Sunday, June 14, 2015

Trader Joe's Bruschetta 3 Ways...

Back in February in my Book Review: Cooking with all things Trader Joe's blog post I discussed the Black Beans and Ricotta Stuffed Portobello recipe.  After making the stuffed portobello mushrooms I started to think of other ways I could use the bruschetta sauce, ricotta and black bean combination and here is what I came up with...

Top Left- toast with bruschetta and ricotta cheese, Top Right- Bruschetta and shrimp naan pizza, Bottom- Bruschetta chicken

Scrambled eggs with bruschetta over toast
I made this for breakfast last sunday, which was super filling and the perfect breakfast/brunch.

Ingredients (serves 1):
1 egg
1 piece of whole grain toast
1/4 cup of trader joe's fresh bruschetta
1/2 cup of black beans
2 tablespoons of chopped bell peppers (I use trader joe's frozen bell peppers)
2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese

1. Crack egg into bowl, add milk and thoroughly mix
2. Put eggs in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. 
3. Spread ricotta onto piece of whole grain toast
4. Toast until lightly browned
5. Heat black beans and peppers on stove or in microwave
6. Add bruschetta on top of ricotta on top  of the toast with ricotta then add the scrambled eggs
7. Add black beans and peppers over the eggs.

Bruschetta, Ricotta and Shrimp Naan Pizza           
Naan pizza has became one of my new favorite things. It's extremely versatile and always turns out great. I served with a side of broccoli and some grilled veggies.

Ingredients (serves 1):
1 piece of Trader Joe's Plain Naan
1/4 cup of bruschetta
1/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of black beans
2 tablespoons of chopped bell peppers (I use trader joe's frozen bell peppers)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Microwave shrimp for 2 minutes
3.  Add 1/4 cup of bruschetta over the naan and then add ricotta, black beans, peppers and shrimp
4. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Pizza is done when the cheese is melted.

Bruschetta Chicken
I had wanted to try bruschetta chicken for awhile now. It was actually one of the first things I pinned when I started to become obsessed with Pinterest around 3 years ago. I decided to make a simplified version with ready made bruschetta over poached chicken breasts. I served with quinoa and zucchini from Trader Joe's Misto alls Griglia.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 poached chicken breasts (I use this recipe when poaching chicken)
1/2 cup of bruschetta sauce
a few pieces of zucchini from Trader Joe's Misto alla Griglia

1) Microwave chicken for 1 minute or until heated
2) Top with Trader Joe's fresh bruschetta sauce
3)  Microwave zucchini based on directions on package

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ground Turkey Three Ways

Today I wanted to share some great ground turkey recipes. I bought a package of ground turkey last week and made three different meals! Using one ingredient multiple ways is a great way to get the best value for your money.

I was strategic and made all three recipes at the same time. When I opened the package of ground turkey I used 1/2 cup or 1/4 lb of ground turkey for the turkey burger and  a little over 1/2 cup of ground turkey for the meatballs.  I used the little bit of remaining ground turkey for the lasagna.

Top Left- Turkey Vegetable Lasagna, Top Right- Turkey Burger with Basil and Feta Cheese, Bottom-
Turkey meatballs with feta and spinach

Turkey Vegetable Lasagna- I actually got the idea for this recipe from the cashier at Trader Joe's. She was asking if I making an italian dish with the ingredients I bought and said that since I wasn't buying pasta she thought I might be using the grilled vegetables to replace lasagna noodles. I thought using the grilled vegetables in place of lasagna noodles sounded like a great idea so I decided to make up my own version of vegetable lasagna! here was the recipe I created:

Turkey Vegetable Lasagna
2 servings 

1/2 cup ground turkey
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Trader Joe's Misto alla Griglia  

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
2. Brown the ground turkey
3. Microwave 2 pieces of the eggplant and 4 zucchini pieces for 2 minutes 
4. Layer 1 piece of eggplant and 2 pieces of zucchini in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil 
5.  Top the layer of vegetables with ground turkey and 1/4 cup of  mozzarella cheese
6. Top of the ground turkey and cheese with the remaining vegetables and top with the tomato    sauce and 1/4 cup of mozzarella. 
7. Put the lasagna in the oven for 7-10 minutes, the lasagna is done with the cheese is melted. 

Feta Basil Turkey Burgers
Recipe courtesy of: Fifteen Spatulas 

I cut the recipe in half since I only wanted to make one turkey burger. I decided to serve the turkey burger with sweet potato fries and two grilled eggplant slices instead of using a burger bun. 

Feta and Spinach Turkey Meatballs
Recipe courtesy of: The Hungry Lightweight 

I cut this recipe in half, which made 8 meatballs. I served this along with whole wheat pasta and garlic bread. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Healthy Eating

Sorry for the long delay again. It's been a busy few weeks and I just haven't been able to get around to posting on the blog.  I also decided I wanted to focus the blog more on healthy eating meal plans so every few weeks I will be sharing my grocery list and day-by-day meal plan. I also want to each week feature one ingredient and share 3 ways to use that ingredient. For todays blog post I decided to discuss Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge. My parents found the Buzzfeed article two weeks ago and started the 14 day challenge.  I didn't  follow the plan exactly, but  the plan has great recipes and is a good way to base correct portion sizes so I did an abridged version of the clean eating challenge that was less expensive and required less cooking time. For breakfast each day I had Trader Joe's small packs of Omega High Trek Mix and a cup of green tea, for lunch I had salads with nuts, cheese and leftover veggies from dinner,  I thought I would share my grocery list and  some of the dinner recipes I made during my version of the clean eating challenge.

Week 1:

To spend less time during week cooking I made the spaghetti squash on friday and on sunday I made  the ground turkey (recipe below).

Grocery List:
Spaghetti Squash
Trader Joe's Just Chicken Chucks
Ground Turkey
Iceberg Lettuce
Black Beans
Peanut Satay Sauce
Frozen broccoli
Frozen peppers

Day 1: 
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 Serving

1 Serving
1 tablespoon coconut  oil
¼ of average yellow onion, minced
½ cup pre-cooked chicken strips, cut into bite sized pieces
¼ cup frozen or fresh bell peppers
1 tablespoon edamame
1  tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut satay sauce
4 iceberg  lettuce leaves

1)Cut onion in half.  Mince half of the onion.  Cut ½ cup of chicken into bite sized pieces.
2)Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into a medium sized sauté pan. 
3)Once oil is hot (you can test by putting a drop of water into the pan. If the pan sizzles it’s hot enough)
4) Add onion and sauté for a minute.
5) Add chicken and peppers. Once heated through, around 4 minutes add edamame and heat for 1 minute longer.
6) Take off heat. Add soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and peanut satay sauce. Mix thoroughly so that the chicken and vegetables are coated. 
7)Separate 4 lettuce leaves. Add chicken filling to center of each lettuce leave and wrap lettuce to cover the filling.

Day 2:
BBQ Chicken Salad
2 Servings

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1cup pre-cooked chicken strips cut into bite sized pieces
½ cup frozen or fresh bell peppers
¼ cup of BBQ Sauce
½ cup  black beans
1 cup iceberg lettuce.
1 tablespoon of shredded lite Mexican cheese or cheddar cheese

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Once oil is hot add chicken and peppers. Heat the chicken and peppers around 6 minutes. 

2. Take the chicken and pepper mixture off the heat. Add ¼ cup of BBQ sauce and mix thoroughly.

3. Shred one cup of lettuce. Add ½ of the chicken and pepper mixture to lettuce. Top with ½ cup of black beans, cheese and  then mix everything together.

Note: I put the other half of the chicken mixture in a small container to bring for lunch the next day.  Add ½ cup of black beans to the container with chicken. Take a separate small container and put  1 cup of lettuce and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Into the container. Heat the chicken mixture in the microwave for a minute and a half. Once heated, add to the lettuce and cheese and mix .

Day 3: 
Spaghetti Squash Turkey Bolognese 
1 serving 

1 package of ground turkey
½ of a yellow onion, minced 
1 tablespoon olive oil

Ground Turkey Recipe:
1    1)  Heat olive oil
2    2)Once pan is hot, add onion and turn stove to medium heat
3    3)Let onion cook for 1 minute and then add ground turkey
4    4) Cook turkey until browned, around 6-8 minutes

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Bolognese Ingredients:

1/2 cup cooked ground turkey
½ of a yellow onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 cup spaghetti squash
¼ cup tomato sauce 
1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese

Semi-Homemade Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Bolognese
 1) Put 1 cup of spaghetti squash in a bow
 2) Put ½ cup of ground turkey in a separate bowl
 3) Microwave ground turkey for 1 ½ minutes
 4)Add ¼ of tomato sauce to bowl of ground turkey and microwave again for 30 seconds
 5)   Microwave spaghetti squash for 2 minutes
 6) Add parmesan cheese 

        Day 4: 
I     "Inside Out" Ground Turkey  Wraps
d      1 serving 

I       Ingredients:
        1/2 cup cooked ground turkey
  1/4 cup frozen or fresh bell peppers
  1/2 cup broccoli 
  1  tablespoon soy sauce
  1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 
  2 tablespoons peanut satay sauce
  1 cup lettuce

        1) Microwave ground turkey for 1 1/2 minutes
        2) Microwave broccoli and bell peppers for 1 1/2 minutes
        3) Mix soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and peanut satay sauce in a small bowl
        4)The lettuce wasn't cooperating to make lettuce wraps so I made "inside out" lettuce wraps so I             cleaned and ripped lettuce into bite sized pieces
        5) Put lettuce on a plate, add ground turkey, vegetables and then top with soy sauce mixture and  
        mix thoroughly.

       Friday (Day 5) I had turkey bolognese with spaghetti squash (see recipe above) and on Saturday  (Day 6) I went out to dinner with a friend and had matzah ball soup 

        Week 2:


To prep for the week of meals I made the roasted chickpeas, roasted cauliflowers and roasted eggplant according to the buzzfeed recipe. I also made the kale according to the Buzzfeed recipe as well. Finally, I poached chicken to have for the week.

         Grocery List:
   Greek Yogurt
   Thinly sliced chicken breasts
   Garbanzo beans

         Day 7: 
         Roasted Eggplant with chickpeas, Cauliflower, and lemon-parsley yogurt 
        Recipe: Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge 

        Day 8:
        Chicken, Kale and quinoa with mango and lemon-parsley yogurt 
        1/2 cup of cooked poached chicken
        1 cup of  steamed kale, (see buzzfeed for recipe)
        1/2 cup of quinoa
        3 slices of Mango
        Lemon-parsely yogurt (see recipe, according to Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge)

      1) Microwave cooked chicken for 1 1/2 minutes 
      2) Microwave kale for 1 minute
      3) Cook 1 bag of quinoa according to package directions
      4) Make lemon-parsley yogurt (look at Buzzfeed recipe) 
      5) add quinoa, kale, chicken and mango to a bowl. Top with lemon-parsley yogurt 

     Day 9:
     Lentils, Cauliflower and kale with teriyaki sauce
     1 Serving

        1/2 cup lentils
        1 cup of kale
        Leftover roasted cauliflower (from sunday's dinner)
        1/2 tablespoon of trader joe's soyaki sauce
        1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil 

        1) Microwave lentils according to package directions
        2) Microwave kale and cauliflower for 1 minute
        3) mix soyaki and sesame oil together in a small bowl
        4)  Add lentils, kale, and cauliflower into a bowl. Add soyaki sauce mixture and mix throughly 

     Day 10:
     Chicken, eggplant and lentils with vodka sauce over Quinoa
      1 Serving

      1/2 cup of cooked poached chicken
      Leftover roasted eggplant (from sunday's dinner)
      1/2 of leftover roasted chickpeas (from sunday's dinner)  
      1/2 cup of quinoa 
      1/4 cup of vodka sauce 
      1 tablespoon of feta

       1) Microwave chicken for 1 minute
       2) Micowave eggplant and chickpeas for 1 minute
       3) Microwave quinoa for 1 1/2 minutes
       4)  Add chicken, vegetables and quinoa to a bowl. Add vodka sauce and feta and microwave for another 30 seconds 

     Day 11:
    Chicken, Eggplant, roasted chickpeas and quinoa with lemon-parsley yogurt 

     1/2 cup cooked poached chicken
     1/2 of leftover roasted chickpeas (from sunday's dinner) 
     1 cup of steamed kale 
     1 tablespoon of hummus
     Lemon-parsely yogurt (see recipe, according to Buzzfeed's Clean Eating Challenge)
     1. Microwave chicken for 1 minute 
     2. Microwave chickpeas and steamed kale
     3. Microwave Quinoa according to directions 
     5. Mix Lemon-Parsley Yogurt in a small bowl
     6. Add quinoa, chicken and vegetables to bowl. 
     7. Top with hummus and Lemon-Parsley Yogurt and mix throughly. 

   Friday (Day 12) Trader Joe's Tempura Chicken with vegetable fried rice and broccoli and Saturday
   (Day 13) Quinoa burger, steamed kale and broccoli.  


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's Update #3

Hi Everyone! I'm sorry I have been MIA the past two weeks. I took a very interesting Food Writing  course, which you will hear more about in upcoming blog posts and I spent a few days in CT without my computer so I  had a unintentional technology cleanse, lol. Anyways, now I'm back and have a lot of exciting stuff up the pipe line. Today, I'm sharing an update on the most recent recipes I have tested from the Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's Cookbook and then next weekend I'm going to DC so be sure to look out for my review of some DC restaurants and I'm hoping to create a flipagram from all my pictures so hopefully I will be able to incorporate a video component to the blog for the first time! Now let's get back to today's blog post and discuss my most recent cooking endeavors from the Cooking with all things Trader Joe's Cookbook.

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&  or check out the Cooking with Trader Joe's blog. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

St.Patrick's Day Dessert Ideas...

St.Patrick's day is a week away! I wanted to share some yummy desserts, which are the perfect way to make your St.Patrick's day festive.

1) Guinness Chocolate Pudding

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: SprinkleBakes

2) Bailey's Cheesecake Cupcakes
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of:

3) Shamrock Pretzel Bites
Photo & Recipes Courtesy of: thatswhatchesaid

3) Bailey's Irish Cream Whoopie Pies
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Burn Me Not

4) Leprechaun Parfaits

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Jessica Weible Blogs

 If you are hosting a St.Patrick's day part check out this blog post for some menu and decor ideas.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Happy Hour: Patron XO Cafe Cocktails

After a long week and especially after being cooped up as a result of yesterday's snow I say it's definitely time for a cocktail! My brother bought me a bottle of Patron XO  Cafe for christmas so I have been researching some fun cocktail ideas and desserts, which all use the patron coffee liqueur.

1) The Onyx

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of:

This cocktail recipe calls for Patron XO cafe and coconut milk.  I like cocktails that use ingredients such as coconut milk or fruit juices that disguise the taste of the alcohol so this recipe is right up my alley

2) Tequila Mocha Sipper Cocktail

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of:

This recipe, which calls for Patron XO cafe, half & half and chocolate syrup sounds like an alcoholic starbucks drink, yum!

3) Butterscotch Treat

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of:

Patron XO cafe and butterscotch schnapps combined in one cocktail, yes, please!! The cinnamon sugar garnish sounds like a delicious addition to a yummy cocktail. 

4) XO Cafe Patron Cupcakes
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of: Abrielle Says

I wanted to find a dessert that incorporates Patron XO cafe and found this chocolate cupcake recipe, which sounds like a winner to me! I can't wait to give these a try. If I get motivated I might even end up making this recipe this weekend!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Good Eats: February Round-Up

It's that time again: here is my Good Eats: February Round-Up. In this month's round-up I have a Connecticut based restaurant, which will probably happen from time to time since I work in Stamford, CT and my parents live in CT so I spend a lot of time there. But don't worry I have some New York places as well and will continue to share my NYC favorite spots in the months to come. This month's picks include: crepes, pasta and burgers

1)  Crepes & Delices
Photo Courtesy of: Yelp
I live a couple doors down from Crepes & Delices  so I constantly walk by and smell the delicious smell of homemade crepes. After months of walking by every day I finally decided to go in and get a crepe. I went very simple and got a dulce de leche crepe, which was good, but I wish I had chosen more toppings to make the crepe a little more interesting. The menu was very extensive and had a good combination of sweet and savory options, which makes this the perfect place for lunch/dinner or  for dessert. You can also "build your own" crepe and choose either regular or buckwheat batter and choose your own toppings.  The space is very light and cheery and a nice casual spot to meet up with friends for a coffee or tea and a crepe.

2) Harlan Publick
Short Rib Bolognese; Photo courtesy of: CT Bites

I ended up spending my birthday in CT so that night I ended up going to Harlan Publick in South Norwalk for dinner with my parents. The atmosphere is trendy and cool. This is your quintessential gastropub, with an extensive beer and cocktail menu and high-end "pub" food. I got a white sangria as my cocktail, which is always my favorite drink so automatically my meal started on a high note. We got the Korean Fried Chicken Tacos, which were great. of course, my birthday meal had to include tacos! for my entree I went with the Short Rib Bolognese, which entailed:  garganelli pasta, short rib bolognese sauce, whipped ricotta and basil. I chose this dish since it sounded interesting and I absolutely love ricotta. This was the perfect dish to have on a cold winter night and I absolutely loved the flavor combination of the short rib with the whipped ricotta and the basil added the perfect finishing touch. For dessert we had the salted caramel tart, which of course I devoured because I love anything with salted caramel. Overall,  I really enjoyed my meal at Harlan Publick and will definitely have to go back during the summer since it seems like they have a very nice outdoor seating area, so I  would love to sit outside and get a  glass of sangria and some appetizers.

3) Five Napkin Burger
Photo Courtesy Of: Tegestology

I ended up randomly eating here last weekend with my parents. We had tickets to see Kinky Boots and had about an hour to eat before the show and on our way to the theatre we saw Five Napkin Burger so we decided to give it a try. This is chain restaurant with numerous locations throughout NYC, a location in Boston and in Miami as well. We went to the Hell's Kitchen location, which is the original Five Napkin Burger. The space is huge with modern decor and a lively atmosphere.  It's  a little more upscale than shake shack, but is still casual and fun. Since we were in a rush I just ordered the original 5 napkin burger, which included: a 10 oz ground chunk, gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary aioli, which really escalated the flavor of the burger to a new level. Usually I don't like big burgers and prefer thin burgers, but the combination  of the cheese, onions and rosemary aioli worked really well together. I wish I had more time to enjoy my meal since I would have also ordered one of the fun cocktails and they have an amazing dessert menu as well and the brownie sundae looked amazing! I will definitely be checking out the upper west side location in the near future!

Photo Courtesy of: PlanMB