Trader Joe’s KOREAN BEEFLESS BULGOGI (with recipe hack)


“Plant based Bulgogi style strips marinated in a sweet and savory soy sauce”

Bulgogi is a popular Korean BBQ dish consisting of grilled marinated beef. It’s delicious. Trader Joe’s frozen “Korean Beef-less Bulgogi is their vegan version, consisting of small pieces of mock meat made from soy protein, wheat gluten and other things. Judging from the internet, this product seems to be a bit of a hit especially with vegetarians of course (which I am not). The mock bulgogi strips have a pleasantly chewy texture that kind of make it resemble beef, with a pleasantly chewy but tender texture. There isn’t really any sauce on these and I promise these will be tastier with some kind of sauce on them. A no-brainer sauce for these would be some Korean Gochujang (red pepper paste, $1.99 at Trader Joe’s). This can make a fast easy sauce which will match well with the strips, and give it a little bit of heat. You can either sauté these and cook in a little Gochujang or put it on top after (see below)

TJ’s Bulgogi Vegan Strips cooked up into a tasty Stir Fry with vegetables and a little seasoning

To best enjoy these strips what I suggest is don’t do the super lazy thing I see on the ‘net, being just microwave these and put it on rice, which is what I see with people exclaiming “this is the bomb”. That is a pretty low bar and I can only imagine these people have never tasted actual Korean cooking? I am a Korean food devotee. Just putting this on rice may be edible but that is so boring people, so don’t be so lazy, you Millenials… Think of these strips as an ingredient, as the main protein to cook up into a dish. Make something with them, a stir fry for instance. Below is one recipe stir fry idea with these.

These will taste best if you get a little more sear or browning on them so don’t just nuke them, you should definitely cook them in a pan or wok to brown up. You can throw a dish together in 10 minutes with just a little effort. First – TJ’s often says “Heat From Frozen” on the package. I disagree about cooking food from frozen – something TJ’s often recommends on the package (again, geared towards Millenials?) I do suggest defrosting these before cooking.

I just left the package in my fridge overnight. Or you could take it out in the morning for that night’s dinner. Or just leave the bag on the counter for maybe an hour or two? In a pinch you could just run water over the (unopened) bag in a bowl till the strips are defrosted.

EASY BEEFLESS BULGOGI STIR FRY RECIPE: Put a tablespoon of TJ’s Toasted Sesame Oil (or any oil) in a pan. On medium heat, add the defrosted strips and let them cook in a single layer until they get a little sear (maybe 3-5 minutes?). Don’t move them as they sear. When they are seared, toss in some vegetables* of your choosing, cut into bite size pieces. In the picture above I used 3 cloves of sliced garlic (fresh garlic is a must) 1/2 an onion, 2 sticks of celery, 1/2 a yellow pepper. Increase the veggies as you see fit. Sauté the veggies with the strips for about 5 minutes, stir frying them till crispy tender. I seasoned this for a little more flavor. Add 1 Tbs soy sauce, and a 1/2 tsp of TJ’s Red Boat fish sauce if you have it. Add a tablespoon of Palm Sugar or honey and little ACV, lime or lemon juice for acidity. Turn off the heat and add another teaspoon or two of Toasted Sesame Oil. If you have them, sprinkle on sesame seeds and chopped scallions. I suggest drizzling Gochujang sauce over the top. For a super easy sauce, just mix a tablespoon or two of Gochujang with an equal amount water slowly until its a smooth sauce. Serve with rice of course. Also – Soft lettuce with these is nice (to make “Saam” lettuce wraps) If you want to be a bit lazy and not have to cut up * vegetables, you can just buy a pack of TJ’s frozen Asian veggies mix and cook that with these strips after the browning part.

Ingredients include soy sauce, pear puree, onion, garlic, apple puree, sugar, cornstarch, guar gum, soy protein, rice flour, wheat gluten and soybean oil

So how close is this to actual beef Bulgogi? First I am not vegan and I adore real Bulgogi. These are pretty good and slightly resemble beef however they would not fool me as real beef (though frankly my Korean wife didn’t know they weren’t beef unill I told her!) What they got right here, is the texture, which is pretty good, a little chewy and “beefy”. But I totally recommend you fix them up as mentioned above and cook them into something tasty.

A package is $3.49. Note: This is Vegan but it is NOT Gluten Free (contains Wheat Gluten). Gluten is what gives this the nice chewy texture. Buddhist have been using Wheat Gluten for Vegetarian Mock meat for a thousand years. That is what “Seitan” is.

Trader Joe’s COWBOY CAVIAR (corn & black bean salsa)


“Corn, black bean and pepper salsa. Smoky sweet with just the right amount of kick” – Trader Joe’s

This is a must try, if you never had it. Both my wife and I really, really love this terrific salsa. We both even think it could be a pick for a TJ’s Top Ten.

“Cowboy Caviar” – You gotta love that name. “Cowboy Caviar” is a typical South Western dish made with kernels of corn, beans (black beans and/or black eyed peas) in a tomato base. Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar is a great version, maybe more in a salsa style with corn, black beans, red bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, lime juice and spices, with some kick to it, from chipotle chiles in adobe which give it a bit of heat plus a smoky undertone. TJ’s doesnt have the heat level rating on the jar. Call it a medium heat? This stuff is soooo good as a salsa, as a dip for chips, like the Corn Dippers, on top of tacos, on top of rice, with eggs, mixed into veggies, alongside grilled chicken, or as a little side dish…. you name it, I think it will perk it up. Its a really good pantry item to have on hand. You can put out some of this with chips or crackers and you can have something in a few seconds for unexpected guests. A jar now goes for $2.99 (13 oz)

I would buy it again.

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 SALSA DE CACAHUATE


“A Southern Mexican inspired salsa made with guajillo chiles and peanuts”

“A peanut based salsa with a unique mix of creaminess, nuttiness and peppery heat. Versatile. Enhances food from burritos to shrimp.”

(summer 2022) New Product – SALSA DE CACAHUATE. I found this to be just terrific, pretty much a “wow” new Trader Joe’s product.

This is bit of an unusual and atypical (regional) salsa (for us at least in the US) which originates from Southern Mexico. It’s a peanut-based salsa. Cacahuate is “peanut” in Spanish, based on the Nahuatl word (you pronounce it : kaka-wa-te). I found this new salsa to be really, really good. It’s unusual compared to more typical tomato based salsa’s at Trader Joe’s due to fact it’s peanut based and creamy. The salsa has a huge depth of flavor. It’s definitely got a kick (med. hot spicy!) and its thick and creamy. Be sure to stir it. This salsa was really tasty on some tortilla chips. It was also delicious with some spinach and cheese quesadillas I made. But it is not “just for Mexican food”. This can be great with lots of things. This can be a great sauce or ingredient for many kinds of foods as Trader Joe’s suggests. For one thing, great with chicken. It is fabulous on chicken, say grilled chicken breasts or thighs. Pork too, it was delicious on some TJ’s CARNITAS cooked into “slices of pork loin”. I also like the idea of trying it with shrimp as TJ’s suggests. It would even be great with TOFU. I will experiment with this, and you should too. It’s excellent! Definitely worth trying. Trader Joe’s indicates this is a summer / seasonal item so if this sounds interesting I would not wait too long to grab a jar to try out (or two). $2.99 for a 12 oz jar.

“If you’ve ever sampled the cuisine of southern Mexico, you’ve likely come across a version of salsa de cacahuate, a savory, often spicy, peanut-based sauce that’s used on a remarkably wide range of dishes, from street tacos to roast chicken to grilled shrimp, and more. Etymologically derived from a Nahuatl word for peanut, salsa de cacahuate has a unique mix of creaminess, nuttiness, and peppery heat that makes it an uncommonly versatile condiment—just the kind of sauce that cries out to be put on everything.

In tribute to this southern Mexican staple, we’re proudly offering Trader Joe’s Salsa de Cacahuate for the summer. And just like the namesake sauce that inspired it, this rich and flavorful jarred Salsa is almost endlessly versatile. Aside from enjoying as a dip with your favorite tortilla chip, you can use it to enhance everything from burritos to burgers to breakfast fare. It adds an extraordinary depth of flavor when served over salmon, steak, or stuffed peppers, and brings out the best of a sizzling plate of fajitas. For a true treat, try spooning it generously over a plate of sliced pork loin.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/salsa-de-cacahuate-073992

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 Freeze Dried CHICKEN TREATS for Cats and Dogs


FREEZE DRIED JUST CHICKEN FOR PETS $5.99

One ingredient, Chicken. A protein packed treat for dogs or cats.

Dogs and cats will love these. I mean they will rip your arms off to get them. At least mine do. Now at six bucks a bag, these are not cheap however it is because its really “super concentrated” chicken, pure little pieces of freeze dried chicken breast. Maybe these two ounces of freeze dried chicken started off as a pound of chicken before they freeze dried it which removed all the water? Texture like styrofoam. Light as a feather. So one or two treats should suffice (thats what you say, human). Guest Review? My two cats went absolutely bonkers for these, I just opened the bag and they ran into the kitchen from the other side of the house. How they could smell them I have no idea but clearly if you’re a dog or a cat you will smell them and go insane. These treats can also be used to put on top of food if your pet is refusing to eat for any reason (changed food brand or recipe, lack of appetite, illness…). In that case, you can just smush up these little pieces between your fingers and sprinkle the powder on top of the food.

Trader Joe's Freeze-Dried Just Chicken for Pets

The other good, and much cheaper, treat Trader Joe’s sells is the DRIED SALMON SKIN. They however are messier and smellier to deal with but at $1.99 a bag a good bargain and a healthy treat for cats and dogs (they are labeled “for dogs” but cats can eat too and love them, they are just salmon skin)

Trader Joe’s UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGE


I was pretty impressed with these new sausages, called UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGE. In fact I’m going to say these sausages are the bomb. We are talking really juicy & flavorful. The overall flavor of these sausages is terrific. Ingredients include chicken, cheese, caramelized onions and red bell peppers. Personally I really like the snap of the natural pork casing*. FYI, they didn’t drip or ooze out cheese, if that’s what you are are expecting. I guess the cheddar just melts in and gives them a lot of flavor and obviously some juiciness. They are just delicious and we both really enjoyed these when we ate them for dinner, as a dish with sautéed veggies. These can be served in so many ways. Want super easy? Just grill them up a bit and put them on a good bun (brioche?) with mustard and sauerkraut. I did a “german style” dish with sauteed potatoes. I grilled the sausages on the stove. Along-side the sausages, I made some sautéed vegetables (potatoes, onions, peppers and some cabbage). The sausages and veggie combination was really good. We ate it with TJ’s MARBLE RYE bread with some DIJON MUSTARD and some of TJ’s excellent SAUERKRAUT.

These sausages are already fully cooked however I think browning them up is a must IMO. I just learned you should not prick sausages as we’ve been taught, they stay juicier if you don’t. OK one of them burst a tiny bit but it was fine. One sausage has only 160 calories, and while they are not low in sodium, they are not super high either, these sausages have a bit less sodium compared to TJ’s Andouille Chicken Sausages.

I think these CHEDDAR CHICKEN SAUSAGES are a terrific addition to all the other chicken sausages that Trader Joe’s carries. In fact for me, these are so impressive I’d say these go right to the top of my list of all of TJ’s chicken sausages. I would buy these again. These are $4.49 a package (12 oz) PS – * I love the snap of a rea casing but if the pork casing turns you off, one reader writes he just removed the casing.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/unexpected-cheddar-chicken-sausage-074048

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 KALAMATA Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($5!)


Great price on a good extra virgin olive oil from Greece, single origin, Kalatmata olives. I really like the attractively designed tin it comes in too. “Bright and grassy in flavor with a light bitter finish”. I like it’s taste. 16.9 oz. $4.99? Super!

Trader Joe’s new Asian products: Gochujang and Red Boat Fish Sauce !


Seen at Trader Joe’s

Red Boat Fish Sauce is back at Trader Joe’s! Red Boat brand is one of the best fish sauces on the market. TJ’s is selling it for just $4.99!? Wow, super price folks. Grab a bottle. Red Boat is a Top, Famous brand that usually costs about double that price (Amazon has it for $9). You’re lucky IF you can find it at a well stocked Asian supermarket. I suggest you grab up a bottle if you see it, even if you don’t think you would ever use it. Because you will, and should. What is Fish Sauce anyway?

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-fish-sauce

We’re talking UMAMI all day long. Believe it or not, a teaspoon of fish sauce is the secret ingredient you should add to your tomato sauce. Again, its umami. Just like Parmesan has umami and Tomato Paste too. Anchovies! The ancient Romans had their beloved “Garum” (a fermented fish sauce) which they put on everything according to historians.

The other New Asian Product seen at Trader Joe’s: Korean GOCHUJANG pepper paste, sweet, hot and savory. Review coming. If you want to know what you can use this for, watch Aaron and Claire on Youtube to get some terrific ideas for Korean dishes.

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