Google Tag

Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trader Joe's Southwestern Style Chicken Poppers

As mentioned in my previous post, the Pittsburgh branch of WGaTJ's is now a family of four with the arrival of Baby B. Toddler/Big Girl M is so pretty enamored with her little sister, which is awesome, and makes being back home and trying to get settled in so much easier. We've been home a bit now, with me taking off work for a while for all the late night snuggles and constant butt wiping. And naturally, I'm the main chef right now for the three of us capable of solid food, and fortunately we've planned well. Between a meat stockpile from a great local farm and a bunch of homemade freezer meals we've prepped well in advance thanks to my wife's cousin and her work, and along with a bunch of fresh fruit and veggies to help round out our meals, a couple Trader Joe's easy dinner options have taken real good care of us thus far.

That's how we got involved with Trader Joe's Southwestern Style Chicken Poppers. Let's see here....chicken, tortilla crumbles, cheese, peppers....hrmm, this sounds vaguely familiar...aha! There were those southwestern stuffed chicken breasts we had a few months back. These pollo poppers are kinda similar to those in concept, just in a much more snackable form with corn and black beans added in for a heartier bite. I suppose these cowboy croquets are meant more as an appetizer, but in our maverick ways, Sandy and I made them for lunch the other day, which we'll tip or cap to as a worthy enough meal.

Looking back now that a few days have passed, there's nothing overly memorable about them, which doesn't mean they were bad. The crumbled tortilla chip shell actually held up surprisingly well - no spouts or leakages during baking. And each bite consisted of an adequate enough distribution of white chicken chunks, corn, and beans, with a little jack cheese and seasoning (mostly, yeah, seasoned salt) mixed in, with some little traces of spinach in both the crust and filling. "Spicy" is not a word I'd associate with them, although if you're super spice sensitive, like the dragons in M's favorite new book (thanks, Uncle Dan and Maymay!), you *might* have a small issue with 'em.

In all, I'd pick these up again without much hesitation, which is a lot more than I can say for our previous clucky appetizer find. I'm sure with a little hot sauce or guacamole, I can make those flavors pop a little more. As is, though, not bad, not bad.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Southwestern Style Chicken Poppers: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trader Joe's Giant Peruvian Inca Corn

Years ago, during college, I had the privilege of going to Peru for a week to help participate in some medical and humanitarian work. Tell you what: awesome experiences all week long. From getting schooled by seven year olds in soccer to teaching them English words like "poop" to having real, honest conversations with folks half a world and a culture apart from anything I had ever experienced before, it was fantastic. The food wasn't half bad, either. Fried plaintains every day for breakfast, lunch on the go (usually pb&j washed down with a Inca Kola*). and a homecooked dinner every night - usually chicken and rice with a variety of hot sauces to mix in - it was really good. Our last night before flying out of Lima, my gringo posse hit up a fancyish restaurant for one last Peruvian feast - oh man. I personally plowed thru a platter of anticuchos and rice, while most of my friends guzzled chicha morada, a bluish/purplish corn juice that I personally didn't care for. That worked out for me - as most of them discovered thousands of feet in the air on the way to Houston, it can have a decidedly laxative effect for the uninitiated.

That's been my one real experience with Peruvian cuisine. There's a pretty decent place in Pittsburgh's Strip District called Chicken Latino, where I can still fulfill my occasional anticuchos and Inca Kola hankerin'. Also, as a side, they have these ginomontrosities of corn kernels, which kinda taste more or less like normal white corn, just a lot bigger, like I suddenly grew a set of baby hands or something.

These Trader Joe's Giant Peruvian Inca Corn kernels are a lot like those, with an oddball American junkfood twist. Yes, I'm speaking of Corn Nuts, which I'll admit I'm not all that familiar with. And at first blush, these corney kernels taste much like a convenience classic I'm well acquainted with - namely, Fritos. I mean, it's corn, palm oil, and salt, so that can't be too surprising. After a couple crispy chomps, though, as the salt dissolves, the taste transforms to something a little more a-maize-ing...okay, not exactly "amazing" but definitely cornier. It's kinda like a Frito mixed with a super puffy popcorn widow. Not a bad snack, but kinda mundane after a while. I'll admit, it's not like I expected more flavor from them, but wanted it anyways, if only for remembering how good the chow in Peru was. I'm a little disappointed, but not overly.

Sandy, though? She loved these, and there's a perfectly good reason why. Notice the background of these pics, that bluish vinylish material that looks like a really uncomfortable hospital recliner? Well, that's exactly what it is! We have just welcomed our second daughter, Baby B, into the world in the past week or so, so I spent a lot of time in that chair, and these corny poofs made a pretty nice little snack on repeated occasion. Both Mama and Baby are doing wonderful, thank you. Snack and junk food after having a baby has gotta taste awesome, right? Although, Sandy even thought the severely oversteamed hospital broccoli tasted wonderful, so take her opinion as you will.

Anyways, I'd imagine we'll be picking these eternal kernels up again, if only mainly for her. Whatever she wants right now, she's got it. Sandy liked them well enough to give them a four, and while I'm not overly enamored with them, at least these are tied to some pretty nice little memories.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Giant Peruvian Inca Corn: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons  

* Looks like Mountain Dew, tastes like Bazooka Joe

You Might Like: