November 30, 2007

Mediterranean Couscous

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #30: Couscous

cous cous

Cook couscous according to directions.

I doubled the recipe so that we could have leftovers for the next few days.

Let’s begin with the recipe……

Chop 1 red onion:

chopped red onions

Drain & rinse 1 can of garbanzo beans:

garbanzo beans, chokes, onions, tomatoes

Chop up some little tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes (half of the TJ’s jar), two handfuls of basil, 2 lemons & 1 jar of marinated artichokes:

Open 1 package of crumbled feta:

Mix those ingredients with the Cous-Cous.

Make sure to add some Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

Squeeze the lemons on top & mix. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Serve in a bowl:

Dig in with a fork or spoon:

It’s pretty good with grilled sausage on top:

i added some sausage

Now you have a tasty meal & a few leftovers to last you a few days. The end.

November 29, 2007

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Favorite Trader Joe’s Concoction: Creamy Mushroom Soup

Ever have one of those nights where you come home from the grocery store with SOOO many potential dinner options and you can’t think of what you REALLY want to make/eat?  And then all of a sudden you make something that you had no intention of making when you bought your groceries?  That’s what happened Tuesday night.

I bought mushrooms on Tuesday.  I LOVE mushrooms.  Husband-not so much.  But he’s been eating mushrooms in stuff lately….so I figured I should go full force and make some mushroom soup.  Baptism by fire anyone?

Over the summer I read Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table (fabulous book btw).  I whipped out her recipe for mushroom soup from the book because it sounded so damn good….This makes about 4 bowls worth. Maybe less… I lost count because I was in a mushroom soup coma.

Here are the ‘shrooms I used along with the whipping cream (don’t be a hater!) and Beef Broth Concentrate from Trader Joe’s (totally easy/excellent!)
sliced crimini mushrooms- as it says

cream makes everything good  savory beef broth has an affair with butter. don't tell anyone

Here’s your ingredients:

  • 10 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used crimini for this soup)
  • 1/2 stick butter (you can cut that in half if you are feeling chubby)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of beef broth (I used 1 packet of the TJ’s condensed beef broth mixed with 1 cup water)
  • 2 cups half & half  (I used 1 3/4 cup whole milk mixed with 1/4 cup whipping cream)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I added a lot)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Trader Joe’s Black Truffle Oil (when in Rome-right?)

Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. When foam subsides, add onion and sautee until golden. Add mushrooms and sautee those babies until brown.

Here’s me sauteeing some mushrooms.  They’re not brown enough yet:

browning the mushrooms & onions

Stir in flour to coat the mushrooms. Then slowly stir in broth.  Heat half and half/milk on the stove or in the microwave and slowly add to pot. Add the nutmeg & bay leaf.  Stir thoroughly to ensure that everything is incorporated. Simmer on low for ten minutes (do not boil). Add salt & pepper to taste.

I was thinking a little red wine or brandy would be good mixed in.  I’ll have to try that next time!

Pour into your bowl & top the soup with little splashes of the Black Truffle Oil and more Salt & Pepper.

mushroom soup

Put a spoon in and moan. You will. I promise.

bits of mushrooms...mmmm

The only thing that I didn’t like about this soup was that there were no leftovers!

November 28, 2007

Wasabi Tamari Almonds

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item # 28:  Wasabi Tamari Almonds

wasabi, tamari, almonds, heaven, spicy!

Have you noticed that I’m a HUGE  fan of almonds??  They are my favorite nut ever!

I eat them by the handful….

wasabi! almonds!

Sometimes I put them in little bowls to prevent an out-right binge.

I will only eat this much today.

But not that often!  Perfectly spicy! Perfect snack food!  I’ll covet these… until my next TJ’s run…where I’ll buy more!

November 27, 2007

Chicken Gyoza Potstickers

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #27: Chicken Gyoza Potstickers:

chicken gyoza potstickers

(they come in an all veggie kind too)

I like to keep these in the freezer. On nights when I’m feeling super lazy and the husband needs to be fed, I can easily whip something out to the table.

I like the pan fry them & serve them with a dipping sauce.

Sunday night I was feeling really anti-social and didn’t want to face crowds of people in the supermarket. So, I looked in the fridge and found some ingredients to make us some soup.

By the way…another main contributor to this soup is Trader Joe’s Shredded Carrots:

shredded carrots

I like to use these when I make my Vietnamese chicken salad- but that’s a whole other post…..

I digress… Here’s your ingredient list:

  • Chicken Gyoza Potstickers (the more the merrier, I think)
  • 2 large handfuls of Shredded Carrots
  • 4 green onions chopped (both white & green parts)
  • 2 big splashes of Soy Sauce
  • 1 32oz container of chicken stock or veggie stock
  • a few pieces of sliced ginger

Pour entire container of chicken stock in soup pot.  Add half of the green onions & all of the sliced ginger.  The more ginger, the spicier it is.  I used about two thin slices for the entire pot.  Let that simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, soy sauce, and the pot stickers to the soup. Bring the soup to a slow boil (10 minutes).

Finish off the soup with the rest of your Green Onions….Add some pepper & more soy sauce if you need some more kick…..

mmmm hmmmm

Tada! This recipe makes about 4-5 servings

won-ton soup

I think bits of fresh Baby Spinach would go well in this soup too! If only I had that the other night…  Next time!

November 26, 2007

Make-shift Eggplant Parmesan

Favorite Trader Joe’s Concoction: Make-shift Eggplant Parmesan

Here’s Your Ingredient List— Add Basil! It’s not pictured here.

Frozen Eggplant Cutlets:

eggplant cutlets

Parmesan & Roman Grated Cheese Blend:

parmesan & romano grated cheese blend

Italian Tomato Starter Sauce:

italian tomato starter sauce

Yesterday I needed something quick for lunch because I had to get back to watching my Tivo & surfing the internet. It was a Holiday weekend after all! I ran into the kitchen and put these two eggplant cutlets on a baking sheet & into the oven they went:

two eggplant cutlets from the oven

I broke out some of the Trader Joe’ Italian Tomato Starter Sauce. Yesterday was the first time I tried it— It was pretty darn good.


And then I took out some of the grated Parmesan & Romano Cheese Blend- Because everything goes better with Parmesan in my opinion…

parm makes everything betta

Added that all together and here we are! A nice little lunch:

sunday lunch- makeshift eggplant parm

It could not be any easier than that! I didn’t even have to leave the house because all these items were tucked away in my fridge & on my pantry shelf.

Now, if you make this- put some freshly chopped basil on top. It’s screaming for some!

November 25, 2007

Apple Turnovers

Favorite Trader Joe’s Item #25: Puff Pastry

tj's puff pastry

I spent the first half hour after I woke up staring at this post from Ugly Green Chair. If only I could have reached right into my computer and taken a bite! While the husband was sleeping, I decided to wake him up with the perfumey smells of apple turnovers being baked in our kitchen. Thanks for the inspiration Whitney!

I chopped up three apples into little bits:

i'm gonna use you cutting up the apples to make the filling

I sauteed them in a tablespoon of butter, a few dashes of cinnamon, a bit fresh squeezed orange juice and a little bit of sugar:

apple filling

I took the puff pastry sheets out of the freezer, and let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes so I could pull apart 1 sheet to make 4 turnovers. After the chill was gone, I cut one sheet into 4 little squares and spread some egg wash (just 1 egg beaten) on top of each little square.

egg wash on top

I put a little dollop of the apples in the center:

adding the filling

I folded over the sides and scrunched it over with my fingers.

I added some more egg wash on top & cut a little hole at the top so it wouldn’t explode in the oven.

egg washed

I put them in the oven on a cookie sheet line with parchment and baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Here they are after those 15 minutes. I was so anxious to try one- it felt like half a lifetime.

4 little maids

There’s nothing better than the promise of some delicious pastry. Don’t you agree?

i'll take the one in front please

Look at that filling seep out!


Notice the buttery layers? I added a little sprinkling of sugar on top:

from the side

And here we have my breakfast this morning:

sunday morning breakfast

I’m so glad that Trader Joe’s sells Puff Pastry! It was so easy to make a wonderful breakfast this morning out of things that I already had in the kitchen!

November 24, 2007

Dried Fruit Bars

Favorite Trader Joes Item #24: Dried Fruit Bars

taste the rainbow

Because I’m always hungry (it’s the Italian in me) I have to carry around little snacks in my bag.  If I don’t have a little snack in between meals, I tend to OVER-eat at the next meal.  My grandma says that you know you’re Italian when you are eating breakfast, and you’re thinking about what you’ll eat at Lunch and Dinner that day.  It’s true. I do that!

fav fruit leathers

So, I always make sure I have a few of these dried fruit bars with me. I stash some in my desk at work too! They are incredibly easy & tasty.  They make a perfect snack and help keep you energized.  The passion fruit flavor is actually my #1 favorite.  There’s little bits of passion fruit seeds in them.  Love that crunch!

They are about 45 cents each.  Totally worth every penny!