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Friday, November 9, 2018

Trader Joe's Turkey Cranberry Meatballs

....somehow it's almost Thanksgiving already! What the what!?!?!

Seems to me that Halloween starts off a verifiable gauntlet of activities and festivities for the fam. Yes, there's the usual Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years stretch...but mix in there Sandy and my's anniversary (almost nine years!), a couple kids' birthdays, our growing tradition of a holiday cookie party, other activities and parties and occasions, along with it growing into the busy season at work, and all along all the normal humdrum and business of day-to-day life...we're busy! And we need to eat, preferably altogether and happily as a family.

Which means I don't really want my kids complaining about whatever meat may be on the table. With that in mind, with Turkey Day coming up too, getting Trader Joe's Turkey Cranberry Meatballs was an easy choice. Who can ever complain about a meatball?

I'm not here. Listen, I know these aren't as good as your Aunt Millie's famous homemade recipe, but for a frozen convenience poultry protein sphere, I'll gladly take them. As they come fully cooked, it's only a few minutes in the oven or microwave that's needed.

The reward for those three nanonseconds worth of active prep? A warm, soft yet appropriately firm meatball that's decidedly lighter than an average beef ball. It's pretty par for the frozen meatball course, with an absolute comfort vibe. But there's a lot more to like here too. There's some pretty decent rosemary in there to really enhance the flavor of the meat with some herbal savoriness. And the little dried cranberries add a nice touch. They're not intrusive from a textural standpoint at all, and definitely add a little "Thanksgiving" to the overall feel.

These turkey treats aren't perfect, though. One scroll through the ingredient list - "mechanically separated turkey." gulp. If you don't what that is somehow, go Google it...not gonna tell ya here, it's a family friendly business we run here. Also, and this is just a suggestion, but meatballs usually incorporate breadcrumbs, right? My grandma took it a step further and used crumbled homemade biscuits. Well, since it's for Turkey Day...why not use some stuffing in there too? That'd literally be almost all of Thanksgiving all rolled up in one morsel, provided that it got tossed around like a football, hollered at about politics, and drenched in gravy as well.

Mmm. Gravy. These do taste better with gravy as I sampled at the local TJ's shop. Interestingly, the dude running the counter advised microwaving instead of baking the balls, so as to retain a little more moisture and not dry them out as much. I prepped one half of our bag each way and to be honest I didn't notice too drastic a difference. Your mileage may vary, though, so there's that.

Sandy and I liked them. The kiddos tolerated them well enough and turned their dinner time ire more towards the brussel sprouts. I'll count that as a win - usually they devour their veggies and slowly whittle our will to let them live by taking four score and seven years to eat a bite of meat. The bag of about 20 meatballs (roughly four or five servings) ran $4.49 locally, so a decent enough of a value for a repeat buy. I'd think they'd work as a dinner or party snack option, so whatever you got going on, these can come alongside. Double 3.5s.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Turkey Cranberry Meatballs: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons


4 comments:

  1. Damn, your kids LIKE their veggies? You are blessed. I was a meatatarian/Carbatarian/cheeseatarian when I was a kid (still am, I have to remind myself to eat vegetables). Used to put the green stuff under the table for the dog when no one was watching. He usually turned his nose up at it too.

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  2. I wish TJs would make variations on the meatless balls...! These sound tasty aside from the turkey part ;)
    The kids may be more into the brussel sprouts if you get the huge branch of them and then have them “help” prepare them (excellent use of little fingers), peel the leaves off and dice the inner part then toss the leaves and innards with vinegrette (seriously) and salt and roast. The leaves get crispy like chips!
    Ttrockwood

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  3. Ehh I bought it and returned it. Felt it could be bit more special. IKEA meatballs with the lingonberry taste better..Costco meatballs are wonderful and those aren't even thanksgiving themed.
    The cauliflower pancakes however are great !!

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  4. Tried these the other night. They were bland and chewy. And a half hour after dinner my girlfriend threw them up. Something just didn't agree with her. The rest are going back for a refund along with the even blander turkey gravy.

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