Can a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s result in a sumptuous, butter-slathered Thanksgiving turkey and all the comforting, coma-inducing trimmings? And if so, what would this sort of culinary endeavor cost? In an effort to find out, I headed over to my local Trader Joe’s, after having perused the latest Fearless Flyer online. Here’s what I found.
1. All Natural Brined Fresh Young Turkey
- $1.99 per pound
These no-antibiotics-ever turkeys, available in the store starting Nov. 10, come from farms in California, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania, where they roamed free and were fed an all-vegetarian diet, the Fearless Flyer proudly attests. At $1.99 per pound, you can choose a bird weighing 12-16 pounds or 18-22 pounds. Or, those celebrating Thanksgivukkah can opt for a Glatt Kosher bird, weighing 12-16 pounds, for $2.49 per pound.
— Vibhu Mishra (@bullet350) November 7, 2017
If that’s too much turkey, you’ve got another option. Those with a shorter guest list can go with a Fully Cooked Brined Bone In Half Turkey Breast for $6.99 per pound. These come from a Midwest supplier who has split a full breast, left the bone in and marinated it in a brine of salt, sugar, black pepper, and herb butter. It’s already been seared and slowly cooked. All that’s left for you to do is bake it for 40 minutes, and it’s ready to serve.
Are your family members not fans of turkey? Trader Joe’s has you covered with Spiral Sliced Uncured Hams for $4.99 per pound. To prepare the ham, warm it in the oven at 275 degrees for 1-2 hours, depending on the size, adding on the packet of molasses-based glaze for basting.
Tally for a 12-pound Brined Fresh Young Turkey: $23.88
Next: See a lower-calorie alternative to breadcrumb stuffing.
2. Riced Cauliflower Stuffing
- $2.99 per 1-pound bag
Those who wish to indulge in savory stuffing without all the calories of breadcrumbs may enjoy Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stuffing, found in the freezer aisle. It runs $2.99 per one-pound bag. In addition to the riced cauliflower, it’s made up of carrots, dried cranberries, leeks, onions, celery, and herbs. To cook, toss it into a skillet with a bit of oil. (Note to those who do crave traditional breadcrumb stuffing: Pick up a box of Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix, priced around $3.99 per box. Or, try this homemade Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing recipe that has been passed around among the Thanksgiving cooks on my block.)
Tally so far: $26.87
Next: This may save you from peeling, boiling, chopping, mashing, and baking.
3. Mashed Potatoes
- $2.49 per 28-ounce bag
I don’t know about you, but as a Thanksgiving cook of 14 years, I normally bake most of my items from scratch. However, there are one or two items for which I’ve never felt it’s worth the effort. Mashed potatoes are one of those. What I get for all of the exhausting peeling, boiling, chopping, mashing, and baking just isn’t worth all the arm strain and time. If I can find an easier way to come up with tasty, creamy mashed potatoes, I’m all over it. So, this year I’m excited to try Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes, which come frozen for $2.49 per 28-ounce bag. They’re blended with whole milk and butter and seasoned accordingly. Just reheat these “medallions” and add in gravy, cheese, or whatever you prefer.
Tally so far: $29.36
Next: Another time-saving alternative comes covered in real maple syrup.
4. Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- $4.49 per 14-ounce container
I’ve been whipping up Pumpkin Pie Sweet Potatoes for the past several Thanksgivings. This year, we’ll see how Trader Joe’s Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes stack up instead. These are sold in the refrigerated aisle, priced at $4.49 for a container ready to be microwaved or baked in the oven. They’ve got cranberries, pecans, butter, and real maple syrup.
Tally so far: $33.85
Next: A souflée-esque, custard-like side dish? The proof is in the pudding.
5. Corn Pudding
- $4.49 per 16-ounce container
This Corn Pudding is advertised in the Fearless Flyer as being modeled after an employee’s grandma’s recipe, described as “a souflée-esque side with a thin, golden crust and custard-like consistency.” How could I not give it a try? It just may prove to be a refreshing alternative to your basic corn casserole. The Trader Joe’s version is sold next to the sweet potatoes in the refrigerator aisle. It comes at $4.49 for 16 ounces in a container that can be popped right into the microwave or oven.
Tally so far: $38.34
Next: We’d bet the farm this is better than any canned version.
6. Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce
- $3.49 for a 16-ounce container
Advertised in the Fearless Flyer as “fresh, whole, North American-grown cranberries that are boiled in water and sugar until they swell with sweet-tart flavor,” this Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce runs $3.49 for a 16-ounce container. It’s a pretty sure bet this beats the pants off anything that comes out of a can. The three ingredients are cranberries, sugar, and water.
Tally so far: $41.83
Next: A bag of these will help clean off guests’ plates.
7. Aloha rolls
- $2.99 for a dozen
Trader Joe’s describes these Sweet Pull-Apart Rolls as “light, fluffy, and perfect for sopping up all the leftover gravy goodness on your Thanksgiving plate.” They’re sold in the bakery section at $2.99 for a dozen.
Tally so far: $44.82
Next: Get intrigued by an “earthy” butter alternative.
8. Black Truffle Butter
- $2.99 per 3-ounce tub
This Black Truffle Butter looks like an alternative to regular butter for your rolls. Trader Joe’s describes it as “smooth and creamy” with an “entrancing, earthy aroma and flavor.” You’ll find it in the refrigerator section at $2.99 for a three-ounce tub.
Tally so far: $47.81
Next: A handcrafted crust is filled with cinnamon-spiced pumpkin custard.
9. Pumpkin Pie
For $5.99, you can take home a 27-ounce Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie, sold in the bakery section. The Fearless Flyer proudly describes this Thanksgiving dessert staple as “a tender, handcrafted crust filled with silky, sweet, and cinnamon-spiced pumpkin custard – made with real pumpkin purée, of course.”
Another holiday dessert available at Trader Joe’s is Nantucket Style Cranberry Pie. It’s sold in the freezer aisle for $5.99. The Fearless Flyer describes it as traditionally found on holiday tables across New England and a “pleasantly tart alternative to traditionally super-sweet holiday offerings.” Ingredients include cranberries and walnuts, with accents of almond and vanilla.
Tally after adding in Pumpkin Pie: $53.80
Next: A turkey cookie kit comes straight from Germany.
10. Gingerbread Turkey Kit
Trader Joe’s Turkey Kit Gingerbread with Candy Decorations – 1 LB 10.4 oz (748g) https://t.co/b2oO5gtxoB
— Christmas Nick (@christmasnicks) November 7, 2017
The Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Turkey Kit sells for $7.99 and comes with a gingerbread cookie and candy decorations. All you need to add are the egg whites and dash of vinegar in order to assemble, decorate, and then gobble up this turkey treat. The cookie is made of real gingerbread. These kits are imported from Germany.
I just bought a turkey ginger bread from Trader Joe’s like instead of a gingerbread house, it’s a turkey
— Morgan B. (@MorganBQuiet) November 2, 2017
Tally so far: $61.79
Next: This salad has flown off the shelves.
11. Turkey Cranberry Apple Salad
- $3.99 per 10.25-ounce container
You may wonder, do we really need more turkey? Well, this Turkey Cranberry Apple Salad can be put out amidst your Thanksgiving spread or appetizers, or it can be eaten the following day as a complement to your leftover side dishes. The possibilities are endless. It’s made of turkey, dried cranberries, diced green apples, pecans, and red onions. The dressing is made up of mayonnaise, white mustard, lemon juice, black pepper – and the “secret ingredient,” sage. And, it must be quite popular, as it seems to have flown off the shelves.
I will include it in my price tally, however, as I’m intrigued enough to go back for it.
Tally so far: $65.78
Next: Your Thanksgiving meal is transformed into a potato chip.
12. Turkey and Stuffing Kettle Chips
- $1.99 per 7-ounce bag
This snack from Trader Joe’s is another item you might offer to appease hungry guests while you await dinner’s completion. If it gets into the wrong hands before Thanksgiving, however, there’s no telling what will be left. Turkey and Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips are a novel idea. The Fearless Flyer says the science is in the seasoning, and first you taste the turkey, then you taste the stuffing. “This is Thanksgiving dinner in a chip, and just like your regular holiday meal, one helping won’t be enough!” Trader Joe’s boasts.
The Trader Joe's fearless flyer just told me there's such thing as turkey and stuffing kettle chips and I need these now
— maya shaff (@maya_shaff) November 8, 2017
Tally so far: $67.77
Next: What’s the real reason so many people shop at Trader Joe’s?
13. Trader Joe’s Wine
- Two Buck Chuck sells for less than $3.
Whether it’s Thanksgiving season or not, wine lovers find it hard to visit Trader Joe’s and not walk out with a bottle or two of Charles Shaw or other low-priced wines. A bottle of the popular “Two Buck Chuck” sells for less than $3. Whether you’re in search of red wine or some white to complement your Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll find something affordable at Trader Joe’s.
Affordable non-Charles Shaw wines are abundant as well. This Terrain Vineyards red blend runs $3.99.
A bottle of Contadino Pinot Grigio looks to be a popular seller and runs $4.99.
Tally so far including the 2 wines: $76.75
Next: Is it worth shopping at Trader Joe’s for Thanksgiving?
Grand total: $76.75
- Not bad at all, for a turkey, 7 sides, 2 desserts, 2 wines, and 1 bag of chips
Keep in mind I purchased one package of each of the sides. Our Thanksgiving dinner is made up of nine people, including kids. Obviously, you’ll need more if you’ve got a much bigger crowd coming to your house. Also, my total does not include gravy, other beverages, and random odds and ends you could either opt to purchase at Trader Joe’s or any other grocery store.
With the price figured out and most of the shopping done, the other real test – and the fun part – will be the taste test once the big day arrives.
Next: Find your nearest Trader Joe’s.
Find your nearest Trader Joe’s
- Trader Joe’s runs 474 stores nationwide.
Trader Joe’s operates 474 stores nationwide. To find the one near you and see store hours, visit Trader Joe’s online. The latest Fearless Flyer can be picked up in stores or accessed online. If you’re looking for a random recommendation, when I was checking out, I heard employees talking about how great the Roasted Tomato & Cranberry Salsa is. It might be worth adding to the list for a future shopping trip.
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