Trader Joe’s SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI w. butter & sage


These are called SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI with sage and butter (frozen section). That sounded interesting to me so I decided to check them out. Results? Well they were tasty but frankly different than what we were expecting from the name. First off there turned out to be quite a bit of sauce in relation to the gnocchi than expected (kind of swimming in it) and the flavor of the sauce while nice, dominated over any subtle sweet potato flavor to the point that three of us tasting them all had the same comment : we couldn’t tell these gnocchi were “sweet potato” as opposed to regular gnocchi, other than these were slightly orange in color. The first 3 ingredients are listed as: sweet potato, wheat flour, potato. So there is regular potato. We didn’t think they were bad but they didn’t stand out as “Sweet Potato Gnocchi”. All 3 of us trying them for the first time said while kind of tasty it was probably something we would not buy again. Rather I could make the regular gnocchi I like at TJ’s and get them a bit crispy on the outside and then add some butter, sage and cheese. These were about $3.39. So giving them a “meh” as both plus and minus opinions on them.

Trader Joe’s GARLIC BREAD CHEESE


” A mild cow’s milk cheese seasoned with garlic powder and baked golden brown”

What is Trader Joe’s “bread cheese”. It’s a cheese you grill. It’s really, really good, too good perhaps!

Inspired by a popular cheese in Finland, Trader Joe’s “Bread Cheese” is a firm cheese with a high melting point which has been pre-baked until golden brown, then packaged up. We grill the cheese until it it gets all melty and gooey. While it is nice and soft, you eat the slightly squeaky yummy cheese which is kind of like a mozzarella stick without the breading. In fact they suggest you dunk it in some tomato sauce. Some people have put the Hot Honey on it. Some have put Ranch on it. I like it Greek style with fresh lemon juice sprinked on the hot cheese. This stuff is wonderful on top off a salad, or eaten with with a crusty baguette or other bread. You will come up with lots of ways to enjoy it and anyway you eat this, you will find it delicious. Its about $4.29 for the package (6 oz). I would buy this again.

My suggestion. Serve it Greek Style like Saganaki. Slice into thick slices, grill them in a small pan with a little olive oil until they get GBD and gooey then sprinkle with lemon and bring the whole pan to the table for everyone to enjoy with some warm bread.

TJ’s sells another yummy cheese for grilling called HALOUMI, which is also delicious. Try them both.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/garlic-bread-cheese-071622

“Known in its native Finland as juustolepä, Bread Cheese contains no wheat, or gluten, nor anything else of that nature, but rather gets its name from its hearty, remarkably bread-like consistency and squeaky, Halloumi-like texture. And much like Halloumi, Trader Joe’s Garlic Bread Cheese is best served nice and warm, after it’s had a chance to get just a little melty and gooey.”

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s GOLDEN ROUNDS CRACKERS


Similar in appearance to famed Ritz crackers (which in my lifetime, I’ve probably eaten a few thousand of. ). These however I think these may be slightly healthier with better ingredients. For one thing, comparing the ingredients labels, I see TJ GOLDEN ROUNDS list Sunflower Oil and Cane Sugar in them whereas Ritz’s ingredients include Palm Oil and High Fructose Corn Syrup. How are these compared to Ritz? They’re good! (OK maybe a tiny bit less compared to Ritz) But the ingredients here are a bit healthier for you and that small difference in taste is outweighed by this. These crackers were very good tasted with a bit of Unexpected Cheddar cheese on top. These crackers are perfect for a cheese plate or snacks. There are about 100 crackers in a box. TJ Golden Round crackers sell for $1.99. $2.69.

Give these a try. I would buy them again.

Seen at Trader Joe’s: CREME FRAICHE


New at Trader Joe’s: Creme Fraiche is kind of the French version of sour cream. However its a bit different, and better that sour cream as it has more butterfat and is tangier. This is the first time I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s. This is a welcome addition to the dairy stuff.

A 7.5 oz container is $3.99.

https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-sour-cream-and-crme-frache-203467

Trader Joe’s MEXICAN STYLE ROASTED CORN WITH COTIJA CHEESE


” This unique take on corn combines flavors inspired by Elote, a popular street food in Mexico. Our version is lime spiked slathered in a smoky cream sauce and topped with authentic cotija cheese. “

I find this to be really good Trader Joe’s product. Find this In the frozen veg section. When you open the bag you see corn plus some large pellets. This is the sauce, frozen up, a neat trick. The pellets melt up as you heat it coating the corn in a nice sauce. When its ready to serve you sprinkle on a little package of included grated Cotija cheese (kind of Mexico’s parmesan). Everything works together to make a delicious corn dish inspired by “elotes“. It can be a great side dish for tacos, maybe Carnitas.

$3.29 (14 oz bag)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/mexican-style-roasted-corn-059063

“For this at-home version of what’s often called street corn, we’ve opted to take the kernels off the cob. We’ve enrobed the corn in a creamy, smoky sauce that melts off as the corn heats – it seems magical, but it’s really just simple thermodynamics. It’s also spiked with lime juice and studded with cilantro, lending additional authenticity. A packet of Cotija cheese is included in each package of Corn – when the corn is heated through and ready to serve, sprinkle the crumbled cheese on top. It’s the ideal finishing touch to this crunchy, sweet, smoky, spicy dish. Present it as a side dish with a Mexican-inspired meal, or serve it in individual ramekins as an appetizer course.”

Trader Joe’s CHEDDAR CHEESE WITH SCOTCH BONNET PEPPERS


Trader Joe’s CHEDDAR CHEESE WITH SCOTCH BONNET PEPPERS AND SWEET RED PEPPERS

The name may lead you to think this cheese is going to be really spicy. It’s not, it’s mildly spicy with sweet red peppers mixed with some scotch bonnet peppers which balance out to “Sweet With Heat” as the label says. I found this cheese to be really tasty. I would buy it again. $8.99/lb

Trader Joe’s BLUEBERRY FIELDS CHEESE


TERRIFIC NEW TRADER JOE’S ITEM!

BLUEBERRY FIELDS is a really good, new cheese on offer from Trader Joe’s. I was pretty impressed when I first tasted this. First off while BLUEBERRY FIELDS may have a cute name I call this is a “serious” cheese. Not a “cheese with fruit” like the goat cheese logs coated with blueberries or cranberries (and don’t get me wrong I do like those fruit coated goat cheeses on occasion). BLUEBERRY FIELDS cheese is nothing like those cheeses . Here there is only the barest hint of a blueberry taste.

BLUEBERRY FIELDS is a very tasty cow’s milk semi-hard cheese made with “raw milk” (you don’t see to many raw milk cheeses here in the US). It has only a barest subtle hints of “blueberry” from the edible rind which has been washed with some kind of blueberry essence. I’d say a millimeter of the rind has been imbued with the blue coating which is not sweet and matches perfectly with the flavor profile of the cheese. The rind is very much part of the cheese (just in case you are one of those people who always cuts off rinds from cheese, like my wife). You want to eat this rind. Tasting notes: Tastes like a high end Euro farm cheese. It’s excellent with a subtle nuttiness with a complex “Euro” taste to it. I believe it’s produced right here in the good old USA. My wife told me, “I don’t even taste blueberry”. Yes, its very subtle but its there. I think this would be scarfed up on a cheese board served to guests. This is delicious on a cracker, bread, and especially with apples, grapes or other fruits. This is well worth trying especially if you are a cheese freak like yours truly. An 8 oz piece sells for $4.99. I would buy it again.

Trader Joe’s NEW ZEALAND GRASS FED SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE


This is a Trader Joe’s STAFF PICK favorite and I completely agree. TJ’s New Zealand Grass Fed Cheddar is an excellent cheese, a sharp cheddar aged from 6-12 months. This cheese is one of my favorite cheeses that TJ’s carries, and I buy this almost every time I go to Trader Joe’s as it goes rather quickly in our house. This cheddar has just the right amount of tang if you are a fan of a sharp cheddar, good for both adults and kids. The other standout cheddars at TJ’s are the CABOT VERMONT EXTRA SHARP and of course UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR. You can not go wrong with any of these cheddar cheeses but I do like the fact that this New Zealand cheese is “grass fed” meaning from milk from those contended Kiwi cows munching away on grass if they anything like the ones in this picture! This cheese is great by itself, on a cracker, in a sandwich, with fruit, and it’s superb melted. Grilled cheese sandwich, omelets, in a pizza, tacos… it’s especially fantastic melted. You can just give me a Granny Smith apple, a hunk of this cheese and a knife and I will be almost as contented as one of the Kiwi cows.

Update: It used to be 5.99 / lb but unfortunately the price has gone up 50 cents to $6.49 / lb (April 2022)

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC POLENTA (tube)


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 yet familiar with Polenta, it’s simple and delicious. Polenta is inexpensive, healthy, gluten free, and vegetarian. Its just coarsely ground corn. That’s it. This Organic Polenta from Trader Joe’s comes in a plastic tube. Its been precooked which save you about 45 minutes. It’s ready to slice up into 1/2″ slices which you grill up into crispy fried polenta rounds. This is really yummy and cheap. This is why polenta has been a staple of Italian “cucina povera” for centuries, very similar of course to “grits” here in the US. TJ’s tube of cooked polenta is convenient, shelf stable, and is only $1.99. One tube can easily make a dinner for two. We love it as an alternative to pasta. I recommend you pan fry it as being the best way to serve this. The package also says you can bake it. Any way to get it crispy. Please don’t consider microwaving as it also says on the package!. For polenta to be tasty it is best as crispy as possible, as this way it gets a really nice chewy “meaty” texture.

As shown in the first picture is how I made the polenta into dinner recently. 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 to get this very golden brown and delicious. I flipped it over and put a bit of mozzarella on each slice which melted as the other side cooked. When it was ready to serve, I plated it up 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

TJ’s VAULT No. 5 CAVE AGED CHEESE


If you love finding great new cheeses I think you will find this new cheese Trader Joe’s started carrying as outstanding as I did. It’s called “Vault No. 5 Cave Aged” cheese from the “Cellars at Jasper Hills”. You can probably tell just by looking at that funky rind, this is a “serious” farm produced cheese like cheese you might find in a “fromagerie” in Paris. The moment I tasted this cheese I fell in love with it. To me, it’s another Wow Trader Joe’s item, just amazingly good. If you blindfolded me I would have sworn it was some European cheese, maybe an aged Comté or Gruyere or Emmenthaler with those types of complex, nutty flavors present in those cheeses. Well guess what, “Vault No. 5” is not from France or Switzerland but comes from the Green Mountains of VERMONT from Jasper Hill Farms . It’s cave aged by them for 12 months as it undergoes affinage in their cellars underground.

It has a natural (and funky looking!) rind which looks like that because it is loaded with (friendly) bacteria and cultures. Vault No. 5 has an edible rind (I ate some) but of course you can cut it off as my wife insisted before she would eat some. In fact, she first said the cheese is spoiled (ha!) but I told her no its just aged in some cave in Vermont for a year.

“Vault No. 5” tastes terrific on its own, on a cracker or with some good bread. How is it with fruit? When I paired it with an apple it was seemed to taste even better, in fact I couldn’t stop eating them. They say this cheese matches well with red wine and ales. Now when you melt it, it’s out of this world. Grilled cheese? Yes please. I can only imagine a grilled cheese made with this and some Unexpected Cheddar (note to self; try that) Trader Joe’s is selling Vault No. 5 for $10.99 a pound, a not a bad deal considering it’s high quality. In a top cheese shop in NYC I know premium farm cheeses like this go for at least $20 a pound or more. If you love TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar, you will probably love this one too so check it out folks, this is a keeper and I hope TJ’s continues to sell it forever.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/jasper-hill-vault-no-5-cave-aged-cheese-062684

TRADER JOE’S SAYS:

What happens when you marry old world cultures and cave-aged technique with quality milk production in the Green Mountains of Vermont? The cheese mongers at Jasper Hill did exactly that, and came up with Vault No. 5 Cave Aged Cheese.

Toasty and aromatic, Jasper Hill Vault No. 5 Cave Aged Cheese was inspired by Swiss and Italian mountain cheeses—delightfully creamy, toasty and savory, with subtle earthy notes. It’s cave aged for a minimum of one year, a process that allows a natural rind to form around its golden, straw colored paste. In short, it’s the stuff cheesy dreams are made of.

https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/cellars

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