TJ’s Sweet & Spicy Pickle Chips & Onions


Thin slices of pickles and onions in a sweet and spicy brine. Emphasis on spicy. You have to try these, they are just terrific.

Now when Trader Joe’s calls these “spicy” on the label, in this case they are not kidding! They are quite hot and seriously SPICY! Containing “capsicum oleoresin”. However they are Spicy Delicious. With a hamburger these were particularly terrific. For me these pickles are just one more amazing TJ Wow Product, something that’s unique and special. I’m even a bit addicted and once I start eating them I keep going back for more. While they are Seriously Spicy if you just eat them their own, when you add them as as ingredient and eat them say on top of a hamburger or tucked into a sandwich, you will get a moderated amount of the heat. These are about $2.70 a jar.

Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Corn (frozen)


Ingredients: Corn

That’s it. One ingredient. Corn. Simple. But what they’ve done is they have FIRE ROASTED the corn and made it more delicous. You can see it all blackened up, which makes it taste even better than TJ’s regular frozen corn, which is also terrific by the way. You can use this fire roasted corn on its own. It was delicious sauteed in some butter as a side. But of course you can use as an ingredient with other things, for example, corn bread. Or add it to salsas. This Fire Roasted Corn is great to have on hand in the freezer. It’s $1.99 for a 1 lb bag and very much worth trying.

ROASTED CORN AND FETA SALAD RECIPE (LINK)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/roasted-corn-feta-salad

TJ’s “Everything but the bagel” Seasoned Smoked Salmon


Is there anyone who would not enjoy smoked salmon on top an everything bagel shmeared with cream cheese? So Trader Joe’s had a decent idea when they decided to combine their wildly successful Everything seasoning and smoked salmon to come up with this great combo as part of the popular “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning blend family.

I found Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel SMOKED SALMON to be quite good. The everything seasonings do not overpower the (cold smoked) Atlantic salmon. They add a nice accent to the mild farm raised salmon which has a nice buttery texture. I tried the salmon two ways. The first was the classic Sunday breakfast, Smoked salmon on a bagel. A spread of cream cheese, a little pickled red onion and a squeeze of lemon, all on a fresh Artisan everything bagel, with a slice of this EBTB Salmon….it was perfect and delicious!

The second way we enjoyed this EBTB smoked salmon was using the salmon in some “Temaki sushi (hand rolls)”. We made sushi rice and ate the rice topped with pieces of smoked salmon, avocado and cucumber nestled in Trader Joe’s seaweed treats for small sushi hand roll bites. This was incredibly tasty and made an easy and super yummy dinner.

$5.49 now $5.99 for a (4 oz) package and yes the four slices inside go quickly! An affordable splurge, this smoked salmon is a decent value and worth trying. FYI at Zabar‘s counter, sliced smoked salmon goes for $50 a pound now!

simple sushi handroll

Trader Joe’s Apple Cider Donuts


If you like donuts, you will like these old fashioned donuts. Trader Joe’s has these as Seasonal items during the Fall. These are really tasty. Now personally I would not call myself a donut person. I try to “eat healthy” and I don’t need all the calories. I bet I heat about 2 donuts a year.

Tasting these I could not resist them. I just ate two and with some coffee – my Bustelo Cafe Con Leche – I have to say they were heavenly . These are “old fashioned” cake style donuts, with sugar and a hint of cinnamon. They kind of remind me of the old fashioned donuts I used to get in the 80’s back at Chock Full of Nuts (Google it kids, kind of the original Starbucks back in the day)

They’re seasonal items so if you really like them, grab two and freeze them. They are $4 for 6

Trader Joe’s (frozen) ATLANTIC SALMON FILLETS


(Product of Norway, farm raised)

Each 1 lb package contains 4 portions of skin-on boneless farmed Atlantic salmon from Norway, frozen perfectly.

DEFROSTING: The best method would be to do the overnight thaw in the fridge. In a pinch however you could do the quick thaw method written on the package but try to think ahead if you can. If you don’t use the whole package just seal it up with the built in air lock for your freezer, squeezing out excess air.

COOKING : I tried the quick brine technique of giving the defrosted salmon fillets a 30 minute soak in salted water. I liked the results (see link for full info at The Kitchn)

https://www.thekitchn.com/best-salmon-cooking-method-skills-showdown-23004976

After drying off the salmon, I gave it seasoning on both sides with a nice sprinkle of AJIKA which will give great color as well as flavor (in my case as they were brined, no more salt added). I cooked the fillets using the pan fry method in a cast iron pan (or use a non stick pan) with a mix of oil and butter for about 5 minutes on the skin side till the skin looked crispy. Flipped, then cooked them about 2 minutes or so on the other side. I hate dried out salmon or any fish. Don’t overcook fish. Cook it just till it’s no longer translucent and flakes easily. You can always put it back for 30 seconds more if they need it.

If you want some sauce on it I think TJ’s tzaziki sauce would be very good with it, or greek yogurt mixed with lemon, or whatever your favorite sauce is. Just butter and lemon juice is even great. Fresh dill is wonderful with salmon.

I plated the salmon up with lemon and butter, and served it with a side of TJ’s Harvest Grain Blend (shown) which is really good BTW. The salmon was really tasty, if a bit mild of course as this is farmed. Wild salmon, which I adore, is usually about double the price of this. Trader Joe’s sells this for $8.99 for a 1 lb package (a bit little over $2 a portion). For the price I think this salmon is quite tasty and a good value. I find this way superior to Costco’s version.

So giving this a thumb’s up for value and quality. INGREDIENTS: Atlantic Salmon (no added salt) Protein = 23 grams! EAT FISH

TJ’s Sweet Pull Apart ALOHA ROLLS (Sliders!)


Trader Joe’s Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls

I think we can safely assume Trader Joe’s are calling these “Aloha Rolls” to reference KING’S HAWAIIAN famous sweet breads.

In any case, TJ’s pull apaprt “Aloha Rolls” are really good. Small but pudgy high, slightly sweet and really soft bread dinner rolls. My-oh-my are they yummy, we kept eating one more when we were tasting them. The rolls are small but very pudgy tall and are terrific just with butter or for making little sandwiches. Actually I was looking for the mini hamburger buns I love… which I realized I haven’t seen them for some time, and I am now assuming TJs Disco’d them (argh!) When I saw these little Aloha Rolls I wondered why couldn’t these rolls work for making mini hamburgers slider’s….kind of my own version of White Castle (which I don’t eat actually). The answer is Yes they can. Check out my picture of the little mini burgers aka “Gourmet White Castle” slider’s. Granted there looks to be too much bread though it is so soft and it squishes right down and didn’t seem to bread-y in relation to the meat. These mini hamburgers were so delicious we scarfed them down. Next time though I thought I should maybe trim a little bit of bread off the top of the buns. I used under 2 oz of ground beef for each little mini burger with a lot of chopped onions sauteed at the same time and a little square of TJ’s sliced cheddar cheese melted over the tops. OMG. We loved them. They were so yummy, we ate three little sliders each!

Try making these sliders with these rolls, or just make some little sandwiches with them. Yes they will improve even more with a little warm up in the oven or toaster oven, as it says on the package. Any cute little sandwiches made with these rolls will be great, so let your imagination run wild. I am really thinking smoked salmon, cream cheese and arugula would be very good.

$2.99 a bag (12 oz / 12 rolls)

MINI SLIDERS NO-RECIPE RECIPE: I weighed out the ground beef into little balls and made each about 1.5-2 oz each. I sauteed a whole chopped onion in a cast iron pan for 5 minutes in olive oil until translucent. I spread them around the pan and put the burgers on top. Turned up the heat to high, cooked one side then turned them after 3 minutes and topped with little squares of sliced cheddar. Heated the buns meanwhile in the oven. If you want less bread you can try to slice off a bit of the top of the bun. Serve immediately with your favorite sides. We served these with mashed potatoes and green peas. Naturally this mini burger thing would work using something other than ground beef such as ground turkey, chicken, meatless impossible burgers or even Soy Chorizo I would guess….

I bet you they will be a big hit as they were for us.

Trader Joe’s Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls

Here’s what the TJ website says:

“Light, fluffy, and perfect for sopping up all the leftover gravy goodness on your Thanksgiving plate, we love Trader Joe’s Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls because they’re both tasty and time-saving. They come loosely attached to one another in a convenient, three-by-four-roll rectangle, which can be pulled apart (hence the name) and eaten as-is, or given a quick warm-up in the oven just before serving. Their sweet, simple flavor profile and soft, easy-going texture pair brilliantly with a touch of Cranberry Sauce or a drag through a puddle of savory Turkey Flavored Gravy. And aside from their usefulness at the holiday dinner, proper, they also make a great base for sandwiches. Leftover turkey sliders anyone? We’re selling each 12-ounce bag of 12 Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls for $2.99, every day. Look for them on our bread racks.”

TJ’s Mini Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches


Trader Joe’s 12 Mini Mint Ice Cream Mouthfuls – Mint Chip Ice Cream between chocolate cookie wafers

Tiny. Bites. Yummy. Delicious. Minty. Chocolatey. Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Each one is maybe 2 or 3 bites, so they go down easy (too easy! I could eat 6) They’re not too sweet, the mint ice cream matches perfectly together with the chocolate cookie. Let them stay in the freezer till they are nice and firm and as hard as possible. $4 a box. A box will go fast! 1 mini sandwich is 60 calories.

TJ’s Rosemary Sfoliette Italian Crackers


Trader Joe’s ROSEMARY SFOGLIETTE, Thin and Crunchy, Italian Rosemary Crackers

Not too fancy, a bit even on the plain side which is sometimes just what you want in a cracker to set up whatever topping you are putting on the cracker. I really like these. Product of Italy. Delicate rosemary flavor. Top these with TJ’s Rosemary Ham and a slice of Rosemary Asiago cheese and I don’t know about you but that puts me in heaven. A bargain too at $1.69 a package.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/070151

“Our Italian supplier makes thin, hexagonal biscuits using wheat and rice flours, along with a combination of olive and sunflower oils. The crackers are seasoned with dried rosemary & sea salt and baked until they possess the ideal crunch. They’re thin and crisp, but not overly fragile. And they present the wonderful aroma and flavors of rosemary and olive oil. As you could imagine, Rosemary Sfogliette make great snack crackers—with or without cheese. They’re also a formidable companion for your favorite bowl of soup!”

TJ’s Cacio E Pepe Pasta Sauce


“A creamy, cheesy pasta sauce made wth Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper”

Trader Joe’s Cacio e Pepe pasta sauce has been getting a lot of buzz since they released it, so I had to give it a try. You know what? It is pretty good. The fettucine cacio e pepe dish I made with this sauce turned out quite tasty. Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” and making a dish with this could not be easier. Boil some pasta, open this jar and combine. The sauce right out of the jar is very thick. A few spoons of it go a long way, meaning obviously you would not say use a whole jar to make 2 or even 4 portions of pasta. The Nutrition label suggests a jar makes 7 servings so use that as a guide. My suggestion is basically use a nice huge heaping 2 tablespoons of sauce per portion of pasta, which you will thin a bit with some of the pasta cooking water to get a consistency you like to coat the pasta, but not drown it. TIP: I suggest making this with one of TJ’s excellent Artisan Pasta varieties (spaghetti, fettuccine, radiatore…) Of course shaped pastas, like ziti, are wonderful as well with this type of creamy sauce. You could even do a pan fried Gnocchi. They made the sauce “bulletproof” with the addition of a little starch (cornstarch) which prevents separation. They are saving a bit on some of the ingredients for example listing sunflower oil not olive oil. Don’t worry you will fix it up so when you plate it.

Cook your pasta, a minute under al dente, drain it, saving a 3/4 cup pasta water. Finish the pasta in a pan with a little saved pasta water, a nice grind of black pepper, adding in the sauce and mixing it all up with tongs to incorporate pasta and sauce adding a few tablespoons of pasta water as needed till you get your desired consistency. Plate it up and dress it with additional cheese and pepper.

I added a nice hit of fresh Pecorino on top, freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of your best olive oil (optional). I topped it with a wee bit of chopped arugula for color and taste. Yes, I know a Roman would loudly protest any addition to the 2 basic ingredients. If you wanted to use a little grated Parmigiano or Grana, they will be delicious additions (but again don’t tell your Roman friend). So be sure to buy or have a piece of Pecorino as well as peppercorns in your larder. These few additios will help make this jarred sauce taste homemade.

It says on the jar, that once opened, use it within 3 days. I didn’t want to have it again so soon so I figured I would just put the jar in the freezer. The following week I did an overnight defrost in the fridge and that worked fine. Naturally you can do other things with this sauce besides using it on pasta. You could use some on vegetables (brussels sprouts, potatoes?) or even mix some into scrambled eggs….

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/070650

So while this sauce is handy I am all for making a real Cacio e Pepe from scratch once in a while. Cacio E Pepe is only those two ingredients and that’s where the magic happens getting it to emulsify (and not become gloppy). You may have to make it a few times to get the hang of it but once you do, you will really get a great deal of pleasure from making it yourself no doubt. I liked this guy’s take on making it (tip don’t use very hot water to mix with the grated cheese to make the emulsion though and don’t let the cheese boil, just get it warmed up so it doesn’t break) TIP: A few teaspoons of a corn starch slurry makes this foolproof BTW. In fact the Trader Joe Cacio e Pepe sauce has corn starch to make it foolproof.

A 14.5 oz jar of TJ’s Cacio e Pepe sauce costs $3.50.

If you get into Cacio E Pepe and want to try to make the sauce yourself yourself, watch these two pro’s, absorb some of their ideas and I bet you will end up with a terrific authentic Cacio e Pepe.

TJ’s Pain De Campagne (country bread loaf)


Trader Joe’s Pain De Campagne (French Country Bread) – Minimalist packaging huh? But trust me, if you see this bread, grab it. It’s delicious. In a bakery I’m thinking this would sell for about 6 or 7 bucks? Trader Joe’s had it for about $2.80 for just over a 1 lb. piece.

Ingredients include: Water, Unbleached Unbromated Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Rye Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Dark Beer…. We are talking serious bread folks, good bakery bread. Naturally this will greatly benefit from being refreshed with a baking or toasting in the oven for 10 minutes to get it crusty again.

I do find it pretty funny they write on the package: “Contains Wheat. May Also Contain Gluten”.

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