Here’s What You Should Buy From Trader Joe’s to Get Through a Quarantine

Trader Joe's Getty 10/30/19

While Trader Joe’s might not be your first thought for coronavirus stock-up shopping (buying wholesale size-and-price items at a big-box store, for example, makes a lot of sense), it should be one of your stops. Why? Trader Joe’s offers great items that are perfect for spending quality time at home. And since TJ’s tends to be a place of respectful kindness in general, the shopping experience—while no less complex than any major store right now—continues to have a focus on cheery and helpful service. Keep in mind: This is not your complete list of staples for the next 2-4 weeks of working from home, social distancing, and even quarantine, but believe me, these unique-to-Trader-Joe’s items might help to make the next few weeks far more pleasant.

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Frozen Steelcut Oatmeal

These pucks of single portion steel-cut cooked oatmeal are a godsend for a nukeable breakfast with serious nutritional punch. Get the maple or cinnamon flavors for morning, but really stock up on the plain, since you can take them to a lunchtime savory place by topping with grated parmesan, stirring in pesto or harissa, or sprinkling on spice mixes like za’atar (generally a combination of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt). Good for you and delicious.

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

If you are used to having access to Starbucks or your office coffeepot all day, having a quick and easy way to get your fix is a great idea, and you can make it hot or iced to suit your fancy.

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Frozen Quiches

With varieties from broccoli cheddar to classic Lorraine with bacon, and sizes from a large one to serve a family to small one-bite appetizer wonders, these are an ideal thing to stash in the freezer for last-minute meals or snacks.

Wild King Salmon Jerky

Snackable, quick protein, shelf stable, and a healthier option than Slim Jims, a few packages of this tasty treat are a true gift for trying times (or stay-at-home boredom). You can also chop finely and use like a seasoning for rice or pasta.

Seasoning Blends

Both Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Sesame and Chili Lime seasoning blends can turn a bland bowl of rice, pasta, or yogurt into something fun and flavorful. Frozen vegetables also sing with just a dash of these magic-makers. Stir into cream cheese to make you forget that your bagel came out of the freezer.

Frozen Black Bean and Cheese Taquitos

A TJ’s classic, these make for fast protein-forward snacking or a light lunch in no time at all. And they’re pleasers for kids and adults. Try creating an easy enchilada-eque casserole by layering them in a dish, covering with a jar of salsa and shredded cheese, and baking.

Pesto Alla Genovese

This jarred condiment can be anything from a spread on a sandwich, to a pasta sauce, to the basis of a quick and easy green rice dish. Stir it into tuna or chopped eggs for a new twist on classic sandwiches.

Spanakopita

These frozen spinach and cheese triangles aren’t just for appetizers anymore. Top with a fried egg for breakfast, serve alongside a bowl of soup instead of a sandwich, or layer into a casserole dish with jarred pasta sauce for a Greek take on a lazy lasagna. Or just serve as-is with a cocktail and some tzatziki for dipping!

Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa

Stirred into scrambled eggs, spooned over pasta, or served alongside chicken breast, this jar of magic is good for so much more than dipping!

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