When Trader Joe's first opened here in Richmond, I was not a big fan of this grocery store. For one thing all I saw were these whole sections of snacks that I probably will never eat. "Hungry" hubby and I are not big snackers. When I get hungry between meals, chips are the last thing from my mind. I'd rather drink a few ounces of milk or as it had been more frequent lately – melt some good quality chocolate in it to have a nice espresso-size shot of thick hot chocolate. Sometimes, I feel so embarassed when I have impromptu guests and they're looking for chips and salsa and I have nothing to offer them…but that's how my pantry goes.
When the economy soured and we had to cut back on eating out, we decided to give Trader Joe's a second look. Now, I know I'm not helping the economy if I tighten spending, we still do eat out – we just feel really annoyed spending $80 on dinner we'd rather forget. That's why I'm glad to have a one-stop source for foodie news to wade through restaurants views - I do want the good establishments to survive.
Okay, back to Trader Joe's. Here's what I found worth the buck starting with the best:
#1. Beef Short Ribs , Korean style – 6 pieces of thinly sliced short ribs for $7.99. They were enough for one dinner for 2 plus one meal leftover. You can always extend this by scrambling some eggs. Great with steamed white rice. Since I decided to work out after coming home from the office, I defrost these in cold water while I exercise and then pop them into the toaster oven…flip them once and they should be done in 12 minutes. Basmati rice from Costco cooks very fast too.
#2. Any of their chicken sausages with garlic – they used to have a teriyaki flavored one that I loved. Cook these with eggs and your set. You get 5 links for $3.99 (one link around 68g).
#3. Pesto Pizza organic -$4.69 – maybe good for one or two depending on appetite. I was first leery when I saw broccoli on it but I preferred this over the all-meat pizza (forgot what it was called)
#4. Lasagna Bolognese – hubby said this was pretty good, I do not have the price.
#5. Chicken Fajita Burrito Grande – $2.99. I argued with the hubby because I said that for a few bucks more you can have fresh burrito from Chipotle. But HH said it was really tasty even if it was of the frozen dinner variety.
Now, I am not saying the above is gourmet, but they are really decent as quick meals during weeknights.
We were disappointed with:
#1. Pad Thai – this was in a take-out style box. Empty the noodles into the box and pour the sauce over it and microwave. Had a weird after taste – will not buy again. I really should just go ahead and try Pim's version.
#2. Chicken Teriyaki with soba noodles – too much sauce and sweet taste on the noodles. I think most of their chicken entrees are around $6.00…for this price I'd rather go to Chipotle.
I've also heard their mushroom turnovers ($2.99) are fantastic. We just bought them today and will try them later this week. For the Korean Style short ribs, I've heard good and bad reviews about them. Like they were too thin (duh – they are supposed to be thin) and too fatty – well what I've had so far had a good ratio of meat to fat. I've bought 3 more packets today so we'll see.
I know I had not been blogging new recipes lately. Reduced staffing at work really eats up a lot of my time and energy. We fortunately got major projects into production in the January-February time frame so I can see more of my weekends freeing up. 🙂