Food & Drink

9 Great Trader Joe's Appetizers to Help You Win the Super Bowl (Party)

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Before the Super Bowl, Tom Brady will likely consume a crisp celery stick, one teaspoon of almond butter, and the serum from the fountain of youth (or something even more mind-boggling). But because you don’t have to play professional sports at 41 years-old, you can eat like a gluttonous maniac before the big game. And that’s great news, especially because Trader Joe’s has a bunch of amazing game-day food you can easily prepare for your Super Bowl party this year.

We’ve got nine of the best party dishes you can easily throw in the oven or microwave and pass off as something you prepared yourself, which will impress all your friends and give you more time to do what’s important on game day: drink beer (especially TJ’s brews!) and watch 14 hours of pre-game coverage. Here are the nine best Trader Joe’s foods for your Super Bowl party.

Mini Beef Tacos

This is one of the few items we’re going to list here that does not look like it does on the box, but this will be one of the more impressive items you can make for the party. Throw the entire bag of tacos (about a pounds worth, and all for just $4.29!) on a tray and bake ‘em. While those are cooking, pop open a bottle of TJ’s Chunky Salsa and tear open bags of TJ’s Chunky Spicy Guacamole and Organic Three Cheese Blend. When the tacos come out of the oven, place the guac in a bowl and dress each mini taco with a smidge of salsa and cheese. You’ll look like you heroically prepared tacos for everyone… and you kind of did!

Party Size Mini Meatballs

Bless Trader Joe’s for pre-cooking these tiny, seasoned balls of pork and beef. Sure, you could probably make them from scratch in an Instant Pot fairly easily, but isn’t it better to devote your time to researching whether betting on the Rams is the right move? Just me? You don’t even need to thaw the meatballs: it takes four minutes to warm up on high in the microwave, and another 30 seconds to stick a toothpick in each one to make it look like you made them from scratch in the Instant Pot.

Hot & Spicy Chicken Wings

No one thinks you have a deep fryer in your kitchen and are making wings from scratch. Unless you lie and say, “I had to break in my new home deep-fryer in with these wings for all my friends!” Some people would say it’s wrong to lie, but has lying ever hurt anyone? Probably not. Ok, that’s a lie. There are only about 10 wings per $5.99 bag, so it’d make sense to get at least two bags if you’re hosting more people than just your friend Steve. And because these don’t come with wing sauce and we’d never ask you to sauce your own wings, just buy a bottle of Trader Joe’s Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing & Dip to take those wings straight to Flavortown and/or the nearest delicious municipality.

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

You’re as likely to see dip at a Super Bowl party as you are to overhear someone say, “If the Patriots win one more f’ing Super Bowl, I swear to…” (excluding parties being held in Massachusetts and its surrounding areas). This dip delivers on the cheese and spinach flavors, while the artichoke takes a bit of a back seat, flavor-wise. Packers fans and other cheeseheads will love the combo of Parmesan and Swiss in every bite. Even better, it only takes 4.5 minutes total in the microwave before some piping hot dip gets served to your guests and inevitably burns the roof of their mouths. If you truly love your friends and family, you’ll pair this with a bag of Parmesan, Garlic & Herb Pita Chips. Or a loaf of crusty French bread, if you’re feeling super fancy.

Spicy Shrimp Appetizer Duo

Because not everyone loves to stuff their face with beef and excessive amounts of cheese, it’s always good to mix things up and offer a seafood option. TJ’s makes it easy with this duo of seafood apps: six lemongrass shrimp wontons and six kung pao shrimp rolls. Be warned: if you’re not into massive amounts of lemongrass notes in the wontons, don’t pick this up. But we’re betting you won’t mind the lemongrass, or waiting 14-16 minutes while they cook in the oven. And because both of these morsels scream out to be slathered in a delicious sauce, look for all-purpose teriyaki Trader Joe San Soyaki to enhance your guests dipping pleasure.

Parmesan Pastry Pups

It takes but 20 minutes to have perfectly cooked, meaty, flaky, cheesy bites of magic to emerge from your oven. The only problem with this product is that TJ’s only includes 14 of these elevated pigs in a blanket (ok fine, these are beef franks… so, cows in a blanket?). We guarantee that if you don’t buy two boxes, these will be gone in two minutes because someone at the party will eat all of them. Don’t even give them the stink eye when they do, it’s not their fault. These are just too damn good. On second thought, buy three boxes. Save 14 of them for to make yourself the day after the party.

Brie and Tomato Tarte

If your guests think you're running the type of low-class super bowl party where you serve frozen pizza, they better think again. Trader Joe's says it's a “very French thin crust,” which is  pretty strange wording considering it is a product of France, like champagne or smoking extremely thin cigarettes while wearing berets. The layer of creme fraiche, brie, and cherry tomatoes lay atop a crust that will remind you more of a puff pastry than a traditional pizza crust. It's not pizza, but it is extraordinarily decadent and full of cheese, which is a huge win in our book. And if you really MUST have pizza, you can find ample options for that too.

Pastry Bites With Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onions

Trader Joe’s loves puff pastry so much, if it were possible for a supermarket chain to marry an appetizer featuring puff pastry cradling an absurd amount of melty feta and caramelized onions, that company would be down on one knee right now. It takes 20 minutes to prepare these bites in an oven at 400 degrees, and the toughest part of that preparation is… nothing. It takes practically no preparation (just place the enclosed tray of bite-sized beauties on a baking sheet) -- the difficult part is waiting for them to cool down before consuming them. Fair warning: it may not be humanly possible.

Mint Flavored Fudge Brownie Bar

Picture this: the game ends with the Patriots defeating the LA Rams and Sean McVay’s exquisitely groomed facial hair because Tom Brady finds Gronk open in the end zone (final score: 34-28 Pats). You and your friends are super bummed, except for the few Pats fans and everyone who bet the over. But then you bring out a tray of minty brownies and everyone’s in a good mood again! Except for your friend Steve who bet the under... that poor, poor bastard. This combination of minty frosting, chocolate ganache, and a cookie crumble that will make you forget the events of the last three hours. TJ’s says you can also defrost it by microwaving it at 30-second intervals if you forget, but if you remember to put it in the fridge about an hour before kickoff, the cold, minty treat will be ready to eat by the end of the night.