretty sure it's not "borducks."

Organic Reduced Sugar Cherry Preserves
Trader Joe's

Another unwritten rule (which happens to be one of my personal favorites) is that anything with the word "organic" in it is better, healthier, and you get to eat twice as much. Your guests will be most appreciative of Joe's organic cherry preserves. Stay classy.

Butternut Squash Mac And Cheese
Trader Joe's

Yes. Okay. Fine. It's seasonal. But Joe's twist on the classic mac and cheese is so effing good, it deserves a shout-out. Distract your guests while you're defrosting this by throwing in the words, "mezzi rigatoni." They'll be so busy trying to figure out what you just said that they won't hear the microwave go off.

Chicken And Mushroom Pelmeni
Trader Joe's

When your guests ask you what you're serving, try not to say, "those little ravioli things." Pelmeni can be described as dumplings; but honestly, the smell is so intoxicating that no one will care what they are.