“CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY SWIRL” (NEW PRODUCT) An excellent new addition to Trader Joe’s ice creams containing two flavors which are so perfect together, namely chocolate ice cream plus an intense raspberry sorbet, both swirled together into one super tasty treat. This stuff is so delicious. Super gourmet premium ice cream/sorbet. Its $3.99 a pint.




Trader Joe’s CHICKEN MEATBALLS “Seasoned – Fully Cooked – Gluten Free”

INGREDIENTS: All Natural Chicken, Sea Salt, Oregano, Basil, Vinegar Powder, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Rosemary, Black Pepper, Parsley

I saw these in the refrigerated section, they’re a kind of New Product from Trader Joe’s. They looked interesting enough to try out. They are fully cooked, seasoned chicken meatballs made from “all natural minimally processed chicken”. They state these are “gluten free” meaning they have no breadcrumbs or other binders (more on this later). They are certainly convenient, just heat and serve. Basically I liked these. I found them to be fairly tasty and seasoned pretty well. The ingredients are simply ground chicken and seasonings. They have no binder / filler even though personally I think they would be better if they did contain a wee bit of filler like a bit of bread crumbs and/or eggs, If you’ve ever made meatballs you know the finished texture can sometimes be a little hard or rubbery if meatballs are made with only meat and nothing else. Adding a bit of a binder and a few veggies will make the meatballs softer and not rubbery. These ones contain no filler, just ground chicken. So be careful to not overcook these; cook them too much and they may become too rubbery. These are already fully cooked, ready to eat, so you just want to basically warm them up or best I think brown them up a bit. I found browning these improved them. See the directions on the package re: “Stove Top”. I found they were good cut up into either slices or small pieces and then seared in butter or olive oil (or a mix) until they got a bit of brown on them. A sprinkle of lemon juice perked them up nicely too. These meatballs can easily become dinner with some rice or potatoes or pasta and a veggie. So good for an easy dinner, or lunch. I think these might match well with any one of TJ’s simmer sauces (Thai or Indian). You could brown the outsides and the add them to the sauce and simmer for just a minute or two and serve. Maybe toss in some frozen beans or peas too. What about using these little meatballs in tomato sauce, ie Italian style? Brown them up and put them in your favorite jarred tomato sauce and toss on to some pasta and you have a nice easy dinner. Or maybe brown them, slice and and make a pita sandwich, with some lettuce and some tahini sauce, or to that on top of a salad. So you might find these a handy thing to have in the fridge. TJ’s Chicken Meatballs are $3.99 for 12 oz. with about 16 meatballs in the package. I figure maybe 4 per person/portion?

Now on the other hand, with just a little effort you can make something better and a bit cheaper easily! Just get a pound of Trader Joe’s (very useful) fresh ground chicken ($3.99 and its a full 16 oz). Mix in one egg, a tablespoon of milk, 1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs or panko…Maybe a little chopped onions or scallions and parsley. Mix all in a bowl adding salt and pepper to taste. Form into little meatballs (use wet hands). Brown them in a pan in oil and butter. Turning / shaking the pan every few minutes to brown all sides. See? You can make this kind of thing yourself pretty easily. The cooked ones are convenient of course but I’m sure your homemade ones will no doubt be way better and softer.


“Made in small, handmade batches with high quality organic durum wheat semolima. Thick, textured noodles, that cook up perfectly al dente and pair beautifully with pesto”

“It starts with the Italian pasta maker sourcing high quality, organic, and local durum wheat semolina, then going the extra mile to mill the flour themselves. High quality tools are equally essential—bronze-coated shaping disks are used to produce thick, textured noodles that deliver a perfectly al dente texture, crucial to support the heftiness of your sauce while maintaining a delicate chew. The Trofie pasta shape originates from Liguria, the northwest coastal region of Italy, famous for pesto. You could say pesto is Trofie’s soul-sauce, a match made in pasta-eating heaven. But limiting Trofie to a single sauce would be a mistake. These short, twisted noodles pair well with a variety of sauces, in both hot and cold applications.”

NEW TRADER JOE’S ITEM – Organic Trofie Pasta: I saw this sign and grabbed a package of this pasta from the display as I’m familiar with this pasta called “trofie” which is a shape we don’t see very often in the U.S. “Trofie” are a shape that is kind of a little twisted noodle with a hole in the middle; so it has a lot of nooks and crannies and space to hold onto a sauce. It’s from Liguria. Trader Joe’s pasta is a very high quality organic pasta which as can you see in the pictures has a lot of rough cut edges, a clear sign it was made using bronze dies. I really liked this pasta. I used it to make a dish I came up with with spinach, garlic and feta cheese, a kind of Greek / Italian dish which turned out really yummy. This is great stuff, a very high quality pasta for a really good price. The 1 lb. package sells for $1.99. I would buy this again. This is my new favorite pasta! Grab it if you see it.

If you want to learn about Trofie check out some of these videos on YouTube….

Trader Joe’s CHEDDAR CHEESE with Caramelized Onions

Trader Joe’s CHEDDAR CHEESE with Caramelized Onions – “English Farmhouse cheddar blended with sweet caramelized onion, for a sweet and savory balance”

Another excellent cheese from Trader Joe’s, an imported farmhouse cheddar from Dorset, England. In the recent CUSTOMER CHOICE AWARDS, this won #1 for cheese.

Trader Joe’s says… “It’s crafted for us on an established estate, idyllically situated between the rolling Dorset Downs and the Jurassic Coast—an international world heritage site, lush with pastures. With more than 40 years of traditional cheese making experience, a famed farm on this estate transforms rich, creamy milk from local grazing herds (within a 30 mile radius) into beautiful, full-bodied farmhouse Cheddar.”

Some cheeses are overpowered by added flavors, however there are some very good cheeses with added flavors that are delicious, and this is one. I find this outstanding and delicious. Just FYI it you won’t see onion pieces in the cheese; they seem to have been melted / blended in so it’s a bit browner than a standard cheddar. The flavors of onion and other things in this cheese match perfectly with the cheddar. It’s delicious sliced thinly just on its own. It was great with fruit (apples, grapes, pear) maybe even better! I just love this with a slice of my favorite apple from TJ (ENVY). I also loved this cheese on a cracker with a bit of the Apricot Jam (try this!) Now what about MELTED?! Is it good? Yes, yes, yes! Fantastic melted… it made a really good melted cheese sandwich and was equally good for quesadillas. An “Ultimate melted cheese sandwich” might be mixing this cheese with the superb UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR on rye bread with a little Dijon mustard. It sells for $10 a pound, which is not bad for an imported premium cheddar like this. I would gladly buy this again. I think this would be great on a cheeseboard. This is a terrific cheese, and worth trying.


Here’s a NEW Trader Joe’s item: “Squiggly Knife Cut Style Noodles with Soy and Sesame Sauce”. This package of dried wheat noodles plus a sauce had a promising look. Its a “Product of Taiwan” for one. These seem to be popular and go quickly from the shelves I’ve noticed. UPDATE (Feb 2023) TJ’s can’t seem to keep them in stock. People are scarfing them up as soon as they hit the shelves, some people even re-selling them for profit!

How are these noodles really though? The first time I made them, I did it the way it says on the package: “Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add noodles. Cook 4 minutes. Drain and add sauce packet”. Just FYI serving just these noodles with the packet of sauce will not make a tasty noodle dish! If you want something decent you will need to add things (proteins. veggies…) to make these into something filling and tastier than just what comes in the package. Now when I made them as directed on the package we were disappointed. My wife’s comment was the noodles themselves just weren’t high quality noodles and tasted cheap. Strike one. But I did give them a second chance with a different take for cooking them. The second time I made these, I decided I would stir fry these. Here’s what I did. I boiled them but a bit less (2-3 minutes). Drained them and put them into a bowl with a teaspoon of oil mixed in (prevents sticking together). In a wok I sautéed ginger, garlic, sliced veggies and scrambled up an egg. I tossed in the noodles and stir fried it all for a minute or two before adding my own sauce mixture to coat. We both thought they came out way better this time by making them into a stir fried noodle dish. Now about that that Sauce Packet: Ugh! Their pack of sauce isn’t good (read the ingredients). Rather than using their (fake tasting) “Soy and Sesame” package I would suggest adding your own soy sauce and a spill of toasted sesame oil, chopped garlic of course – maybe ginger, and if you have some, a little oyster sauce. Too much work? Then just add TJ’s SOYAKI and some Chili Onion Crunch. If you insist on using the included fake-y bad sauce pack I’d say use only half and taste as you go before add more (even if only to reduce sodium). FYI the Sodium listed is 40% from one sauce packet. That is almost half of your daily recommended Sodium amount. Some packaged Asian foods have a high amount of sodium, so check labels.

TJ’s “SQUIGGLY NOODLES” are $4.99 for 4 noodle packs. Basically I will give this a MEH. They noodles are just OK, not great, and the sauce is not good (I say toss the pack of sauce). IF you eat it as-is just boiled noodles with that sauce packet you will probably be disappointed. However you can fix this up with a little work into something a bit tasty. Spend a little effort and you can make these into something tasty especially I think if you do it stir fried. Even just adding a runny fried egg on top of your finished dish will improve it 100%. Chopped scallions are a must to improve this plus cilantro if you like it too. A really nice topping ingredient might be my easy Cha Siu hack with TJ’s Carnitas Pork. If you really want to make this into something worth eating try watching Aaron (of Aaron and Claire) doing some Garlic Chili Noodles (see video) which you could do with these noodles, as well as get good tips making noodles. I’ve watch so many of Aaron’s cooking videos and it’s really upped my game for Korean/Asian dishes.

Here’s what Trader Joe’s themselves have to say about these noodles:




Here’s another new Korean/Asian item from Trader Joe’s. These are flat oval shaped disks made from sticky rice, so are very chewy and soft. These kind of rice cakes are a typical ingredient in Chinese, Korean and other Asian cuisines. In Chinese cooking they are known as “nian gao”. If you fry them they get a little crispy, which is how I like them best and the way you should use these. The bag has just the rice cakes (no sauce) to make however you like, typically made into a stir fried dish with vegetables and a protein. There is a basic stir fry recipe on the bag for Stir Fried Rice Cakes with Vegetables. which you could expand upon with adding a protein (say chicken, shrimp, pork or baked tofu.) Tip: add garlic which this recipe omits( !) You could come up with a Korean stir fry variation by adding some Kimchi and pork or chicken. The rice cakes are $3.29 a one pound and are in the frozen section. They are a “Product of Korea”. VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE

Here’s another recipe for Chinese Stir Fried Rice Cakes.

Trader Joe’s KOREAN SWEET PANCAKES (Hotteok)

“A chewy-flaky dough filled with a lusciously gooey cinnamon filling”

Here’s one more Korean item Trader Joe’s added in 2022; “SWEET CINNAMON FILLED KOREAN PANCAKES” known in Korean as “HOTTEOK“. In Seoul, they’re a common snack sold from stalls in the street. People really enjoy eating them on a cold winter day. Trader Joe’s has come up with a frozen version which all you need to to do is heat up in a pan and enjoy. I cooked them as recommended in a pan on the stove with no added oil, until they were golden brown and delicious. They look really good as you can see. I found them to be quite tasty. They were flaky and had a nice filling with cinnamon and brown sugar. I thought there might be some red bean paste in there but but reading the package I can see theres some sweet potato in the filling. So while I enjoyed these I’ve never tasted a real one and my wife (who’s Korean) on the other hand told me they were just so-so and not at all as good as ones you would get at some street stall in Seoul made by the Hotteok lady vendors. I don’t doubt that but at $4.50 for a package (of 4 pancakes) these are at least a lot easier and cheaper than booking a flight to Seoul. These might even make you want to go get some real ones some day in person. I know I would watching the lady make them in video below.

Trader Joe’s and folks on the internet suggest putting ice cream inside them. I didn’t try it but imagine it would be good. Again my wife, poo-poo’ed this saying that’s not authentic. I say try these yourself and decide. They make a slightly unusual and interesting dessert or snack. And if you’re ambitious enough to want to try to make them yourself, here’s a recipe…. and a TIP: eat them carefully, the inside is lava HOT so let them cool slightly!

Trader Joe’s site has a “Limited” sign on the picture so I expect these may not last forever. If you want to try them, do sooner rather than later.

“When strolling through the streets of Seoul on a still, chilly morning, among the many sights to see, you may encounter the scent of fresh hotteok being served straight from the grills and fry pans of street vendors….”

They are interesting to watch getting made…. I bet they are really good. They are huge too.


I make GINGER TEA (just boil ginger in water) and really like that. This tastes pretty much exactly like that. So while cheaper to make it yourself of course, my wife really liked this Ginger Drink Mix both for the convenience and taste, so she’s buying this regularly now. It’s $2.99 (7 packets). Dissolve with 12 oz water hot or cold. Product Of Thailand.

Want to make it yourself for way less ? Here’s my ginger tea “recipe”. Take about 1″ or so of fresh ginger. Slice it up and put in a pot with about 2 cups of water. Boil for 10 minutes or so. Add sugar if desired. Enjoy!


(UPDATE: It had sold out and was not available for some time but they got it back in stock and saw some on the shelves yesterday (2/9/23) If you want to try it grab it while you can. Not sure if this is a permanent item)

NEW ITEM “Italian-Style Wedding Soup. Meatballs, Vegetables and Acini de Pepe pasta in a Rich Chicken Broth“. That sounded interesting to me (though frankly I can’t recall the last time I went to an Italian wedding!) In reality this sounded better than it tasted. One hint may be that Trader Joe’s seems to be hedging its bets with “ItalianStyle Wedding Soup” instead of just “Italian Wedding Soup”. It won’t fool an Italian. On the plus side this has a good amount of things in it: pasta, greens and tiny meatballs which are cute – however they didn’t have much flavor. The soup had quite a lot of greens – kale, instead of the traditional escarole, and its in large pieces which I liked. However my main issue with this soup is the broth. On the label, they claim “a rich chicken broth”. I’m afraid that is far from the truth. The broth in reality isn’t rich but weak and watery. IF this had a strong rich golden chicken (bone) broth this might actually be tasty. But alas, the broth here is poor. I tried fixing this soup up by adding things to help it, like a slug of good olive oil, a handful of grated Parmigiano, and fresh garlic. Now these additions did improve the flavor and made it taste OK and way less boring than it was out of the jar, so if you buy this soup definitely add those things to it. Still what it really needs yet lacks is that strong rich chicken broth they promise so perhaps if you added some strong chicken broth (preferably homemade) plus the other things I mentioned you will get something a bit like a Wedding Soup. Naturally if you go to the trouble and make an Italian Wedding Soup yourself, you will be sure to get something very good and tasty. A recipe is below if you want to give it a try. One the plus side, this soup’s Sodium level is fine; not crazy high like many jarred soups. You might add a pinch to improve it or some other seasonings.

I give this a Meh. I would probably not buy this again.

Here’s what TJ’s has to say about it (hmm, this also says “not available”)

BTW ; Acini di pepe pasta translates as Peppercorns as that is what the pasta resembles.



“Made with organic apricots! Sweet-tart, golden orange deliciousness that’s great on toast” – Trader Joe’s

An absolutely delicious apricot preserve made in Canada from organic apricots. If you are a fan of apricots and apricot jam as I am, you too will probably love this stuff as much as I do as it has the most intense apricot taste. I put some of this preserve on a slice of TJ’s rye bread toasted with butter. So yummy. Ditto, on an English Muffin. How about with peanut butter? Great combo. I put a pinch on a cracker with goat cheese. Yum. It’s wonderful with many cheeses. I am really in love with TJ’s apricot preserves, so good on practically anything it’s almost dangerous. I confess my jar became half empty pretty quickly! TJ’s Organic Apricot Preserve is a wee bit more expensive than some other jams TJ’s sells. This one goes for $4.29 for a 17.5 oz jar, however it is Organic and super premium. My only (minor) complaint is it doesn’t have enough little chunks of apricots; there are some but its mostly smooth (its very thick) but this is the tiniest complaint as I like chunky preserves. Taste-wise this stuff is wonderful. So if you like apricots, you will love this. I would buy this again, with pleasure. I am on my second jar already.

Previous Older Entries