So, since adjusting my perspective on my goal of entertaining and keeping an eye toward simplicity… I’ve found that one of my favorite ways to take the stress off of entertaining is either by supplementing my party food with some ready made treats, or by keeping things as simple as possible and literally buying all of my food offerings from Trader Joe’s. This is my new favorite strategy for gatherings not involving small children (although we love how kid friendly TJ’s stuff is too!) So I thought I’d share a few of my very favorite Trader Joe’s goodies to help you entertain your guests at your next party/gathering/meeting/playdate/an excuse to celebrate the everyday with extra yummy stuff/you get the point!
I think it’s important to clarify that I have MANY MORE favorite products, but I tried to keep this post about things that are easy to have at a party- easy to grab and eat while mingling and talking, that don’t require silverware except for maybe initially serving, etc. I also think it’s important to say that in no way is this Trader Joe’s sponsored post- I’m just really truly obsessed with them (and fun fact- I used to work there…).
The Runners Up: We’ll start with things I love but are not my first choice for party food unless I have additional room in the budget to add a little something extra.
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels: These are one of my favorite snacks- salty and creamy and dangerously addictive. If you serve them at a party though just be sure you have a lot of water around because they will definitely make you extra thirsty!
Frozen Pizzas: The frozen pizzas from Trader Joe’s are diverse and delicious and I could see a really fabulous night in tasting small pieces of several of these, but the cutting and cook time is a little longer than a few of my other favorites and if you’re going to go the pizza route sometimes it’s just easier to order a pizza to come to your place or pick up a ready to go one from Costco!
Sea salt brownies: I never buy these anymore because I legitimately do not have the will power to stop myself from eating the whole container. That’s why I wanted to include them on here- because they are amazing, but I couldn’t put them on the main list because if I bought them they would be gone before the party started…
Taquitos: If you’re a meat eater, these are easy to make a lot of quickly and easily and they are always yummy, doesn’t matter what kind you choose. I just don’t think about them too often because I don’t eat chicken or beef!
Mozarella Sticks: I wanted to include these because I’ve had them recommended to me by half a dozen friends, but since I haven’t actually tried them on my own or served them at my parties yet I didn’t feel like I could put them on the official list… someday soon they’ll be in my shopping cart!
Pastry Bites With Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onions: This is one of my very favorite Trader Joe’s products ever. They are delicious, simple to make, super tasty, and look so beautiful when out on a serving tray (although, full disclosure, my last party they didn’t even make it that far because we were all starting to devour them straight out of the oven…) They feel special and they taste unique and they are just an all around win.
Cheese plate: I couldn’t list just one favorite Trader Joe’s cheese so let me encourage you to shop their fancy, delicious cheese section. Some of my favorites include St. Andre’s, triple creme brie, smoked gouda, and their seasonal goat cheese selections. Sometimes we try fun things like wine soaked cheese or cheese with nuts in it, but the ones I listed are our standard go-tos when throwing a party.
Hummus Quartet: Sometimes I feel bad about how much I love this. Hummus is pretty easy to make on your own and it’s much healthier to create a less processed version, but I LOVE the variety in the TJ’s Hummus Quartet. It’s a little something for every pallet and it’s easy to serve with a variety of options as well- vegetables, pita, pita chips… lots of easy mix and match possibilities here. Plus, the different colors just look pretty and festive for a party!
Kettle Korn/ Popcorn: Kettle Korn is one of my weaknesses. Salty sweet goodness, easy to pick up a handful or serve in cups, and a little taste of dessert without full on overwhelming, heavy dessert status. Trader Joe’s also has a ton of popcorn options for different tastes and dietary needs- check out the packaging to see which are gluten free or vegan friendly!
Salsa/ Veggie & Flax Seed Tortilla chips: I usually make homemade salsa, but if I have to buy a store bought salsa, Trader Joe’s has some really stellar options. Their Veggie & Flax Seed Tortilla chips also make me feel a little less bad about stuffing my face with chips and salsa. If you’re feeling REALLY crazy you can add some guacamole to the mix and now you’re bound to be everyone’s favorite host…
Potstickers/gyoza: These are so easy to make in bulk and I love that there are options in how you cook them, from pan frying to microwaving (something important during the hot Phoenix days or when you have other yummy treats taking up oven space). I love the variety available for these so I can have vegetable options or meat eater options and they are easy to eat with your hands and taste delicious on their own or with a variety of dipping sauces!
I’d love to hear your favorite Trader Joe’s party foods… or who am I kidding, TJ’s products in general! I am so obsessed with their stuff we only shop there a few times a year so I always love dreaming of what we’ll try the next time we go…