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Monday, October 21, 2019

Trader Joe's Angus Beef Chili

There's nothing quite like making homemade chili. I love it all...chopping veggies, browning the meat, tasting and adding spices while it simmers in a crock pot. It's so relaxing and one of my favorite cold day activities.

Unfortunately I don't make very good chili.

Or so I gather. No one else in my family touches mine. I've put forth a great amount of effort into various chili cook-offs over the years and have always come in last, or close to it. I don't know what anyone else's problem is, it's perfectly good...but it leaves a lot for one guy like me to eat.

Fortunately, when the chili bug hits me, I now have Trader Joe's Angus Beef Chili.

Oh, I'll still make my own, no doubt, if for no other reason than spite all you haters. But for a quick, ready to heat, no hours of preparation needed bite, this stuff'll do just fine.

Let's see, what's to like here....pretty much everything. Angus beef is the number one ingredient, so there's plenty of meat here, in small soft pieces. It's not quite ground or shredded...it's just pieces. And it's delicious. Lots of beans, beans, the magical fruit too to really fill it all out. And it's all a pretty smooth, go down easy blend, without any big chunks of anything. Most of the beans seem to have disintegrated into the final product which is alright by me.

The pepper spice indicator on the side says this is about medium heat. Seems accurate to me. It could be spicier, but I didn't need to add anything to enjoy the chili, either. There's plenty of peppery garlicky tomatoey spicy goodness as is, which blends well with any fixin's like cheddar or cornbread. Heck, one morning last week when it was just me around I hardfried a couple eggs and had this over top. Delish.

Plenty filling. Plenty warming. Plenty good. The tub says it's a two serving container....seems low to me. I could have made this into three or more meals. Good stuff. And at a decently reasonable price (either $3.99 or $4.99) it's a good buy for when I don't need a crockpot of literally my own jamming up the fridge for a couple weeks. It's just me here grading this, so I'll go double fours.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Angus Beef Chili: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, October 18, 2019

Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Alfredo Sauce


Ah, there's nothing like the savory flavors of fall...squash, pumpkin, spices. Each year, we enjoy them all season long, from the first chilly autumn evening until well after Thanksgiving. They're delicious by themselves or all mixed together. Throw them all in a white pasta sauce and what do you get?

A disappointing bland paste that'll coat your dinner with sadness.

I'm sorry, but that's just how I feel. Sonia was thoroughly disappointed, too. There's very little in the way of squash flavor here. Simply eating an actual squash is far more flavorful. Absolutely none of the flavors come through the way they should. Parmesan and gruyere cheeses? I mean, parmesan, pumpkin, and squash can all be subtle essences, but, I mean...they're usually not THIS subtle.


This product isn't even that creamy. It's not super thick, it doesn't taste like milk, cream, or cheese. It's just a medium-thin, smooth pasta sauce with minuscule granules of butternut squash throughout. They're too small to be called "pieces." I mean, I know the word "pieces" doesn't really carry a size value innately, but a term like "bits" would seem a little more accurate somehow.

Salt, shallot, parsley, nutmeg, and black pepper should yield something with a little more flavor. We served it with brown rice pasta. We cleared our plates, but it was one of the most unsatisfying pasta dishes we've had in a long time. Not that we'd purchase it again, but if we were ever to try this sauce in the future, it might go with spaghetti squash better than any actual pasta. At least in that case, you'll taste squash.

This product should not be confused with the delightful red autumnal pasta sauce. That one's as surprisingly good as this one is surprisingly not.


On the upside, there's nothing particularly offensive about the taste or texture of this sauce..It's not rancid or gag-worthy. They just need to amplify the flavors a hundred-fold. $4.99 is way too much for this tub, in my humble opinion. Two and a half stars from Sonia. Two from me.

Bottom line: 4.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Thai-Style Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup and Trader Joe's Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich

Soup and sandwich. Sandwich and soup. It's a classic lunch combo for a reason: it's nearly perfect. Can't argue with it.

Trader Joe's just so happens to have a new ready-to-grab sammich as well as a delicious looking new soup, which I just so happened to pick up and enjoy for lunch the other day, and since I don't really have enopugh to say about them seperately for a full out review of either, may as well make it a combo on here too.

Objections?

Didn't think so. Here we go...


First up: let's soup it up. Trader Joe's Organic Thai-Style Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup. It's in the refrigerated section, plastic tub, costs about $3.99 for a two serving container. Heat and eat, easy as that. And man, if you need a change up from some ol' can of the usual, here you go. It's legit good. There's a lot of flavor depth here, from sweetness from the coconut milk to a slight touch of heat from the red curry and spices, to a certian earthiness form the potatoes and carrots. Overall, it's smooth and not too thivk, with only small diced crrots in there. It's got kinda the overall texture of a decent tomato soup, but tastes way better. The spice does tend to ramp up but never to the point of unpleasantness, maybe registering a three overall on the mild-o-meter. It's warming and filling without being heavy like regfular potato soup, and could potentially be the rare soup that's worthy of all seasons. Solid, solid soup, and a great addition to the line-up, TJ's.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Thai-Style Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup: 9 out of 10 Golden Spoons

And now it's sandwich time!


Yup, Trader Joe's Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich. That's a pretty apt and straightforward description for this sammie. And it works, precisely because it's so simple: couple slabs of smoked turkey, a slice of sharp cheddar, about a third to half an apple's worth of sweet wedges, a little arugula, small dab of dijon mayo, all served on a pretty earthy multigrain roll. Excuse me, it's "rustico"...whatever that means but it sounds good. There's nothing utterly standout about it, but it's just a tasty sandwich that costs $5. I'd gladly pay that for this precise item at like a little cafe somewhere, so it strikes me as a good deal. I wish there were a more definign characteristic for this sandwich to really hang its crust on, but alas. That being said, it'll be a glad rebuy at anytime.


Bottom line: Trader Joe's Turkey Apple Cheddar Sandwich: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons