1) UNCURED TURKEY HOT DOGS
2) COUNTRY POTATOES WITH HARICOTS VERTS & WILD MUSHROOMS
3) PROSCIUTTO PANINO
4) SOURDOUGH HARD PRETZELS
The box promised hard pretzels, so I really can't complain... but these things were really hard. I was legitimately worried I would break a tooth with each bite. (Elizabeth took one bite and shook her head, saying "Not for me.") And there really was no flavor to them. I ate a few with Sierra Nevada's "Stout & Stoneground" mustard, which helped, but these are not something I plan to eat again.
I would, however, like to investigate this whole "Pretzel Country" thing.
5) CHICKEN IN RED MOLE WITH WHITE RICELa Cabanita, even the Del Taco Spicy Chicken Mole Soft Tacos, are some of my favorite things to eat.
But then there is the other end of the spectrum, the grainy, pasty, burnt-tasting sauce that ranks right up there as one of my least favorite things.
So I knew it was something of a risk to try Trader Joe's chicken with red mole. There are microwave instructions but I don't have a microwave anymore so that made the oven preparation an easy choice. After about 40 minutes I removed the dish, mixed it up and dug in.
It wasn't exactly bad... but it wasn't very good. The sauce was surprisingly - nay, shockingly - spicy, which I love. But the flavor definitely skewed towards that burnt taste that I loathe in mole. I will probably try this dish one more time someday before I write it off, but I'm not in any hurry.
6) TOM YAM SOUP WITH SPINACH MUSHROOM WONTONS
The soup was ready in just a few minutes. I really liked it. The wontons were tasty and the broth was spicy. I was not a fan of the lemongrass - it wasn't so much the flavor that offended me (although it was indeed too strong) but rather the texture.
So next time I make it, I'll just leave that part out.
7) MURCIA AL VINO CHEESE
Whatever, it's still delicious.
8) SANTA MARIA PEPPERCORN CHICKEN
Since we're on the subject of me not being observant, here's another one. I saw Santa Maria Peppercorn Chicken and for some reason thought it was only chicken breasts. I cannot remember why. Maybe they were mislabled? Unlikely. Maybe I had breasts on my mind? Possibly. Maybe the piece I saw through the packaging was a breast and I assumed they all were? Most likely.
At any rate, when I unwrapped the package in preparation to grill them pieces, I realized they were several different cuts. This sucked for a couple of reasons: whole pieces take longer to grill than just breasts, and I don't really like dark meat chicken. Oh well.
Once the meat was cooked (about 25 minutes on the indoor grill) I cut away the parts I wanted. It was good. The marinade was extremely salty - this should not be a surprise to anyone who has had Santa Maria seasoning before, including me, but it was even saltier than I anticipated. Even if the pieces were all breasts, I would not get this again.
9) HARVEST HODGEPODGE
More frozen vegetables, once again simple to cook and once again delicious. My two favorite vegetables are broccoli and water chestnuts, and both are here. There are also sugar snap peas, bell peppers and carrots, three other things I love. True, there is baby corn, which creeps me out, but I just give that to Elizabeth. (She hates water chestnuts, so it's an easy trade.) Apparently this has been around for years and it's only recently that I've noticed it. I plan to eat it until it disappears.
10) CHICKEN EGG ROLLS
11) PACIFIC SALAD WITH CHICKEN
12) WILD MARINATED SOY GINGER COD FILLETS
I bought these marinated cod fillets once before - they are frozen and I let them thaw in the fridge overnight, then something came up the next two days and I wasn't able to have them. I did not want to take a chance so I threw them out. This time, I made sure to eat them, and I'm glad I did.
I cooked the defrosted fish fillets in a covered pan for only three minutes per side then let them rest. I decided to make tacos but first took a bite. Wow. I don't often cook fish, it's not one of my favorite proteins, but this was probably the best fish I have ever cooked at home.
I placed pieces of fish on tortillas with broccoli slaw. I had prepared a soy-mustard sauce to eat with the tacos but it wasn't necessary. This fish was so tender and flavorful it was fine as is. Of course, I didn't want the sauce to go to waste, so I added it to one of the tacos. Good, but the plain fish taco was better.
I have already thought of at least three different things I would like to make with this fish. I will buy it again, probably this week.
13) MINI BEEF BURGER PATTIES
I grilled the patties for three minutes on each side, melting some goat cheese on top, and placed them on mini buns with lettuce. They certainly weren't as good as the ones I get at the butcher shop, but I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't already know. You could do a lot worse, and if I'm ever shopping on another brutally hot day and these are the most convenient slider patties, I will buy them again. But that's the only situation I will get them again.