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Trader Joe\'S
Trader Joe\'S
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

10 Trader Joe’s Must-Haves for February 2023

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Anyone who has set foot into a Trader Joe’s knows that the items you leave the store with may be wildly different than typical groceries. Contrary to popular belief, many unique Trader Joe’s finds are affordable compared to essential items at major grocery stores. 

The neighborhood grocery store chain also has a rotation of seasonal items that pop-up in-store throughout the year, meaning certain unique items often become highly sought-after, viral trends on social media. While many of these items may be available year-round, Trader Joe’s alters their inventory quite frequently, so making the trip sooner than later ensures you can snag the top-tier groceries for this month. Here in Austin, we’re lucky to have 3 locations reasonably close to the University of Texas, and these ten items make it worth the trip. 

1. Mandarin Orange Chicken

This frozen meal is a favorite amongst all college students for its close resemblance to the Panda Express Orange Chicken. I find that it’s easiest to make in an air-fryer and pairs well with Vegetable Fried Rice. I also love to divide the sauce in half so that you can freeze the remainder of the chicken and use the rest later.  

2. Hot Cocoa Inspired Cream Cheese

I was on a hunt for a different cream cheese spread the last time I was at Trader Joe’s when I stumbled across this hot cocoa-flavored cream cheese. Although both the cashier and I were skeptical, it did not disappoint. The flavor was subtle but gave the perfect sweetness to my morning bagel that didn’t overpower my coffee. 

3. Organic Green Tea Lemonade

My roommate recently introduced me to this green tea lemonade, and I can say that I’ve been a juice girly ever since. The tea flavor isn’t overpowering, and the lemonade isn’t overly sweet. Spice it up with some strawberry concentrate for a sweet weeknight treat. 

4. Chevre with Honey

I’ve loved goat cheese for as long as I remember. It’s a great addition to all types of proteins, from steak to salmon. I like to mix it with sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, and garlic and save it as a topping to use throughout the week. 

5. Beef Birria

After spending the weekend away, I came home to my roommate raving about the Beef Birria from Trader Joe’s. She said that as a Texas native who has tasted Birria from Mexico, the flavor gave even the most authentic Birria a run for its money. Birria tacos are all the rave right now, and this pre-made mix is an easy way to get your Birria fix in when a food truck trip is outside the schedule. 

6. Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice

This freezer meal is a quick and easy meal that can be eaten as a snack or a light meal. The portions are slightly small for the price but definitely worth it when you’re in a rush. Although I’m a tikka masala lover, the Butter Chicken has a slightly better flavor. 

7. Pesto Rosso

The possibilities with Trader Joe’s Pesto Rosso are endless. I pair it with pasta or coat my chicken for instant flavor that’s a bit more unique than your traditional pesto. Mixing with heavy cream also resembles vodka sauce with a more cashew-type flavor. 

8. Unexpected Cheddar

The highlight of my Thanksgiving this year, and an item that has made it into my basket each Trader Joe’s trip, is their unexpected cheddar cheese. Imagine white cheddar, but make it extra sharp. I love to eat it with pita chips or whole-grain chips for a late-night snack or a charcuterie staple. 

9. Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

Sometimes I don’t have time to brew coffee in the mornings; when I don’t, this cold brew concentrate comes in clutch. Cold brew is highly caffeinated, so check the caffeine content per serving before filling your venti Starbucks cup. I’m not a milk drinker, so I prefer to pair it with oat or almond milk and a coffee syrup or choice. 

10. Shawarma Chicken Thighs

Last but not least, these shawarma chicken thighs are pre-marinated for easy grilling and cooking. While I usually buy chicken breasts, I also love a good chicken shawarma. Making the marinade is generally not worth my time. After grilling, I pair these with pita bread and tzatziki or eat them with grilled vegetables. 

Casey is a third-year student at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a journalism degree and a business Spanish certificate. She is currently a food editorial intern at Camille Styles and where she writes and publishes food and lifestyle pieces. In her free time, Casey enjoys cooking, traveling, and practicing yoga. IG: caseymckee_ Blog: KeenlyCasey.com Twitter: casey.mckee7