It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any foodie finds, but I tried a few things recently that you might find of interest — and that can be time-savers during the holiday season.

It might not surprise you to read that the first two items come from Trader Joe’s, one of my favorite places for finding new-to-me goodies.

Shakshouka is the latest trendy dish to make appearances on restaurant menus. It’s a spicy stew of tomatoes and peppers with a poached egg on top. I spotted it on the menu at Safta, a fairly new restaurant in Denver that serves foods of Israel, and had to try it. It was delicious — I fell hard for it.

Not long after that, I got Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer in the mail announcing the arrival of, lo and behold, shakshuka Starter: “Everything you need to create a steamy, slightly spicy shakshuka in just about five minutes.” All you need to add are eggs. I headed straight to the store.

The name of the product is spelled differently than the dish at Safta, but the flavors are nearly the same.

If you haven’t had a chance to try the dish, pick up a box from the freezer section at TJ’s. It’s easy to prepare and only costs $1.99 for a 9-ounce box, which, with the addition of two eggs, makes a couple of satisfying servings. Compared to $16 at Safta for about the same size serving, that’s a bargain.

As I was waiting in the store’s checkout line, the customer paying and the young lady working the cash register were waxing poetic about TJ’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi.

“I keep a bag in the freezer all the time,” the cashier said. “I microwave it and top it with grated Parm, and dinner is ready.”

“I like it because there’s no wheat or potatoes,” the customer chimed in. “It’s lower calories than regular gnocchi.”

No wheat or potatoes? OK, I needed to try that, and left the line to grab a bag. The product label confirmed that not only is the gnocchi wheat-free, but there’s no sugar, dairy or eggs. It’s made with cauliflower, cassava flour and potato starch.

The dumplings can be boiled, pan-fried or microwaved. I took the fast lane and microwaved the 12-ounce bag, tossed it with a jar of marinara sauce and gave it a grating of Parmesan cheese. Dinner was served. The gnocchi costs $2.69.

Finally, during cold and flu season, you may be needing some healthy chicken soup, which starts with a rich chicken broth. No time to make it yourself? Reach for a 31-ounce jar of Zoup!

Zoup! is the name of a chain of restaurants known for its great soups. The rich broth it sells is the same one that’s used as a base for many of those soups. It’s all-natural, hormone-free, GMO-free and gluten-free. You can find it at Safeway, Sprouts and Walmart for $6.95. Visit for more recipes.

contact the writer: 636-0271.

Food editor

Food writer for features life section and columnist for Go! Entertainment - Table Talk column

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