Avocado moves up from toast to pasta

1 Aug

Move over avocado toast, there’s a new avocado meal on the table!

I love tomato-based sauces, but I’m always looking for new ways to use ingredients I love.

Today’s cooking craft project: Avocado pasta. You could call it a sauce, a dressing, a condiment or just an ingredient in a ridiculously delicious version of pasta on a plate!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of pasta: I used egg noodles to mix things up
  • 1 small avocado (TJ’s sells them by the bag)
  • 1/4 lemon, juice
  • Sprinkle of salt

I cooked the pasta, drained and transferred to a bowl. I cut the avocado into small chunks, added to the pasta and mashed it up. Then squeezed the lemon over the mixture and sprinkled some salt to taste.

Next time: I might try mashing the avocado and combining with the lemon juice and salt before adding to the pasta. Also, making a more robust dish by including tomatoes, onions, asparagus tips, garlic, roasted red pepper, anywhere my imagine takes me on that day. 🙂

Sweet and simple dessert: Blueberries+chocolate

7 Jul

This post brought is to you by the Department of Keeping Things Simple.

Pour one part semi-chocolate chips and one part fresh blueberries into bowls or cute ramekins or pretty tea cups.

Serve with a spoon or chop sticks.

It’s summer! Save time, relax, and enjoy a great flavor combo for a snack or to end a meal.

Please share any quick tips for tasty, easy sweet treats in the comments!

DYI: Frozen Yellow Curry

5 Jul

It’s another, “I always wanted to make that” moment. I bought a couple of cans of coconut milk last year, intending to make something delicious.

This weekend, it was time to pop the lids and make it work.

You need to know: Most of the ingredients came from my freezer. And I’m not ashamed.

I live alone and love veggies and fruit, but so often fresh produce goes bad before I can eat it. That’s only compounded with the pandemic because I’m not going to the store as much. Frozen food to the rescue.

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • about 3 tablespoons fresh, chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 4 frozen chicken thighs
  • 1/4 bag of frozen broccoli
  • 1/2 bag TJ’s frozen Asian veggie mix
  • 1/2 bag frozen mushrooms
  • About a cup of frozen mango (key!)
  • 1 onion
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce

Here’s what I did (as pictured above):

  1. I sauteed the fresh garlic, ginger and about 1/2 to 2/3 of the onion in about a tablespoon of each oil until the onion was glassy.
  2. Poured in the coconut milk, added ground mustard, cumin, and the frozen chicken, and cooked on medium heat for about an hour.
  3. At 50 minutes of the chicken cooking, I added the frozen veggies, mango and the rest of the chopped onion (to give it some extra crunch).
  4. I heated up a package of TJ’s frozen organic brown rice.
  5. When the broth was boiling and everything looked thawed/hot, I added some soy sauce, a little rice vinegar, and it was ready to eat.

SO delicious! And like most of my recipes, most parts are changeable. Add any other protein you prefer, other vegetables you like, more of some, less of others. Experiment with other spices and sauces – as you can see this is a very mild mix. Add hot peppers to turn up the heat. I’m thinking this is no fail. But I STRONGLY urge you to include the mango. It’s the perfect, sweet fruit complement to whatever savory curry you end up creating!

Please share your thoughts in the comments. Do you have legit curry cred? Any ingredient or process you’d recommend?

I got carded at Trader Joe’s! You should, too.

24 Dec

We posted about this before, but the cards keep getting better and better, so what can we do but post again?!

Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus for the rest of us.

We wish you Happy Holidays and a delicious, llamadacious New Year!

Cards_TJs_2019

 

 

Up your winter meal game with a soup pour over

18 Dec

I stumbled on this accidentally when I was cooking a broth to fight a cold. I cut up an onion, minced a few cloves of garlic and a few knots of ginger. At the same time, I was baking some chicken and had some lightly steamed veggies.

When the chicken and veggies were done, I thought I should have put them in the soup. But then…

I put pieces of the chicken and some of the veggies in a bowl, poured the tasty broth over them and voila, a cozy meal was born!

Try it with quinoa, rice, pasta. And try other herbs and spices in your broth. Make it vegetarian or vegan. It’s the most flexible, delicious, healthy way to eat your way through the winter! And a fun, fancy way to put a meal together.

 

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

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.

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