Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

Trader Joe’s – Asparagus Risotto – Food Review

08/11/2017

trader joes, asparagus risotto, italy, frozen entree, review, price, calories, nutritionAugust 11, 2017

On first opening the package you’ll notice two strange things, broken up sheets of frozen sauce and plain white rice.  More about these later.

When prepared according to the package directions, this risotto obtains a nice light yellow/green color from the  creamy sauce. The sauce has a wonderful flavor and texture. The rice has a nice bite to it.  It’s not overcooked.  A fair amount of thin green asparagus is distributed throughout in the form of inch long pieces.  These pieces also lend a touch of green asparagus flavor to the sauce.

Obviously this was not prepared in the traditional manner. The rice is parcooked separately from the other ingredients. The sauce also appears to have been cooked separately, flash frozen in thin sheets and then broken up in pieces. The asparagus also is likely cooked or partially cooked separately. All three components, we could guess, are then combined in a frozen state in the bag and shipped off.

trader joes, asparagus risotto, italy, frozen entree, review, price, calories, nutritionThe package will make enough for two (maybe three) portions as a side dish.  In this case, I ate the whole package as a main dish, thoroughly enjoying it all.

There may not be an army of nonnas standing over stoves, constantly stirring in broth to Arborio rice until the moment of perfection, making risotto in the traditional way. However what comes out of this package is almost as good. And by definition, it can never be as good as Nonna’s. Know what I mean?

Price $2.99

Calories  160 per serving (3 servings per package)

Trader Joe’s – Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina – Food Review

08/06/2017

trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, gnocchi alla sorrentinaAug 6, 2017
This is pretty good stuff, but you might not think so as it cooks.

Straight from the freezer this is a mixture of the frozen gnocchi (small flour dumplings) and frozen flying-saucer-shaped chunks of sauce. Heating in the microwave is a two stage process. After heating for 4 minutes, the mixture needs a good stir.  At this point you’ll wonder, what have I done wrong, as the sauce and gnocchi appear very watery. After stirring, put it back in the microwave for another 3 minutes and the magic happens.  The second heating totally changes the appearance, by thickening up everything into a coherent whole.  Pan heating instructions are also provided.

Throughout the cooking process the gnocchi retain their consistency.  After heating they have a nice chewy texture in the mouth.  The sauce thickens nicely thanks to the cheese in the sauce (that’s the magic).  This allows the sauce to coat and cling to the gnocchi.  The combination of the complex, but not over the top, sauce and chewy gnocchi works extremely well.  A sprinkle of parmesan is always useful, but really not needed.

trader joe, review, calories, nutrition, price, gnocchi alla sorrentinaFor us, the package yielded two modest servings working out to around 300 calories each.  The package claims three servings.  Even though our portions were only 300 calories, the gnocchi were very filling – and tasty.

Price $2.99     Calories  200 per serving (3 servings per carton)

Click on images to enlarge

Trader Joe’s – Chicken & Vegetable Wonton Soup – Food Review

08/06/2017

trader joe, wonton soup, price, calories, nutrition, review, chicken, vegetableAug 6, 2017

With cold, or at least cool, weather just around the corner, soup is in season.  This is a surprisingly good soup for those kinds of days, or really any kind of day.

The broth for this soup is very nice. There’s a slight sweetness to the broth, but also a bit of rebellion from green onions. As you work your way to the bottom of the bowl, where the white and black pepper settle out, the broth becomes more adventuresome. The broth has a medium consistency.

The wontons (dumplings) in the soup contain a chicken-based filling. While not as flavorful as the broth, the wonton filling is still good with noticeable vegetables interspersed throughout.  If you can manage to cut a wonton in half, letting some broth seep in, the filling is even better. The package contains a caution to, cook thoroughly. If I had to guess, the soup is not precooked. It took the full five minutes in the microwave to reach the required 165 degrees.

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Trader Joe’s Popcorn Chips – Food Review

08/03/2017
trader joe's, snack, popcorn chips, review, price, nutrition, caloriesHonestly, I picked these up just to see what they were.  Popcorn chips, how could that be?  That’s making a snack food out of a snack food.  It ain’t right.

If you’ve ever had mini rice cakes, these are very close to that experience.  The “chips” are airy in texture and dry in the mouth.  There’s just a hint of salt and sweet for flavor.  Aside from that, there’s not much to these – except some calories.  And as much as these are unexceptional, the whole bag disappeared within a couple of hours.  That’s what a snack food is.

trader joe's, snack, popcorn chips, review, price, nutrition, caloriesPrice $1.99 (4.5 ounce bag)

Calories 110 per ounce (28g, about 17 chips)

Trader Joe’s – Extra Sharp Canadian Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

07/26/2017

Red Angus Heifer, wikimedia commons, Black Angus GirlJuly 26, 2017
Trade wars be damned, this is some really good cheese.  So before the great northern wall is built, get some of this.  If not, you’ll be making trips up to the wall under cover of darkness to catch packages of cheese wrapped in duct tape being thrown over.  Or Monty Python might be channeled catapulting whole cows north to south, the cheese curdling and aging in flight.  Don’t worry Canada, the cows will be quickly deported!  Street graffiti artists, please hold your enthusiasm.

Wisconsin cheeseheads stand on guard (oops!).  There’s some real competition coming south.  Have the secret cheese recipes been hacked?  Stop any bulls going north.  That lovely smiling red-headed heifer waving her tail over the border is a trap.  Keep the DNA in the USA!

And how is the cheese itself?  It’s perhaps the best pure cheddar in the TJ refrigerator case. It has a great taste and mouthfeel.  It’s sharp, but not pointy.  It’s just on the verge of being crumbly.  A few Gouda-like cheese crystals are spread throughout.  Or maybe that was one of my fillings starting to break up?  According to the label it’s aged two years.  That two-year aging accounts for all the good stuff in the cheese.  It’s also how often my dentist keeps refilling that tooth.  Hmmm?

Trader Joe's, Canadian Extra Sharp Cheddar, review, price, calories, nutritionCalories 120 per ounce, price $8.99 per pound

Heifer photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, here.  Author: Black Angus Girl

ALDI – Brookdale Sloppy Joe Sauce, Original – Food Review

07/14/2017

aldi, bookdale, sloppy joe sauce, review, nutrition, calories, priceJuly 14, 2017

Tomato sauce and ketchup, that’s basically what sloppy Joe sauce is. Well, a few other spices are also thrown in the mix. It’s pretty simple stuff for some pretty simple cooking. And that’s exactly what we need every once in a while. It doesn’t hurt much that when combined with some cooked ground beef and put on a fresh hamburger bun it’s some pretty tasty and satisfying comfort food. This sloppy Joe sauce is no exception.

Naturally a store brand like this is often compared to a brand name market leader like Manwich. Personally, Manwich seems a little more flavorful, spicier, whatever you’d like to call it. But the ALDI Sloppy Joe Sauce also adds a nice tang and taste to the final mixture and works just as well for a quick and easy comfort food at roughly 20 cents less per can.

aldi, bookdale, sloppy joe sauce, review, nutrition, calories, pricePrice – 79 cents (15 oz can, 425g)

Calories – 35 per 1/4 cup serving (64g)

Click on images to enlarge.

ALDI customer contact URL – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

ALDI – Reggano Creamy Garlic Pasta & Sauce – Food Review

07/10/2017

ALDI, Pasta And Sauce, Creamy Garlic, Reggano, Nutrition, Review, Calories, PriceJuly 10, 2017

Garlic literally wreaks from the package when first cut open.  That theme continues until the last pasta shell has left the bowl.  This is truth in advertising.  And I’m all for the truth.

ALDI, Pasta And Sauce, Creamy Garlic, Reggano, Nutrition, Review, Calories, PriceFor the garlic lovers among us, this is a hit.  Some water, milk, margarine/butter and the contents of the package are turned into a side dish which is just about as good as many restaurants serve, in about 15 minutes of cooking time.  While the bag only contains two servings, these are two satisfying servings.  In a pinch this might be stretched to three servings without people feeling the need for more.  Click on images to enlarge.   Price – 69 cents

Calories – 340 per serving prepared (250 in the package)

ALDI customer contact URL – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

Trader Joe’s Double Cream Brie – Food Review

07/10/2017

trader joe, review, nutrition, price, calories, double cream brieJuly 10, 2017

This was a much better experience than the last Trader Joe’s brie I tried.   This brie had a much firmer, but still soft, texture.  It was sliceable and didn’t run off the knife.  The taste was mild with a touch of tartness.  Overall the taste was a pleasant experience.  The texture was melt-in-the-mouth.  There was a kind of velvety mouth feel to the cheese.

For the lovers of stronger cheeses, you won’t be offended by this, but you also may not be satisfied.  For the brie lovers out there, this is probably a winner.

Price $5.99 per pound
Calories 100 per ounce
If you’re looking for double plus one creamy brie, try here.

Target – Sweet Earth – The Curry Tiger Burrito – Food Review

07/04/2017

Sweet Earth, curry tiger burrito, food, review, vegan, calories, nutrition, price

July 4, 2017

Normally I limit my food reviews to ALDI and Trader Joe’s products which have a national presence as opposed to many supermarket chains which are more regional in nature.  However I’ve recently discovered these in the “plant-based protein” freezer at Target and was impressed with them.  So here’s a review.  If there’s a Target near you with a grocery section, you might want to check these out.

As noted above, I like these.  Unlike many frozen burrito products which seem to lack texture and flavor, these have both.  There are several types of Sweet Earth burritos which vary slightly by ingredients and spices.  All are reasonably good, but this one stands out because it is the most flavorful and has a bit of a kick to it.  Those are two things I like.

The product is labeled as vegan and “Non GMO Project Verified.”  As a meat substitute it has 19g of protein – not bad.  Most likely due to being wrapped in a flour tortilla, carbohydrates are moderately high at 45g.  It’s surprisingly filling and long-lasting at only 320 calories each.

Calories  320 per burrito (1 serving, 198g)  –  Price $2.99,  $2.50 on sale

Trader Joe’s – Eggplant Parmigiana w/ Grilled Eggplant – Food Review

07/04/2017

trader joes, eggplant parmiagiana, calories, price, nutrition, reviewJuly 4, 2017
This is not a great eggplant parmigiana, but a pretty good eggplant as an eggplant.

This is another one of the seemingly endless variations of Trader Joe’s “eggplant with tomato sauce and melted cheese” products.  This one features eggplant which are “grilled”.  Now I suspect the grilling was done on one of those industrial strength machines that moves a conveyor belt of eggplant slices through some kind of flame.  But the pieces had grill marks on them, so who are we to quibble about the method.

trader joes, eggplant parmiagiana, calories, price, nutrition, reviewWhile I usually have no patience for waiting on an oven to cook these kinds of entrees, this time I followed the oven directions. Instead of large slices of eggplant, these are actually smaller pieces of a slice.  That makes it somewhat easier to eat without needing a knife to cut through the usual slices.  The tomato sauce was not very flavorful.  Much of the mozzarella seemed to have melted into the sauce instead of forming a nice cover for the eggplant.  The result was a  somewhat watery tomato/cheese sauce without much flavor intermixed with a few small islands of melted cheese.  As a parmigiana, it was disappointing.

However as just eggplant, the eggplant was pretty good.  The best bits and tastiest, were those with the skin on – more flavor and more chew.  The pieces without skin we’re still tasty, but no as much.  Being grilled, there was no breading on the eggplant as is often done with fried eggplant slices.  Overall I liked this, but not because it was a good eggplant parmigiana, but because it was good eggplant.

Price ??? (lost receipt)   Calories  270 per container (1 serving)


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