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Friday, November 16, 2018

Trader Joe's Turkey & Stuffing En Croute

There's always something to be thankful for. So why not have Thanksgiving a little early?

In addition to wanting to sample this Thanksgiving-in-a-box for all you "Trader Nation" folks, Sonia and I are very thankful for a number of things. We're thankful that we sold our house and can now travel the country nonstop in our RV, and we're also thankful that despite a severe stroke, Sonia's mom is in stable condition and now seems to be on the mend in most ways.

We'll still be hitting up Trader Joe's stores as we pass by them in different cities, but we'll seldom be patronizing the locations at our old haunts in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. "But how will you see the states that don't have Trader Joe's?" you ask? Apparently, there are only 7 left without one, and they're generally either A) close to a state that does or B) not in the continental 48. Alaska and Hawaii will have to wait a few years. Furthermore, Sonia and I aren't looking to go too far out into the boonies, since we both need cell reception and internet for our day jobs. We'll be sticking relatively close to the cities most of the time—places where TJ's are anyway.

On to the review.

I'll just start off with some positives first. Let's look at the cranberry sauce. Yes, it comes with a pouch of cranberry sauce as well as a pouch of gravy. I hadn't realized that at the time of purchase. I can't think of any specific examples right now, but there have been a number of products throughout the years from TJ's that appear to come with some kind of dipping sauce or condiment and in our excitement, we purchase the product without really reading the packaging, only to get home and be disappointed to read "serving suggestion only" on the label. This product is the opposite. There's a small note on the big box explaining, "gravy and cranberry sauce packets included." That's a good thing. That's one of those things that you can go ahead and print in a large font on the cover of the product. Although there's not a ton of it, the cranberry sauce is sweet, tart, citrusy, and full of festive spices like allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon—tasty. It reminds me very much of a gelatinized Winter Wassail. It's a nice treat on its own or mixed with the turkey and stuffing.


In typical Trader Joe's fashion, our bird required an extra half hour in the oven to remove the last bit of pink from the inner turkey. There's a nice subtle blend of herbs and seasonings in the dish, and the copious outer layers help keep a ton of benevolent moisture in the TJ's brand "butterball."

Speaking of the "outer layers"...

My goodness. After eating a slice or two of the product, one begins to realize the shocking ratio of pastry crust to meat. As in, there's more "en croute" than there is turkey. Fortunately, most of it is flaky, bready, flavorful, and almost worth eating on its own. I'll remind you now that Sonia is a professing pescatarian, yet she sampled this product after realizing that she could eat a good bit of it while only taking a bite or two of turkey. I confess, I prodded her into it. In exchange, I agreed to eat only turkey-less turkey on actual Thanksgiving this year. Fair exchange.

Oh yeah. There's the gravy. It's okay. I've never been much of a gravy guy, truth told. This particular dressing is nothing special in my humble opinion. It's super salty. It's almost like miso soup with turkey fat swirled into it. Not terrible. Just unnecessary in this instance. The turkey was juicy enough on its own.

About $13 for the meal. Plenty of food for two people, even on T-giving Day. You could probably stretch it to four if you had a few extra sides to go with it—and I'm not talking USDA "suggested serving sizes," I'm talking Thanksgiving Day, pig-out, all-you-can-eat, give a plate to each of the dogs, let's celebrate life kind of servings. 

Three and a half stars a piece. And an extra half a star. Because I'm in a good mood. Why not?

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

10 comments:

  1. I had this last year and it was pretty good. Good luck on your travels!

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  2. Wow!! Traveling in an RV sounds like a big adventure!
    So glad that sonia’s mom is on the mend. I just picked up the turkeyless meal myself- i was very upset it sold out before i could get one last year! It’s in the freezer actually, i’ll be at a friend’s vegetarian thanksgiving this year but i like to make it on a random snow day :))
    Ttrockwood

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    1. Have fun at your friend's Turkey-less Turkey Day! This will be my very 1st vegetarian Thanksgiving. Pardoning a turkey this year just seems like the right thing to do after reviewing this and those weird little turkey bites...

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  3. I have to work on Thanksgiving and then home alone (well, with cats, but alone). I think I'll stop by TJ's and pick one of these up so at least I can eat a turkey dinner Thursday.

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    1. Not a bad plan. Sometimes alone with pets is the best way to be :)

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    2. I'm working as well on thanksgiving. I may go and pick up at trader joes, I have tons of gift cards for them, might as well put them to use. :)

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    3. Yay for gift cards! Turkey tastes even better when someone else pays for it ;)

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  4. I love that cranberry sauce. It so good. Wish they sold it in larger size.

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  5. Congrats on the sale of your house and your upcoming travels! That sounds like quite an exciting adventure! How long will you guys be on the road?

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