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For friends Holly Erickson and Natalie Mortimer, the duo behind recipe blog The Modern Proper, food isn’t just for fuel, it’s for bringing people together—and that’s exactly what they’ve done since they came up with the idea for their site on a walk one evening. Among the pair’s more than 150,000 Instagram devotees, all eager to see what they’ll be cooking next, are designers Emily Henderson and Anne Sage; foodies such as Beth Kirby of Local Milk; and, of course, us. We too would like to be the kind of people who can easily whip up a homemade pizza on a random weeknight. So imagine our joy when we discovered Erickson and Mortimer source a lot of their go-to ingredients from none other than Trader Joe’s.

We spoke to Erickson to get the lowdown on her pantry staples. From multipurpose miracle sauces to her latest TJ’s discovery, her finds don’t disappoint. 

Photo by The Modern Proper

The Ingredients

  1. Jarred Bruschetta Sauce
  2. Organic Broccoli Slaw
  3. Candied Pecans
  4. Hummus
  5. Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto

The Dishes

The Pizza-Night Lifesaver

“I always keep the bruschetta sauce on hand for our many pizza nights. It tastes way more fresh than any store-bought pizza sauce out there,” says Erickson. Pro tip: Give it a quick pulse in the blender to make it smoother for spreading. Just add mozzarella. 

The Instant Salad

“I never leave Trader Joe’s without grabbing one of its fabulous slaw kits,” says Erickson. She alternates between the organic broccoli slaw, the broccoli-and-kale slaw, and the healthy eight chopped veggies mix, adding some grilled chicken and whatever dressing she has available for a quick and easy dinner

The Cheese Board Showstopper

You already know the TJ’s cheese section is a can’t-miss, but Erickson also makes a pit stop in the nuts section when prepping appetizers for a party: “The candied pecans are especially nice on a cheese platter, and you can use any leftovers on salads the next day!”

The Hero Condiment

When Erickson’s family dinners need to be taken up a notch, she turns to the humble hummus. “You will always find hummus in my cart—I like to grab both the Mediterranean and spicy versions,” she notes. Go ahead and pair the dips with The Modern Proper’s Grilled Chicken Shawarma Kebabs or Mediterranean Meatballs for a full meal. 

The New Favorite

“Our latest Trader Joe’s obsession is the Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto. It’s herby and flavorful, and we use it on everything from sandwiches to pastas and even pizza!” says Erickson. Test it out for yourself with The Modern Proper’s Heirloom BLT and Salmon Pasta With Pesto recipes, subbing in this TJ’s fave for the homemade option. 

See more of the best Trader Joe’s products:  These Trader Joe’s Products Are a Chef’s Weeknight Dinner Saviors I Use These Trader Joe’s Sauces on Literally Everything  The Best Trader Joe’s Products You’ve Never Heard Of