ZHOUG SAUCE


Trader Joe’s ZHOUG SAUCE is a fresh tasting and delicious Middle Eastern / Yemeni condiment. When they describe it on the package as “very spicy” in this case, TJ is not kidding! Repeat – this is “VERY SPICY” as in will knock your socks off spicy.

Herbal from cilantro, spicy from jalapeno and chile, seasoned with cumin and cardamon, this stuff is bloody wonderful.

I’ve put it on just about everything you can think of…chicken, tofu, eggs, fritattas, pasta…. you can’t go wrong with this on just about anything you put it on, it will make you smack your lips. I suspect it would be good on shoe leather.

This was even a bit too spicy for me (rare!)  Unless you are a total chile-head, capsaicin obsessed death-head sauce freak you might want to tame it down a tiny bit as I did. I added some olive oil and lemon juice to cut down the heat ever so slightly. I liked it better that way as I could use it more generously. You will use this in small amounts…a little goes a long way, especially right out of the jar as they make it. Its in the refrigerated section at TJ and costs $3. A steal.

Here’s a DIY version I found if you want to try your hand at making ZHOUG

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/diy-trader-joes-zhoug-sauce_n_5b96758ce4b0511db3e480d0

RAVE

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Trader Joe’s SHAWARMA MARINATED CHICKEN THIGHS


Trader Joe’s SHAWARMA MARINATED FRESH CHICKEN THIGHS

It’s rare that I buy meat or chicken that’s comes already marinated in a package. I normally would make any marinade I wanted myself. Still I saw this product, boneless chicken thighs, which looked promising and thought I would try it out and report on it here.

In short, I liked these SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS a lot, and would buy these again. They’re quite good!

These are skinless, boneless chicken thighs so very convenient to use. Just take them out of the package (messy, I used tongs), toss them in a hot pan, or on a grill, or broil them, and they will be ready in about 15 minutes.

I cooked these thighs in a pan, grilled as suggested, about 7 minutes or so per side, in a black cast iron pan with olive oil over a medium fire till they were a nice golden brown color on the bottom. I flipped them over and cooked them till the other side was done about the same time. So maybe 15 minutes total? The kitchen smelled great while I was cooking these. The spices they use are very nice, Middle Eastern, flavorful but not overpowering. Of course you could add even more spices if thats your bag (fresh garlic, cumin, or something spicy…) They aren’t spicy/hot. Take them out of the pan and rest them for a few minutes. You could hit them with some lemon juice. They don’t need it but its a nice fresh addition. I could have used a tiny bit less salt, which is listed a bit high in the Sodium count. But it was not salty especially with other food, and as I served it over rice, fine. I served these with TJs’ “ZHOUG” Yemeni green hot sauce, which is quite spicy, and it matched well with the whole Middle East flavor going on.

The nice thing about Chicken Thighs is they are very “forgiving” and stay juicy almost no matter what. They are hard to over cook unless you really try! As you know quite unlike boneless chicken breasts which are very easy to overcook and turn out dry (mine? never!)

SHAWARMA CHICKEN THIGHS cost $4.49 a pound. The 1.5 lb package I bought was $6 and I got two meals for two from it with sides.

This would be great sliced up and served SHAWARMA style on pita, with veggies and a tahini or yogurt garlic sauce. Or try TJ’S ZHOUG SAUCE if you can handle the heat!

The second dish I made with them: Chicken Tacos/fajitas. Despite the slight cultural melange, they were great for in that dish too.

(LINK) Here’s The TJ FLYER PAGE I FOUND ON THESE

YES REAL SHWARMA IS COOKED ON A ROTATING SPIT…..l313283930

5-MINUTE $3 DINNER FOR TWO (GNOCCHI WITH PESTO, A NO-RECIPE RECIPE)


 

The other night I came home tired and hungry. I looked in the fridge and saw nothing really to eat.

I wanted something hot and delicious that would not require any time at all.

I looked in the cupboard and saw 2 things, a package of TJ GNOCCHI plus a jar of TJ PESTO ALLA GENOVESE.

Aha, dinner!

(NO-RECIPE RECIPE) FIVE MINUTE GNOCCHI with PESTO SAUCE

STEP 1 – BOIL WATER

STEP 2 – THROW IN THE GNOCCHI (ADD A PINCH OF SALT IF YOU LIKE) BOIL GNOCCHI THREE MINUTES

STEP 3 – DRAIN GNOCHI (NB: KEEP 1/2 CUP OF THE PASTA WATER!) TOSS DRAINED GNOCCHI BACK IN THE POT TO KEEP WARM

STEP 4 – ADD PESTO (I ADDED ABOUT 1/2 THE JAR). ADD A FEW TABLESPOONS OF THE SAVED PASTA WATER BIT BY BIT STIRRING GENTLY TILL YOU HAVE A SAUCE OF DESIRED CONSISTENCY. KEEP WARM WITH A TINY FLAME UNTIL READY TO PLATE

DONE

FANCIER? A drizzle of a great EVOO…. Freshly grated Parmigiano or Pecorino (or Mozz?) Fresh ground black pepper. Optional: Green it up with some chopped arugula (or parsley or baby kale). I added in some Arugula to the pot and stirred for about 45 seconds until it wilted a bit into the pesto. YUMMY! With 2 slices of toasted bread, some greens and dressing, a glass of wine…we had a full nice dinner that took almost no effort and very little time.

TIME (under 5 minutes not counting the water boiling)

COST – TJ’s Gnocchi (1 lb) costs $1.69.  A jar of the Pesto Alla Genovese costs $2.49 (so figure 1/2 jar’s $1.25) So the dish costs less than $3 with 2 nice servings as a dinner, or about 4 as a side-dish.

So its a good idea to keep these 2 handy items on hand in your pantry! The Gnocchi is shelf stable for months. The Pesto once opened lasts a week or two in the fridge. Covering the pesto with some olive oil will help it keep a bit longer.

 

pesto2

RAVE

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 bread, and it’s another of my Must Have In House products from TJ’s. The package says it’s “ooey, gooey…” but its not really ooey gooey, it’s just a tiny bit gooey which is fine if you want to put this in your toaster. Which you do! While it’s OK untoasted, you really must toast this bread up IMHO. Only by toasting it do you get the full cinnamon / raisin flavor effect. The bread toast’s up to absolute yummy perfection (but be careful, keep your eye on it and be careful not to burn it or you’ll be sorry. Its a fine line from perfectly toasted to burnt toast and raisins!

TIP: I go Full-On Maximum Cinnamon and once its toasted I put butter and a little Cinnamon and Sugar on it, and thats Heavenly. Really try it, just a sprinkle of cinnamon and some natural sugar.


Or try: Cream Cheese and Dates chopped up (or more raisins or dried cranberries.

Or by itself with some butter. Even thats 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 just $3.49. So another great TJ deal. I would recommend you freeze the bread and just take it out as you need it to toast it up.

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

 

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TJ RECIPE: Channa Masala Tomato Soup


This is a reprint of a Recipe combining 3 or 4 things reprinted from TJ’s Fearless Flyer here. I have not tried it yet but it sounds like it would be good, and will make this at some point in the future. Generally I have found some TJ Indian items to be pretty good. Also, I didn’t know about Malabari Paratha but found info on it here, in another Fearless Flyer

Channa Masala Tomato Soup

Overhead view of Channa Masala tomato soup in bowls, garnished with sour cream, and served alongside Malabari Paratha for dipping

A veteran of our line of frozen Indian entrées, Trader Joe’s Channa Masala is moderately spicy, belly-warming, and undeniably comforting—basically everything you’re looking for when it comes to cold weather cuisine. Paired with full-flavored Organic Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup, it’s ready before you can ask “What’s for lunch?” (Well, almost.) Don’t forget to warm up Trader Joe’s Malabari Paratha for dipping!

DIRECTIONS

Add soup to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally.

While soup heats, microwave channa masala according to package directions; stir.

Divide soup among 4 shallow serving bowls. Divide channa masala and gently spoon atop center of soup. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Enjoy!

CHICKEN BREAST STRIPS TREATS FOR DOGS (AND CATS!!!)



INGREDIENTS: DRIED CHICKEN BREAST FILETS
These are all natural, pieces of chicken that have been dried into strips. They are sold as Dog Treats. Now I don’t have a dog. But I have 2 cats. They love chicken. I thought I am going to get a pack of these “dog treats” and see if my cats like them. Did I say “see if they like them?” Who are we kidding? When I opened the package up, they could smell it instantly and went nuts, pawing at me to give it to them.

Relax, I don’t give my cats a whole strip, first I break one into smaller pieces, easy to do as they have score marks on them. I gave some to my cats and they go crazy…chewing, chewing, chewing….crunching them up till they are gone as they devour these treats. Who says, “these are just for dogs”!

One of my adopted cats came with some dental issues. I have been taking good care of his teeth and gums since I got him. A (holistic) Vet told me the act of chewing is the best thing for his teeth and gums. She suggested I give him raw organic chicken with tiny bones, and especially chicken necks as chewing up the chicken necks are really good for his teeth and gums, yes crunching up the little bones and all. So I buy chicken necks but also give these dried strips which is very good chewing exercise.

Summary: Great product. All natural. $4 a package. Whether you have a dog, or like me, cats, your pet will love these. If you give to your cat, just break up a piece into smaller pieces for them.

NOTE: I gave one of these treats to my neighbors dog, and she loved it of course. So I’m saying these are good treats whether you have a dog or a cat! Equal Opportunity!!!

aspen&kuro2017

Trader Joe’s IRISH BREAKFAST TEA


 

If you enjoy having a nice “cuppa”- and I really do – I think you will like TJ’s IRISH BREAKFAST TEA.

Trader Joe’s ORIGINAL IRISH BREAKFAST TEA BAGS is a newer incarnation from a previous version of “Irish Tea” they sold till they “revamped” it a year or two back? That previous Irish Tea packaging looked a bit different and tasted different too. This newer version is better than the previous version. Its has more flavor and is a stronger blend, which is what you definitely want in a cup of “Irish Tea” as Irish tea should be strong enough to stand up to milk and sugar, the way most people probably drink it there, as well as the UK.

TJ’s gave the box a new look and the tea which was in a square bag, now comes as round tea bags (tagless, no string). They’re packaged inside in 2 foil wrapped packages with 40 tea bags each, which is great way to sell tea, as the foil wrapper keeps the tea totally fresh and airtight until you need to open the second little package of 40 bags. When you rip open the foil pack you will smell the tea easily, its got a very nice earthy (boggy?) deep tea aroma. To me this smells like good tea. According to the info on the box, the tea comes from 5 countries: India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malawi, and Kenya. A box of this is 80 teabags with a Net Wt. of 8 ounces, which translates basically to mean each tea bag contains a decent amount of tea inside, enough to make a strong “cuppa”. When you see cheap tea that has 100 tea bags and says “6 oz” you already know that means there’s simply not enough tea in each bag to make a strong cup of tea.

This is a black tea and properly steeped (4-5 minutes) the tea gives you a nice very strong, dark cuppa tea, with a deep reddish color. It is strong enough to stand up to a splash of milk and maybe sugar, if you take it that way. I do.

A box of 80 tea bags is $3 (or $6/lb) which is a very good deal compared to TJ’s own ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA (which comes in a box of 48 bags for the same price)

As the box says, “The Irish love their tea”. Us Yanks who do as well, can easily enjoy this brand of tea easily and affordably gotten at TJ’s to make their daily “cuppa”.

RAVE

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