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Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s

Great Cookbooks for Families:
Reviewed by Katy Killilea

CookbookcovertraderjoesRhode Islanders used to be divided into two groups: those who commute to Massachusetts regularly and can easily stop for provisions at one of the state’s gazillion (sixteen) branches of Trader Joe’s, and those who bitterly envied them. But starting this fall, we can all go to Trader Joe’s. Rhode Island’s very own TJ’s–as you have surely heard by now–is opening on Bald Hill Road in Warwick. (The company predicts the store will open in October.)

Serendipitously for us, the new Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s will also be available this fall. This is a cookbook of eclectic recipes that make Trader Joe’s your prep cook. In some ways, the recipes remind me of the old “Mix one can of this with a packet of that.” The difference, of course, is that the ingredients are yummy treats from Trader Joe’s, free of added chemicals, instead of spooky glop.

This book will make it easier to shop at TJ’s and acclimate yourself to the store’s fine jarred and refrigerated sauces, condiments, and chopped vegetables. You could translate the recipes into traditional grocery store foods if you wanted, but this book has a very specific audience in mind: the busy Trader Joe’s enthusiast. Breakfast, dessert, salads, main courses, and even “Bachelor Quickies” (i.e., barely cooking) are all included. Most of the recipes are for wholesome meals. The recipe I’ve included below may not fall under that category, but isn’t it ingenious?

Honey, I Ate the Chocolate Bread Pudding

8 slices whole wheat honey Bread
1½ cups Brownie Truffle Baking Mix
2½ cups whole milkTjsbag

1. Cut crusts off bread. Cube bread into ½-inch pieces. Toss diced bread in an 8 x 8-inch lightly greased or buttered baking pan and arrange so pan is filled evenly.
2. Combine milk and brownie mix. Stir well for a minute until dissolved. Pour brownie mixture over diced bread. Lightly press down on bread pieces so that they are thoroughly soaked through with brownie liquid.
3. Set pan aside while you preheat oven to 350, perhaps ten minutes or so. This extra time will give the bread time to soak further. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
4. When done, remove pan from oven and let it cool for 15 minutes, allowing bread pudding to set. Serve warm.

[The authors recommend serving this with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.]

Serves 8

Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s
by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati
2008 Brown Bag Publishers

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  • My kindergartener and I went to the insane opening day at the new Trader Joe’s (Halloween 2008.) It was so crowded, there was a waiting list for a cart. Once you got a cart, you could not move through the store. The lines to pay stretched down the aisles and snaked around the store–no chance of getting a jar of Korma Simmer Sauce–too much cart traffic blocking the shelves. Not that it mattered.

    We filled our cart and were offered numerous mini brownies, cookies, Kleenex ghost lollipops, etc. Then it dawned on me: it would take over an hour to wait in line to pay. I told a TJ’s employee that I wouldn’t be able to keep my lad happy for that long and learned why they periodically had been clanging a bell and yelling “Man overboard!” This was the signal that another fool had filled a cart and then balked at the length of the line.

    I will go again in a few weeks.

    It’s a Really Nice Store.

  • Hi Katy,
    Thanks so much for reviewing our book! Besides being Trader Joe’s junkies, we’re also busy moms. We really geared this cookbook to healthy and tasty family-friendly meals that can be made quickly and easily, any night of the week.

    I just wanted to add that the book can be found nearly anywhere except at Trader Joe’s! It’s available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, many independent bookstores, and at our website.

    I’d also love to invite everyone to stop by our blog (you can click through http://www.cookingwithtraderjoes.com) to say hello and see some of our day to day recipes.

    Enjoy your new Trader Joe’s store!


  • Looks like a great book with TJ’s products.
    That’s real funny because I work for TJ’s in CA. and I am the lead food demo guy.
    I have compiled a CD with all of my Demo Recipes from in-depth to simple 20 minute meals.
    The CD has over 400 original tempting, not fat free(most), sinfully delicious recipes.
    Just love TJ’s

  • So happy to see them finally come to RI!! I’ve been emailing them for years (yes- I ‘m a dork) to come to RI (preferably to Pawtucket Ave/upper N. Main area were there is an abundance of unoccupied real estate) But anywhere in the state is a great start. Hopefully they will keep adding more.
    Thanks for the tip on the cook book, it looks good and relevant now that they’ll be here!