Trader Joe’s Salmon and Vegetable Croquettes. As I’ve mentioned many times here, I am from Seattle. We eat a lot of Salmon. Especially when the salmon is running in Alaska and Canada in early summer time. We gorge ourselves on it every year and we can’t get enough. We mainly eat sockeye salmon because it’s a nice balance between the super expensive price on King salmon and flavor. It has a lot more flavor than King but not nearly the fat content. The Sockeye are generally smaller fish but have a nice deep red color and flavor to match. 90% of the time we grill it on cedar planks but sometimes we make salmon patties with leftovers. So healthy for you and by the end of the season it’s so cheap they are basically giving it away at prices cheaper than boneless chicken breasts.
Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese. This is also goes by the moniker Joe’s Diner Mac and Cheese, but we all know it’s from Trader Joe’s, they can’t fool us with all these different names! This is one of those products you walk by a million times and never pick up because you would never eat it in a million years, but suddenly something changes and it’s around you and it’s in your freezer all the time! That something is a ravenous 11 year old boy that has taken a liking to all things Mac and Cheese and would be happy to eat it every night of the week!
The gold standard in the Mac and Cheese world, other than homemade, is Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese. It’s been around a long time and it’s the standard by which many people judge all Mac and Cheeses. My wife says she grew up on the stuff and I can’t really remember eating it before college, but it is a good, cheap, fast way to fill the empty spot in your stomach. Not exactly the most nutritious meal ever created, but it does fill you up and for picky kids, it’s an easy way to fill them up.
Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies. You know when you had your first serious girlfriend/boyfriend how special it all was. You were in love and nothing was going to come between you. By the time you were in your 3rd or 4th it was still special, but didn’t have the magic. By the ninth time, you may have found the special someone, but you are old hat at this relationship thing now. That’s kind of how I am about these Cookie Butter sandwich cookies. I may love them to death, but it doesn’t have that special first time love thing going on anymore…
As I predicted, Trader Joe’s keeps pumping out the cookie butter hits! It seems like almost every other week, they come out with another product that has Speculoos Cookie Butter in it, on it or all over it. I didn’t see this one coming, although not a huge leap like the Cookie Butter ice cream, it is a new product and I predict a long line in a succession of products containing Cookie Butter in one form or another. It’s kind of out of character for Trader Joe’s to release a cookie in January, but hey they know better than me when to release new products!
Trader Joe’s Crispy, Crunchy Broccoli Florets. Broccoli in recent years has fallen by the wayside as the great superfood of the moment, replaced by Kale. Kale is in everything now. Just walk down the aisles in Trader Joe’s and you’ll see it everywhere… Poor sad broccoli sits on the side lines and watches as kale gets all the recognition now! Funny… but in reality both plants are from the same family (cabbages) and offer many of the same benefits. So, you can’t go wrong eating either one!
I just recently reviewed the newest kale chips snack from Trader Joe’s, and didn’t like it that much, I know how popular these snacks can be with the vegetarian crowd looking for a healthy snack. I thought the Seasoned Kale chips were a mess and tasted like grass with some weird seasoning thrown on to cover the flavor. I hoped that these weren’t that bad too!
Just like the green beans and the kale chips, these are freeze dried, just all like that freeze dried food that campers and end of worlders hoard in their basement waiting for the apocalypse to wipe out all our food. Some of them can be quite good and very light, if you want to go camping and make gourmet food. But, I don’t think this was Trader Joe’s goal here.
Trader Joe’s Most Popular Products for 2014. Every year Trader Joe’s runs a popularity contest and asks their customers to pick their most popular products of the year. Remember this is a popularity contest, not necessarily a quality contest. Kind of like picking Prom King and Queen. Sometimes you just say: “Really, they picked that?” Sometimes they make your scratch your head… but this is a subjective survey. Let me break down the top five items and some predictions for 2015.
Top five most popular products at Trader Joe’s for 2014:
1. Speculoos Cookie Butter
2. Mandarin Orange Chicken
3. Frozen Croissants – Almond & Chocolate
4. Triple Ginger Snaps
5. Unexpected Cheddar Cheese
Trader Joe’s Greens, Beans and Grains. Trader Joe’s does a great job catering to the vegan and vegetarian demographic. Just walk down the food aisles and ponder the plethora of options. This is especially true in the frozen section. Vegetarian pizza, vegan hot dogs, chickenless chicken strips. The list goes on for a long time and vegans every where rejoice at shopping at trader’s. Why not? The prices are good and they have a great selection if prepared foods to cater to vegetarians. For full disclosure, I am not a vegetarian but I do eat a wide variety of food and do enjoy many vegetarian/vegan meals.
As with most of the best vegetarian food at Trader Joe’s, this is in the freezer section with the rest of the vegetarian food. I was intrigued by it because it wasn’t your typical Indian dish but supposedly inspired from West Africa. It contains kale, garbanzo beans and peanuts over couscous. I saw some tomatoes in there too.
Trader Joe’s Kale, Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Pizza. I know I can hear all you pizza snobs saying “Oh no not another trendy, yuppie pizza from Trader Joe’s!” but yes we have another yuppified pizza from Trader Joe’s and it’s a good one! If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that I am a bit of a pizza aficionado myself. I make my own crust on a regular basis and I buy Trader Joe’s dough all the time when I need to make a quick pizza for the kids. I don’t normally buy the frozen pizzas at Trader Joe’s anymore. I did when my kids were really small and it was a quick and easy meal for them. Unfortunately, I have myself to blame here, my kids like my homemade pizza so much they will not eat frozen pizza anymore!