Trader Joe’s MARBLE RYE BREAD


I just checked out a new product at Trader Joe’s, their sliced Marble Rye bread.

Now as a native New Yawk’r – and a member of the tribe – I grew up eating rye bread so I know what a really good rye bread should taste like. So I can’t lie and tell you this TJ’s rye bread ranks with the best NYC Jewish bakery rye bread, however this Trader Joe Marble Rye is a very decent rye bread. Opening the bag, you do get that slightly sour & wonderful Eastern European smell of that rye bread has. This is not at all like crummy tasteless supermarket commercial rye bread (think “Levy’s” – ugh!). This is a decent if not stellar rye way better than that supermarket crap with zero taste and texture. Here is the most important thing to know about TJ’s Marble Rye Bread – it is especially good when it is TOASTED and that’s the way you should eat it. Toasting this bread really improves this bread and makes it show it’s potential. Toasted up and spread with some good butter, this rye bread is delicious. I always eat it toasted, and strongly suggest you do as well, even if just a little bit. Toasting it improves it 100%. I hope that point is clear. It will make a lovely sandwich or even a great grilled cheese! This marble rye bread is $3.49 for a 20 oz loaf. A bakery rye bread here in NYC is really expensive now, likely $6-7 a loaf – so this is a decent deal for a more than decent rye bread that you don’t have to go to a bakery to get. I would buy this again. If you like rye, check out TJ’s version. It’s adds a nice Euro variety to TJ’s breads on offer.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC POLENTA


Trader Joe’s ORGANIC POLENTA; cooked; ready to heat and serve. Gluten Free.

Ingredients: Water, Organic Corn Meal, Salt

Just in case you are not familiar with Polenta, it’s simple – and delicious. Polenta is just cooked coarsely ground corn meal. This Organic version from Trader Joe’s comes in a tube pre-cooked. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices which you grill up into crispy fried polenta. Delicious – and cheap! This is why polenta has been a staple of Italian “cucina povera” for centuries, very similar of course to “grits” here. Polenta is inexpensive, healthy, gluten free, and vegetarian.

TJ’s tube of cooked polenta is convenient, shelf stable, and only $1.99. One tube can easily make a dinner for two people. We love it as an alternative to pasta. I like to pan fry it and recommend that as the best way to serve this. The package also says you can bake it. However please don’t even think about microwaving as it also says on the package; it has to be crispy, as crispy as possible. If cooked till crispy fried polenta gets a really nice chewy “meaty” texture.

As shown in the first picture is how I made the polenta into dinner recently for us. I sautéed the slices in olive oil plus a little butter to help it brown better, for maybe 10 minutes a side – note, this is double the recommended time of 4-5 minutes on the package. Trust me, you want this very crispy, golden brown and delicious. I flipped the first side over and put a bit of mozzarella on top of the slices, which melted as the other side cooked. When it was ready to serve, I plated it and spooned over tomato sauce, in this case TJ’s Roasted Garlic Marinara sauce which is quite good by the way. I grated some extra cheese, Asiago all over. This made for a delicious Italian dinner along with a little salad and crusty bread. Dinner for two for about $4 bucks.

I always like to keep one of these shelf stable packages of TJ’s polenta in the pantry as it can make an easy, fast dinner for those times when you have “nothing” to eat in the house. A tube of this and a jar of sauce and you have dinner in 10 minutes. Not to mention Polenta’s perfect for Meatless Monday’s. Would I but this again? Yes I buy this regularly, its an excellent cheap TJ product and a great staple to have in your pantry.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/fried-polenta-5535085

PS DIY PAN FRIED GRITS – might be worth the little extra effort (cook the grits, let cool, cut into slices) not to mention even cheaper

Trader Joe’s LATTEMIELE TEA COOKIES


Product of Italy

Nice little Milk and Honey cookies that are terrific and a great price. I’m calling them tea cookies as they are perfect with tea, or milk, or coffee, or pretty much anything. $2.49 a package. Very tasty. I would buy them again.

TJ’s BLARNEY SCONE (Irish Soda Bread)


SEASONAL ITEM (ST. PATRICK’S DAY)

I guess someone at Trader Joe’s thinks naming this “Blarney Scone” is pretty funny, huh? It’s Irish Soda Bread just so you know, and not a scone. It’s quite good. Loaded generously with raisins (or are they currents?) I like this best sliced thin and lightly toasted, spread with good butter. Yum! The Irish Soda bread goes for $3.99 for a 20 oz loaf. If you want some, grab it up as I don’t think Trader Joe’s will stock this much more than a week or two around St. Patrick’s Day every year.

TJ’s Old Fashioned CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS


As a kid, I always loved graham crackers and these kind of remind me of the grahams we used to eat (which I am guessing were Nabisco’s). Except for one thing. TJ’s are Trader Joe’s version of these classic graham crackers are WAY BETTER! These TJ’s grahams are thicker, heartier, and have a bigger cinnamon flavor. I think of these as “gourmet graham crackers for adults” – though the kids will like them too.

When we both tasted these after dinner for the first time, the two of us immediately gave a big thumbs up at how good these are. They were delicious with milk, tea and coffee, they went great with some ice cream, and of course were great just on their own. I will be buying these again for sure in future. Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Graham Crackers are $3.99 for a 1 lb box.

Bakers: If you make graham cracker crusts with these I bet they would be fabulous.

TJ’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS


Trader Joe’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS ($2.69, 17 oz package of 10)

There are some traditional regional food divides in some countries. Traditionally in Mexico in the North they lean towards using flour tortillas (Tortillas de Harina) while Southern Mexico traditionally prefers tortillas made from corn (Tortillas de maiz). I generally prefer corn tortillas as they’re more flavorful and have a chewier texture when cooked. However sometimes I do buy flour tortillas as they have certain qualities that make them useful for some things. For one thing, flour tortillas are softer and more pliable so easier to fold. They are usually bigger too so can hold more ingredients inside. They can be used for Quesadillas and Burritos. They can also be used for “wrap type” sandwiches, etc. If you want flour tortillas, I think the Trader Joe’s HABANERO LIME FLOUR TORTILLAS are an interesting choice as they bring a bit of flavor to the party. These tortillas have a little bit of heat in them from habanero chiles, plus a bit of lime flavor. They have a lovely color, tinted reddish orange from anatto seed (a natural food coloring). Package says “MEDIUM HOT” but remember when you add fillings that moderates the spicy level.

Last night, I made Quesadillas (vegetarian actually) for dinner with these Habanero/Lime tortillas. Filling was: Pepper Jack Cheese, Soy Chorizo and TJ’s Refried Salsa Pinto Beans (which I gussied up*). Topping of avocado, tomato, more cheese and Green Dragon SauceMore Refritos on the side…. They were really tasty!

Need a recipe for Quesadillas? Here’s one…

  • TIP – Out of the can, TJ’s Salsa Pinto Refried Beans are really boring. They need a little work if you want them to have some taste. I add olive oil, oregano, cumin, chile powder and a little Green Dragon or Zhoug. Cuban Style Spice Blend works great with these or any beans. Warm frijole refritos over low heat, stirring often so the bottom doesnt burn. Some cheese on top is nice!