|Dinner by Trader Joe’s
Organic Brined Chicken in Many Cloves Garlic Sauce,
Reduced Gilt Mac and Cheese, Asparagus with Garlic Salt
|Trader Joe Coulombe|
|Lines to get in…lines to check out
TJs at Broadway and 72nd St. NYC
Our Chicken Dinner a la Trader Joe’s
# 7. Organic Pre-Brined Chicken 2.99 lb. (4 oz. portion Sodium 520 mg. 22% RDA. And # 8. Many Clove Garlic Cooking and Simmer Sauce – chopped fresh garlic, garlic puree, roasted garlic, granulated garlic 18 oz. 3.79 (Sodium 400 mg. 17% RDA).
The chicken is superb—every bit as good as a Kosher Chicken which is similarly brined–but minus the blessing and much lower in price. I followed the instructions on the Many Clove Garlic Sauce jar and using the chicken cut up into 8 pieces, I browned it thoroughly on all sides. The chicken went into a baking dish into which the sauce had been poured. Covered, it emerged 40 minutes later perfectly cooked and delicious.
With this I served # 9. Fresh asparagus, miraculously priced at $1.99 lb. when TJ’s competition was selling it for a dollar more. These I finished off with a knob of butter and a generous twist of Trader Joe’s Garlic Salt Grinder. Vegetables are a reason to shop TJ’s all by themselves.
# 10. With the chicken I also served “Reduced Guilt Mac and Cheese.” The reduction in guilt was ascribed to the 65 % less fat and 25% fewer calories than their regular mac and cheese. But the comparison is a bit misleading: A serving still comes in at 270 calories of which 50 are from fat. And as with a lot of ‘reduced fat’ items, Sodium is the flavor carrier at 540 mgs. Or 22% RDA (halved, one box is one portion). You may be tempted by the $1.99 price tag but don’t. If you’re going to eat mac and cheese, eat real mac and cheese please.
# 11. We’re not big cereal eaters but I couldn’t pass by the Coconut Cranberry Granola at $2.49 for 16 oz. This is not just a bargain but a fantastic addition to #12, their Whole Milk Greek Yogurt (1.29 for 8 oz.) which I highly recommend since Chobani has been playing the reduced-cup-size-same-price-as-before game. The Non-Fat Greek Yogurt is the same size as Chobani (5.3 oz.), every bit as good and just .99 cents a cup.
“Pork Belly is the new bacon”, The “Fearless Flyer” states, coming to the party late. But then they admit #13. Pork Belly is bacon. Pork Belly has risen in price with the demand for its sinfully decadent, crispy, melt-in-your mouth fatty goodness. So TJ’s partially cooks the product and sells it in an absurdly oversized box containing a chunk of 12 oz. for $4.99. I could have kicked myself because the price is identical to a pound of pork belly at our full-service supermarket. But mostly because I had just made this (http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2014/01/cosmo-goss-beer-braised-pork-belly-and.html) and TJ’s Pork Belly was decidedly not as good. No real flavor which mine, poached in ale, had in spades. Pass this one by and make your own.
Finally, I did an indoor Asian Barbecue with #14, TJ’s Baby Back Ribs—–not the marinated version which is pre-marinated and pre-cooked and, need I say, pre-salted.
I bought a single rack, perfect for 2 and, at $10.48, a great buy. I cooked them using a Bobby Flay technique that uses both oven and broiler–not a grill– and produces sensational ribs in an hour and a half. Here’s the link to that post:
I served the ribs with #15, Trader Joe’s Scallion Pancakes. These are one of my favorite Asian menu items. The package of frozen ones at TJ’s are South Korean-made. They can be heated in an oven in 4 to 7 minutes which I dutifully tried. But for total crispy brownness, I’d recommend frying them in a little oil. STOP THE PRESSES! Last night, several days after I posted this, I did indeed fry the scallion pancakes in a little oil. They were out of this world! And so much better than the oven-baked ones you see here. I can now say these WOULD make the cut at most Asian restaurants and I’d recommend giving them a go at $3.49 for 4.