Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trader Joe's Stir-Fry Vegetables

I've been dabbling more in the frozen vegetable world, so when I spotted Trader Joe's Stir-Fry Vegetables I opted to pick up a package to give a whirl. I love a good stir fry, but sometimes getting all of the appropriate vegetables together can be a little bit of a hassle particularly if I'm making a meal for just myself.
For a quick meal one night I decided to heat up the stir-fry vegetables as a side alongside some chicken. I followed the package directions, opting to heat the veggies through in the microwave. They turned out perfectly, not overcooked and were a pretty good consistency. The combination of the vegetables was perfect (pea pods, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, soybeans, water chestnuts, carrots, mushrooms) - allowing each vegetable to shine while providing sustenance with some bite.

I paired my meals alongside some steamed brown rice, while I also just ate some of the vegetables with chicken that was drizzled with Trader Joe's Sriracha Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce.  Overall I am quite a fan of this vegetable stir-fry blend because it's simple, satisfying and a great addition to any dish.
A serving, 1 cup, is 45 calories or 1 points plus values.

Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! PB&J Strawberry

Considering I was such a fan of the original Peanut Butter Pop-Tart that when I spotted the Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! PB&J Strawberry I had to pick up a box. I love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich ... but I admit the act of actually having one is very few and far between.

I absolutely loved the peanut butter Pop-Tarts, wasn't a fan of the frosted chocolate Pop-Tarts, so I truly wasn't sure where my opinion would sway with these. They're the classic peanut butter pop-tart which has a layer of strawberry jelly on top of the peanut butter, which is all then coated in a light layer of peanut butter-esque colored frosting, which is adorned with red sprinkles.

I opted to have one straight out of the package and another day have the other toasted. Straight out of the package was a little easier to handle (considering the jelly wasn't pipping hot), but the Pop-Tart took on a whole new level of deliciousness once toasted and crisped. When room temperature it's good, but when toasted the edges get nice and crispy, the jelly gets gooey and the frosting on top of the Pop-Tart becomes slightly lava-ey (I'm making up my own words here). All of the flavors pop when heated and are definitely the way to go with these.

The classic peanut butter is still my #1 favorite, but these are a very close second.

A serving, 1 pop-tart, is 190 calories or 5 points plus values.

Lay's Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro Chips

I'm a sucker for potato chips, low and behold when I finally spotted the new Lay's Do Us A Flavor potato chips on display at a local grocery store I had to pick some up. Case in point the Lay's Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro Potato Chips.  As a person who enjoys an occasional gyro I figured why not give 'em a shot?

The chips themselves are your classic kettle cooked potato chip which are super crunchy (with an abundance of curled potato chips which are the best). Flavor wise ... these are just "okay" and rather mediocre. I found them to initially taste just like sour cream, plain sour cream. Then as I ate a few more they started to take on a flavor of tzatziki sauce (a sour cream, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar sauce). Other than that mild tzatziki flavor ... there isn't much else about it. It's not flavorful and it's certainly not a sour cream and onion.

I certainly can't say these scream gyro, nor can I say they're exceptionally delicious or worth the try. They're kind of on the boring side... I'd rather pick up a bag of sour cream and onion or barbecue chips and have something that's flavorful and worthwhile. Hit or miss? Definitely a miss....

A serving, 1 oz (28g - roughly 18 chips) is 150 calories or 4 points plus values.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! Peanut Butter

A while back Pop-Tarts came out with a peanut butter variety. Spotting a box I picked one of the Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty! Peanut Butter up.  I jumped on the bandwagon because I figured what could possibly go wrong?

These particular Pop-Tarts are not frosted, but are sprinkled with a few sugar crystals over the top crust layer. The filling is a cross between a grainy/creamy version of peanut butter which packs a pretty decent peanut buttery taste. These are good straight out of the package, but they take on a whole new level of deliciousness when heated in a toaster so the edges can crisp up.

These have taken the ranks of my favorite Pop-Tarts out in the market to date ... because they truly are that good.

A serving, 1 pop-tart, is 200 calories or 5 points plus values.

Trader Joe's - Brown Rice - Fully Cooked (Microwaveable)

I've tried to make the switch to brown rice when packaging up meals. Although if I don't have any cooked brown rice on hand when packaging up meals it can get a little time consuming (due to the fact brown rice takes a lot longer than white rice to cook). When I spotted packages of Trader Joe's Brown Rice - Fully Cooked (Microwaveable) I was intrigued and picked up a package.
These are along the lines of the pre-packaged rices sold by Uncle Ben's. All you have to do is rip the top off the bag and pop it (standing up) into the microwave and heat for 90 seconds. After that, you've got brown rice that's ready to plate up any way you choose.
Texture wise ... in all honesty, you can tell it's not freshly made brown rice. But if you sprinkle it with a little salt, pepper and a little butter and serve it alongside a vegetable and protein of your choice you think you're having the real thing. It's slightly drier in texture, but it's not terrible. I wouldn't go out of my way to say it's the best convenience variety brown rice I've had, while it's certainly not the worst, but it's not bad for an on the fly type of scenario.
A serving, 1/2 cup is 120 calories or 3 points plus values.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Skinnytaste Turkey Burgers with Zucchini

I found myself falling into a food rut ... and food ruts are no fun because I get bored and nothing is even worth making/eating. I had an extra zucchini in the refrigerator and decided to make some sort of burger out of it. Then I remembered I saw something on Pinterest where turkey burgers were made. So I pulled up the recipe and decided to give the Skinnytaste Turkey Burgers with Zucchini a shot.
The burgers themselves are very simple to pull together. The only thing I altered from the original recipe is eliminating the onion and adding a little McCormick hamburger seasoning to the mixture. The recipe makes 5 pretty generous sized turkey burgers, which once cooked up, leave for a very moist and flavorful burger. I made a batch to have as prepped lunches for the week and shared one with a coworker and one with my mother and both raved about how delicious it was. I'm such a fan that I've made this recipe again to have as rotating lunches for a few days. Adding the zucchini to the poultry certainly makes it a much more satisfying meal.

If interested in recreating this, you can find the recipe here:
A serving, 1 burger is 161 calories or 4 points plus values.

Trader Joe's Peppercorn-Garlic Boneless Pork Tenderloin

I find myself glancing over the selection of fresh meats available at my local grocery store. One afternoon while deciding to jazz up my menu, I picked up a package of the Trader Joe's Peppercorn-Garlic Boneless Pork Tenderloin.

I'm a fan of pork tenderloin because it's a leaner cut if meat, while it's also one of the moister varieties of pork (I feel tenderloin is harder to dry out than, say, pork chops). Typically I prefer to purchase my tenderloin pre-seasoned - unless I'm making something like a pulled pork or a dish in the crock pot. This particular tenderloin was seasoned quite well - it had a nice robust garlic and pepper flavor, while also having a blend of herbs and spices, it provides pretty good flavoring without being too overwhelming on the taste buds.

I cooked this right in the oven and when done let it rest before cutting it up. The end result was a deliciously moist, tender pork tenderloin which provided a few meals. Even reheated in the microwave the pork was able to maintain it's moisture and tenderness without being chewy. 
A serving, 4 ounces, is 140 calories or 3 points plus values.