March 24, 2018 | ° F

Find affordable foodie favorites at Trader Joe's

With its unbeatable prices and one-of-a-kind selection of products, it’s no surprise that Trader Joe’s has such a substantial cult following. And with the chain’s recent North Brunswick opening, which sits less than 10 minutes from College Avenue, it’s easier than ever for Rutgers students to fill their kitchens with cheap, good staples and snacks.

Since Trader Joe’s is a paradise of treats unseen in Stop & Shop, it can get pricey to try everything out at once. Here’s a comprehensive list of absolute TJ’s favorites that’ll allow you to sift through the aisles with ease.

Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds

Everything's better when doused with chocolate, and almonds are no exception. If the nut alone is a little plain for your palate, snack on this perfect salty-sweet treat. The 10 oz. tub is just $4.79.

Mandarin Orange Chicken

This freezer section favorite is one of Trader Joe’s best sellers for a reason. It’s simple, really: tender chicken, crispy breading and a sauce where spicy meets sweet. Twenty-two oz. of the quick dish will cost you only $4.99.

Organic French Roast Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

The best way to cut down on your Hidden Grounds spending habit is to make coffee at home. For a simple .83 cents per cup, you can enjoy a smooth cold brew every day, made with USDA Organic coffee beans. Just mix in milk (dairy or not) or water, serve over ice cubes, and sprinkle in a little sugar to taste. A 32 oz. bottle of this cold brew is only $9.99.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

While candy is a sinful snack, it’s fine in moderation, and it’s even better when it’s made with heart-friendly dark chocolate. A 16 oz. tub of the goodies is $4.29.

Soy Chorizo

For something veggie but spicy and delicious, TJ’s offers a soy sausage alternative that’s easy to make and perfect for your next breakfast burrito venture, added to chili or stuffed in peppers. Even meat eaters will enjoy this. For $1.99, you can score a 12 oz. package.

Mediterranean Hummus

This hummus is easy to love: it’s creamy, whipped and topped with delicious pine nuts. As one of TJ’s most-purchased products, and reasonably priced at $3.99 for a 16 oz. container, it’s bound to be your new favorite dip. 

Cookie Butter

If you’re looking for the cookie version of Nutella, TJ’s Cookie Butter is a delectable choice. It’s a Belgian shortbread cookie spread in a jar, and you can smooth it onto a slice of toast or a waffle for serious sweetness. It can double as a dip for pretzels and strawberries, or you can delve into the cookie butter with a classic mode of consumption -- you, a spoon and the jar. The dip is priced at $3.69 for a 14 oz. container.

Wild Mushroom & Black Truffle Flatbread

For something that feels fancy on a college budget, indulge in a beautiful mushroom and truffle flatbread and savor the flavors from small town in Italy. Each flatbread is $4.69, which makes for an affordable meal.

Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

If you love the flavors and textures of a traditional everything bagel — sea salt, garlic, onion and sesame seeds — so much you just want to sprinkle them onto everything you eat, this is the perfect blend for you, priced at $1.99 for 2.3 oz.

Organic Baguette

If you’re feeling French, you can snag a crispy-edged, 11.5 oz. baguette for only $1.99. Since it’s bread, the options are endless: make a sandwich to cut and share, craft crispy garlic bread or just enjoy it with butter and jam.

Spatchcocked Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Sometimes cooking is hard, so TJ’s is here to help. The chain has prepared the chicken for grilling or roasting, and seasoned it, too. All that’s left is popping the yummy chicken into your Easton Avenue oven until it’s browned and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s hard to beat at $4.49 per pound. 

Frozen Chocolate Croissants

For a flaky, chocolatey breakfast tomorrow, you must defrost these puppies overnight. But by the time you pull them out of the oven in the morning, taste their flaky deliciousness and realize that four of these croissants are as much as one at a coffee shop, it’ll all be worth it. Four croissants cost $3.99.

What Trader Joe’s lacks in fresh deli departments, they make up for in their exceptional selection of snacks. After one visit and spending half of what you normally would at ShopRite, you’ll understand why TJ’s should be every college student’s go-to grocery destination. 

Abigail Lyon

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