I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (2024)

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Fatima Khawaja

2024-04-18T14:12:41Z

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (1)

  • As a private chef and mom of a 3-year-old living in New York City, I love shopping at Trader Joe's.
  • Jasmine rice, harrisa, butter, and bone broth are some of the stables I pick up every week.
  • I also like to shop for salad kits, tofu, and dark-chocolate-covered pretzels at Trader Joe's.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (2)

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I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (4)

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I'm a professional private chef. But that doesn't mean I eat fancy meals at home every night, especially not with a 3-year-old.

As a working mom in New York City, I'm pretty much the target audience for Trader Joe's easy snacks, ingredients, and meals, and I usually shop there once a week.

Here are some of the staples in my shopping cart.

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I'm always stocking up on jasmine rice.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (5)

As a Pakistani, my family's diet includes a lot of rice.

I love Trader Joe's jasmine rice because the bags are pretty big, the grains aren't typically crushed or broken, and it cooks up beautifully.

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Harissa is great for adding flavor to meals.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (6)

Harissa is one of my favorite chili pastes out there, and Trader Joe's makes a really good one that's not too oily.

Smoky, hot, and floral, the paste is great in a marinade or as a spread inside a sandwich. I sometimes add a dollop to soups, for some mellow heat and depth of flavor.

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I love Trader Joe's gluten-free pasta.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (7)

The store's gluten-free pasta is a hit in my home (and with my clients). None of them can tell it's almost 20% quinoa, and I like that it pairs well with all the typical sauces.

I boil half a bag at a time and mix it with sauce or loads of butter when I need a quick meal for my daughter.

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The dark-chocolate-covered pretzels are just for me.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (8)

Trader Joe's perfectly, salty, crunchy, and chocolaty pretzels were a wonderful discovery. I keep them all to myself when I get home from the store.

I recommend the sweet and salty treat to everyone.

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Tofu is a staple in my shopping cart.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (9)

I like Trader Joe's firm, organic tofu. It's not too hard or soft, holds its shape while frying, and soaks up sauces and marinades really well.

It's also one of the most inexpensive protein options at the grocery store.

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I stock my freezer with edamame for a quick snack.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (10)

Edamame is always a hit. It lasts forever in the freezer, and it's a great, filling snack.

I like that the Trader Joe's shelled edamame is already salted, making it easy to just microwave or pop in boiling water before serving.

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Trader Joe's hash browns are hard to beat.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (11)

I always have Trader Joe's hash browns in my freezer. They are, in my opinion, the best hash browns out there.

They're perfectly seasoned and easy to heat in a pan or the toaster oven. I make them for my daughter on weekend mornings with an egg, and I love mine with a side of ketchup or hot sauce.

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Tortillas are a great carb option for weekly meals.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (12)

I like to have a variety of carb options in my pantry, and tortillas are a great choice.

I buy the ones with a mix of corn and wheat, making them soft and flavorful. I like to use them for breakfast tacos, or I'll fill them with ground beef, chicken, or beans and cheese for a quick meal.

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Green beans are a crowd favorite in my house.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (13)

Good green beans are hard to dislike.

I like the small packets at Trader Joe's — especially because the ends usually aren't brown, meaning they're fresh.

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Trader Joe's has some of the most convenient avocados.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (14)

I buy a bag of Trader Joe's avocados for my house and my clients.

When they're available, I prefer the "teeny tiny" option because I can use it all in one sitting, reducing the risk of the other half browning in the fridge.

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Lemons are multipurpose in my kitchen.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (15)

I always pick up fresh citrus for dressings, sauces, or a squeeze on top of pasta or chicken.

I like that they keep well in the fridge, so I can still use them the following week if I don't get to them.

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I hate running out of butter, so I always stock up.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (16)

If I'm low on butter, I start to panic.

My daughter and I love to slather our toast with butter, and I like to keep a couple of pounds in my freezer for baking projects.

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Yes, even chefs eat bagged salad kits.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (17)

I would never buy a salad kit for my clients, but I love picking them up for myself. All of Trader Joe's kits have a thoughtful addition of crunchy toppings and a variety of greens.

They're the perfect size for a quick lunch for two during a busy afternoon of meetings or recipe testing.

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Trader Joe's is one of the only grocery stores where I'll buy ground beef.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (18)

I like to buy meat at my neighborhood butcher, so I typically skip the section at the grocery store. But I like Trader Joe's ground beef.

The 85% lean packages have a fattiness that's great for bolognese, stir-fries, or meatballs.

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I always have a variety of broth options in my pantry.

I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (19)

I like the organic bone broth from Trader Joe's because it's affordable and has well-rounded flavors that make it easy to build up different recipes.

I especially like using the broth to make pilaf, a classic rice dish.

Click to keep reading Trader Joe's diaries like this one.

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I'm a chef who shops at Trader Joe's. Here are 15 things I pick up every week for my family of 3. (2024)
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