Friday, April 15, 2016

Inside the Mac

As we've been doing our reviews of recent Trader Joe's products, it occurred to me that a lot of the products we use for challenge meals often go unreviewed. Many of them are pretty basic staples, so a good way to tackle them seemed to be a group post about all the ones we used during that particular challenge. First up, stuff from the Week 12 mac and cheese challenge.

Product: Japanese style panko breadcrumbs
Price: $1.79
Quick review: We've used this panko quite a bit, and it seems to last for a while. I don't know if other panko breadcrumbs have more flavor as these have basically no flavor, but they work for breading.
Buy Again? Sure. It's convenient to pick up when at TJ's, and I don't really have much basis to know how this ranks against other ones.

Product: Wisconsin sharp cheddar cheese
Price: $4.99/lb
Quick review: This was our first time getting this particular cheddar cheese. Pretty good price. Definitely much cheaper to buy a block of cheddar and grate it ourselves than to buy the pre-shredded stuff, even if that's more convenient. (Glad A was around to grate the cheese while I did other prep work.) Wasn't as sharp in flavor as we thought it would be though.
Buy Again? Maybe, if we're looking for cheese to grate for a dish, but on its own, probably not. It was okay, just more mild than we were expecting.

Product: Uncured apple smoked bacon
Price: $4.49
Quick review: If you've been following challenge posts over the past couple of years, you've probably seen this bacon a lot. It's my favorite bacon to use, very good quality, pretty decent price. When they don't have it and I need to pick up bacon, I'm very sad. Whole Foods is more expensive, and the TJ's bacon ends and pieces, while fine, aren't as good as this one. Great smoky taste and flavor. The whole apartment smells glorious for the rest of the night.
Buy Again? Yes, definitely, absolutely, without a doubt.

Product: Vegetable radiatore
Price: $1.99
Quick review: I've wanted to buy this for a long time since radiatore is one of my favorite pasta shapes, but I held off because we had so much pasta at home already. However, for the mac and cheese, since TJ's doesn't carry elbow macaroni and I wanted something with ridges that would hold the cheese sauce well, this was perfect. On top of that, there was some spinach, beets, and red bell pepper in there since it was vegetable radiatore. I love vegetable pasta.
Buy Again? Yes. I just have to finish more of the pasta at home first.

Product: French thyme (dried spices)
Price: $1.99
Quick review: I love thyme, both fresh and dried, and the TJ's spice shaker seems like pretty good quality dried thyme. We use this a lot.
Buy Again? Yes.

Clearly I forgot to take pictures of the beer and butter for this post, but at least a few more products are now reviewed so we won't forget we've tried them!

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