Trader Joe’s is very good at two things: Stocking their frozen food section with a never-ending parade of novel and interesting convenience foods, and churning out new—some might say unnecessary—Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed items every holiday season.
But it’s one of their most mundane frozen items, the frozen Organic Jasmine Rice, that recently won my heart. The rice is meant to be steamed right in the microwave-safe bag, but I usually rip that bag open and add the rice directly to simmering broth, soup, or stew to bulk it up and make it more filling. It’s probably not the most economical way to add rice to my soup but, as someone who eats a lot of meals solo, it is the most convenient. (If I don’t need a whole pack of rice, I put the leftovers inside a freezer bag and pop it back in the freezer.)
The Jasmine Rice, however, is not the only frozen rice you can do this with. Any of their frozen rices, including the flavored “fried rices” and such, can be added to one of their soups to make an almost instant, filling meal. This is true of their Chimichurri Rice (which I have not been able to find for some time), and it is true of their newest seasonal rice offering: the Turkey and Sausage Stuffing Fried Rice. All you have to do is take a cup of the frozen rice mixture and add it to a sauce pan with a cup and half of your favorite broth or soup (the chicken broth, turkey broth, and Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup work well here). Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the little sausage pieces are warmed through, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan.
The combination is savory and satisfying, with little turkey meatballs, carrots, slivered green beans, and corn. All of the usual stuffing flavors are in play here (rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc.). If you liked last year’s Everything but the Leftovers seasoning blend, you’ll love this fried rice mix and, subsequently, this soup.
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Once you combine and enjoy this convenient pair, you’ll probably start to notice other pre-packaged frozen rice, grain, dumplings, and pasta blends that can be simmered in hot broth to make a satisfying meal. The Sweet Potato Gnocchi is pretty good when paired with the Autumnal Harvest Soup, and any of the gyoza work well in their Miso Ginger Broth. Just don’t get attached to any one particular combination. Trader Joe’s is also very good at getting rid of all of my favorite items. (Will I ever recover from the discontinuation of Sir Strawberry? I highly doubt it.)