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These Trader Joes Frozen Foods Are All Less Than $5 and Taste Better Than Takeout

Trader Joes is a paradise of frozen foodthat doesnt taste like frozen food.

The grocery store prioritizes ready-to-eat items, and over the years, has excelled at developing frozen meals that will fool your taste buds into thinking you ordered takeout from your favorite place down the block.

As with most items at Trader Joes, its alsovery hard to beat the pricesof these flash-frozen products. Im a regular customer at my local Trader Joes in Los Angeles and have scoured and tasted my way through the aisles. While not everything is a gem, there are a few under-the-radar treasures worth trying.

Here are the best buys in the Trader Joes frozen-foods section that can be found for $5 or lessand that youd even feel confident serving guests.

Its rare to find a Chinese frozen dish at Trader Joes that packs real heat, but youll get it when you dig into this version of kung pao chicken, especially if you bite into a whole dried pepper. Trader Joes doesnt skimpand even includes a package of peanuts to sprinkle on top.

How easy is it to cook?All you need is a stovetop and to follow the package directions. Pair with rice.

Also known as cha siu bao, this addictive type of Chinese pork bun might be challenging to find if youre not at morning or afternoon dim sum service at a Chinese restaurant. Unless, of course, you happen to grab the four-bun frozen package at Trader Joes. Ill confess the dough doesnt live up to fresh, homemade bao, but they still deliver. Plus, theyre so filling, two basically equal a meal.

How easy are they to cook?Steam over a pot of boiling water or on a steaming tray in a rice cooker, according to package instructions.

Trader Joes is a secret dumpling paradise, if you know where to look. Your first stop should be these impeccable frozen Asian-influenced dumplings. Try to overlook the confusing nametheyre called Thai even thoughgyoza is a type of Japanese dumpling. Featuring juicy shrimp coated in sharp ginger, these gyoza come in a one-pound package (equaling about 15 gyoza).

How easy are they to cook?Steam over a pot of boiling water or on a steaming tray in a rice cooker, according to package instructions.

This dish of roasted chicken in a mild curry sauce is perhaps the crown jewel of American (not to mention British) Indian takeout dishes. Longtime fans rave that the Trader Joes version matches what you can expect from a local restaurantbut at a fraction of the cost.

How easy is it to cook?Throw in the oven according to package instructions. Got a microwave? That works, too. (We wont tell anyone.)

Frozen pizza is a hallowed American tradition. Elevate your guilty pleasure (just slightly) with Trader Joes absurdly luxurious mushroom-and-black-truffle pizzaexcuse me,flatbread, as it insists on being called. The fragrance alone is enough to soothe your stomach pangs.

How easy is it to cook?Incredibly. Cook in the oven according to package instructions.

Gnocchi made from cauliflower? Might sound dicey, if you dont know what to expect. But I cant recommend highly enough these cult favorite, gluten-free, and supremely healthy Italian-style dumplings.

How easy are they to cook?Dismiss the poorly conceived instructions on the back and follow our ownrecipefor this Trader Joes staple: Defrost the gnocchi, pan-fry them, and cover with sauce, cheese, or whatever toppings you desire.

Taquitos are the ultimate snack for noshing on the couch while watching Netflix. This generous package of taquitos can also easily transform into dinner, especially when paired with your favorite go-to salsa or guacamole.

How easy are they to cook?Throw those taquitos in the oven until they turn into crunchy sticks of deliciousness.

Okay,technicallythis breaks our self-imposed $5 budget, but only barelyand this quiche is more than worth the extra pocket change.Loaded with 20% uncured hamand plenty of Swiss cheese encased in a flaky crust, this rich dish serves up to four. Get ready to ascend to pork-and-dairy heaven.

How easy is it to cook?The quiche is already fully cooked. A few minutes in the oven, per the package instructions, and it will crisp up beautifully.

Related video: Trader Joes Has a YouTube Channel and Its Delightful [provided by Food & Wine]

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