1) Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe was simple and I was very excited to make cheesy drop biscuits using buttermilk pancake mix. I have never really had proper biscuits before so I was curious to try them. The recipe gives you the option of using a traditional pie crust or you can use cheesy drop biscuits and since I already had buttermilk pancake mix I went the drop biscuit route, Everything was going fine making this until I went to put the chicken pot pie in the oven and the sauce started spilling everywhere. The recipe says to place the pie on a baking sheet to catch drippings so I did that, but I was not expecting the sauce to spill over as much as it did. Maybe it was just a matter of me being too impatient and not letting the sauce thicken enough. Anyways, over all this dish turned out ok, but was definitely not one of my favorites. I was expecting the drop biscuits to be light and airy, but instead they ended up dense and I could taste the all-purpose flour. the sauce was very light and didn't provide enough flavor to the chicken and vegetables. I had the leftovers for lunch the next, which tasted a little better, but overall I think I just didn't quite master the recipe and if I had let the sauce simmer a little longer and mixed the biscuit dough a little longer the dish would have tasted better. Oh well, you live and you learn!
2) Italian Wedding Soup
This soup was very easy and the end result was delicious. As you all know I love soup and now that winter is finally wrapping up I wanted to get in one last soup recipe. I loved all the colors in this dish and soup was extremely flavorful. The parmesan cheese and parsley garnish escalated the flavor to the next level. One of the main reasons I wanted to make this soup was because I was excited to finally try chard. I don't think I had ever even tasted chard before this. The chicken broth and parmesan cheese I added at the end cut a lot of the bitterness from the chard and I enjoyed playing around with the leftovers and sautéing it with butter and olive oil and adding lemon juice and parmesan cheese for a filling side dish with spaghetti and meatballs and I also used the leftovers to make a variation of pasta primavera.
3) Peanutty Sesame Noodles
Cold peanut noodles has always been one of my favorite lunches. They are very easy to make and the flavor combination of the peanut butter, teriyaki sauce and toasted sesame oil is outstanding. This is the first time I had incorporated vegetables into the dish and I have to say the carrots and scallion added a nice crunch to the noodles. This is one of those recipes that taste better the next day so I was happy that I made this on a sunday and then was able to eat it for lunch during the week and I served with Trader Joe's Kung Pao Chicken later in the week. Usually, I like peanut noodles cold, but this recipe I actually preferred warmed up. This is a fun and easy way to make a favorite Chinese takeout dish in the comfort of your own home.
4) Macho Nacho
This recipe had stood out to me when I was looking through the Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's cookbook. I loved the picture, which showcased beautiful red tomatoes and green cilantro piled on top of chili and tortilla chips. This also gave me the perfect excuse to try Trader Joe's vegetarian chili, which is something I had been curious to try for while. Whenever I make nachos I usually make them in the microwave so I was curious to see how nachos would taste baked in the oven. This dish is described in the cookbook as a "casserole version of a nacho plate", which is a perfect description. The end result was crispy and the tortilla chips, vegetarian chili and cheese worked very well together. I used a little creative license with the toppings and along with the traditional guacamole and sour cream I used green verde salsa instead of a tomato based salsa. I also tried to make this a little healthier by using quinoa tortilla chips instead of regular tortilla chips. I was very pleased with how this turned out, but I have to warn you that this does not reheat well if you are considering using the leftovers. A few days after making the nachos I thought I would get all fancy and use the leftovers with some shrimp and make nachos for lunch and was not happy with the results.
Want to try these recipes for yourself? Buy "Cooking with all things Trader Joe's" on Amazon or Barnes&Noble.com or check out the Cooking with Trader Joe's blog.