Recently along with trying out new restaurants when we eat out for convenience, I started buying 1 – 2 new products at Trader Joe’s whenever I go to stock up on the basics (milk, mineral water, cheese, etc.)
Usually we stay away from pre-made sauces or “meals in a box” but knowing that there are some decent products out there I figured that it would be good to know what they are when I need to put together a quick dinner.
So far, we’ve tried and like their mini quiche which comes in 3 flavors [sorry, forgot to take photos]. Charlie would like to have me make them from scratch but I don’t want to make large quiche pies only to 1) eat it all or 2) have leftovers which don’t reheat well so I’m sticking to the Trader Joe ones for now.
We have them on weekend mornings when we’re not rushed to go somewhere although at $1.99 each and taking only 10 – 15 minutes to heat up, we could probably have them as often as our arteries will let us. For some reason, I think of quiche as a very heavy and not heart-friendly food. Please correct me if this is not the case. Charlie would love it if we could have it more often.
In any case, the other two short-cut products we’ve tried are:
Kansas City style BBQ sauce and Cornbread Mix
I’m not sure why but in the same week I was craving both pulled pork sandwich and corn bread.
*These cookers have been popular in Asia for some time. Basically, all you need to do is boil the items you want to cook in the pot with the cover on (on the stove) for 15 – 25 minutes, then you take it off the flame and put it into the insulated outer container and it will continue cooking for hours with the residual heat. With the push for more environmentally friendly ways of living, I suspect that it will be a matter of time before more Americans discover the benefits of these “magic” cookers.
I couldn’t find a slab of Boston Butt as recommended at the Asian supermarket but the shoulder meat I used turned out pretty decent anyway. All I did was stew the pork with some carrots, salt and pepper corns. Then I shredded the meat and smothered everything in the Trader Joe BBQ sauce.
To make it “healthier” I added a side of sauteed organic green chard.
This turned into this
On the same shopping trip I noticed that Trader Joe had its own corn bread mix so I made some black bean soup (the recipe is originally from the Moosewood Restaurant and vegetarian but Charlie makes me add ground beef and calls it “chili”).
The Corn Bread mix had some real corn kernels which looked tasty but didn’t add much texture when baked. Also, they added vanilla flavoring to the mix, which smelled great but tasted more like “cake” than bread.
Cornbread and Black Bean Chili plated
So far, that’s 2 out of 3 products that I will buy again. Hopefully my foray down TJ aisles will pan out better in the future. Let me know if you have any recommendations. I will hide the bottles/packages so Charlie won’t know when I use some “help” for dinner.