Trader Joe’s Ultra Chocolate Premium ICE CREAM


RAVE

Trader Joe’s Ultra Chocolate Super Premium Ice Cream is a chocolate lover’s dream. It has a super rich, dense and intense dark chocolate flavor that will satisfy any chocoholic (as a self confessed chocoholic I know what I’m talking about). This is really terrific ice cream. In fact it’s so good it’s a bit hard to stop yourself from stopping. “I’ll just have one more spoonful.” So be warned. Lest you find it half empty and wonder what just happened?

TIP: Sometimes I will grind up dark espresso beans very finely, then sprinkle a bit over this ice cream for one of the world’s best combos, coffee and chocolate. The bitter espresso matching perfectly and tempering the rich 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 too. 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.

$4 a quart

TJ’s Old Fashioned CINNAMON GRAHAM CRACKERS


These are so good.

I loved graham crackers as a kid and these kind of remind me of the graham crackers we used to eat which were probably Nabisco’s. Except for one thing. These are WAY BETTER! These are a big improvement on Nabisco grahams. TJ’s grahams are thicker, heartier, and have a bigger cinnamon flavor. We both tasted these and immediately gave a big thumbs up. I think of these as “gourmet graham crackers for adults” – though the kids will like them too. They were delicious with milk, tea and coffee, they went great with some ice cream, and of course were great just on their own.

I will buy these again for sure. Trader Joe’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Graham Crackers: $3.99 for a 1 lb box.

TJ’s TUSCANO MARINARA SAUCE (discontinued)


“Trader Giotto’s” Low Fat Tuscan Marinara

RANT

Ode to yet another discontinued Trader Joe’s product, a classic rant about a very good Trader Joe’s product, which got discontinued!

Some people thought this was the best marinara sauce on the market. Many were bumbed to learn TJ’s Discontinued their favorite tomato sauce! The other day I happened to be clearing out my pantry and found I still had a can of this Marinara way in the back. I opened it and tasted it. Yes, this is, or should we say was, a terrific tomato sauce. For one thing it’s not smooth, it’s full of chunks of tomatoes like a homemade sauce you had put together yourself. Unlike the current jars of Marinara sauce that Trader Joe’s replace this with, which are puréed and smooth. I made a pasta dish using this Marinara Sauce, and the dish turned out great. I made a pizza with it too, which also turned out great. So yes, it’s a crime TJ’s got rid of this great and very useful sauce. So just posting this as a Rant, sorry, as you won’t be able to find this anymore at Trader Joe’s. Mind boggling. This was a great product. A least they still sell large 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes. I always have some canned tomatoes in our pantry as well as tomato paste (can and/or tube) So if you are inclined to make your own sauce, which is not hard and I think is worth the little effort it takes, here’s an easy homemade Marinara sauce recipe from Natasha’s kitchen, link below.

TIP (1) IMO adding a tablespoon of tomato paste at the start will make it even better (2) If you double the recipe you will have a batch all made for another meal. You can freeze it.

Pizza from scratch; made using this terrific marinara sauce

TJ’s Nori Komi “FURIKAKE” Japanese Seasoning


Trader Joe’s FURIKAKE Japanese multi-purpose seasoning

PRODUCT OF JAPAN

“Furikake” is so typical in Japan you’ll probably see a jar next to the salt and pepper in any eatery as well as anyone’s home. Its a Japanese seasoning blend condiment of chopped dried nori (seaweed), sesame seeds and sometimes other flavors. Mostly a rice topping, one sprinkles furikake on top of plain rice to give extra flavor (umami) and make it more interesting. It’s delicious sprinkled on a bowl of rice. You can use it elsewhere too. Sprinkle this on rice, on fish, meats, on top of eggs, noodles, or a bowl or ramen. This is why Trader Joe’s calls its a “multi-purpose seasoning”. Trader Joe’s Nori Komi Furikake is a basic simple version. In Japan, there are lots of kinds of furikake with different flavors (dried salmon and other fish, etc) As you can see here

https://amzn.to/3HSE1V6

Got “nothing to eat” in the house? If you have some Asian rice; an egg and FURIKAKE you can have a easy and tasty meal. Top a bowl of hot rice with a fried egg, and sprinkle a liberal amount of Nori Komi Furikake over everything. Mix it all up with a spoon. YUM. DINNER.

Trader Joe’s Nori Komi Furikake contains: white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, nori (seaweed), salt and kelp powder (more seaweed!). Seaweed of course contains glutamates which gives food “umami”. Personally I have to have this in our pantry at all times. A jar will last some time. You’ll find it in TJ’s spice section. This is worth trying.

A jar is $2.49. At a Japanese grocery it would be twice that.

PRODUCT OF JAPAN

Trader Joe’s Lemongrass Coconut BODY OIL


Trader Joe’s Lemongrass Coconut Body Oil with Almond and Jojoba Oils

Wonderful smell of lemongrass. Very light and not greasy, easily absorbed into skin. Can even be used on hair too. I find it good for keeping my curly hair curly. 4.8 oz bottle, $3.99

Trader Joe’s Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes


Trader Joe’s has a new seasoning: Dried Green and Red Hatch Chile Flakes.

From what I understand in New Mexico “Hatch Chiles” are everywhere, in both fresh and dried form, and consumed by everyone, the only thing being if you are a “green or red” chile person. Some time back, I recall seeing Trader Joe’s selling bags of fresh Hatch Chiles. I was pretty surprised. I can tell you in NYC, seeing fresh New Mexican Hatch Chile’s is rare. I would think only the most gourmet of gourmet shops would carry them. That must have been a one-off as I haven’t seen the fresh ones again at TJ’s and I assume TJ’s has decided it’s more practical to sell Hatch Chiles in a dried form. So there is yet one more addition to their great line of all kinds of seasonings and spices. The bottle of dried flaked chiles has both red and green chiles and its good! The report is these are not spicy hot but have lots of flavor. Try adding this chile flakes to burgers of ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken, impossible burgers, to tacos, stews, tomato based dishes, pasta, pizza, marinate chicken breasts (or tofu for that matter). Add some to marinades and sauces. Try some on eggs or avocado toast. A 1.9 oz jar is $3.99. Yes it’s a little expensive for a bottle of spices but you can add just a teaspoon and get a lot of flavor, plus you don’t have to go all the way to Santa Fe to get a fix of Hatch Chiles and the flavor of New Mexico.

If this sounds interesting I would grab a bottle if you see it, as who knows if this product will be around forever or it’s a one off like the bags of fresh Hatch chiles.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/green-and-red-hatch-chile-flakes-070397

TRADER JOE’S says: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of red and green chiles to New Mexican cuisine — there’s an argument to be made that red and green chiles are, in fact, the foundation of New Mexican cuisine. After all, New Mexico’s state question (apparently, there are such things as state questions), “red or green?”, is a direct reference to their ubiquity in restaurant settings. In honor of these chiles’ special place in Southwestern cooking, we’re proudly introducing Trader Joe’s Green & Red Hatch Chile Flakes to our shelves, so that their spicy, singularly New Mexican flavor can be enjoyed at home in dishes of all kinds — no matter which state your home happens to be in.

Of course, these aren’t just any chiles: these are dried Hatch Chiles, from New Mexico’s renowned Hatch Valley. Widely praised for their unique, savory taste (some detect notes of onion or garlic in their flavor profile), these Green & Red Hatch Chiles are especially great for adding heat and depth to taco meat, enchilada sauces, chilis, or stews. And since each jar contains both Red and Green Flakes, you get the benefits of each: both the round, slightly sweeter flavor of the more ripened Red, and the sharper, more vegetal flavor of the younger Green. Try folding them into your next burger for a nice, peppery kick.”

Trader Joe’s PECAN PRALINE GRANOLA


This is one of the granola’s I get a Trader Joe’s. I’m still upset my old go-to granola (Coconut Cranberry Granola) was discontinued (argh!!) a few years ago. The Pecan Praline granola is pretty good and now my Go-To general granola for breakfast. If you look at the closeup of the granola you can see it’s not loaded with large pieces of pecans, they are more mixed in as “praline” perhaps. When I want lots of nuts, I just top my cereal with a little Grainless Granola. This Pecan Praline granola’s a wee bit on the sweet side but not overly so. When I add my plain yogurt or unsweetened almond milk on it, it all balances out just fine. A 1 lb bag goes for about $3.50. I assume this is GLUTEN FREE, as it’s just oats. Whole Grain.

Trader Joe’s BREADED FRIED RAVIOLI


RAVE

Breaded deep fried ravioli? Doesn’t that sound a bit over the top? Still when I saw these, I was intrigued and thought I would give them a try. Well I have to say they are quite good, better than I expected them to be. First I should say we almost always try to “eat healthy”. I rarely eat fried anything. So frankly deep fried breaded ravioli is not something I normally eat or buy on a regular basis but hey this is the job, and reviews have to be done 😉

Having now tried them, I can tell you these fried ravioli are actually pretty yummy. The two of us totally enjoyed eating these, as a rare treat. I could see these as something you could serve once in a blue moon in small portions, say 4 or 5 ravioli, as a side or as an appetizer? They might be even be a tasty and easy treat to serve up as an hors d’oeuvre for company. One recommended method to make these is to Pan Fry them which is what I did. I used less than a tablespoon of olive oil, where as the directions say, oil a 1/4 inch deep. I don’t think you need more than a tablespoon or two of oil in a non-stick or cast iron pan. TJ’s says they are good done in an air fryer too. Once the ravioli looked crispy and golden brown, I drained them on a paper towel. The breaded ravioli were delicious, a little crispy on the outside and when you bite into them, full of soft melted cheese inside (5 kinds of cheese). Naturally these will be perfect with a bit of your favorite tomato sauce (fresh basil if you have), and they were delicious when I served them with some sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan. So give these a try if they sound good to you. A package (1 lb) is $3.99. They can be found in the frozen section…. Trader Joe’s says…

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/breaded-fried-ravioli-066183

“Each Breaded Fried Ravioli starts as a stately square of semolina pasta, filled with a mouth-watering mix of five kinds of cheese: creamy ricotta, mild Monterey Jack, rich mozzarella, savory Asiago, and piquant Parmesan. These Ravioli are then battered and deep fried to perfection, then flash frozen for you to finish the job at home. Once prepared (we find an air fryer to be particularly suited for the job), they’re everything a cheesy appetizer should be: warm, gooey, and phenomenally cheesy, with a crispy, savory exterior—a little like a breaded mozzarella stick, taken to the next level.”

Trader Joe’s Brazilian CHEESE BREAD (frozen)


TJ’s Brazilian Style Cheese Rolls / Bread – with tapioca flour and Parmesan cheese. Thin crisp exterior with a chewy cheesy center. (Frozen) Gluten Free

RAVE

From the package: “In every food culture, there is bread. And it is good. In Brazilian food culture, there is Cheese Bread, and it is very good. In your hands is our iteration of traditional Brazilian cheese bread, known as “Pao de Queijo”. These golden rolls are crafted with tapioca flour and Parmesan cheese, and deliver a subtly cheesy, mildly salty flavor, with just a hint of pepper. Like their South American inspiration, these gluten free rolls are softly crunchy outside, and airy and chewy inside. Pao De Queijo make excellent dinner rolls and delicious anytime snacks”

Wow are these delicious! If you never had tried these, you have to give them a taste. I have had Brazilian friends who introduced me years ago to the glorious little baked rolls called “Pao de Queijo (Cheese Bread) in Portuguese. Trader Joe’s now carries them frozen. To enjoy them, you only have to heat them. They can be ready in 6 minutes (though it took about 10 in my oven actually). We made and ate them last night and served them to our guest, who just loved them and devoured many. To be honest they were so tasty we couldn’t stop eating them.

Super chewy and delicious, moist and cheesy on the inside. While they are delicious As-Is, I suggest you try eating these the way Brazilians sometimes eat them : cut them open and put a slice of cheese in the middle (and / or ham) to make a little mini sandwich. TIP: take them out of the oven after about five minutes, slice it open and put a slice of cheese inside then put it back in the oven to melt. Heavenly!

I dare you to just eat one of these. It’s impossible… they are so delicious you will easily want three (or four!) A package with 12 rolls is about $4. Heating Instructions: Preheat oven to 350. Place bread on baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes.

As they are made from tapioca flour these are naturally GLUTEN FREE. Ingredients: Tapioca flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, oil, egg, water, salt, pepper

Trader Joe’s PESTO ROSSO (Red Tomato Pesto)


PESTO ROSSO – “Red, tomato-based pesto sauce, rich umami flavor, including Parmesan and cashew nuts”.

Trader Joe’s recent addition, PESTO ROSSO, is kind of interesting. “Rosso” mean “red” in Italian. Now one usually thinks of pesto as the green Pesto Genovese which is made from basil leaves, (pine) nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Trader Joe’s Pesto Rosso is a red version made from tomatoes, (cashew) nuts, and Parmesan, which is a Southern Italian pesto. I got a jar to check out. I made a pasta dish with it and the dish turned out quite tasty. So TJ’s Pesto Rosso is pretty good too, Like the other jarred TJ green pesto if you fix it up a bit it will better. In this case, some fresh garlic, maybe some chopped up TJ’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, and naturally a generous amount of freshly grated cheese (Parmesan, Pecorino, Rosemary Asiago or Canestrato Pepato. Extra Virgin olive oil at the end is a must, as they made this with bland sunflower oil to keep the cost down of course.

USAGE: Cook your pasta two minutes less than al dente, drain it (saving some pasta water). Add the pasta to a pan with the Pesto Rosso and finish cooking the pasta adding a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water as needed. Cook about another two minutes until the pasta becomes al dente and nicely coated with sauce. I added some fresh garlic. I also added a tablespoon of Tomato Paste (optional) to intensify the tomato and umami flavors even more. When ready, plate it up and drizzle with good EVOO and a nice sprinkle of freshly grated cheese on top. Fresh or dried basil on top would be nice if you have it.

Now one can use the Pesto Rosso in other ways besides pasta. You can spread it on fresh or lightly toasted bread or a baguette for a kind of bruschetta, again with maybe a few additions (a little olive oil, fresh black pepper and some Black Garlic…. or a little on some crackers topped with a slice of Rosemary Asiago cheese. Pizza? That might be good. So get creative.

Pesto Rosso is worth checking out, and I love yet another convenient fast pantry item to have on hand in the cupboard for those times when “there’s nothing to eat in the house”. The 6.7 oz jar is $2.49. You can get some more ideas about Pesto Rosso from the link below plus even a recipe to make some yourself!

TRADER JOE’S says

Our Pesto Genovese has long been a customer favorite. While this style of pesto comes from Genoa our Trader Joe’s Pesto Rosso brings the tradition of red, Sicilian pesto to our grocery shelves.

Our Italian supplier uses tomatoes as the foundation, with sunflower oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and some basil—though not as much basil as one would find in green pesto. Pine nuts, typical of Genoese pesto, are exchanged for cashews in our Pesto Rosso. Carrot purée pumps up the red-orange color, while also adding some subtle sweetness.

Pesto Rosso has a saucy, spreadable texture that is great for topping a toasted baguette, or a homemade pizza, or even a French bread easy pizza. Use some spoonfuls to enhance the flavor of your minestrone, or vegetable soup. Of course tossing some in with your favorite hot pasta is a must.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/pesto-rosso-068135

INGREDIENTS include: Tomatoes, sunflower oil, tomato powder, Parmesan cheese, carrot, cashews, salt, basil, balsamic vinegar, garlic)

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