Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trader Joes Favorites



I remember walking into Trader Joes for the first time and not knowing what to buy and leaving with 3 items not sure if I was going to like it. Now I walk in there and am afraid I'm going forget something or miss out on a new fun item. However it has taken time for me to find just what I love. Yes I have bought some stuff that was average and even bad. 

I'm writing this post to help those who have never tried them or is looking for some great items to add to their pantry. I can't tell you how many times I have seen friends on Facebook share their favorite items and that is how I have learned about many of them. I hope this post helps you find some new favorites also. 

The coconut cream above is a new favorite I found and now use it in my Panang Curry recipe. It is super thick and a little sweet. It makes for a great sauce and now I keep a can in my pantry at all times. I have tried many coconut milks and none of them have been this good. 


These rice crackers are the best out there. I have tried many and none compare to these. I love the taste of sesame and they are also perfectly salty and crunchy. Some rice crackers are too bland and make me feel like I'm going to break my tooth. Not these. These are the best and another staple in my pantry. A bonus is that everyone in my family loves them. 

These are a great freezer find. It has cauliflower, carrots, peas and corn. They are easy to prepare and have butter and herbs in them. They are super fresh and great in a pinch. 

These veggie sticks are the best. We have tried many and the kids usually wont eat any others. these are perfectly crunchy and salty. The only problem is they don't last long so I usually buy two bags. 


I've never liked pasta prepared in the freezer section but I decided to give this a try and now there is a bag in my freezer at all times. It makes a delicious sauce and barely feeds two but because it makes a lot of sauce I always add more cooked penne and easily feeds four with a salad on the side. 


I was at Trader Joe's and they happen to be sampling this cornbread. I instantly fell in love and this is now a must have in my pantry at all times. I have tried many mixes but this doesn't even taste like a mix. 

It is also the best place to buy nuts, hummus, pesto, and olive tapanade. You can always get a good deal on fruit and vegetables. I'm not a big fan of their bread but for the most part they have many favorites and sometimes they are cheaper than most stores. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have some items I should try. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Panang Curry with Chicken


When I go out for Thai food my favorite item to order is Panang Curry with Chicken. I finally have found a recipe that is just like it. It has taken me a long time to figure it out and have tried many but this one is finally loved by me and my husband. 

I found a recipe on pinterest that was mouth watering so I decided to try it. I changed it a bit but it was a great guide to finding just what I wanted. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breast cut up in cubes or strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red curry paste 
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 onion diced
1 can of Trader Joe's coconut cream
1 cup slivered carrots
1/2 cup green beans or green pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In large skillet add olive oil. Once it is pipping hot add chicken and salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add diced onion, carrots and green beans and cook about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add red curry paste to get aroma and flavor mixed in with every thing. Then add coconut cream and stir. Let simmer another 10 minutes until carrots are cooked. 

I like to serve over rice 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chicken Nachos



I was watching The Pioneer Woman and she made these delicious chicken nachos. I usually don't like chicken nachos and when I watched this episode on the food network I immediately thought I bet those would make great chicken tacos. 

First I made them as tacos and they were a huge hit with my family. Every one liked them and we each had several. That weekend I made them as nachos and they were amazing and vanished in minutes. So I am posting them as nachos but will add another post as tacos later. Try them and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
2 tablespoons of chili powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons of olive oil
8 ounce tomato sauce
1 cup water
a few dashes of hot sauce
1 bag of tortilla chips
3-4 cups Mexican blend cheese
salsa
jalapeno slices
sliced olives
diced tomato
scallions
avocado or guacamole


Directions

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

sprinkle taco seasoning and chili powder on chicken. In a large skillet add olive oil and heat. sprinkle seasoning and chili powder on chicken. Place chicken in hot skillet and cook about 5-10 minutes on each side. Once they are cooked set aside and add tomato sauce and water and hot sauce. 

Shred chicken with fork and then add it back to the pan and let it simmer in the sauce until cooks down and is pipping hot about 20 minutes. 

Assemble nachos however you like. I like to add chips to a pan but not layer because they some chips don't get cheese. Add chicken, olives, onions, jalapenos, and then cheese. Bake until cheese is melted about 5 to 10 minutes. Then add tomatoes, avocado, and salsa with a dollop of sour cream in the middle. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Garlic Creamy Parmesan Pasta



I found this recipe on pinterest and couldn't believe it could be cooked in one pot or be very tasty but the photos were mouth watering so I had to try it. It was amazingly easy and tasted like a cross between Lipton noodles (I used to make when I was a teen) and fettuccine Alfredo. 

I was in disbelief that only using milk and chicken broth could get thick and creamy but because the pasta is cooked in it the starch thickens it up perfectly. The best part is that it is one pot. I used linguine but the recipe calls for fettuccine. You can also use spaghetti. I personally love linguine when it comes to creamy pasta recipes. I also changed this recipe by adding 2 cups of milk. In the original it is 1 cup. I made it twice and both times had to add lots of milk so now I make it with 2 cups. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk (add more if needed)
2 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper
8 ounces of uncooked linguine
1/4 cup of Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat for 1-2 minutes just until garlic is cooked but not brown.

Stir in chicken broth, milk, butter, salt and pepper and linguine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 18-20 minutes. I use tongs to move the the pasta around and will slowly thicken. You can add milk if it gets to thick. Once pasta is almost done add parmesan. Garnish with parsley and serve. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Prime Rib


I cooked my first Prime Rib this New Years day. I was terrified I was going to over cook or under cook it because I have heard stories of both. My mom and I went to Costco and saw these pre seasoned and were worried we wouldn't like them and that they would be over seasoned but it was a perfect combination of peppercorn and garlic all done for you. They sliced it off the bone but kept the bone attached with string and layed a massive amount of garlic inside. All I had to do was place it on a pan and follow the instructions. This is what I did and it turned out perfect. I will no longer be afraid. I hope you to try it. 

I will have to remember all of this for next year because it was worth all the stress and much easier than I every thought. The price was high but when I see that I feed 12 people and fed 8 the next day I think it wasn't that much after all. I hope my story inspires you to make one also. 

Ingredients

11 lb prime rib roast (which fed 12 adults and plenty left over for the next day)
3 carrots sliced
1 onion chopped to large pieces
3 celery stalks chopped into large pieces
1 package of au jus for pasting and gravy


Directions:

I had the roast sit out for at least an hour before cooking. 

Pre heat oven to 500 degrees. Cook Au jus according to package directions.

I bought it pre seasoned so if you didn't I would just season with your favorites. I placed roast in roasting pan on a rack with chopped up onion, carrots chopped, and celery chopped. 

I cooked it at 500 for 25 minutes then turned it down to 200 degrees. I basted it and cooked slowly for 3-4 hours until thermometer read 140 degrees. The directions said to cook for 20-30 minutes per pound. That gave those people who like it rare slices in the middle those who like it medium it was perfect for them on the end. I had a thermometer in at all times and made it very easy to watch without to much opening the oven. 

Once the temperature was just right I took it out and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. In the mean time I made a gravy with the drippings and added left over au jus that I basted with. It was perfection and I can't wait to make another one. I was also surprised that we had enough left over to make french dips for 8 people the next day. 


Monday, December 29, 2014

Butterscotch Bark

I found this recipe in Martha Stewart's Everyday food magazine. I used to love that magazine because it was full of wonderful simple recipes that have become staples in my home and I have passed on to many friends of mine. I am sad to say they don't offer this magazine anymore but thank goodness I saved all of my favorites. I hope that one day they will bring it back. 

This recipe is very easy and reminds me of the magic cookie bar meets brittle. The graham cracker with butter/sugar baked in is what makes it taste like butterscotch. My son just loves it and I have to say it lasts for many days after and still taste as good as the first day. However they don't last very long. This is good to make for friends or teacher gifts. Try them and let me know what you think. 
Once they are toasted and cooling


graham crackers must fill the entire cookie sheet
It's important to add chocolate chips after nut mixture cooled or they will melt
After it has baked for 10 minutes and bubbling
All done and ready to cool


Ingredients

1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup semi sweet Chocolate chips
12 graham crackers
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a baking sheet spread chopped pecans and coconut and bake for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and then toss with Chocolate chips.

Line a 10 by 15inch backing sheet with foil. Break 12 graham crackers in half and fit them all on the sheet in a single layer.

In a medium sauce pan whisk butter and brown sugar over medium heat until melted and smooth. Spread over crackers.

Bake until bubbly, 10 minutes. sprinkle nut topping over the top and gently press down. Cool and then break into pieces.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scratch Margarita

I went on a road trip with my sister and niece recently and found this lovely margarita at a Mexican restaurant in a tiny little town called Moscow, Idaho. They called it a scratch Margarita and it was made with fresh squeezed lime and Orange juice. I instantly fell in love and have recreated it the best I could. Its a perfect combination of sweet, tart and salt. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients

Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
1 1/2 ounce tequila
1 ounce triple sec
salt to rim the glass
Ice for shaker and for glass

Directions

Pour all ingredients into shaker with some ice. Shake well and pour over ice. It makes enough for one drink.