My favorites at Aldi & Trader Joe’s

July 31, 2019

I had to get this up for you guys, because in stories you guys seemed really excited! For the month of August, I’m challenging myself to shop only from Aldi & Trader Joe’s. I really think this will help bring down my grocery bill that went up a little bit over the summer with these growing boys home all day! I’m going to be sharing here my dinner ideas, breakfast ideas, snack suggestions, and lunches for lunchbox/home.

I’m pretty lucky my Aldi store and my Trader Joe’s are right beside each other, so I don’t have to necessarily drive all over town to hit up two stores. I do like to go to Aldi first, and get my staple items and then head over to Trader Joe’s because I usually don’t get as many items there.

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Let’s talk about Aldi first, I love getting produce at Aldi. The week of this writing, avocados are .49 each. What I like to do for produce is check the sales paper and get the on sale produce to supplement with my meals. For example, this week I grabbed peaches, avocados (hello Taco Night! & at that price, I’m going to be scrambling half with an egg for breakfast tomorrow.)

+ I grabbed grapes. So, each week check their flyer and build your meal plan around that.

After produce, I like to grab staple items like flour, sugar etc, I love their selection and pricing for spices and condiments. I use their BBQ sauce when I do pulled chicken in the crock pot, buffalo sauce for the buffalo chicken in the crock pot, and their taco seasoning for my tacos each week. I also grab some of their salsa, their tortillas, and occasionally I’ll grab hard shells.

I also picked up this pasta salad to try as a side dish one night:

I usually grab eggs from there as well, our family eats a tonnnnnnnnn of eggs. So, I’ll grab several dozen. (note, sometimes it is cheaper to grab a large bulk box, but only if it’s not too far out of the way?)

We aren’t picky about bread, so I’ll get several loaves from there and any hot dog buns or burger buns we need. (and since we are talking school season ideas today, I wanted to suggest making peanut butter and jellies in advance and freezing them!)

I also have been grabbing the large cheese pizza there for our weekly family movie night. At 4.99, it is so much less than ordering in. My boys haven’t complained once. (I get a pizza at Trader Joe’s for me and my husband, see below)

Now, I also like to grab their meat specials. So, whether that’s sausage for breakfast (I like to do links during the school year. Make a couple packages on Sunday and warm up with eggs for breakfast. Or serve with Gluten Free Waffles from TJ’s.)

If chicken is in the 1.99 range and below, I’ll purchase it. I try to put in various marinades in labeled freezer bags before I freeze it. So, when it’s time to think about dinner, I can just pull out a bag to thaw. Then, I’ll either put it in the instant pot, crock pot, grill, oven, whatever. I love grabbing hamburger meat from Aldi! I will usually grab a big package and split it into several bags and freeze. Also, this last time I was there they had burgers 10 for 10.00. So, that’s two burger nights for my family.

Another thing, I regularly grab from Aldi are these frozen fruit bags. I try to drink a smoothie every day. So, saving on my frozen fruit is extremely helpful.

Let’s talk school lunch favorites:
I like to have several snack options on hand to throw in the lunch box for the boys. (in addition to whatever else they might take) Some of my favorites are:

Aforementioned produce: I try to wash and cut it as soon as I get it home so it’s easier throw in their lunch bins!

These fruit & Grain bars:

I love their selection of fruit snacks, we grabbed dinosaurs and sharks for the first month or so of school:

String cheese, because my kids need ALL THE PROTEIN with these long school days!

Applesauce cups (they also have the squeeze pouches!)

I don’t really do these for lunch boxes, but my kids like to eat these for breakfast and/or after school snack. They especially love the blueberry ones.

I also like to grab pretzels and split into smaller bags, sometimes I have enough time/energy to split into multiple small bags but most of the time I just throw them into the reusable bag the morning of.

Okay now, speaking of back to school and Aldi— I grabbed Sawyer this adorable lunch bag for 5.99 there! Worth checking their back to school deals.

Okay, one quick easy dinner I wanted to suggest from Aldi is to pair whatever tortellini they have with this pesto. I actually shared this in a simple Facebook post with a caption like “quick ten minute dinner idea” and so many people commented that they loved it!

Bonus from Aldi before we move into TJ’s: I don’t have a photo, because I ATE THEM ALL BECAUSE THEY ARE SO GOOD AND I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY ONLY COST 1.00. Their cookie aisle… is top notch. They have some peanut butter chocolate cookies that are so good. Go to their cookie aisle, thank me later.

Okay, let’s get started at Trader Joe’s. Full disclosure: my fingers are getting sore, so this will definitely be a two part journey.

Couple easy dinners right out the gate:

Grab some of their Mandarin Chicken and some frozen broccoli. Bake the chicken to package instructions. Lay the broccoli on a cookie sheet with a little oil, salt, and pepper and bake it with the chicken. Combine it altogether with the sauce once it’s done, yummmmm. (or just eat the chicken by itself with rice, noodles, or lettuce.

Make their burritos and pour their enchilada sauce on them. Serve with lettuce, sour cream, salsa.

Gnocchi with their amazing marinara sauce! Easyyyy peasy. (you can also do it with their cauliflower gnocchi, which is super good!)

Make it a pizza night. I love Trader Joe’s selection of pizzas!

These Bibimbap bowls are soooo tasty! One of my favorite lunches.

This pulled pork with their cole slow and corn bread! (or you could serve it on buns!) but I really love their boxed corn bread. I would have never tried it if not for the sample area, so shout out to the lady always giving out samples.

I love throwing these on the grill:

I always get my milk at Trader Joe’s because I think it’s the best value for Organic milk!

I like to grab brussell sprouts from their, they are so good baked!

I love their snack selection, I may do a separate post sharing my favorite snacks from there. Their animal crackers are always a crowd pleaser as well as their crispy chocolate chip cookies.

My kids love to take their cheese cracker for school lunches:

PS- I think they have the best seaweed around!

I just tried it this week, but their shawarma chicken thighs are great. I just served it with some lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce (also from TJ’s) on pita and it was really delicious! I had the leftover meat on a salad the next day and it was AMAZINGGGGGGGG.

Speaking of their tzatziki sauce, I love to get pita bread and their Gyro meat! Quick dinner with lettuce that my entire family enjoys.

I love their chicken fried rice, I get it for lunch ALL THE TIME.. (and my kids take it for school lunch a lot too!)

They have an amazing selection of fruit jellies and jams. I love to spice up the traditional PB&J with one of their cookie butters.

Their gluten free waffles are a school morning fan favorite!

I also love their everything seasoning.

Major fan of their green dragon hot sauce, too!

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks! I’m going to do some specific meals and share the price break down!

If you have favorite things from Aldi and/or Trader Joe’s, will you share below!? Thanks!

More about This Messy Season

This Messy Season is a blog serving families through practical tips for nurturing their families, emphasizing quality time and adventure. Helping young families bloom where they're planted, embrace their mess, and thrive through a series of honest, blog posts highlighting realistic travel tips, favorite products that simplify the work load of families, and family entertainment.

1 Comment
    1. Seriously love this post! You will love the pasta salad from Aldi! Helpful hint, make sure to mix the mayo and sauce packet together and rinse the noodles. The first time I made it I just threw it all in the bowl and it wasn’t as good. But the second time…so so so good! I can’t wait to see how your month goes and I love shopping the sales!
      Really looking forward to the lunch ideas, because I struggle so much with lunch.

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