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Friday, January 29, 2016

Podcast Episode 17: Favorite Healthy Products

Is your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier? In this episode we share our favorite healthy Trader Joe’s products.

Thanks for listening! If you’d like to help the show, we would appreciate it if you rated or reviewed us on iTunes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trader Joe's Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings

Ah, January. If you're anything like me, you know what this means: head cold season. Seriously, I've had one lingering for at least a week, and it's gotten to the point that I can't hear as great out of my right ear. Which wouldn't necessarily be an awful thing, given how my kiddos love to shriek incessantly. Except I have to spend a decent amount of time on the phone at my daytime job, usually with overseas call centers, so I have to ask them to repeat things a couple times, thus giving off even more of the impression that I'm the weird old guy at work to all my younger colleagues (including my boss, who's 26. 26!!!). I'm only 33. It's not my fault those young'uns don't know basic '80s movie references (inconceivable!), random ODB lyrics, or who Homestar Runner is.

Anyways...head colds. Fun. Even more fun when you have a newly reset high deductible HRA insurance plan that makes going to the doctor for routine stuff like this somewhat cost-prohibitive. So, as I can imagine my nonexistent Southern grandma saying, I just need to eat some chicken soup, dumplin'.

Or maybe my ears failed again, and she said "Eat some chicken soup dumplings." Well, either way, here's Trader Joe's Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings, available in the freezer section for $2.99. Cool concept: Take TJ's mostly successful potsticker/gyoza line, cross it with classic chicken soup. So basic, yet kinda genius.

So how's it work? Not bad. These were ready to rip after about 10 minutes in the steamer basket on the stove top. There's also microwave instructions but I'm not that kinda guy. Anyways, the six of these puffed up fairly impressively during cooking (we have clear glass lids for our pots so I could watch) and they were positively puffing and pulsing. Yummmm. When done, on the advice of the box (and using a shred of common sense), Sandy and I waited a minute or two for them to cool down so biting into them wouldn't unleash a boiling gush of broth straight down our gizzards.

I won't say the dumplings tasted exactly like chicken soup. As kinda a duh-ism, there's a lot more noodle to it than usual. I will say the doughy parts straddled a good line between usual soup noodle and potsticker dough-type flavor. But there's also not a whole lot of broth, either. I mean, yes, it's there, but the box's claim of being "filled with a warm and savory broth" may be a slight overstatement. Also, the chicken...not sure what spices you all usually put in your chicken soup, but the stuff here, between soy sauce and ginger and garlic made the meat part taste almost chicken sausage-esque. Sandy agreed with that. Also, no typical soup veggies like carrots or celery. End result: The chicken soup dumplings tasted much more like a somewhat juicer version of the regular chicken potstickers than a large bite of chicken soup that inside-outted itself. 

Which, I really like those, and I'm not a huge fan of chicken soup, so overall, I'm happy. They're pretty filling and decently okay for you caloric content, etc wise - get some fresh veggies on the side for a good enough lunch on a cold day. I mean, yes, the salt content is somewhat horrific, but name something that isn't, and if that's the worst you can say about a frozen prepackaged meal, it's not that bad in my book. Not that much worse than chicken soup. I liked 'em, Sandy borderline loved 'em, so these will be a repeat buy, I'm positive.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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