DIY Shawarma Chicken (Recipe)


The other day, I wanted SHAWARMA CHICKEN but I was a bit resentful at the current price of a package of TJ’s Shawarma Chicken. It now costs about $11-12 ($6.50/lb. currently) way up from what it orginally cost. I knew I had some boneless chicken thighs in my freezer, and I have spices of course and Greek yogurt. Why not just do a DIY SHAWARMA style chicken on my own and save some dough!? So I did just that. How did it turn out? Delicious! You can easily do a DIY Shawarma Chicken if you want to save some money, and who doesn’t these days with the constant inflation and sticker shock when you go shopping?

I used Trader Joe’s boneless skinless chicken thighs that I had in my freezer (I defrosted the chicken overnight in the fridge) Or buy fresh boneless skinless thighs; they will easily be about $2 cheaper per pound (if not more) Vs. TJ’s Shawarma Chicken which has crept up in price a few times from the original $3.99/lb to $6.49/lb as of this post.

DIY Shawarma Chicken Recipe: Put chicken in a bowl and add 3 tablespoons of Greek Yogurt. Add a few teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Crush 4 cloves of garlic with a little salt and mix into chicken. Add a few spoons (to taste) of ZHOUG Yemeni spicy green sauce. Mix. Even this very simple version will work fine, however to make this better we should add ground spices with “Middle Eastern” flavors. Here’s some ideas for Trader Joe’s spices you can add :

Trader Joe’s EVERYDAY SEASONING (grinder), Onion Salt, Ground Turmeric, Ground Cumin, TJ’s AJIKA blend, TJ Smoked Spanish Paprika, TJ Zaatar spice blend, Black pepper, PINK SEA SALT. A pinch of cinnamon. A small glug of olive oil. MIX everything well so all the spices are mixed in. Let it marinate in fridge for 2-6 hours or overnight or up to 2-3 days. When ready to cook, just make it as you normally grill TJ’s Shawarma chicken thighs. You can of course also make this instead with CHICKEN BREASTS if you prefer white meat but just be very careful about not overcooking them. I like to cook a sliced onion in the same pan as I grill the chicken.

TJ ORGANIC RED LENTIL PASTA



Trader Joe’s (Giotto’s) ORGANIC RED LENTIL PASTA

 

Normally we eat pasta in my house at least once if not two or more times a week. My wife and I adore pasta. I’m good at making it. Or I should say “we used to” eat it that often! Recently my wife decided to try going “Gluten Free” and that has changed things not just for her but for “Us”. To keep life simple as far as eating and cooking, whats happened is basically we stopped eating pasta, much to my chagrin as you could say I’m a bit of a pasta freak. As Italians usually do, I could eat pasta almost every day. Really, I could be happy as a clam eating pasta every day, in fact I’d be super happy eating Linguine with clams!

So I really wanted to try something in the pasta department that we both could eat together, meaning I would give “Gluten Free Pasta” a try.

So I saw this Red Lentil Pasta at TJ. Unfortunately I was not impressed with this for cooking as a substitute for regular pasta. For me at least – that is someone who can eat gluten and wheat products – this lentil pasta would not be something I would willingly sub in for my “normal” pasta.

TJ Red Lentil Pasta is made from “red lentil flour”. Its even made in Italy! (I can imagine them rolling their eyes at making this stuff for all those crazy Americans) Uncooked, it looks quite nice, like a beet colored pasta. It has an interesting shape I was not familiar with, “sedanini”, a ridged, curved long ziti type shape.

When I cooked this, well this gluten free pasta just didn’t do it for me. This could never replace pasta for me, but again I don’t have to be Gluten Free. I had made a nice meat sauce sauce to go with this, a kind of Ragu for the lentil pasta, and cooked it up a bit with some some sauce just as I would normally prepare regular pasta. When we ate the finished pasted with the sauce we both kept commenting on that it was just not the same as eating pasta. Honestly we didn’t really enjoy it due to the somewhat odd texture we found. It didn’t have the chew of pasta. It seemed to get kind a bit grainy or granular when chewed, not smooth like real pasta.

To top things, the GF pasta’s at TJ are a bit expensive as well. A 12 oz package goes for $3. This is about 2 to 3 times the cost of TJ’s extremely good “regular” pastas made with semolina flour.

So I wanted to like this but didn’t, as I don’t have to eat this. it was a choice. On the other hand, my “gluten free diet” wife, found it to be not great but OK as in it was kind of “acceptable” if you can’t eat normal pasta but you want to eat something like pasta. If you HAVE to be on a gluten free diet, then you may find it OK too. I can’t think this will fool anyone as an excellent substitute for real pasta. For me, its kind of fake pasta frankly. A knock off.

Still I will try some of the other gluten free pasta products TJ sells, and see if they work better than this one made from lentils. TJ does have a few gluten free pastas: a black bean ziti, and a spaghetti made from brown rice and lentils. So if you must be gluten free, try all three and see which you like best out of what they have to offer. So just saying if you must be gluten free, then there are a few choices. Everyone raves about the Cauliflower Gnocchi (frozen). Again I tried it. I found it pretty good, but I still prefer TJ’s regular gnocchi. If you don’t need to be GF, like me, I find regular pasta and related products are superior to any GF ones.

If you are not gluten free and want an excellent pasta, get TJ’s Organic Spaghetti or Ziti. That is excellent high quality pasta, made in Italy, and is the equal to top Italian import brands sold in the US for 3-6 times what TJ’s sells it for, $1.29 for 1 lb, which is an excellent value.

If you are GF then this may be OK for you with a lot of sauce.

 

Italian Tomato Paste (in a tube!)


u·ma·mi (pronunciation: u -ˈmämēe)

A category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates.

What genius invented this product? No, really I’m serious… whoever thought this up is a bloody genius. Putting tomato paste in a tube like toothpaste might be the greatest invention since the napkin. You might think of this as a minor advancement of our civilization but honestly this is so practical and useful. How many times have you needed perhaps just 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to add to something and thought, “Jeez, I don’t want  to open up that whole little can of tomato paste for a spoonful. I’ll just end up throwing most of it away”. Well, now when you need a spoonful or two you don’t have to open a whole little can of tomato paste. You just squeeze out what you need from this tube, and keep the rest in the fridge for the next time. It will last at least a month or two in your fridge. Actually a few months (even though they say on the box, use within 2 weeks…my experience says it lasts for a few months once opened). So for practicality this is a great item. Every cook should have this in the cupboard/fridge, always. This wonderful little item is only a little over a buck!

Tomato paste, which has a great deal of glutamates present = UMAMI

Tomato paste, dried mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, miso, seaweed – these are just a few food items that, as they contain natural glutamates, and bring UMAMI (aka the 5th taste) to what your cooking. A spoon of tomato paste will add a depth of flavor to many things. Unlock its secrets! See some of the links below.

Having said all that, when you need a can of paste and will use up the whole thing, or most of it, get the little can, which is cheaper in the long run, and thats only about 89 cents.

LINKS

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/what-is-tomato-paste

https://www.brit.co/how-to-use-tomato-paste/

https://www.today.com/food/chef-s-secret-how-use-tomato-paste-right-way-t75761

TJ Fresh Mozzarella Log (w/ CAPRESE SALAD recipe)


 

RAVE

I think I can get this review in just in time for End of Summer when one can still find excellent tomatoes. The perfect thing to pair with juicy farm fresh tomatoes is this Trader Joe’s Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Log. Unlike the firmer low moisture “pizza” mozzarella, fresh mozzarella is a softer milky fresh cheese. Fresh mozzarella is perfect for pairing with tomatoes, basil and good virgin olive oil for a super easy and delicious classic: a “Caprese Salad” (Insalata Caprese) Caprese Salad is the simplest of Italian salads, with sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil leaves, dressed with olive oil. Like a Pizza Margherita, it features the colors of the Italian flag: green, white, red.

This mozzarella is shaped as a log and is pre-sliced into rounds which makes this super convenient and easy. Open it, and put the rounds of cheese on a plate with sliced tomatoes. You can arrange them artistically, alternating tomato and round of cheese if you want to impress but even just cutting the slices into quarters and tossing with cubed tomatoes is fine! Douse with some good extra virgin olive oil of course! Sometimes I add a few capers and a little of the caper liquid.

With some good bread you have a super easy dinner or lunch and a small slice of heaven ready in minutes especially if you can find great tomatoes. Serve this salad to guests and they will love it. And the fresh mozz is good of course just eaten as is, put on a cheese plate, or used to make a terrific sandwich.


A 1 lb package is $4.99 ($5.99) which for fresh mozzarella is as usual, a pretty good deal chez Trader Joes.

RECIPE CAPRESE SALAD (INSALATE CAPRESE): Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella on a plate or platter. Tear up a good number of fresh basil leaves and sprinkle them all over everything. Drizzle with some good extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. (OPTIONAL: some jarred capers with some of their juice, or a very small amount of a vinegar especially Balsamico) Serve with a nice crusty bread.

(Post Summer) If you can’t get great tasting beefsteak tomatoes get the small cherry egg shaped Italian tomatoes Trader Joe’s carries. They are a little expensive but are really tasty, cut in half, and mix up with cut up mozzarella. Can you make pizza with this mozzarella ? Yes, it will give up some more liquid so a super hot oven is important.

Trader Joe’s SAUERKRAUT with Persian cucumbers


If you love sauerkraut, as I do, then you will find that this TJ version is perhaps the best sauerkraut you ever tried. According to Trader Joe’s they say even if you don’t like it, this version may change your mind about SAUERKRAUT. Now that’s confidence in your product huh?! Unlike commercially made mass-produced sauerkraut which is cooked this sauerkraut is a raw, fermented food product which doesn’t even have vinegar. TJ says its made by a small batch producer in the traditional way, which is simply cabbage treated with salt left to ferment. Old School. The real McCoy. It has some pickled Persian cucumbers in it too which add a little more crunch and variety. This Sauerkraut goes perfectly with hot dogs of course, as well as sausages. This kraut would go especially with TJ’s excellent German made BAVARIAN BRATWURST previously reviewed, with a Rave. As we know now, fermented foods are very good for your digestive system, gut health and overall health in general. It’s considered healthy to eat something fermented on a regular or daily basis. A spoonful of this (or kimchi or kefir) every day and your gut bacteria will be aces. Trader Joe’s Sauerkraut with Persian cucumbers is $3.99 for a 14 oz. container. Ingredients:, Cabbage, Persian Cucumbers, Salt, Garlic.

Sauerkraut is great with these Cheddar Chicken Sausages

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC COLESLAW “KIT”


Super easy, organic Cole Slaw Kit. Just dump the contents into a bowl, fish out the packet of dressing and mix everything up together. That’s it, you’re done. Now, when making a slaw its best made about an hour in advance (and keep in the fridge, to keep crisp). Everything will become all nice and cole-slaw-y when the cabbage has “pickled” a bit and the flavors meld together. You could let it rest more, say 4 hours or even make it the night before. Slaws change over time. From crispy to mellowed.

The package contains shredded green and red cabbage and carrots, all organic. The organic dressing is a tangy, slightly sweet & sour dressing in the mayonnaise/ thousand island vein with lots of poppy seeds which add a nice flavor. Everything blends up well to make a nice, tasty fresh “homemade” cole slaw. Could you make this yourself easily with some cabbage, some carrots a hand shredder and some dressing? Of course, and I do many times during the summer especially, but if you don’t feel like doing “all that work” this kit makes it super easy. It doesn’t make a huge amount of cole slaw, about a pint of finished slaw after you let it sit for at least an hour when it will “shrink up” a bit as it marinates. A package is 10 oz and costs $2.69

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Trader Joe’s AUTHENTIC GREEK FETA in brine


AN OUTSTANDING FETA CHEESE

RAVE

“You know how many kinds of feta exist? Thousands. Every place you go in Greece, they make feta” (Greek cheese monger in Astoria Queens)

TRADER JOE’S AUTHENTIC GREEK FETA in brine. Imported from Greece.

Though feta cheese can be made from many kinds of milk, it’s said sheep’s milk produces the best feta, which is what this is. 100% Sheep’s Milk. This has a wonderful aroma and tangy flavor of a sheep milk feta along with a firm texture but its not dry. The cheese comes in two large slabs in brine which is the way feta should ideally be sold as well as kept in your fridge in it, as the brine preserves the texture and flavor. I find this not overly salty but just right; You will eat it with other things in which you can use less salt.

There are a many types of feta cheese made in quite a few countries. It’s made from cow, goat and sheep milk. Feta made from sheep’s milk is produced in France, Bulgaria, Israel and of course, Greece. Greek Feta may be the best of them all though I honestly like feta from all of the countries I just mentioned for different reason. (French feta is creamy for example) TJ has an Israeli feta too, excellent though more expensive than this one. It has a creamier texture. Start with the Greek one, so you have a baseline.

One thing about this TJ Feta which is NOT good: the packaging meaning how hard this is to open. It’s a pain to open this! Examine it carefully. The very top part is a lid that comes off, once you have broken the seal by ripping a small plastic tab in one corner of the tub. Break this tab, then you can pry the top off carefully (on a counter, slowly so the brine doesn’t fly out everywhere). Use a butter knife if you have to, to get the lid off. Once you open it a few times, it gets easier so don’t give up, though you will curse whoever desiged this package. Anyway the feta inside is good and worth it! And by the way don’t throw out the brine when the cheese is finished (more on this later). Here’s just a few ideas on what you can do with feta cheese. I mean yes it’s delicious just by itself but it’s so versatile to have in the fridge to use with other things, like….

Greek Salad: Put a slab of feta on top of salad greens, chopped up cukes and tomatoes and voila, you have a Greek salad. Throw on some olives if you have them. Drizzle a good slug of very good Extra Virgin Olive Oil on and squeeze on fresh lemon juice. Grind on fresh black pepper. You can even vamp it up with more proteins like hard boiled eggs, drained canned tuna or sardines, or grilled chicken. Serve some good crusty bread and you have a lovely, super easy dinner in minutes.

Watermelon and Feta salad: Cubes of sweet watermelon with cubes of salty feta is a Genius combo. I’ve decided I don’t need olive oil on this, just the two ingredients and a grind of black pepper. But if you like with EVOO go for it. Fresh ground pepper is good with this.

Shakshuka and Feta: Use TJ’s frozen Shakshuka starter: add cubes of this feta as you cook it. Fantastic!

Feta cheese is often used in cooking: one of my favorite Greek dishes is “Garides mi Feta” (Shrimp with tomatoes and Feta) It’s fantastic!

The latest craze is that “Baked Feta Pasta” recipe that is making feta cheese hard to find so many people started looking for it, producers could not keep up!

As this feta is imported from Greece of course it costs more than the small pack of feta cheese TJ carries at $3 for 8 oz. which is pretty good if made from cows milk but it’s not great like this imported Greek one. This Greek feta is $6.49 for 10 oz (drained). So figure about $10/lb for a real “Product of Greece” feta, which is a decent price for real Greek feta. Honestly this stuff will make your meal or dish, so worth the occasional splurge.

Oh and remember I said keep that brine? You can actually use it. That milky feta brine actually has flavor. Melissa Clark in the New York Times put out a great recipe for chicken using brine, plus you can marinate chicken breasts in feta brine for 30-60 minutes;  Bake, broil, pan grill…! They will be SO juicy from the brining.

https://food52.com/recipes/69859-melissa-clark-s-feta-brined-roast-chicken

https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/primers/article/feta-guide

https://food52.com/blog/23031-how-to-use-feta-brine-water-salt-tricks-tips

Trader Joe’s SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS


Trader Joe’s SHAWARMA SEASONING BONELESS & SKINLESS CHICKEN THIGHS

RAVE

(update: still a Rave but a Rant for price increase since I first wrote this from 4.50/lb->$6.50)

I rarely buy meat or chicken already marinated and packaged. I normally just make whatever marinade or seasoning I want. However when I first saw TJ’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs it caught my attention mainly because I so love Shawarma, I decided to give this a try.

In short, not only did I really like TJ’s Shawarma Chicken Thighs more than I expected to, the fact is I liked it so much I have bought it again and again. Super tasty. So if you don’t want to read this whole piece and just want to know if these are worth buying, the answer is yes. If you want to know more, read on dear reader.

SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS are quite flavorful, having been deeply imbued from the “Shawarma spices” used which include: “Onion, garlic, sea salt, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, paprika, turmeric, annato, parsley, lemon, vinegar, rosemary…”

These are convenient to have and easy to cook. Pretty much just toss them into a pan to grill, and in less than 20 minutes you can have a tasty dinner ready with the addition of a few sides (rice/grains, veggies, naan?) The unopened package can easily stay a week or so in the fridge. They state much longer but personally I find TJ’s “good until” dates are way too generous. Naturally one can also freeze the package. If you do, I suggest a slow 24 hr defrost in the fridge.

Upon cutting the bag open (*carefully!) you’ll immediately smell those nice Middle Eastern “Shawarma” style spices used. *Be warned: turmeric and anatto in the marinade stains everything it touches so I recommend using tongs or a fork to remove the chicken. Your fingers and your cutting board will get stained orange (you can clean board with diluted bleach solution, and just wash the fingers). Any fat you see still on the chicken will melt off during cooking and it keeps the meat moist so I don’t trim it. I do put a few shallow slashes in the thickest parts of the thighs to help even them out with the thinner part to cook more evenly. You can blot the chicken a bit with a paper towel to dry them off (optional). I actually sprinkle on a few more spices (Smoked Spanish Paprika, Everyday Seasoning, Ajika, another sprinkle of ground cumin, etc) as more dry spices on the surface will make it brown up even more.

Chicken cooked halfway, with added onion and garlic
Cooked, sliced up and put back in the pan (with some arugula)

COOKING: I usually grill the chicken in my cast iron pan (or use a non-stick pan). I add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil (or oil/butter mix as the butter adds flavor and browns well). Your kitchen will smell great cooking these from all those nice Middle Eastern spices. Cook on medium for 7-8 mins until deeply browned on one side, then turn. TIP: I let the thighs cook without touching or moving them until they get a really nice sear (as you can see in the picture) Optional, but added sliced onion and garlic about half way will make for great additions for the chicken (and possibly green/red/yellow peppers).

When first side is done, flip and cook another 6-7 minutes. If you can grill these on a real grill with wood or charcoal of course they would probably taste even better. Baking in the oven can work too for 20 minutes on high. You could even bake this as a Sheet Pan Supper with veggies for an easy one-pan dinner.

This marinade is not spicy so if you want a little heat just add something like Bomba or Zhoug goes especially well with these, with a bit brushed on at the very end and/or served on the side after cooking. Cooking veggies in the same pan on the side (onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes…) is good and tasty.

Broiling? I tried cooking the thighs this way once but they gave up a lot of liquid that collected at the bottom of the pan so I kind of keep my pan grilling as preferred method which seems to seal in juices. Chicken thighs are great because they are harder to overcook – unlike boneless breasts which can dry out easily (side note – you can check my method for juicy boneless chicken breasts –) : (juicy chicken breasts).

Shawarma chicken, served on TJ’s Garlic Naan with Tzaziki, and veggies. Super yummy!!

When the chicken is done, rest them 3 minutes before slicing them up (resting meat keeps it juicy). Put the sliced chicken back in the warm pan with any cutting board juices and mix with the grilled onions if you made some. Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley or arugula perhaps for color plus a squeeze of lemon are good.

SHAWARMA SANDWICH ASSEMBLY – warm your naan or pita. Place some chicken down the center, top with sauce (TJ’s TZAZIKI sauce is perfect). Top with veggies. To eat, fold gently and eat like you would a taco, or just use a knife and fork

As mentioned I find these go great with TJs’ “ZHOUG” spicy sauce which matches well for a Middle Eastern flavor. Or mix Greek Yogurt and Zhoug together 50/50. You can serve the chicken many ways but sure a great way of course would be as a SHAWARMA wrap with Naan or other flatbread. Use flatbread, warm pita or TANDOORI NAAN (it’s perfect for this) or even TJ HABANERO LIME TORTILLAS as a wrap …. add chopped veggies (tomato, cukes, shredded lettuce, scallion, parsley…) Top with sauce, a tahini or yogurt garlic sauce (tzaziki sauce worked great). A little messy to eat but oh so good. Your family will love them. Basmati Rice on the side, or as a bed, would be a great match with this.

Another one: this a DIY version from scratch on whole wheat pita bread with sauce and veggies

Shopping list : Shawarma Chicken, Tzatziki, Naan or Pita, onion, garlic, veggies…..

The second dish I made with these chicken thighs was to use them for Chicken Tacos / Fajitas. Despite the cultural melange (middle east and mexico) these work great for Tacos. Sidenote: Of course you already knew Lebanese migrants had a big part in Mexican food culture and created the famed Tacos Al Pastor, right? Green Dragon hot sauce with it’s tomatillo and cilantro flavor made them perfectly Mexican on our tacos.

(note: price has gone up a few times since I wrote this!): TJ’s SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS are $4.49 a pound* The 1.5 lb package I bought was just over $6 and I got two meals out of it, with sides, so more than if you just bought plain chicken but not a bad deal. These are excellent to also use as the Chicken part of a dish, say a Chicken and Rice (brown the meat with onions, throw in rice, add broth, cook 18 minutes…) I made an Arroz Con Pollo kind of dish with this and it came out terrific! So TJ’s SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS are a good product and worth trying. These are a TJ hit. If you want to save money, naturally you could buy chicken thighs and add your own blend of “middle eastern style” spices for a marinade and leave it for a few days in the fridge.

(LINK) TJ’s ARCHIVED INFO PAGE FOR SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS

My DIY Shwarma on Naan

DIY SHAWARMA – IT’S CERTAINLY POSSIBLE TO MAKE THIS YOURSELF FOR LESS . Buy boneless skinless thighs and marinate with yogurt and shawarma spices (from 2 hours to up to 3 days) “Middle Eastern spices” – Ground cumin, fresh and/or dried garlic, onion salt, turmeric, black pepper, Ajika, Zhoug, Hatch Flakes... DIY Shwarma style chicken will be really good as well!

SHAWARMA SPICE MIX BLEND RECIPE here: https://mayihavethatrecipe.com/crazy-good-shawarma-spice-mix/

(LINK) Here’s A Recipe I found on TJ’s site with these for Shawarma Chicken Rice Soup

TJ’s sells other varieties of the marinated chicken thighs: HARISSA and LEMON & HERBS. Personally I found these other flavors aren’t as good as the SHAWARMA version. For one thing, they are way too wet) and I won’t buy either again.

AUTHENTIC CHICKEN SHAWARMA COOKING ON A HUGE ROTATING SPIT. MEAT THEN SLICED OFF. If you ever get the chance, try it!

TJ’s CINNAMON ROLL BREAD


TJ’s CINNAMON ROLL BREAD

The name of the bread is a wee bit of Hyperbole if you expect this to ooze like a Cinnabun. However this is very, very good raisin bread with lots of cinnamon flavor. I love this Cinnamon Bread. It’s another of my “Must Have Always on hand” things from TJ’s (yes there are so many of those). The package says it’s “ooey, gooey…” well,  its not really that ooey gooey it’s just a tiny bit gooey which is fine if you want to put this in your toaster…which you absolutely should!  While it’s not bad as is untoasted, to get the full potential, do toast this bread up as by toasting it, the heat brings out the maximum cinnamon and raisin flavors. Don’t they sell Cinnabuns just out of the oven for this reason, so the smell wafts in the air? This bread toasts up to yummy perfection, however be careful and keep your eye on it and don’t let it burn or you’ll be sorry. Its a fine line from perfectly toasted, to burnt toast, i mean a few seconds.

TIP 1: I go Full Monty Maximum Cinnamon… after its toasted, I put on some butter and a sprinkle of a wee bit more ground Cinnamon and Brown Sugar on it…Heavenly! Really try it.


To die for.

Or try: Cream Cheese instead. Cream Cheese and chopped Dates (or dried cranberries)!

Or just by itself with some butter. Even thats very good. You can’t go wrong with this excellent product at breakfast time. Your family will go nuts for it when they smell it. A 24 oz loaf goes for $3.49.

(UPDATE = WENT UP TO $3.79 since this was written)!

I would recommend you freeze the bread to keep it as fresh as possible, and take it out as you need it to toast it up.

TIP #2  Sunday I woke up thinking hey this would be great to make French Toast with. I made it. Yup. It was fantastic for French Toast! Try that yourself.

RAVE

 

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TJ’s WHOLE WHEAT COUSCOUS


I always keep a box of this TJ Whole Wheat Couscous in my pantry as it’s incredibly fast and easy to make staple, quicker to make than for example rice or even pasta. It’s versatile, healthy, and tasty. Couscous (“koos-koos”) is a pasta-like grain made from wheat that is a staple in the North African cuisines of Algeria and Morocco. It’s even part of Sicilian cuisine!

Couscous is generally made out of semolina wheat. Trader Joe’s sells this whole grain version made from whole durum semolina. The box says PRODUCT OF FRANCE (yeah baby!) The French love couscous. I have lived in Paris where they have couscous restaurants almost like we have pizza places as there are so many people of Algerian and Morrocan origin.

One of the reasons I love couscous, is it its so fast and easy to make. It is ready in 5 minutes. Here’s the basic method: Put a cup of water in a pot. Bring it to a boil. Add Salt and Butter (or olive oil) Dump in a cup of this couscous (1-1 ratio). Turn off the fire, cover the pot, and let it sit for five minutes, then fluff it up with a fork. Thats it, done!

You can use couscous as a side dish, as you would rice or pasta. It really soaks up sauces or stews. Use it as a “bed” for your Main and add a bit of sauce on top. It’s a great base for a “protein bowl”. You can do other things as well with it like serve it as a salad or make a super healthy couscous tabouli salad hot or cold. A box of Trader Joe’s French imported Whole Wheat Instant Couscous sells for only $1.99 for 500 grams, (a bit over a pound). This is an excellent product to always keep on hand in your pantry and tryHere are some links related to peruse.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/simple-couscous-recipe-2355404

http://www.chefday.com/couscous-merguez

http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/food/entries/display.php/id/58/

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/232205/whole-wheat-couscous-tabbouleh/

https://food52.com/blog/22956-sicilian-couscous-alla-trapanese-recipe-history-behind-it

RAVE

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