Okey dokey cauliflower gnocchi

17 Jul When vegetables become pasta

Another example of “when healthier meets delicious.” That’s one of my culinary goals. Eat things I love, and love things that are good for me.

TJ’s Cauliflower Gnocchi is now a staple. The fluffy pillows can be dressed in any way you fix any pasta. Today’s lunch looked like this:

When vegetables become pasta

Cauliflower gnocchi: The pasta’s that’s a vegetable

Boiled the gnocchi, added some chopped garlic, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a slathering of TJ’s tomato sauce and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

But put on your creative cap and find new ways to enjoy. Some ideas:

-Simple: Just lemon juice and Parmesan cheese, maybe a few raw tomatoes and sliced Vidalia onions.

-Gnocchi Greco: Gnocchi dressed with kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, red onion, a drizzle of red wine vinegar and oil, and feta cheese.

-Gnocchi pie: Boil the gnocchi, line a pie pan with it, add sliced, steamed veggies (tomatoes, zucchini, onions, etc.), spoon on marinara and/or cheese. Bake for 15 mins. or microwave for about 2 minutes so the sauce heats and the cheese melts without burning.

Do you have another suggestion? Let us know!

Here’s what to look for in the frozen food aisle:

A pasta alternative from TJ's

Looks even better in person. Tastier that way, too!

All about Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi ingredients and nutrition info

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Girl Scout cookies vs. TJ’s / Better than Thin Mints?!

11 Jul Delicious chocolate mint cookies

Please don’t hate me. I’m either challenging your ferocious love of Thin Mint cookies or introducing you to one of the cutest, most addictive mint+chocolate treats ever. Or both.

Srsly. Try them – buy them or ask a Trader Joe’s staffer for a sample. Let us know what you think.

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for you eating a whole box at one sitting.

Delicious chocolate mint cookies

TJ’s Mint Coins offer wealth of chocolate joy

 

 

Casserole class: DIY quick, easy, delicious

18 Jan Your mini-casserole is ready to eat once the cheese melts.

It all started with one of the biggest sweet potatoes I’ve ever seen (sadly, no picture). I knew I wanted to something special with this oversized tuber. It deserved it.

I decided a few things: It would be mashed; it would partner with poached chicken, and it may or may not involve cheese.

This is what happened next:

  • Step 1: I poached two large chicken thighs in the microwave for about 30 mins. Then cut it into small pieces.
  • Step 2: I cut up the potato leaving the skin on, and boiled it in the water I used to poach the chicken – an environmentally good thing, and more flavor to the potato.
  • Step 3: I mashed the potato, chopped up some sweet onion, put the raw onion into the steaming mashed potato where it cooked from the heat which tamed its flavor but kept its crunch.
  • Step 4/ASSEMBLY: I ladled a layer of the chicken on a plate, smothered it with the mashed sweet potato, sprinkled with a little salt and shredded cheese. And voila: A single-serve, DIY mini casserole, made to order per serving!
The beginning of a DIY casserole

The layering begins. First chicken, then mashed sweet potatoes.

Next comes the cheese to cover the chicken and mashed sweet potatoes. A mini-casserole is born!

Next comes the cheese. And voila. A mini casserole is born!

Your mini-casserole is ready to eat once the cheese melts.

Heat and eat!

The potato was so big, it made several meals for a few people, and each subsequent meal took about 1-2 minutes assembly time with 1 minute to heat in the microwave. Anti-microwave? Then, about 5 minutes in a hot oven or skillet.

BONUS: Because it’s made per person per meal, it’s super flexible – cheese/no cheese; add hot sauce or top with yogurt or sour cream. Add steamed spinach. Go crazy! Let us know what you’d include in your DIY casserole. And enjoy. 🙂

 

 

 

Epic Bars: Stylish snacking

8 Dec

epicbars

You know what these are. You might deny it, but, come on. You can tell.

Even with the sleek packaging and the cool name promising an “Epic” experience, (though it delivers), you know.

It’s clear even though each parcel is veiled with the requisite hipster labels: “100% natural,” “X g. Protein,” the predictable “Sriracha” and the inevitable, “Gluten Free.”

There’s chicken, because that’s what’s for dinner anymore. And it’s NOT beef. It’s bison, the cow’s sophisticated cousin from the range.

You knew what these REALLY were from the moment you flipped the pretty package over and saw the enticing block of melded meat parts, albeit including cranberries, the tight-fitting plastic wrap clutching the treat within.

These are the next generation of on-the-go meat snacks. But you won’t find them sold at a service station. They rest in woven baskets at gourmet, high-end and unique food stores. They sit waiting for the lucky consumer in bins at the exclusive corner market in Brooklyn, and yes, at our favorite grocery mecca, Trader Joe’s.

Come on. You knew it: Beneath the slick wrapper and trendy words, these are your old friend Slim Jim with an advanced degree in delicious. “Stout James,” you might say.

What the new set of duds and fancy stores really do are take away our Slim Jim guilt. “Look at all these great qualities,” we say, trying to fool ourselves that Epic treats are more energy bar than meaty meat bomb.

We’re wrong, of course. But it’s a nervous, naughty, joyful wrong. When Epic slips out of his pop packaging, this bad boy’s all Jimbo. Healthier, classier, but still. Wink.

And while we’re devouring every speck, we choose to ignore the truth for a giddy glimpse of gas station bliss.

How to make the best popcorn ever

31 Mar

How to make popcorn that’s easy, healthy and super yummy! It just takes three ingredients from Trader Joe’s and a microwave popcorn popper.

Why Trader Joe’s is My, and America’s, Happy Place

5 Mar This container of candy from Trader Joe's holds a world of kindness

We all have rotten days. Yesterday was one of mine. Or at least, a day where things didn’t come together well, posed more problems than it solved, and just left me with a sad, crummy feeling.

And I needed to go to Trader Joe’s.

So, I tucked my feelings under my hat and went.

Walking around hunting and gathering for my dinner, I smiled at other shoppers and TJ’s staffers. I was OK. But as I walked to check out, I got sad again. Of course, that’s not too weird – feeling better walking around TJ’s, and getting sad as I’m leaving!

The checker Shaun greeted me with, “How ya doing?!” I said, sluggishly, “OK.” He said, “Just OK?” “Yeah,” I said. We continued chatting a bit. He loaded my bag and put it in the cart.

As we waited for my chipped card to finish processing, Shaun asked, “Do you like chocolate? Do you like dried fruit?” I said yes.

He walked to the product pylon by the check out lane, picked up a container of chocolate-covered dried fruit, put it on top of my bag and said, “I hope you have a good evening!”

I was blown away. And this isn’t the only time I’ve encountered amazingly kind behavior at Trader Joe’s. The store’s feel-good culture is an example for us all in how to care and treat each other. Just a little kindness goes such a long way. Thank you, Shaun! And thank you, Trader Joe’s.

A pot of gold

This container holds a world of kindness

 

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Happy New Year, everyone! 2016 is going to be yummy!

1 Jan

IMG_0244_Choc2016

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