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5 Dorm Dinner Must-Haves: Trader Joe’s Edition

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Welcome back to the University of Connecticut! As excited as we are all to be back on campus with our friends, starting a new semester, and getting back into the groove of things, the one drawback that holds a heavy weight on all of us (well, the few of us that don’t have cars up here…), is the food situation! Yes, the campus offers a wide assortment of dining hall goodies, yet some nights that just doesn’t satisfy our true cravings. I for one am a huge Trader Joe’s gal, so I have created a list of five TJ’s must-haves that are easy for dorm living, affordable, and just plain delicious! All of the items below can be found in the freezer section.

1. Steamed soup dumplings

I chose to put these as number one because they are simply the BEST item from Trader Joe’s (at least I like to think so)! These tasty little dumplings are sold in a six-pack, with the option of chicken or pork and ginger. What I love most about these is that they are flavor-packed and so easy to whip up (not to mention the price is amazing)! I recommend these to anyone and everyone, after just two minutes on high in the microwave you have a delicious main course or side!

2. Mini chicken tacos

Next up we have Trader Joe’s Mini Chicken Tacos! These tasty mini tacos are an absolutely perfect option to share with your roomie. The mini corn tortillas are packed with shredded white meat chicken and roasted green salsa, and not to mention they are gluten-free! You can pop these in the air fryer or toaster oven (if your dorm allows), for a perfect crunchy tortilla and juicy inside. P.S. I recommend pairing this little treat with their garlic chipotle salsa!

3. Cowboy Veggie burgers

I actually think about these veggie burgers ALL the time. The Quinoa Cowboy Veggie burgers pack more flavor than you would think! I’m extremely picky when it comes to veggie burgers and these have to be my all-time favorite. The patty contains quinoa, black beans, corn, red peppers, and a load of seasonings. I will say they do have a bit of a kick to them but nothing too spicy. These burgers are delicious on a roll with avocado, lettuce, tomato, or really anything you have in your dorm room! You can put these in the microwave for a little less crunch but they would be perfect in the air fryer!

Trader Joe'S
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

4. Butternut Squash mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese is absolutely essential to dorm room living and Trader Joe’s consistently raises the bar with their Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese! Don’t get me wrong I was a bit apprehensive at first, but it’s totally delicious! This tasty treat offers mini rigatoni covered in not only a three cheese sauce (cheddar, gouda, AND parm), but a classic béchamel, and a butternut squash puree. This dish offers a good old stand-by with a twist. Again this dish is incredibly easy to pop in the microwave for the best results. Unfortunately TJ’s only offers during the fall season so PLEASE grab it while you can!

5. Kung pao Chicken

Last but not least a tasty and super filling option has to be TJ’s Kung Pao Chicken, served best with rice (they do sell microwavable, don’t worry)! This dish offers dark meat chicken, with red and green peppers, dried chili powder, water chestnuts, and peanuts (if you are allergic to either of those do not eat please)! Every delicious ingredient is covered in Trader Joe’s Kung Pao sauce which definitely has a kick but is not overly spicy. You can heat this up in a pot (if you’re able) or in the microwave which works just as well!

I hope you indulge in one of these delicious items for dinner sometime soon! I know college dining is not always ideal, but switching it up with something fun and tasty always makes it a bit more bearable! Enjoy.

Gianna is a sophomore at the University of Connecticut studying Communication. She enjoys shopping, getting coffee, and taking pictures (mostly of her dog)! Gianna enjoys writing about anything from fashion, to music, or relatable lifestyle content specifically for college aged women. In her future Gianna hopes to start a career in public relations and/or marketing. She has always had a passion for writing and believes that HerCampus is an incredible outlet for other women with the same passion! In her free time Gianna loves spending time with friends, staying active, and taking millions of sunset pictures.