Trader Joe’s PUMPKIN CHIPOTLE ROASTING SAUCE (Fall Item) with Recipe, Braised Chicken & Vegetables


This “roasting sauce” is a new Fall item for as part of TJ’s annual “pumpkin spectacular”. Now I’m not one who goes crazy every Fall with all their Everything Pumpkin items. While some of the products they come up with are good (like this one!) some sound just bad to me (case point, TJ’s PUMPKIN SPICE HUMMUS, whose very name offends me as did TJ’s infamous “chocolate hummus”). But having said this, I hear Pumpkin Spice Hummus is popular and sells out often, so clearly I’m in the minority! Anyway as far as this new sauce is concerned, I liked it. It was better than what I imagined. This PUMPKIN CHIPOTLE ROASTING sauce was quite tasty used it to braise chicken and vegetables (a recipe follows below).

This Pumpkin Chipotle sauce uses an imaginative blend of ingredients. Though it has pumpkin puree as the first ingredient it has so many other ingredients, the pumpkin flavor blends in with so many other flavors it makes a complex and tasty combination. This doesn’t have anything like a “pumpkin pie” flavor at all. Rather this sauce’s flavor profile is complex, balanced and delicious. Ingredients are: pumpkin puree, cane sugar, water, apple cider vinegar, apple juice concentrate, onion puree, sea salt, molasses, garlic, tomato paste, vinegar, chipotle in adobo puree, chipotle chili powder and spices like nutmeg, ginger and allspice which are subtle here and blend well.

I used this sauce to make a braised chicken dish which turned out delicious. I used boneless chicken thighs and onion, garlic, celery, yellow peppers and mushrooms. This would work very well with bone-in thighs too, roasted as per TJ’s recipe (see link below)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/roasted-pumpkin-chipotle-chicken-thighs

In addition to chicken, I am sure this sauce will work very well with pork. Also just on roasted veggies. Probably it would work well even with tofu too. So it might be fun to experiment with this sauce and see what you can come up with. Here’s my saucy dish in the picture.

Braised Boneless Chicken Thighs (sliced up) in Pumpkin Chipotle sauce with vegetables

Trader Joe’s suggests roasting it with cauliflower or peppers which sounds good and they also mention using it with pasta too…. I have not tried that yet.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/pumpkin-chipotle-roasting-sauce-074648

This is how I made my chicken dish if you are interested.

RECIPEBONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS IN PUMPKIN CHIPOTLE SAUCE : Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dust with a little flour (optional). Brown chicken in 2 tsp olive oil for about 5 minutes per side. till golden. When browned, remove temporarily. Toss in your chopped vegetables to the pan (onions, garlic, celery, sliced bell peppers, sliced mushrooms). Sauté on low-medium heat for about five minutes till translucent. Then add a few tablespoons of liquid (wine, stock or water) to the pan to de-glaze it, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom. Add your chicken back in and cover with Pumpkin Roasting Sauce and braise on gentle simmer (either on top of the stove or in the oven, loosely covered). I used about 3/4 of the jar in my dish but you can adjust amount if you want less or more sauce in the finished dish. Simmer / braise on low heat for about 25 minutes or so. If you use chicken breasts instead of thighs, reduce cooking time to about 12 minutes and if using bone in chicken simmer or roast for about 40 minutes. When done, I took out the chicken, rested it a bit, then sliced it and added it back to my sauce. Leave whole if you prefer of course. Check seasoning for salt and pepper. Optional – add 2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce. Serve the chicken, veggies and sauce on top of Jasmine rice (or orzo or potatoes).

TJ’s says: “Use this Sauce to coat some Baby Cauliflower and Organic Mini Sweet Peppers before roasting them in a hot oven. Make it a marinade for chicken or pork to turn into an aromatic, shredded taco filling. Or give it a try on pasta night, combined with a touch of cream and tossed with Organic Cascatelli Pasta.”

PUMPKIN CHIPOTLE ROASTING SAUCE is $3.49 a jar (14.5 oz). I would buy this again. If you like it, I would say stock up on a few jars as it may vanish after Thanksgiving as I think its a seasonal item.

Trader Joe’s “Feed 4 for $10” recipes…


https://www.traderjoes.com/home/discover/guides/10-dollar-recipes-to-feed-four

Trader Joe’s acknowledges what we customers know all too well now: how much more expensive it is to feed your family these days due to price increases and inflation. We consumers need to get the biggest bang for the buck from every dollar we can. Hence I think Trader Joe’s is smart to admit this and “help” us with some ideas and recipes in their

“Feed 4 for $10” guide.

Visit that link for Trader Joe’s recipes. One recipe is for an EASY SPICY CHILI with ground chicken, a can each of tomatoes and beans and their super useful TACO SEASONING mix (which I swear by and only costs .79 cents!) They say this Chicken Chili costs about $9.04 to feed four. I would budget in another $1.60 to buy some Corn Tortillas which will be good with chili. They assume you have rice in your pantry. I have a chili recipe with ground turkey which is similar to theirs. Check that out too. You can just switch the turkey for chicken if you prefer. Currently a pound of ground chicken at the moment is 3.99. Ground meats have no waste and I think makes a decent bang as the main / protein. GROUND TURKEY is about $4.29 for a pound. Want to make a VEGETARIAN CHILI? You can use these recipes, just swap in some organic tofu (drained well and crumbled). The Organic Tofu is still only $1.99! Some people swear if you freeze tofu, it gives a better “meatier” texture

https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/freezing-tofu/

Trader Joe’s Organic Sparkling Ginger Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage


My wife loves this and told me she’s “addicted” to it. I tried it, liked it too. Very refreshing. Mild ACV taste/tingle. Made with organic apple juice and no added sugars. It’s $1.69 for 12 oz and only 35 calories. “Healthy soda”!

Here’s what Trader Joe’s says about the product: “What can’t apple cider vinegar do? Some folks use it in marinades, others use it to pickle produce, some even use it as a cleaning agent. As it happens, you can now add “use it to make a remarkably refreshing soda” to the list, with the introduction of Trader Joe’s Organic Sparkling Ginger + Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage. This tart and tangy sparkler combines pleasantly pucker-y organic lemon juice and bright, bracing organic ginger with (you guessed it) organic apple cider vinegar to create one curiously cool and crisp drink. Best enjoyed nice and cold, our Organic Sparkling Ginger + Lemon Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage at once offers all the thirst-quenching qualities of a lemonade, the exhilarating bite of spicy ginger, and the playful mix of juicy and tangy that only apple cider vinegar can supply. It makes for an especially delicious anytime drink, though we find that its unique flavor profile makes it especially amenable to pairing with rich or spicy foods.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/organic-sparkling-ginger–lemon-apple-cider-vinegar-beverage-064431

Trader Joe’s GREEN JACKFRUIT & recipe for Pulled BBQ Jackfruit


My DIY Pulled Jackfruit on Aloha Bun with coleslaw

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit, popular with vegetarians as a “meat substitute”. When cooked it can have the texture of “pulled meat” such as pulled pork or chicken or ropa vieja. It doesn’t have much taste but it easily absorbs flavors and sauces and it’s quite good cooked up with BBQ sauce as “pulled jackfruit”. Trader Joe’s carried a pouch of PULLED JACK FRUIT IN SMOKY BBQ SAUCE in a green foil pouch (see below) but it got discontinued. Alot of people liked it and I did too, despite not being vegetarian. TJ’s does sell this can of JACKFRUIT so you can make the same thing fairly easily yourself, just mixing this can of jackfruit with your favorite BBQ sauce. A can is only $1.99 too!

How does one use Trader Joe’s Green Jackfruit in Brine, you ask? It takes on a “meaty” texture, and, much like tofu, absorbs the flavors of sauces. Our favorite preparation involves cooking jackfruit in barbecue sauce, where it eventually shreds like pulled pork, ready to be piled on a warm Honey Wheat Hamburger Bun and crowned with crunchy cabbage.

UPDATE: This is in stores again.

what it looks in the can; frankly not too appetizing, yet!
after cooking the Jackfruit; Now it looks pretty good!

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/pulled-jackfruit-sandwich

HOW TO MAKE PULLED JACKFRUIT MINI SLIDER BUNS: After opening the can, dump the liquid out and put the fruit into a colander. Rinse the jackfruit thoroughly and drain it. To get the texture, I just used my fingers and crushed up the jackfruit piece by piece. The seeds you can mash or crush or leave as is. Sauté the jackfruit in a pot in some EVOO (or butter) for about 5 minutes on low heat, stirring it gently. Add your favorite BBQ sauce (1/2 cup per can?) in. I used the SRIRACHA ROASTED GARLIC sauce, a good match. Cover the pan and simmer on very low heat for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so and making sure it doesn’t burn. It will be thick when done. Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes. When you are ready to assemble the sandwiches, put a scoop of the jackfruit on†o the bottom half of a TJ’s ALOHA BUN (or brioche roll). Top with some coleslaw and the top half of the bun. Enjoy! A bit messy to eat but quite tasty! 1 Can served 2 of us easily with the fixings.

Directions as per TJ’s website

(note I liked it without the water, or just a few tablespoons)

  1. Prepare Pulled Jackfruit: Drain jackfruit and pat dry. Partially shred jackfruit chunks into smaller pieces. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add jackfruit and sauté for five minutes. Add BBQ sauce and water to pan and stir to evenly coat jackfruit. Cover pan and simmer on medium-low heat, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and pulling jackfruit apart as it becomes tender.
  2. Prepare Tangy Cole Slaw: While jackfruit cooks, in a large bowl, toss cabbage blend with mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 
  3. Prepare Sandwiches: Place a scoop of pulled jackfruit on the bottom of a bun. Top with diced onions, coleslaw, and bun top. Eat and repeat until satisfied!

Trader Joe’s SIMPLER TIMES LAGER (beer)


This is one of Trader Joe’s most inexpensive beers, which is a surprisingly good craft beer.

This lager is crisp and easy to drink, and has well-balanced flavors that pairs well with food and is excellent on its own. Also suprising is it’s ABV of 6.2. It’s brewed by a family-owned craft beer brewing company in Wisconsin, which has been brewing beer for 150 years.

Very refreshing and tasty and a super bargain for the price – under a dollar. There is also a Simple Times Pilsner which is crisp and light but a bit less flavorful than this Lager but also pretty good.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/simpler-times-lager-12pk-162590

Trader Joe’s GREEK CHICKPEAS with parsley and cumin


Absolutely great pantry item. For out of a can, this is really tasty. The flavors are good, they have lemon, parsley, cumin, garlic and black pepper and the seasonings have permeated the chickpeas so they are way more tasty than if you just poured on sauce. My only small complaint is they used cheap (soybean) oil instead of olive oil to cut costs. However this is easily fixed with your own EVOO. I poured off most of the sauce and added a glug of good Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which improved it. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice too while you are at it, which will brighten it up so it tastes like you almost made it yourself. This would be great for say a picnic. We ate it as a side dish with some Falafel. Good match. Or add a can on top of salad to add some bean protein. Trader Joe’s describes this as kind of a “deconstructed hummus” as it has many of the same ingredients in it as hummus does. In fact I served it alongside some hummus and even put a bit of this on top of the hummus which is a typical serving style to put a few chickpeas on top.

A can is $1.99. PRODUCT OF GREECE.

I would buy this again.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/greek-chickpeas-with-cumin-and-parsley-060205

Trader Joe’s “LIGHTLY SMOKED SALMON” (gourmet canned salmon)


RAVE

TERRIFIC! – “Skinless, boneless salmon in Extra Virgin Olive Oil“.

21 grams of protein per portion!

Trader Joe’s came out with this product they call “Lightly Smoked Salmon“. You will find it in a pink can along with the tuna, sardines, and two or three other kinds of canned salmon they carry. I was intrigued and curious when I first saw this and frankly a bit confused by the name (“smoked salmon”? in a can?!) Forget about the “smoked” in the name, basically just know this is maybe the best and I do mean the BEST salmon in a can you probably ever had. Really great stuff! Trader Joe’s has a hit here. I find it’s so popular, it sometimes sells out. Now frankly to me the word “smoked” is a bit misleading, even confusing, so I would just forget the name…. This is not anything like what you and I think off when we hear “smoked salmon”. I would have named this something like “Premium Canned Salmon” or “Gourmet canned salmon”. This stuff even made me think about those imported pricey gourmet tins of fish like high end canned tuna from Spain (Ortiz for example) which can sell for $15 a can! TJ’s “Lightly Smoked Salmon” is actually a nice pure hunk of salmon poached in extra virgin olive oil. When you open the can you see an appetizing piece of Atlantic salmon. Completely skinless and boneless unlike many canned salmon, just pure meaty salmon. The salmon is swimming in a yellow/orange oil, EVOO and the orange color came from the salmon. Because of this EVOO, the salmon is so flaky and incredibly moist. It has an excellent flavor and texture from being poached in the can in some decent quality extra virgin olive oil. Yes, it farmed salmon but of a very good quality. (“Product of Chile”). As far as “Applewood smoke” which is listed in the ingredients I would say that it’s so light as to be non-existent. I can’t really taste any smoke flavor so forget the word “smoked” and just know that I found this salmon so tasty I couldn’t stop eating it. I kept saying “umm, let me just try one more little bite” and soon noticed the can was almost empty. Oh and that golden oil it’s swimming in? If you dump out this golden elixir you are going to miss out on one of its best points, so I implore you do not dump out this precious oil/juice, the way one usually drains off all that oil in say a can of tuna. This golden sauce is delicious. It’s the salmon juices mixed with decent Extra Virgin Olive Oil which it is cooked in, actually make for a delicious built in “sauce” oozing concentrated salmon flavor. UMAMI. I just spoon a bit of this golden juice over the fish with a squeeze of lemon. So Perfect. You could equally spoon this flavorful golden olive oil over your salmon salad, boiled potatoes, rice bowl or protein bowl, or what have you.

Open faced salmon sandwich on TJ Norwegian Crispbread, cucumbers, cream cheese, lemon. Delicious, try this!

You can use this salmon exactly like you would a piece of poached salmon. You can simply open this up and put the fish on a plate or put it on top of a salad or greens, or in a protein bowl, or mashed up into an avocado for an almost instant delicious (and healthy) dinner or lunch with no effort. This salmon is wonderful as-is right out of the can. On a toasted bagel, on toast, or on crackers. I found it a perfect match with TJ’s great Norwegian CRISPBREAD for a Scandinavian style open faced sandwich. This salmon is especially perfect for summertime heat or whenever you don’t feel like cooking. Mix a bit of mayo and lemon juice into this and you can have a wonderful salmon salad in about a minute. The other night I didn’t feel like cooking. I found I had a nice ripe avocado I needed to use, so I just mixed a can of this salmon with a little mayo, lemon juice and some Peri-Peri sauce and voila! I ate this lovely avocado stuffed with salmon for dinner, which took me less than 5 minutes and was so tasty.

Avocado Stuffed with Salmon
Seaweed Hand Rolls with Salmon and Cucumber

One serving contains 190 calories but best off you get a whopping 21 grams of protein in a can of this. The 5 oz can has about 3.6 oz of drained salmon. It’s $3.69. Product of Chile. Great pantry item. I would gladly buy it again.

RECIPE IDEAJapanese Salmon Rice Bowl: Put some fresh rice in a bowl. Top with this salmon flaked up. Sprinkle on a nice amount of Furikake seaweed blend and chopped scallion. Optional: a sprinkle of Soy Sauce with a sprinkle of Toasted Sesame Oil. Mix gently. YUM.

One might even get extra cans of this salmon and put it away in your larder for a year or two, to improve with age like fine wine*….

*Spain and Portugal have places which specialize serving tinned fish and seafood, aged for a year or two or three… Believe it or not the canned fish actually improves as it ages just like wine. Here’s a video of the late great Tony Bourdain visiting one of these bodegas in Spain, eating from cans of seafood and loving every bite…. EL ESPINALER

Why you should eat SARDINES (Protein, Omega 3 & Calcium…)


You should probably add sardines to your diet if you don’t eat them already. Before you click away just hear me out. Don’t be squeamish about these little fishies. Sardines are good, and they’re good for you. In fact did you know Sardines are one of the healthiest fish you can eat? Not only are they are loaded with protein they are a terrific source of calcium (the ones with skin and bones but don’t worry these tiny bones are so soft you don’t even notice them). Women especially need extra calcium. And Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids giving one 2 grams of omega-3s per 3 ounce serving – which is one of the highest levels of omega-3s in any food per amount They also have the lowest levels of mercury of any fish. Sardines are WILD caught only, never farme and the sardine is a plentiful and sustainable fish. And they are cheap. But not only are these little guys healthy for you. I think sardines are DELICIOUS. Europeans love them and eat lots of sardines. Not so much here in the U.S, but you should if you don’t already.

Trader Joe’s sells about three varieties of canned sardines. I especially love TJ’s SMOKED SARDINES IN OLIVE OIL (purple can) which is just $1.69 (!). A can gives you a whopping 21 grams of protein. Plus Calcium and Omega’3. I probably eat a can for lunch at least once a week.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Drain and mash them up with a fork adding juice of a quarter lemon or lime and a teaspoon of mayonnaise, with a grind of fresh black pepper. Add a touch of hot sauce if you like. Spread this paste on fresh toasted bread or your favorite cracker. So yummy.

Trader Joe’s has 3 varieties of sardines. If you can’t bear to see the ones with skin, the skinless boneless ones in olive oil (grey can) are a good starting point but I do recommend the tasty smoked ones (purple can) which I love best. The “smoked Trader Joe’s sardines” are very tasty.

You can even saute cubed potatoes in the left over oil in the can.

Country of origin: Portugal (purple can), Canada (blue), Morocco (grey)

Get some more ideas here: https://wildplanetfoods.com/recipes-category/sardines/

TJ’s Fresh Cranberries (and RECIPE)


Every year this post becomes the most popular post around Thanksgiving, ENJOY~

FRESH VS. CANNED CRANBERRY SAUCE

To me the greatest sin one can make for Thanksgiving is not making the cranberry sauce from scratch, and just opening up a can.

There is simply no comparison to MAKING YOUR OWN CRANBERRY SAUCE fresh, and no reason not to, as it’s literally the EASIEST thing in the world to make. If you do it this year, I promise you everyone will say how wonderful the cranberry sauce is. Seriously it could not be easier to make. Recipe follows….

If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce and are used to opening a can of that jiggly jelly stuff (ugh) you owe it to your family to make it fresh this year. It will take you about 1 minute of “work” – plus maybe 15 minutes doing its own thing on the stove. TIP: Make it at least an hour ahead of eating so it can be served at room temp (hint, even better do it at the day/night before, it will set up beautifully in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge an hour or so before eating.)

EASY “RECIPE” :  Open bag. Dump berries in a pot. Add one cup water* and one cup of sugar. Bring to a boil. Basically that’s it. When it boils, just lower the heat down to a simmer and let it alone until the cranberries “pop” in about 15 to 20 minutes. When the berries have popped, they’re done so just turn off the fire. DONE! Let it cool for 30 minutes or so. As it cools it will thicken up (cranberry skin contains a great deal of pectin, a natural thickener).

If this easy recipe seems “too easy” for you and you want to get a tiny bit fancier and more creative, here are things you try…  * Instead of water, you can use orange juice. A bit fancier? Grate in a little orange zest. Even more creative? This year I added a tiny bit of cayenne pepper and a pinch of fennel seeds and some lime juice. Ginger can be nice in a cranberry sauce.

Once you try this you will be shocked at how easy it is to make and how infinitely better this fresh sauce is over the canned stuff. At the time of this writing a 12 oz. bag cost $1.99, a decent price. (UPDATE: 2018, a bag was $3.49 at TJ’s) Update 2: 2022, a bag was back down to now $2.29.

You can even buy an extra bag of berries and throw it as is in the freezer where it can keep for a few months if you want it outside of just Thanksgiving. This stuff is great with just grilled chicken breasts.

Once you make your own, you will realize how easy it was to make and and like me, will never buy the sauce in a can again.

 Now go, and sin no more…

#DIY #CranberrySauce

RECIPE VARIATION: Indian Cranberry Chutney. In a saute pan, melt a tablespoon butter, and add some chopped garlic, a quarter chopped onion and saute stirring for 3 minutes. Add a teaspoon of TJ’s curry powder (or more to taste) and cook one minute. Add the zest of one orange and its juice with 1/4 cup of water and 1/4-1/2 cup of brown sugar or Palm Sugar (or more or less to taste). Add the package of cranberries and simmer 25-30 minutes stirring frequently. If you want heat add a few dashes of Cayenne or your favorite Hot Sauce (PeriPeri, Green Dragon.…) to taste.