Tag Archives: meat

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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DYI: Turkey chili with Trader Joe’s

27 Feb

And this is what I faced when I woke up this morning:

Another day; another 10 inches of snow.

Another day; another 10 inches of snow.

Round two for snow; round two for chili. This time, it was homemade turkey chili.

Almost as simple as pairing a can of TJ’s veggie chili and onion soup, I combined ingredients learned from wintery Midwestern kitchens throughout my life:

  • Ground turkey
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • garlic
  • Kidney and black beans
  • Sweet onion
  • Spices: Cumin and chili powder
DIY chili: Ingredients from Trader Joe's

The homemade goodness of a batch of chili you made yourself.

Then I added a little balsamic vinegar and a layer of shredded Parmesan cheese.

I’m set for days. And the best thing about homemade chili … the longer it sits, the better it gets!

(For those who prefer more specifics, check out last year’s batch from “best chili recipe.”)

Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

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

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Related links:

Simple turkey chili recipe

Best chili recipe

Best chili recipe: A good thing to do with ground turkey

28 Nov

When temperatures drop in the Midwest, the chili comes out to play. It’s on menus everywhere. Some restaurants offer it as a seasonal staple. Sometimes, it appears weekly as the soup of the day.  The fumes swirl around the room until I’m almost ready to order a beefy bowl … almost.

But, beef eater, I am not. So, I order a red-meat alternative and try to convince myself that I’m satisfied.

My ultimate fix is easy, though. I get some ground turkey, chicken or meatless crumbles and prepare the best chili ever in the comfort of my home.

My chili recipe is simple because I’m all about easy in the kitchen. Beans, tomatoes and ground turkey are the heart of my mix. Onions, garlic, chili powder and cumin are the notes that make it sing. Cilantro is a staple, too. A staple singer.

To make a week’s worth of chili-for-one, I use:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (not pictured)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (not available for the batch described in this post)
  • Plus, olive oil, cumin, chili powder and sea salt.
Chili ingredients for a delicious recipe

Trader Joe’s helps populate my chili recipe with tomatoes, black beans, onion and garlic.

Chili powder and cumin

Chili powder and cumin: The spice duo that makes chili chili.

I chop the garlic and saute it in a little olive oil, then I brown the ground turkey in the skillet with the garlic.

Meanwhile, the other ingredients are simmering on the next eye, waiting for meaty company.

Put it all together, heat for a little while longer, if you can wait. Then dish into a bowl and eat as is, or top with cheese, raw onion or cilantro. I also like to add a little vinegar (white, red wine, balsamic or malt) for extra zing.

Bowl of turkey chili

Voila! Turkey meat and companion ingredients to fully satisfy your every chili need.

Bon appetite!

Merci beaucoup, Trader Joe’s!

And thank you for visiting Things I Love at Trader Joe’s. Please share your favorite chili-making tips and preferences with us!

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

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Related Links:

Food Network turkey chili recipe

All Recipes turkey chili recipe

Epicurious turkey chili recipe

Saveur turkey chili

Saveur vegetarian chili

The best roasted chicken. Here’s why.

14 Nov

A whole chicken that’s been roasted, sitting in its tasty warm juices at the grocery store near you to feed your family instantly for less than $10 is one of the best things about life in the 21st century.

I always wondered, why are these chickens so over-the-top, even dangerously, delicious? Seriously. I used to buy roasted chickens from a nearby grocery store, pre-Trader Joe’s. I would devour those things!

The chicken aroma was almost too much to bear in the car on the drive home. I was hardly in the door when I tore the plastic shell apart and became a beast, chowing on legs and thighs and breast meat, grease flying, soiling napkin after napkin, until being so full that I fell into a poultry-induced coma.

Did you catch the key word to the secret ingredient? “Grease.”

I looked on the nutrition label and before the mention of spice or seasoning, there it was – roasted in oil.

Enter Trader Joe’s version of the baked bird. Yummy seasoning, tender meat, no mention of oil. And if I missed some technical language or small print, at the very least, it wasn’t swimming in oil the way other groceries serve their hens.

Roasted chicken from Trader Joe's

Pure deliciousness, without the oiliness.

The best roasted chicken – delicious, easy and without swimming in oil. That’s why.

Thank you, Trader Joe’s.

And thank you, too, for reading and following Things I Love at Trader Joe’s!

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

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Nutrition information

Epicurious: Simple roast chicken

Organic chicken breasts. Easy meal option.

29 Jun

When I can, I like to buy in bulk – especially when talking frozen foods or foods I plan to freeze (this product is found in the refrigerated meat section).

But, when it’s come to chicken, I either have to open the whole thing and separate to use individually, or the plan will be to use the whole bundle at one time, so that I don’t risk thawing and refreezing over and over. Plus, it can be difficult and time consuming to chip the pieces away from their frozen hub.

Enter TJ’s Organic boneless and skinless chicken breasts.

Organic chicken

Each breast is individually wrapped and the price comes in at about $2.00 per piece. I haven’t done a price check against other stores on this, but a $2.00 main course seems like a great deal to me.

Also, it’s organic, and the package claims that it’s “sustainably farmed, raised without antibiotics.” So, eating one of these tasty tenders is also an effort at doing something environmentally good for the world (despite the extra packaging). And it’s better for your body.

#Winning.

Thanks, TJ’s!

P.S. – Maybe a future version will include recyclable or edible wrap for the individual breasts?!

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

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Related links:

Dinner: A Love Story

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