Trader Joe’s Frozen Aisle – 5 Things to Love

Since we’re on a loose theme of reasons to cook – and ways to make that easier, I thought I’d glance at some grocery store items that I especially love to streamline dinner (especially on a weeknight). I do most of our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, so here are five of my favorite freezer items in heavy rotation.

Handsome Cut Potato Fries – I was surprised at how much I liked these. Though, I do find that I prefer NOT following the directions, but cooking them on a low broil (with ample room to brown and crisp) yields crispy, fried-like fries. Basically, just spread your fries out on a sheet pan sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Put them under a low broiler, on the top rack, and move them around occasionally. Within about 10 minutes, you should have a pan full of crisp and hot fries. No hot oil needed. These are perfect for a night when all you want is fast food or pub grub, but you really hate the idea of putting on pants.

Frozen French Green Beans – I’ve tried their fresh and the haricots verts, but the frozen are the winners by far. You can thaw them quickly under running water and drain to use them in a stir fry. But they are most perfect in the recipe for Greek Green Beans. On a related note, those might be the best green beans ever.

Roasted Corn – Some days you might want to painstakingly roast fresh ears of corn over an

Frozen Roasted Corn, destined for greatness
Frozen Roasted Corn, destined for greatness

open flame. The other days, you probably wish someone else had done it for you. This corn is terrific in salsas, salads, chilis, corn chowder, and especially for a super fast version of esquites.

Croissants – These guys are perfectly sized. And they are the easiest breakfast/brunch item ever. EVER. Take them out of the package and place them on a lightly greased/sprayed baking sheet the night before you need them. Cover lightly with a towel or plastic wrap. When you wake up in the morning, they will have thawed and proofed themselves. Turn on the oven, pop them in, and enjoy hot French pastries by the time your scrambled eggs are set.

Naan (Plain or Garlic) – These take all of 3 minutes to heat to a lightly crisp but still puffy perfection. I prefer the plain for most occasions, but the garlic is great as well. I use the plain to chase down homemade curries or instead of pita for dipping hummus or TJ’s Greek yogurt za’atar dip. They also make delicious (if not a little ill-shaped) wraps for kebab sandwiches. TJ’s also sells some pretty good ghee to brush on the warm naan to approximate your favorite Indian restaurant’s bread basket.

Next time you’re in Trader Joe’s, don’t forget the frozen aisle. It has a lot to offer that takes the heat off of weeknight (or weekend, or generally lazy) cooking.

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