Trader Joe’s DILL PICKLE MUSTARD


NEW PRODUCT: Trader Joe’s DILL PICKLE MUSTARD. This is one of those Trader Joe’s products which once you try, you say to yourself “This is something I didn’t even know I needed but now that I know how good this is, I want this in my life from now on”. I saw this the other day in the NEW PRODUCTS section. Like so many Trader Joe items, you see it and are instantly curious to try it and see if it’s any good. Well guess what? TJ’s DILL PICKLE MUSTARD is really good. It tastes exactly what the name says it is, mustard with dill pickles. It’s a very good classic American yellow mustard with dill pickles in it and a lot of dill flavor. Hitting two good tastes combinations at the same time. If you like dill pickles you will probably love this as much as I did. I put it on a hot dog and it was so yummy. What if I put this on a cheese sandwich? What about on a melted cheese sandwich? I can even see mixing a little bit of this into mashed potatoes too…?

$1.99 (9 oz bottle) I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s MARBLE RYE BREAD


I just checked out a new product at Trader Joe’s, thier Marble Rye bread.

Opening the bag, you get that slightly sour wonderful smell that rye bread has. Now as a native New Yawk’r (and a member of the tribe) I know what a good rye bread tastes like. So I can’t tell you this TJ’s rye ranks high up with top NYC Jewish bakery rye breads. However the TJ Marble Rye is pretty good. It’s not at all like that supermarket rye bread (think “Levy’s crummy rye bread). This is way way better and good and when you toast this rye bread, which really improves this, you will know what it really tastes like. Toasted, this rye bread is delicious –in fact I would basically suggest you always toast this at least a little, as toasting it makes this rye bread be all it can be. Toasting it really improves the flavor and texture. The dark part as you can see in the picture is just a bit darker than the lighter part, unlike “real” marble rye breads from a NYC bakery which typically have very dark parts (black/pumpernickel) mixed with lighter rye. This bread is $3.49 for a 20 oz loaf. A bakery rye bread here in NYC is really expensive now, likely $6-7 a loaf -so this is a decent deal for a decent rye bread.

I would buy this again. Check it out if you like rye bread.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC BUCATINI PASTA


Trader Joe’s Organic Bucatini Pasta

Trader Joe’s new imported Organic BUCATINI has pretty much become my favorite pasta that Trader Joe’s has. This is a high quality organic artisanal pasta in a shape called bucatini, which is a long pasta like spaghetti but with a little hole (buca) in the middle.

The hole really helps this pasta to absorb sauce way more than spaghetti does (twice as much). Bucatini can be really a good match also with hearty sauces such as a Bolognese sauce or ragu. This pasta is excellent obviously for most Italian pasta dishes, and a few even specify this shape, (recipe idea links below).

In the picture is a simple pasta dish I made with this bucatini pasta and just a basic marinara tomato sauce. Even with just marinara and cheese it made a delicious pasta.

Cooking tip: This says cook for 8-10 minutes. I would suggest pulling it from the water under al dente – say around the 7 minute mark THEN FINISHING it in a pan with sauce for a minute or two so it can absorb the sauce and flavor a bit. So pull the slightly undercooked pasta, toss it into a pan with maybe 1/2 the sauce you are serving it with, and finish cooking the pasta with the sauce adding 1-2 tablespoons of the cooking water as needed. (watch Vincenzo do this in the video below) Always save a 1/2 cup of your pasta cooking water. Starchy pasta cooking water is the magic “secret” ingredient to cooking pasta the way Italians do. Finish cooking the pasta for a minute or two until it’s al dente or to your desired degree of done-ness. Plate it up and serve with a bit of extra sauce on top. Garnish with a little grated cheese and chopped parsley. The Bucantini swells up a bit with the sauce giving it a delicious texture and taste. You can even try this Bucantini pasta to make Asian noodle dishes! No really. It works pretty well as an Asian noodle in a pinch.

TJ’s Organic Bucatini pasta is selling for $1.49 for a 1 lb. package. Ingredients: Organic Durum Semolina. PRODUCT OF ITALY. Here’s a few recipe ideas for bucatini too….

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a34922698/bucatini-pasta-recipe/

https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/bucatini-pecorino-and-coarse-pepper

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/bucatini-best-long-pasta

Trader Joe’s “Azmari BUUNNI Coffee”


This blend combines Ethiopian delicacy with Latin verve…Notes of chocolate, nougat, cherry”

The lovely and striking graphic design of this bag of Buunii AZMARI coffee really caught my eye when I saw it recently in Trader Joe’s NEW PRODUCTS section. Strong colors and stylized images that say “farm”. The coffee inside is as good as the outside – this is an excellent coffee in a whole bean medium roast. In this case, an actual light-medium roast as sometimes people complain Trader Joe’s medium roasts are a shade darker. The coffee is from a smallish coffee outfit, BUUNNI COFFEE which I am glad to learn is being sold under it’s own brand at Trader Joe’s locations in the North East. The packaging for Trader Joe’s looks different from their other packaging so likely it was specially made for TJ’s – and this design really works as It instantly caught my eye!

Opening the convenient air-tight zip closure on the bag (more good design) Wheb I ground some coffee, the aroma smelled wonderful, and kind of had as they said “notes of chocolate, nougat, cherry…”. This coffee has a perfect mix of the best of “African” and “South American” coffee styles, for good reason, as that is exactly what this blend is composed of: two Ethiopian single origin coffees mixed with a coffee from Honduras. It has that “winy” sharp African coffee note which that is then balanced by the Latin American smoother notes of the single origin Honduran coffee. An excellent blend, roasted perfectly to bring out the best of this coffee. Trader Joe’s is selling it for $9.99 a bag (12 oz). I would buy this again, gladly and hope you give it a try; I don’t think anyone wouldn’t like this. Very impressive “high end” coffee for a good price. Well worth checking out if you see it and are a coffee lover!

https://www.thespruceeats.com/ethiopian-coffee-culture-765829

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC CHIA SEEDS


Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seeds

If you aren’t eating chia seeds by now, you probably should be eating them. You’ve no doubt heard about what a superfood chia seeds are and all it’s health benefits. These tiny powerhouse seeds are packed with protein and Omega 3’s and other goodies. When soaked in liquid the seeds swell up into a gel. So they are great for adding to cereal, smoothies, yogurt or pancakes. They can be used as a thickener. The seeds are really tiny so be careful as they have a tendency to go everywhere. Rather than pouring them out of the bag, I keep them in a jar so I can pour them or scoopI eat a huge tablespoon every day mixed into oat milk and kefir. They take a little while to swell up and absorb liquid so I wait 10 minutes or so. A 12 oz bag of them now sells for $5.49. Trader Joe’s sells a number of superfood seed items, chia seeds, flax seeds, a mix of chia and flax, and hemp seeds. All of these tiny superfood seeds are good for you and things you can incorporate into your daily diet, especially I think at breakfast when you can eat a few tablespoons easily in cereal, yogurts, and smoothies.

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chia-seeds

Seen at Trader Joe’s: STRAWBERRY PLANTS for sale!


Grow your own strawberries? This is pretty cool.

Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Filled PRETZEL NUGGETS


Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets are a classic, hugely popular snack item. Bags of these are said to fly out of the stores every day. Not only are they a hit with customers, they are also a hit with the staff and always a STAFF PICK item and are on TJ’s employees own top ten lists. Why? Well, they are just really that good for what they are. Short pretzels with a bit of salt that have a bit of peanut butter inside them. They’re kind of addictive, once you start eating them it’s hard to stop. Well at least it’s hard for me. Sure I know these may not be not the healthiest snack you could pick but every once in a while you just want something like this to munch on (TJ’s also carries a version without salt). If you can put 10 in front of you and that’s it they’re only 150 calories. Very good value as well. These sell for $2.49 a hefty 1 lb bag. There is also a GLUTEN FREE version of the I believe.

TJ’s says:

“…each real-peanut-butter-filled pretzel nugget is coated with coarse salt, and delivers crunchy and creamy and salty. They’re great party nibbles with cocktails or beer, juice or even sparkling water, and they make satisfying snacks for lunchboxes or after-school.”

Trader Joe’s High-Oleic ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL


Trader Joe’s High-Oleic Organic Sunflower Oil

I use a lot of olive oil to cook with. However there are times when you want or a recipe specifies, to use a “neutral flavored oil”. Meaning you should not use olive oil which has its own flavor, in which case I use TJ’s Organic Sunflower Oil. It’s a very good neutral vegetable oil, in fact it’s a fine all-around cooking oil. This is the oil I use basically whenever I am not using olive oil. For example it’s what I use when I am making a Chinese or other Asian dishes which always specify a “neutral” vegetable oil that won’t affect the other flavors in the dish. And Sunflower Oil is good for high heat which is good for Wok cooking. I had to look up “high-oleic” but that this sunflower oil is High Oleic means its quite healthy too, maybe even more than olive oil. And this oil is ORGANIC. TJ’s Organic Sunflower Oil is quite reasonable at $3.99 for a 33.8 oz bottle, which is of course far less than olive oil. So you probably want this as your “other” oil, like me. I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s TRADITIONAL CARNITAS Mexican Style Oven Roasted Pork


Trader Joe’s sells packages of “CARNITAS” (Mexican style oven roasted pork). Frankly in the package it may not look look very appealing but trust me, this is not just good, TJ’s Carnitas are delicious. Tender, slow roasted, melt in your mouth, delicious porky goodness. Carnitas (“little meats) are a traditional Mexican preparation & cooking method with the pork typically cooked in enormous copper pots by special masters, slowly stirring it for hour with long handle wooden paddles. Cooking carnitas is an art. You can’t even really make carnitas at home. When done the pork is so tender and juicy it is almost falling apart. Typically the cooked carnitas meat is chopped up for tacos or other dishes. “Trader José’s” version of carnitas can be used to make excellent tacos. Now even though it’s fully cooked, it will be far tastier if you brown it and I strongly recommend you do. Its worth the little extra effort and your tacos will be far tastier. Please do not microwave it – despite the fact they say you can on the package. Just toss it in a pan. I cut up the big piece of meat into a few pieces and cooked it on low-med heat for about 10-20 minutes turning the pieces every 5 minutes or all the side were golden brown and delicious. Some interior fat in the meat will melt doing this too. The carnitas may start to fall apart as you turn it, that’s fine. When its all done, take out the meat, rest it a minute or two and then either chop it up into bite size piece or what I like to do: shred it up using two forks. You can use the carnitas as a filling for tacos or quesadillas with your desired accompaniments. Personally I like traditional Corn Tortillas but use any tortilla you like. Now besides using this for tacos, this tasty roasted pork can be used for other things too of course. So for example this pork is great used for Chinese cooking. I make fried rice using this pork chopped into bite size pieces instead of Cha Siu and it’s super yummy. How about Ramen? Sure. Cut into slices, grill them a bit and use these as the Ramen topping like the traditional slices of Cha Siu. Italian? Chop up the meat for a super easy tasty meat sauce, which you add to tomato or marinara sauce – voila, an instant “Ragu” or meat sauce for pasta or gnocchi. You can even just serve this delicious pork on its own with some lime or salsa or as a topping for a salad. Or make a Cuban Sandwich with this, ham and some Swiss! Trust me, you will find this TJ Carnitas useful to use for many things. The 12 oz. package of TRADITIONAL CARNITAS goes for $6. I would buy this again

BTW – TJ’s PINEAPPLE SALSA goes very well with this pork carnitas for tacos etc.

Trader Joe’s NEW ZEALAND GRASS FED SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE


This is a Trader Joe’s STAFF PICK favorite and I completely agree. TJ’s New Zealand Grass Fed Cheddar is an excellent cheese, a sharp cheddar aged from 6-12 months. This cheese is one of my favorite cheeses that TJ’s carries, and I buy this almost every time I go to Trader Joe’s as it goes rather quickly in our house. This cheddar has just the right amount of tang if you are a fan of a sharp cheddar, good for both adults and kids. The other standout cheddars at TJ’s are the CABOT VERMONT EXTRA SHARP and of course UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR. You can not go wrong with any of these cheddar cheeses but I do like the fact that this New Zealand cheese is “grass fed” meaning from milk from those contended Kiwi cows munching away on grass if they anything like the ones in this picture! This cheese is great by itself, on a cracker, in a sandwich, with fruit, and it’s superb melted. Grilled cheese sandwich, omelets, in a pizza, tacos… it’s especially fantastic melted. You can just give me a Granny Smith apple, a hunk of this cheese and a knife and I will be almost as contented as one of the Kiwi cows.

Update: It used to be 5.99 / lb but unfortunately the price has gone up 50 cents to $6.49 / lb (April 2022)

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