I forgot that I had made General Tso’s Chicken from America’s Test Kitchen Comfort Food Makeovers cookbook while coming out of my non-cooking slump. It was ok, but absolutely nothing that I would make again. Maybe the problem was that I used Simply fruit jam instead of the sugar filled one? I am not sure, but I wasn’t going to spend a lot of money on something that I definitely wasn’t going to eat more than a couple tablespoons. It also wasn’t clear if the chicken in the recipe was weighed before or after it was cleaned. I think I weighed it before, but I still thought 1.5 pounds = 4 servings was a large amount per serving. Since I wasn’t actually tracking my food then, I have no idea how many servings I had, so I just stuck to 4. The only part of the recipe that I was ok with eating again was the chicken pieces themselves. They were coated in corn flakes and baked. I agree with the post I linked to above, I definitely needed smaller crushing of the cereal. I did have an issue with how sweet the coating was. I couldn’t really eat them without some kind of sauce to dip in. I also think I baked them too long. They were a little dry – again, needing the sauce of some sort to eat with. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t gross enough not t eat (I had them for breakfast just this morning:) ), but I think they can be tweaked.
I bought some Frozen Indian meals from Trader Joe’s: Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala (My fav at restaurants). I should have known better since the opinion I went with was of a former co-worker. This is the same woman that said how horrible the eatery in the office building was, but ate there regularly because she “didn’t have time to go anywhere else”. REALLY? We were within a 2 minute drive of a mall with an expansive food court. Don’t tell me that you can’t go anywhere else. It takes 15-20 minutes just to get the crappy food and it is in the building!!
Needless to say, the meals sucked. Not flavorful enough, not enough salt in the sauces. Rice was dry after reheating. The actual reheating times – especially on the Butter Chicken – was ridiculous. 4 minute on defrost and 5 on regular. WHAT?? The Chicken Tikka Masala had some unappetizing bits that I still don’t know what they were, but they were attached to the chicken, so maybe some gross fat? The amount of chicken in both was laughable. Maybe 5 pieces in each? I had gotten some Garlic Naan to go along with it. I absolutely love Naan. This was only edible when it was heated in the microwave – ok, I can deal with that. The worst? It had absolutely no garlic taste that I could discern. Even when it was heated, it wasn’t that good. Just tasted like raw flour. I will definitely not be buying any more Indian type stuff from TJ’s in the near future.
One group of things that I did buy turned out to be almost perfect. I was really jonesing for an Italian hoagie, but I couldn’t decide where to go. I remembered that I had a gift card to TJ’s, so I went there. I got a pack of Genoa Salami and Provolone in one package (I am sorry I forget the name), Pepperonis, Ham and baguette. I ran home and threw it all together. To my dismay, the bread was slightly stale. It was still ok just for a sandwich. I decided not to bake it because of the salami and pepperoni – I just got visions of oil streaming out of my sandwich. Even with the stale bread, the meats and cheese were fantastic. High quality and just really hit the spot. None of it, but the bread, was TJ’s brand. The Salami and Provolone were Italian as was the Pepperoni. The Ham was no nitrates, no preservatives, etc. I think maybe from Applegate farms? Sad that the only thing that was bad was actually FROM the store.