Cooking with Trader Joe

My cooking skills are somewhere between Pioneer Woman and Aunt Becky.  (probably a whole, whole lot closer to Becky than I want to admit)

So meet my new best friend:

Aww yeah.  EASY recipes that taste GOOD but don’t involve opening cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.  I found it at Barnes and Noble for only $12 which was handy since my son was launching his cars at an attractive woman in the cafe – I had to just buy it rather than sit down and steal recipes the old fashioned way.

I picked a few recipes, went to Trader Joe’s and shopped my list.  I know that Trader Joe’s isn’t perfect as a grocery store but I like that their products at least attempt to be more enviro friendly, are more than reasonably priced, seem to be of superb quality, and the service there is incredible.  The fact that I found a nice bottle of white wine for $3.99 doesn’t hurt either. In the end, my total bill was the same as any other store I shop at and I really only was missing laundry soap and milk.

I just can’t afford some of their priciest products such as fresh meats and poultry or milk, but the frozen meats are reasonably priced and a decent quality as well.  I love the fact that they do not hose down their produce to keep it “fresh” and then it rots in my fridge within 24 hours of getting it home.  I figure I save money right there.

I think that this little cook book will help me meet my goal to cook better food for my family.

More importantly, I have reached the point where I am utterly sick of my own cooking.  You can only throw garlic and olive oil in the pan with tomatoes and come up with so many combinations that aren’t exactly the same as the night before. It’s time to find and explore new ingredients in a less complicated way than Emeril or even Paula.  I do not want to be stuffing a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.  Turducken.  Look it up.  I just want something that tastes good for a change that I didn’t pay someone else to cook.

The recipes in this book are so simple – just a few ingredients in each one and the cooking techniques are fairly quick and uncomplicated.

Tonight, I made the Asian Slaw.  A simple combination of grated cabbage, grated carrots, sliced peppers, minced green onions, and minced cucumbers (which I will leave out next time, not my favorite) with a dressing that I made in the food processor of canola oil, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar (it was supposed to have cilantro but I was out…perish the thought).

I paired this with a similar dish of my own using the extra veggies, sugar snap peas, chicken, and rice noodles all cooked in olive and sesame oils with soy sauce and rice vinegar.

I was so impressed with myself that I forgot to take a foodie picture like Pioneer Woman, which is just as well because I am the messiest cook alive.  (example:  took the lid off the food processor after making the dressing and managed to SLING the excess across the kitchen cabinets.  THAT is MY real claim to fame.).

Ismael chowed the slaw and accepted the noodles easily because they were rice, but why oh why are there pea pods in there? Those excite him about as much as black olives, which is to say, not at all.

Adam took one bite and decided that there must be greener pastures elsewhere.  He actually scraped his tongue with his fingers before he got down.  His manners leave a whole LOT of room for improvement.

I thought the entire dish was fabulous and because I am the cook… you can bet it will be back around soon.

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