Trader Joe’s Fresh Noodles & Gourmet Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Trader Joe's Fresh Noodles and Gourmet Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Have you ever made your own spaghetti noodles? No, I don’t mean a Ronco pre-pesto pasta maker that auto-aldentes or a Kitchen Aid attachment. But it could be used (though in the h-double bendi­straw that would also work). Sandy and me once tried it, with an old-fashioned handcranked pasta flattener/noodle cutter that should’ve been bolted onto a work bench. It was quite a machine, and I’m certain it would have pleased any Italian grandmothers. We weren’t too thrilled with the final results. For all the work that went into it, I expected something marginally better than what was in the box, but it wasn’t.

While homemade is always the best and freshest choice for almost everything, it is sometimes a good idea to let the professionals do the work and settle for the second best. Sandy and I bought Trader Joe’s Fresh Noodles  with that at least partially in mind. These noodles have been around for some time, but I only discovered them on our last trip. TJ’s is apparently doing another experiment with noodle technology, this one to create a completely vegan version. If they can make an organic, gluten free vegan noodle, is that possible? These vegan delights don’t contain eggs. This is because eggs are one of the main ingredients in almost all types of dough. It’s probably why they tasted so different. I don’t mean different in a bad way, just….different. They are a bit more bland tasting than their semolina brethren. Although we had generous meals, I don’t think “al dente”, is an option for these noodles. However, we still have half the package to try out. These are not something I would buy often, but they are not an exception to the rule we don’t regret. Maybe Popeil’s right after all.

I think Trader Joe’s Gourmet Spicy Buffalo with Blue Cheese Chicken Meatballs is a new product. Anything that includes “Buffalo”, “Chicken” or “Chicken”, increases the likelihood that it will be purchased by almost 100%. If I saw Buffalo Chicken Owl Pellets on sale, I would buy them without hesitation. These meatballs, as with all of TJ’s spherical carne offerings did not disappoint. These meatballs come fully cooked, and they are located in the fresh refrigerated area. This means that you only need to bake them for dinner. Although the outside may appear a bit dry, the inside is just as juicy and retains its freshness. They’re also quite spicy. They could be a little more spicy, but this is not a detriment. There are too many instances when the Buffalo chicken product is made with bleu/blue cheddar cheese. The overwhelming flavor is the cheese. Not with these albóndigas de pollo picante. The blue cheese is more of an accessory flavor, while the spiciness is the star. That’s how it should be. You can count me in as a fan.

In college, I started to drink Frank’s Red Hot over noodles and called it “dinner.” My married life has seen this tradition continue, and Sandy joined in. So our noodle-and-spicy chicken meatball dinner was perfect for us both. It could have used a little more mozzarella or hot sauce, but it’s not a big deal. Sandy gives the eggless wonder noodles “three…no, maybe three and a half stars” while giving the Buffowl-o balls four stars “because they could have a little more spice.” I will match her on the noodles, and half a spoon for meatballs.

Bottom line:
Trader Joe’s Fresh Noodles: 7 Out of 10 Golden Spoons
Trader Joe’s Gourmet Spicy Chicken Style with Blue Cheese Chicken Meatballs – 8.5 out 10 Golden Spoons