Tag Archives: chicken

Epic Bars: Stylish snacking

8 Dec

epicbars

You know what these are. You might deny it, but, come on. You can tell.

Even with the sleek packaging and the cool name promising an “Epic” experience, (though it delivers), you know.

It’s clear even though each parcel is veiled with the requisite hipster labels: “100% natural,” “X g. Protein,” the predictable “Sriracha” and the inevitable, “Gluten Free.”

There’s chicken, because that’s what’s for dinner anymore. And it’s NOT beef. It’s bison, the cow’s sophisticated cousin from the range.

You knew what these REALLY were from the moment you flipped the pretty package over and saw the enticing block of melded meat parts, albeit including cranberries, the tight-fitting plastic wrap clutching the treat within.

These are the next generation of on-the-go meat snacks. But you won’t find them sold at a service station. They rest in woven baskets at gourmet, high-end and unique food stores. They sit waiting for the lucky consumer in bins at the exclusive corner market in Brooklyn, and yes, at our favorite grocery mecca, Trader Joe’s.

Come on. You knew it: Beneath the slick wrapper and trendy words, these are your old friend Slim Jim with an advanced degree in delicious. “Stout James,” you might say.

What the new set of duds and fancy stores really do are take away our Slim Jim guilt. “Look at all these great qualities,” we say, trying to fool ourselves that Epic treats are more energy bar than meaty meat bomb.

We’re wrong, of course. But it’s a nervous, naughty, joyful wrong. When Epic slips out of his pop packaging, this bad boy’s all Jimbo. Healthier, classier, but still. Wink.

And while we’re devouring every speck, we choose to ignore the truth for a giddy glimpse of gas station bliss.

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Chicken Poppers: The Mexican Falafal

9 Dec

I’m not a falafel fan. But when I approached the Redondo Beach Trader Joe’s today, I was hungry.

What I saw was a paper cup with a falafel-looking bite accompanied by guacamole. I was hungry, and I love guacamole.

Tasty taste of Chicken Popper and guac

As I said, I WAS hungry, so that factor could have clouded my falafel-averse tastebuds, but the Chicken Popper bite I had was good enough to tempt me to buy a whole box. Plus the Avocado’s Number Guacamole, which was mighty tasty, too.

Trader Joe's has guacamole's number

I hesitated, though, because the calorie count and fat content were on the high side. The tasting bar-ista suggested they were meant as appetizers, which made me think of the uber delectable Kale and Spinach bites. You can bet that once inside your house, the balls of delight will mysteriously disappear between the time you take them out of the oven to when the plate arrives in front of your guests.

ChickenPopperBox

Instead of saying, “180 calories per 3-piece serving. Box contains 4 servings,” the box should read, “720 calories per serving. Box contains 1 serving.” Psychologically, if you can restrain yourself, you’ll feel like, “I have many fewer calories than I could have!”

The falafel issue
Both the taste and texture of the Chicken Popper were reminiscent of its Middle Eastern cousin. But the crunch in the CP comes from crushed tortilla chips, and the protein element traded chicken for chick peas.

If you don’t like falafel, you may really like Chicken Poppers. If you love falafel, you’ll probably love them.

Suggestion: Perhaps the next time you have falafel, whip up some guacamole to go with it – or just buy a batch from Trader Joe’s.

Lemons+Ravioli: A match made in Trader Joe’s heaven

5 Nov

It was another tasting bar moment. One paper-cup-sized bite and I knew what was for dinner.

The TJ’s staffer added some prosciutto and dressing to her sample. I tried something different. (My recipe’s below.)

Ricotta and lemon filled ravioli = tasty wonder

Lemony, cheesy, ravioli-y

 

My recipe for delicious ravioli from Trader Joe's

This is how my mixture looks in a square bowl.

JA’s TJ’s Lemon Ravioli Recipe:

Bag of Girasole Ricotta & Lemon Zest Ravioli
Bundle of fresh asparagus
3-4 Tbl fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of salt
Juice from half a lemon
To make it meaty, add half of TJ’s flat of “Just Chicken”

Combine. Serve. Enjoy!

Tortilla soup, your way

8 Nov

I love going off the beaten path. That’s definitely true when it comes to travel, but also when it comes to veering from any norm: Mix-and-match clothing; home design; cooking.

And when it comes to reconstructing what’s for dinner, my favorite tailor-made dish is soup.

Last night, tortilla soup became palatable to a paleo-dieting friend by leaving out the tortillas. Just as delicious as with.

Tortilla soup. Hold the the tortilla.

Tortilla soup. Hold the tortilla.

I loaded it with chicken, but take away the chicken and it becomes a veggie delight. Leave out the tomatoes and add some white beans, and your acid-adverse friends will chow down.

Here’s what I put in the pot. Take note, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. You can’t go wrong.

Tortilla Soup Recipe – without tortillas

  • 3lbs chicken breast (I used TJ’s frozen chicken to keep the cost down.)
  • 3TBs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock – try veggie stock, plain water, or go a completely different direction with something like TJ’s Butternut Squash soup
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • a whole lot of cumin and chile powder (unmeasured/to taste)
  • A dash of salt
  • Sides: chopped cilantro, chopped onion, sliced avocado, shredded Parmesan cheese, shredded Cheddar cheese, hot sauce

Buon appetito!

Snow’s on; soup’s gone at Trader Joe’s

25 Mar

Did you have soup this weekend?

Saturday and Sunday, Kansas Citians received our third snow storm in about four weeks. And we had soup on the brain.

Like hundreds of others, I made my Trader Joe’s trek before the onslaught to stock up on essentials.

While most shelves were holding their own, it was easy to see what’s on most people’s minds when the temperature drops and there’s a real threat of being snowed in: The soup shelves were thin to bare.

Trader Joe's soups were selling out before the storm

Dramatic close up: Lonely little box of chicken soup.

The whole picture paints a picture of soup flying off the shelves.

The whole picture paints a scene of soup flying off the shelves.

After an incredibly snowy month, everyone’s going a little stir crazy. We need a little more comfort than usual, which we apparently translate into comfort food. What could be cozier than a pot of hot soup combating the criminal chill?

What’s your winter go-to soup?

Thanks for the variety, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Related links:

100 healthy soup recipes (Cooking Light)

6 easy chicken soup recipes (Real Simple)

Healthy winter soup recipes (Chow)

 

 

A good thing to do with barley and kale from Trader Joe’s

4 Feb

Today’s post is from Gen:

What’s better than having a quick-cook grain on hand for an impromptu pot of hearty chicken soup with kale?

TJ’s new “10-Minute Barley” fits the bill. It’s washed, par-cooked and ready to go.

Trader Joe's grain goodness

The foundation of a good meal: 10-Minute Barley

Only thing is, depending on your predisposition for “al dente” dining, “10 minutes” is more like 15.

Still, it’s a fine alternative to having to cook the raw grain for 40 minutes or more.

Note: Because the par-cooked variety is larger in size, 1 cup of the 10-minute variety is less than 1 cup of raw, uncooked barley, so take that into consideration when planning portions you’ll need.

Buon appetito!

Thank you, Gen!

Thank you, TJ’s.

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s “must haves” Faves from 2012

2 Jan

Trader Joe’s constantly comes up with wonderful items. While I love trying the new offerings, I find there are staples that I buy over and over. I have to have them on hand – TJ “must haves.”

I’d love to hear what TJ products you can’t live without! Please share your faves in the comments.

Here are 15 of mine that were featured on Things I Love at Trader Joe’s in 2012:

Roasted chicken from Trader Joe's

Pure deliciousness, without the oiliness.

Dark chocolate espresso beans by Trader Joe's

Dark chocolate espresso beans by Trader Joe’s

Peppermint hard candy

Peppermint hard candy

Trader Joe's Gummi Vites

Trader Joe’s Gummi Vites

oliveoilsprayframed

Grilled Chicken Breast Strips

Grilled Chicken Breast Strips

Trader Joe's Chicken Sausage

Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage

Tj's bananas, 19 cents each - No joke!

Tj’s bananas, 19 cents each – No joke!

Orange Blossom Honey, oo la la!

Orange Blossom Honey, oo la la!

Snack mantra: tomatoes and edamame. (Y)om.

Snack mantra: tomatoes and edamame. (Y)om.

Quinoa Duo with vegetable melange

Quinoa Duo with vegetable melange

Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

Dark Chocolate Honey Mints

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Savory Thin Mini Crackers

Savory Thin Mini Crackers

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Thank you, Trader Joe’s for a year filled with good things!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Twitter: @TraderJoesKC

Follow Things I Love at Trader Joe’s on Pinterest: Trader Joe’s

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