Trader Joe’s Chunky Chocolate Chip Dough

 Ok, I have to admit something to you all. I have a bit of a closet sweet tooth. Don’t tell Becky because she thinks I’m super restrained at not eating sweets, but sometimes I break down and will snarf a handful of cookies when she’s not looking! I almost ate a whole tray of these cookies after sampling one! Darn Trader Joe’s and those Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cookies!

In my store these are tucked out of the way back by the eggs in the way back of the store and I don’t know why, they should be over there with all the other refrigerated foods so more people will buy them. I guess it’s not the same for every store, when I go to the swanky new Redmond store (boy it’s nice to be able to move around the store without banging into people all the time!), they are easy to see but at my Kirkland, WA (Kirkland? Ring a bell for you Costco shoppers? Guess who’s headquarters is here in the Seattle area?) these are way out of the way and I missed them for a really long time until a couple of weeks ago I had to buy some extra eggs for Easter and looked over and saw these gems sitting on the shelf.

I told myself the kids need some cookies! Yah, right! The last thing my kids need are more sugary cookies! But for the sake of the blog (another crutch) I just had to get them and try them out. Basically what you have here are 16 little un-baked cookie balls. What you do is heat up the oven, put these on a baking sheet and bake for the prescribed amount of time and then Bam! you have 16 of the most delicious cookies you’ve ever made.

I broke down and confessed to Becky that I had made these and she took one bite and said she’d never make homemade chocolate chip cookies again. Why bother when these are so simple and soooo good! They say in the directions that you can bake them for a shorter time to get softer, chewier cookies or longer for crisper, crunchier cookie. I opted for the chewy version and I was well rewarded!

These cookies just melt in your mouth! Then when you bite into them, there are these huge chunks of chocolate in them. They are chunks, not chips like you buy at the store. It’s like someone broke off pieces of  a chocolate bar and mixed them in there. But I have to back up a bit, you can see that the cookies are already a dark color, that’s because the batter is chocolate flavored to begin with. So,  you have chocolate flavored dough with these huge chunks of chocolate swimming in the cookies. Of course the kids when nuts for them. I thought these cookies would last at least a couple of days, but no way, they were gone that night. The whole family pigged out on them!

You know I am no slouch in the kitchen. I can pretty much make anything if I put my mind to it, but here is one of these products you didn’t know existed and now you can wow you friends with these cookies and take claim for making them! These are almost too easy to make and I’m afraid to that if I buy more we will snarf them down in a second again!

I am going to have to give these Trader Joe’s Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cookies 9 solid Bells!

Trader Joe’s (Ming’s) Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry

I’ve got a real soft spot for anything even remotely similar to Asian food. Especially Thai and Chinese. I think I could go the rest of my life and never eat French or Italian food again and be perfectly happy! I don’t know what it is about good Chinese food that makes me pig out! I would be afraid that I would eat so much I would very fat. I’ve eaten at the best Chinese restaurants in the Seattle area and I’ve been caught a few times eating faux Chinese food down at the supermarket. Sometimes I can’t help myself!

Walking through the fridge section yesterday, I see this new item called Trader Joe’s Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry with Vegetables. I’m thinking, this is the type of thing that I shouldn’t eat, but for the sake of the blog, I picked up one and what the hell, it looks vaguely Chinese. They even put the esteemed Trader Ming’s designation on it!

First off, it’s not frozen, but vacuumed sealed in a pouch in a black plastic tray. I’m thinking as I look at it that there is a lot of sauce in there. It almost looked more like beef stew than stir fry!

On the directions it says that you need to pierce the pouch 6 times and microwave in the pouch. You can also boil the bag in water, but I was in hurry and need to microwave. Those bags are the easiest thing to handle and I lucky I didn’t cut off a finger trying to poke holes in the bag. Finally, I figured out that if you just keep the bag in the try it makes it easier to poke holes in it. Of course, as soon as you do, some of the sauce starts to leak.

I popped the whole thing in the microwave a few minutes and in no time the bag started to fill up with steam and the vent holes worked their job. After the prescribed amount of time I pulled the tray and bag out of the microwave. The whole thing smelled faintly of supermarket Chinese food. I let the bag rest in the tray for a few minutes. I microwaved some Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice (which I really like!) Now the tricky part! You have to grab the hot bag, cut it open and pour it over your rice or into a bowl to serve. It gets a little sloppy, especially with six holes in the bag!

First, this shouldn’t be called stir fry because I’m pretty sure that at no time in the making of this dish was anything stirred or fried! This is more like beef stew with some Chinese styled flavorings. Oh, and where are the vegetables? I think there were a couple of carrot slices and a few green bits that might be green peppers or green onions and a few red bits that might be red peppers of some type.

I took a taste of the sauce and it was definitely on the sweet side for me. Then a bit of the meat and it was just plain mushy and had a weird consistency. About the only thing going for this dish is that they didn’t skimp on the meat, which is usually the problem.

This is clearly something to steer clear of. The meat was weird, there were no vegetables and the sauce was slightly sweet and not a lot of heat. Preparation was difficult. Just a big thumbs down on this!

I am going to rate this Trader Joe’s Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry with Vegetables a lowly 5 Bells!

Trader Joe’s Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls in a tube! Somehow, I could never wrap my head around that concept, but as we know from Pillsbury, this is old technology and it works just great!

As I’ve mentioned from time to time, I am protein guy in the morning and although I love sweet dishes in the morning, I just find that it’s not enough to keep me going until lunch, but I have to branch out and walking around Trader Joe’s sometimes I go look for stuff that I would never normally eat and buy it anyway. Pushing the boundaries! These are the Trader Joe’s Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Icing. This is something that Becky and I would never eat for ourselves, but the kids love this type of thing. (When I was a kid, I could eat tons of this stuff too!).

When I first saw these (They but them next to the eggs in my store) I thought they were trying to copy the Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon rolls, I have to say there probably aren’t too many factories in the world that can make a cinnamon roll and stuff it in a cardboard tube! If these aren’t actually made by Pillsbury, then someone is doing a dead ringer for those Pillsbury Grands rolls. (Trader Joe’s also has a Crescent rolls which I’ll also have a look at in a later report). These are a Product of Canada, but I’m not sure that Canadian Cinnamon rolls are any better than USA cinnamon rolls!

So, basically what you have is a uncooked rolls in a tube. There are 5 rolls and then at one end of the tube there is a pouch of vanilla icing to pour over the rolls. The rolls come in a long roll that has been cut into 5 parts. You have to remove the outer covering on the tube, then break open the inner cardboard tube to free the uncooked rolls. Then you lay the uncooked rolls on a baking sheet. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

I have to say that I was quite surprised at the quality of these rolls. I mean, they are not going to be as good as you get down the street in a quaint coffee house here in Seattle, but they are better or on par with what you might get at the Safeway donut bar. Baking them filled the kitchen with aromas of cinnamon and baking bread. Of course, the best thing they have going for them is that they are hot and you pour the icing on them when they are still hot and the icing melts all over them! The kids gobbled them down! Becky even had one, she couldn’t resist. I loved the cinnamon filling and the flakey texture of the roll. The icing, is well the icing! That’s why they call it that! Yum!

This is one of those products that I would’ve never bought if it wasn’t for the blog and one that I will occasionally buy again for those lazy Sunday morning breakfasts when I have time to crank up the oven and bake some fresh cinnamon rolls

I am going to rate these Trader Joe’s Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls a solid 8 bells!

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