A Trader Joe’s Date… or in other words: My Review of Trader Joe’s Indian Dishes :)

Good Morning Everyone!

I’m a bit quirky. Odd. Different. You see, I’m not a huge fan of eating out at restaurants. (Okay I rarely eat out at all). I know what I like, and I get picky about everything else. It’s not that I’m picky when it comes to food… it’s just that I get picky about the cooking method of foods. Here in America the portion sizes given at restaurants resemble a platter of food. And usually dishes are way too salty for my liking. So over time I just learned that it’s easier to eat and cook at home. However, this past Saturday was another date night for Mr. Noob Chef and I. He loves going out and about, but I didn’t want to sit in a crowded restaurant and try to feel the amore. No, that just wasn’t happening.

So we compromised. We headed to our local Trader Joe’s supermarket to pick up already-made food. Now I know what you’re thinking: “Okay so you ate frozen food”. Well yes and no. You see, Trader Joe’s specializes in preparing foods from organic sources, non-GMO, etc. And somehow or another they keep the price point reasonable too. (Can you tell I’m a huge fan?).

We were greeted by a large display of organic butternut squash pasta in the shape of a pumpkin next to a giant tower of TJ-brand pumpkin pasta sauce… and I swooned. But Mr. Noob Chef was in the mood for something a bit more international so off we went. Down the aisles we roamed until we came across the Indian food section. We love Indian food. Take a look in the archives and you’ll find quick 5-minute curry, Curry Laksa, and Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala. Needless to say, we love spicy Indian food. So when I saw a package of Palak Paneer I lifted it up to my eye level as if I found the holy grail and said, “this is it!”. My husband merely chuckled and added a bag of naan to our cart.

We also decided to add Lamb Vindaloo (for him) and Aloo Chaat, or what I love to call “Indian Hot Pockets”, for us both. “We’ve got to have dessert!” I chirped and tugged on his arm. So we tossed in a package of macarons and went to check out. I had never tried macarons before then, but I had seen plenty of Pinterest-worthy pictures of them and giggled at how adorable they look. Now, like every other grocery store… everywhere… TJ’s is no exception to putting those pesky non-healthy packages of food right next to the check out just to tempt you. What is your temptation? Mine are biscuits. Well, here in America we call them cookies, or ginger snaps. Basically any little cookie/biscuit that pairs well with a cup of tea… and I’m sold. So as I waited in line my eyes stared at the Pumpkin Spice Cookies.

My husband quirked an eyebrow at me… and then looked over at the boxes. “I thought you’re trying to cut back on sugar” he said lovingly. “I am” I huffed and fell silent. As we neared our turn to put our groceries on the checkout he silently placed a box in the cart. “Just for date night” he winked and saw me smile. Y’all it was totally worth it. Those cookies were a burst of ginger… with a gentle sweetness from the vanilla yogurt icing… and it even had happy sprinkles on top!! 🙂

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Okay so now for the dishes, let’s get into it because that’s what you’ve been waiting for, right?

Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer ($2.99 USD): 

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This dish was so good! By far it was the one my husband and I enjoyed the most. It easily fed the two of us when paired with some rice we cooked up. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t need extra seasoning. Normally with frozen entrees they are about as flavorful as a piece of cardboard. But this dinner didn’t need a thing! I could easily taste a bunch of chili spices and the paneer was absolutely delicious. All in all, it was fantastic and I would definitely buy it again.

Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo ($3.99 USD): 

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This dish is for all you spice-lovers out there. Mr. Noob Chef especially loves spicy food, but even he was sniffling a bit with this dinner meal. It’s hot! I took a teaspoon of the broth to taste and thought I could suddenly breathe fire. lol! All in all, I don’t think we would buy it again, but give it a try for yourself if you love very spicy food. You just might like it!

Trader Joe’s Aloo Chaat ($2.99 USD): 

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These Indian Hot Pockets, (I really need to give it another name), are actually really delicious! Made with chickpeas, potato, and spices… while it was a touch spicy for me… my husband really enjoyed them. They aren’t especially healthy, as the “pocket” part is fried. But if you’re looking for fast, vegetarian Indian food to go… this is a great meal to grab and snack on.

Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan ($2.99 USD): 

I don’t know why I forgot to take a picture of this by itself. (See photo at the top for what it looks like), but wow is it delicious!! This naan was tender, fluffy, and caked in bits of parsley, dried onion, and garlic so that every bite was packed with flavor. It was the perfect compliment to the Palak Paneer and homemade hummus we had leftover in the fridge. This naan was so good, in fact, that Mr. Noob Chef said that he was going to pick up a few to freeze and keep on hand for all of our Indian food cravings! So definitely check this out for yourself! You won’t be sorry ❤

Trader Joe’s Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies ($1.99 USD): 

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Oh be still my beating heart… how delicious are thee! Yes, these shortbread cookies are almost to-die for! They are buttery and sweet… but not too sweet. They have happy sprinkles, which everyone loves, and are shaped in adorable little pumpkins. They are located conveniently next to the check out register so you can’t miss them! 🙂 Now make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy…

Trader Joe’s Macarons ($4.99 USD): 

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Included in this box are the following flavors: coconut, fig, lemon, salted caramel, pistachio, and apricot. “So how do you pronounce these things again?” my husband asked me. There we were, sitting on the floor of our living room. A package of macarons and two bottles of water between us. “Macaron” I said in my best French accent. “Not macaroon” I added and grinned. I felt swanky just saying the word. Admittedly, I had looked up and watched videos on how to make these little dainty French pastries. It was then that I said “nope! Too technical” and decided to buy them. Let’s just get this part out of the way: I don’t like macarons. *gasp*! I know! I was surprised too! But they are really sugary and I wasn’t expecting them to be as… gummy? Chewy? I don’t know… it wasn’t quite a soft cookie… nor a ginger snap. It was like…a moon pie! That’s the consistency. Also known as whoopie pies. They have a soft outside but a marshmallow inside so it’s gummy and sticky in the center. Have you ever tried one of those? Now add the flavors above. That was my texture experience.

Alright, so I grabbed a little white board and wrote down the following comments:

  • Apricot- Ew! Gross! (Angry face)
  • Lemon- Strong… meh… (frowny face)
  • Coconut- (Smiley face) Not bad!
  • Fig- Tastes like raspberry jam… strange… (Meh face)
  • Salted Caramel- Meh… sugar on sugar… no caramel flavor
  • Pistachio- (frowny face) Ew…

Yes, that is how I rate things, my friends. I use faces and simple words. 🙂 So I hope you enjoyed this little bit of a review. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you be sure to grab some Naan, Palak Paneer, and Pumpkin Spice Cookies! If you liked this post, or want to see reviews of other things comment below and let me know or smash the like button. Until next time everyone, keep on cooking! ❤

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