Trader Joe’s Inspired Meals

I blame our vacation.  And the completely empty refigerator.  I blame not making a list.  And going grocery shopping while hungry.  On Monday, I walked out of Trader Joe’s with a charge receipt for $166.41.

I’m not even sure how one spends that amount of money at Trader Joe’s.  My typically spending habits at the hippy grocery chain are usually less than $40.  I honestly couldn’t even remember what I had purchased that would equal $166.41.  I did buy two gallons of organic milk. Expensive as milk is these days, I was still off.

When I arrived home, I knew that my first mission – even before getting the freezer items into the freezer – would be to make sure that I had enough supplies to make a week’s worth of dinners (and a few lunches for me too).  Lucky me, I found that I had hit the Trader Joe’s jackpot.  While I usually make my dinners from scratch, this week I’d be having a semi-homemade dinners.  A break from my standard routine could offset the dent in my wallet.   For those of you who have a Trader Joe’s nearby (a nice luxury in most Bay Area neighborhoods today), I’ve made a list of my TJs ingredients.

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post.  I’m not getting anything from Trader Joe’s by writing this.  I’m just trying to reduce the guilt I have for spending a ridiculous amount of money.

Crockpot Kofta Curry

Kofta just means meatball.  This is a tasty way to make a Indian-inspired curry. Add to your crockpot: 2 jars of Curry Simmer Sauce and a bag Party Size Meatballs.  Cook on whatever timer you want to dinner (I did high for 2 hours).  Add 1 can of Lite Coconut Milk and half bag of frozen Soycutash veggies.  Serve over rice (either make your own or buy the frozen rice at TJs).  My kids ate two bowls for dinner last night!

Hawaiian Inspired Steak and Veggies

With this colder weather, I start to long for any meal that I can make in the oven.  I dumped a bag of Hawaiian-Style Short Ribs into a casserole dish and baked for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  At the same time, I made Coconut Rice in my rice cooker.  2 cups Organic Jasmine Rice + 1 can of Coconut Milk + 1 tsp salt + 2 cups of water + 1 tbsp olive oil.  While the rice and the ribs were self-cooking, I took a package of presliced mushrooms to a large pan with a tsp of olive oil.  Sautee until golden brown and tender.  Add the other half of the bag of Soycutash veggies.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Once everything is done, plate, serve, and sit back while your family compliments the chef!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

In our house we try to have one or two nights a week that are vegetarian.  Veggie enchiladas are easy to assemble and don’t take long to heat through in the oven.  You need one or two cans of Refried Black Beans with Jalapenos, a can of sweet corn, shredded cheese (or buy a block and grate yourself), Organic Flour and Corn tortillas (8 count) and 2 jars of Enchilada Sauce.   In the bottom of a casserole dish, add a 1/2 jar of enchilada sauce.  This makes sure your tortillas don’t stick to the bottom when in the oven.  In each tortilla, spread a generous serving of beans.  Add a spoonful or two of corn, a handful of cheese, and a drizzle of the sauce.  Roll up the tortilla and place into the casserole dish with the seam side down.  Repeat for remaining tortillas.  Pour the remaining jar of sauce over the top and add a sprinkle of cheese.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes… until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let sit for 5 minutes before you serve.

Make Your Own Pizza Night

Trader Joe’s has raw pizza dough that is super easy to work with.  Just follow the directions on the package.  To make it more fun for my kids, I buy two packages of dough and cut each into thirds to make individual pizzas.  Top with TJ’s pizza sauce (tasty enough to be marinara sauce on pasta for another dinner), shredded cheese, and a variety of toppings.  We usually have salami, olives, ham, pineapple, bell pepper, mushrooms.  Everyone makes their own.  Everyone eats their own.  Everyone is happy with dinner.  I serve it with a salad tossed with the Champagne Pear Vinaigrette (my latest favorite salad dressing).

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

I can’t be only person that craves this meal whenever it starts to get cold and rainy.  Making grilled cheese is probably the easiest hot sandwich to make.  Lightly butter the outside of the bread, wedge your favorite sliced cheese in between, and stick in a pan on medium heat.  Take a container of Organic Tomato and Basil soup and warm on the stove top.  To jazz up the soup, I add a dash of cream (or milk) and a cube of basil.  One of my favorite items at Trader Joe’s are the frozen herbs.  So convenient in little single serve cubes! Be sure to follow your kids and dunk your grilled cheese in the soup.  Yum!

Enjoy these 5 easy Trader Joe meals.  I know my family will be!

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  1. October 10, 2012
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