Trader Joe’s “Feed 4 for $10” recipes…


https://www.traderjoes.com/home/discover/guides/10-dollar-recipes-to-feed-four

Trader Joe’s acknowledges what we customers know all too well now: how much more expensive it is to feed your family these days due to price increases and inflation. We consumers need to get the biggest bang for the buck from every dollar we can. Hence I think Trader Joe’s is smart to admit this and “help” us with some ideas and recipes in their

“Feed 4 for $10” guide.

Visit that link for Trader Joe’s recipes. One recipe is for an EASY SPICY CHILI with ground chicken, a can each of tomatoes and beans and their super useful TACO SEASONING mix (which I swear by and only costs .79 cents!) They say this Chicken Chili costs about $9.04 to feed four. I would budget in another $1.60 to buy some Corn Tortillas which will be good with chili. They assume you have rice in your pantry. I have a chili recipe with ground turkey which is similar to theirs. Check that out too. You can just switch the turkey for chicken if you prefer. Currently a pound of ground chicken at the moment is 3.99. Ground meats have no waste and I think makes a decent bang as the main / protein. GROUND TURKEY is about $4.29 for a pound. Want to make a VEGETARIAN CHILI? You can use these recipes, just swap in some organic tofu (drained well and crumbled). The Organic Tofu is still only $1.99! Some people swear if you freeze tofu, it gives a better “meatier” texture

https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/freezing-tofu/

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.

Trader Joe’s caught red-handed SHRINKING SOME ITEMS ! (Shrinkflation / Inflation)


I’ve been hearing a lot about how stores are shrinking some items as opposed to an outright price increase to kind of disguise price increases from us consumers. This is “Shrinkflation”

Look carefully at the sign. The sign says the jar of this (very good!) marinara sauce contains “26 ounces”. If you look at the label on the jar, it says “24 oz“. Clearly a jar of this marinara use to contain 2 more oz. I assume this change was fairly recently since they didn’t have time to change the sign.

Shrinking packages and the amounts in them is one way vendors try to hide a price increase – by giving you less even thought they didn’t raise the price hoping you won’t notice. This is referred to as SHRINKFLATION. Someone clearly goofed up at my TJ’s and forgot to change the sign but no doubt they will soon lest you know what really happened to the missing 2 ounces of sauce!

Have your parents ever said, “I remember when you could make the kids three sandwiches from a can of tuna”? Its true. Cans of tuna are famous for shrinking and shrinking and shrinking over the years….

UPDATE: Another one – a reader reports TJ’s Orange Juice is now 52 oz, less than it used to have.

TJ’s ULTRA CHOCOLATE PREMIUM ICE CREAM


RAVE

Trader Joe’s Ultra Chocolate Super Premium Ice Cream is a chocolate lover’s dream. This TJ’s ice cream is super rich, intense chocolate flavor that will satisfy any chocoholic’s cravings — and as a self confessed chocoholic I promise you I know what I’m talking about. This is a really terrific high quality premium ice cream, so good it can be a bit hard to stop yourself from having, “Just one more spoonful.” So be warned. Lest you find the 1 quart tub of ice cream half empty and wonder what just happened? It doesn’t come with a Warning label, but it should.

TIP: Sometimes I will grind up dark espresso beans very finely, and sprinkle a bit of espresso coffee over this ultra chocolate ice cream for one of the world’s best combos, coffee and chocolate. The bitter espresso matching perfectly with, and tempering the rich unctuous chocolate. In fact one might match a scoop of this dark chocolate ice cream with a scoop of the also outstanding TJ’s COFFEE BEAN blast ice cream to make another heavenly combination of coffee and choclolate ice creams. Uh oh, I’m getting cravings, just writing that.

Speaking of tempering, let this soften up a wee bit before eating it to enjoy the full flavor. Like any premium ice cream, it’s dense, not full of air like cheap brands of ice cream.

This super premium ice cream goes for $3.99 for a quart tub.

PRICE INCREASED! 4.29 (APR 2022)

Price Increases at Trader Joe’s (June 2021)


Inflation has been in the news a lot recently and I’m really noticing it “in action” in supermarket prices including, or is it especially, at Trader Joe’s. Certainly you have noticed TJ’s prices on many items creeping up all the time? I am getting small sticker shocks now on a shopping run at TJ’s. Then when you hit Checkout and they all add up, a big sticker shock. All those “small” increases add up. I’m sure you are noticing in your food budget not going as far. I sure am. I’ve noticed price increases at TJ’s on so many products. Here are a few:

Ground turkey, which was $2.99 a pound for some time, was now $3.49. Another kind of ground turkey, which was $3.99 a pound, went up to $4.29. A pack of Pita was $1.29 for many years. Now it’s $1.59. Peanut Butter: $1.99 since I can remember…now $2.29. The always great deal on the Pane Italiano bread for 99 cents? Its now $1.29. Isn’t that about a 30% increase on this one item? The inflation rate supposedly in the US is around 5 per cent. So why a 30 per cent increase on this particular item !?!

TJ Peanut Butter – it was $1.99 forever. Then raised to $2.29. Then raised again to $2.49 (price as of aug 2021)

Organic Carrots – were 99 cents forever. Now $1.49 – a 50 per cent increase?! Wow.

We are seeing raises followed by raises in just a few months. So even what seem like “small increases” of 30-50 cents on many items add up by the time we get to the cash register to quite a few dollars. And we had already had some increases during Covid-19 due to shortages and supply chain issues….. As we know unfortunately it’s quite rare once something goes up in price that it ever goes down in price. What if anything can we consumers do? Do we have to just grin and bear it? Unfortunately I don’t have an answer or any magic solutions. All I know is it’s harder for us consumers at an especially bad time for many people. Are companies like Trader Joe’s taking advantage of inflation being in the news so much, and being opportunistic now about raising prices? Anyway I just thought I would put this out there if anyone wants to Comment about price increases at Trader Joe’s.

At least you can vent here, so feel free to do so in the COMMENTS section (please just keep them PG).

Trader Joe’s ARGENTINIAN RED SHRIMP


“Trader Joe’s Argentinian Red Shrimp are caught off the southern coast of Argentina. They have a sweet lobster like flavor and texture. Grill, barbecue or sauté. Serve with pasta, on salads or as an entrée…” (Wild, Raw, Peeled, Cleaned and Deveined Frozen Shrimp)

RAVE

If you are at Trader Joe’s looking for shrimp, these are the best ones they sell. These frozen red shrimp are large, meaty and actually do have a sweet “lobster-y” flavor and texture. A big plus is they are Wild Caught, not farmed. Wild shrimp are said to have better flavor than farmed shrimp. These Argentinian Red Shrimp are fished in the icy waters off Argentina’s coast in Patagonia. They’re individually flash frozen, cleaned and ready to use. They’re a decent size (20/25 count aka “Large”). Are these “the sweetest shrimp in the world”? … well even if some marketer came up with that, they actually do taste sweet and so have a “lobster-y” taste and texture. (If you are interested in learning more here’s detailed info about “Patagonian Red Shrimp”) You use these Red Shrimp the same as any other shrimp. If I’m not using the whole package I just take out as many as I need, then close it up super tight with a twisty, then double bag that inside a Ziplock freezer bag to keep them fresh as possible. So first things first, best defrosting method(s).

DEFROSTING : The best way is the traditional overnight thaw in the fridge in a covered bowl. If you didn’t plan ahead, the next best option is put them in a bag, and submerge it in a bowl under a light stream of cold running water (weight down bag with a plate). They should be defrosted in 15-20 minutes. OR this last method works OK in a pinch: I’ve simply put the frozen shrimp in a bowl, covered them with an inch of very cold water, and stirred them every 5 minutes or so, which should take maybe 30 mins. Cooking from frozen: One can but I would not recommend if possible. They will shrink more and be tougher. Nor would I nuke them to defrost them personally.

Cooking: Cook them as you normally cook any shrimp. These do cook a wee bit faster so be careful not to overcook them. If you are say using a sauce, you can simmer the (defrosted) shrimp slowly in the sauce at the very end cooking them in the sauce for maybe 2 minutes (turning them over once). As soon as they are no longer translucent and look firm these are cooked, and/or at least should be removed and then added back to your dish at the end. Not over cooking will keep them plumper and juicier. When you overcook shrimp they become chewier and shrink up.

TIP: If grilling them, you can marinate them for 15 min in lots of TJ’s CUBAN SPICE BLEND. Or any spices of your choosing. Ajika blend also is terrific as is TJ’s Peri-Peri Sauce. These shrimp are terrific simply sautéed in olive oil with lots of garlic, scampi style. You can blot them with a paper towel, optionally sprinkle them with a little seasoned flour and sauté them in oil and butter. One trick I saw on MilkStreet recently was to pan fry shrimp on one side only, then take them out of the pan and finish them in your dish for 30 seconds at the end. This is a great idea. These shrimp are of course great grilled / sautéed and used in a pasta dish. You can put them on a skewer and broil or grill them (oil them). They are equally great gently poached 3 minutes, which is a good way to make them for cold cooked shrimp or for the top of a salad.

If you try these shrimp you will probably like them as much as we do. I find them super convenient to have in the freezer. TJ’s sells these Wild Red Shrimp (1 lb. bag) for $9.99

*UPDATE-1 (Feb 2021) price increased to $10.99. UPDATE-2 (Apr 2022) price went up again, now 11.99!

More cooking ideas follow.

I made a nice Thai Shrimp Curry with these shrimp, with veggies and TJ’s Thai Red Curry sauce – adding the shrimp during the very last 2 minutes (a no-recipe recipe follows below).

THAI STYLE SHRIMP CURRYSauté some onions, garlic, and chopped ginger in oil for 4-5 minutes. Throw in chopped up carrots, celery, potatoes (optional add ins: mushrooms, peas, sweet potatoes, scallions) …sauté everything for 5 more minutes, then add 1/4-1/2 cup liquid (water or broth (Option: Add a 1/2 cup Coconut Milk for the liquid)) Simmer for 10 minutes, then add in a jar of TJ Thai Red Curry sauce and simmer another 10 minutes or until all the veggies are just tender. The last 2 minutes of cooking, you add your shrimp and simmer gently in the sauce, stirring occasionally. Serve the curry with jasmine rice and add chopped scallions on top.

Shrimp Roll on Brioche Bun

Here’s one more: As these shrimp are “lobster-y” they are perfect to make a New England style Shrimp Roll (aka Poor Man’s Lobster Roll). Gently poach shrimp 90 seconds or so. Remove and let cool, split or cut them up and mix with a little mayo and lemon juice, then put them in a lightly toasted buttered Brioche bread or Brioche Bun (spread with a little mayo) If you have it sprinkle a little Old Bay seasoning or dill seasoning) on top. Easy and delicious.

RECIPE: RED SHRIMP WITH HONEY ALEPPO SAUCE – https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/honey-aleppo-shrimp

(NB: TJ’s recipe here says cook the shrimp for 5-10 mins; I suggest just ignore this unless you want really overcooked shrimp! Cook these shrimp no more than 2 minutes)

Ramen? Yes. I used the shrimp in (“Roy Choi style”) instant ramen with a slice of cheese and butter.. (crazy but it works, see video below). For this dish which was a dinner, I made a veggie stock instead of using the included packet of seasoning* and added some fresh mushrooms. I added the defrosted shrimp at the very end of cooking, and only cooked them about a minute or two. See they look juicy (not overcooked)? TIP: That little flavor packet included with instant ramen is just loaded with Sodium (like 50-70% of daily recommended level)? Bad for you, so better to use your own stock or a low sodium stock and maybe just add a pinch of the flavor packet. Worst case, use only half the packet and if it tastes too flat, add something to flavor it up without adding much sodium (a dash of low sodium soy sauce or a few drops of Nam Pla (fish sauce).

ROY CHOI’S INSTANT RAMEN WITH CHEESE

Another idea? Vietnamese style rice paper shrimp rolls (search Asian markets for the rice wrappers) https://justasdelish.com/vietnamese-shrimp-rolls-peanut-hoisin-sauce/

One more idea? Fried rice with shrimp.

Vietnamese Shrimp Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Sauce (Gỏi Cuốn with Nước Lèo)