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Monday, November 27, 2017

Trader Joe's Cornbread Stuffing Mix and Trader Joe's Kettle Cooked Turkey Gravy

Stuffing: Both a noun and a verb. Particularly this time of year. Discuss.

I know, I know....this particular review of Trader Joe's Cornbread Stuffing Mix and Trader Joe's Kettle Cooked Turkey Gravy woulda been a little more timely and helpful last week, particularly before that big ol' Turkey Day holiday last week. Sorry, but we kinda busy...doing nothing. Nada. It was WONDERFUL. I love Thanksgiving and all, and usually it's a big get-together with dozens of relatives and a verifiable smorgasmicbord of all sorts of different dishes and desserts and everything...but not this year. Kept it lowkey. Watched the Macy's parade and some of the dog show on TV at Sandy's mom's for breakfast, came home, took a rest, and made Thanksgiving dinner for just me and my girls before watching Elf as is family tradition.

And since for those family Thanksgiving dinners I was really never really asked to bring anything more than salt and pepper, or to chip in a little bit for the turkey (which my dad always seemed to do for me), Sandy and I really didn't have great top secret family recipes to make or do, so we kept it simple, hence our purchase of those two Thanksgiving staples.

First up: TJ's cornbread stuffing. Call it filling if you'd like...I'll think you're odd but won't comment out loud. If you stop and think about it, stuffing doesn't really sound like a tasty idea: warm, salty bread mush. But dang it if it's not some classic comfort right there. Trader Joe's boxy blend is pretty top notch. We had no bird to stuff, so we went for the oven prep method and went lighter on the water in the hope of more crunchy tidbits. That's exactly what we got. Now, the ingredients list "white bread" and "corn bread" before mentioning the word croutons...I didn't notice any white bread morsels, so maybe these were carby combo cubes? The spice blend was pretty classic too - rosemary, onion, garlic, etc added a really nice savory touch as one would expect. It is important to note that 1) it's not gluten free 2) there's chicken broth, so not vegeterian/vegan friendly and 3) there's mushrooms in there - which we didn't notice but post a sleeper allergy concern for some. I may be wrong, but I think a GF-friendly stuffin' made with veggie broth and no mushrooms wouldn't have sacrificed much in terms of flavor or satisfaction while being able to be enjoyed by more folks. That's my only real knock. Better than Stove Top (although when reheated the difference is less apparent), open to any additions (raisins, apple bits, bacon, etc), fills a void, pairs well with cranberry sauce...

Or gravy. In our case, TJ's Kettle Cooked Turkey Gravy. Wish I had much to say about this gravy, as I grew up a big gravy fan (both literally and figuratively) and I've yet to find a commercial gravy that approximates my mom's (even though I know hers is just jarred mixed with pan drippings - there's something else about it I can't figure out). TJ's gravy is good, not great. I mean, I coated my turkey with it and piled up a stuffing/mashed potato mountain just to make a huge gravy crater in the middle, so I can't say I disliked it. Maybe the fact that it's a little thicker and gloopier than what I'm accustomed to is why. Certainly tasted like decent turkey gravy, but nothing really stood out. It's probably open to some customization and doctoring, which I probably could have done but eh well.

So, in case you have to bring something easy to another holiday feast, or just want a simple classic taste for dinner, you can do a lot worse than this combo this time of year. We're higher on the stuffing than the gravy, but together they make a good team. We're thankful for the blessing of good, warm food and family, and hope to continue to enjoy that this holiday season. We hope for that for you as well.

Bottom lines: Trader Joe's Cornbread Stuffing Mix: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons. Trader Joe's Kettle Cooked Turkey Gravy: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

7 comments:

  1. I made the stuffing for our Thanksgiving meal, just adding some sautéed onion and celery to it before popping it in the oven. It was quite good... and yes, better than Stovetop!

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  2. I was really disappointed there's already chicken stock IN the dried stuffing! WTH? That was a dealbreaker for me, and lame because they can just post instructions to use either chicken or veg stock when making it like every other stuffing mix out there.
    Your thanksgiving celebration this year sounds really fantastic to me!! Sometimes a quiet holiday is what reminds you of what to really celebrate.
    Ttrockwood

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  3. They have a gluten free version.
    https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/2631https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/2631

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  4. I had the turkey gravy last year. I added some butter and a packet of the concentrated chicken broth along with some water and it was awesome. Made it really rich. I absolutely love their concentrated chicken broth packets. I use them all the time. Really yummy squeezed onto a baked potato with some butter and some freshly ground black pepper.

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  5. I thought that turkey gravy was just awful. Weirdly tangy, completely non-meat-flavored wallpaper paste. With lots of doctoring up it was edible on potatoes but only just.

    I don’t think I’ve heard anyone call stuffing “filling” in my life. Is it a regional thing?

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  6. I essentially grew up on the east coast and lived there till my late twenties (MD,VA,DC). I have lived on the west coast for quite some time (15+). I have only heard it called two things -----stuffing or dressing, Dressing to me seems odd to me- LOL. Never heard it called filling.

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  7. Yum... looks like an easy Thanksgiving to me. I wish they sold this stuff year round!

    Nicole @ www.bentomomentos.wordpress.com

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