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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Trader Joe's One Potato Two Potato

Nothing like a little comfort food to get you through the coldest parts of winter. Potatoes and cheese? How could Trader Joe's One Potato Two Potato go wrong?

One Potato, Two Potato,
From the Trader Joe's,
Three potato, four potato,
See how that cheese flows.
Five potato, six potato,
It's a hearty dish.
Sev'n potato, eight potato, 
Scrumptious and delish.

As usual, there are heating instructions for the microwave and the conventional oven included on the packaging. I opted for the latter, as I was feeling less lazy than usual—kicking off the new year practicing good habits and all that. The directions simply state: "remove packaging," but don't specify if the tray that contains the dish is "ovenable," a term that Trader Joe's preparation instructions have employed in the past. I made the assumption that it was indeed ovenable, and as evidenced by the fact that the tray did not burst into flames while baking at 350° for nearly an hour, I concluded that I did make the correct choice. Also, had it not been for the tray, the veggies and cheese would have spread out all over the baking sheet and perhaps gotten a little too toasty.

What's working here: lots of big, chunky veggies, tasty and evenly-distributed cheese, a crispy, crusty outer layer, and an overall salty, savory taste, perfect for a winter side dish. The potato chunks and the places where the cheese browned a little around the edges are by far my favorite elements in this side dish.

What's not working here: too many sweet potatoes, which at first I took for carrot chunks. Oddly, they bugged me more than the mushrooms. Even though I've never been a fan of 'shrooms, there simply weren't enough of them to bother me here. Sonia actually wished there were more of them. 

The sweet potato chunks were plentiful and enormous. They should have called this Trader Joe's One Sweet Potato Two Sweet Potato, although I'm not aware of any nursery rhymes that involve counting sweet potatoes. I normally don't mind sweet potatoes at all, particularly if they're well-baked. However, I feel like the ones in this selection had an odd texture—almost spongy—and the chunks were simply too big. There was a lot more sweet potato than regular potato by my reckoning. So...I wouldn't have minded more regular potatoes, peas instead of mushrooms, and thicker, gooier cheese.

Still, despite one or two distinct weaknesses, this potato platter is a winner in my book. The overall effect doesn't suffer much from the overabundance of sweet potato—there are still some tasty bites to be had. $3.99 for four servings. 

Sonia's likes and dislikes were a little different than mine, but we'll still both arrive at the same respectable score for Trader Joe's One Potato Two Potato: 4 out of 5 stars a piece. 

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

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