Happy Wednesday! We’ve made it halfway through the week, and this one is a short one for me with Memorial Day Weekend on the horizon.
I’m taking the day off from work on Friday for some R&R, spending the day with a friend on Saturday (and hopefully getting over to a local food truck festival to eat all.the.things!), and then buckling down with some packing for the rest of the weekend.
I’m also hoping to fit in some grilling and a leisurely hike at Mianus River Park, one of my very favorite spots in the lower Fairfield County, CT area:
What I’m most looking forward to, though, is picking up the keys to our new townhouse on Sunday (eek!).
Onto today’s post… Nine times out of 10 when I’m cooking meals to reheat throughout the week, I prefer to start out with a healthy “base” or focus on one “easy” ingredient to feature and then build up from there. Doing so adds some volume and a starting point to customize the meal and put my own spin on a new flavor profile.
Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have items on hand that can help cut down the cooking process by even just a little bit? Yes? Then keep reading for 5 of my absolute favorite Trader Joe’s products I use all of the time to get a head-start on meals. You’ll thank me later (and wonder how you ever lived without them). No, this is not a sponsored post: I’m just a regular girl who happens to be a Trader Joe’s superfan.
Note: If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, I’d check for alternate brands of these products at Whole Foods, the organic/natural section of Stop & Shop, or your local grocery store. Without further ado, here are my picks.
This is a relatively new favorite of mine and I’ve been making it on repeat. It’s made with only one ingredient: organic red lentil flour. Each serving packs 13g of protein, and the texture is astonishingly pasta-like and holds up well to sauce.
How I Use It: As a pasta replacement. Think red lentil pasta with tomato sauce, spinach, and sliced chicken sausage or red lentil pasta with shrimp, garlic, and a lemon-butter sauce.
I usually always keep a bag of this frozen cauliflower rice on hand in the freezer. It’s made with just finely diced cauliflower and can easily be heated in the microwave or in the pan with a little bit of olive oil.
How I Use It: It’s the perfect replacement in dishes that typically call for rice or as a side. I highly recommend adding diced mushrooms, onions, garlic, and just a little parmesan—then eating it as a side for chicken or fish or serving yourself a larger portion and topping with chicken, shrimp, or your favorite protein.
These might be my favorite sausages ever, and the best part is that they’re relatively healthy! They’re made with chicken instead of pork, contain no casing or nitrates, and are just plain delicious (think small chunks of apple and a light maple syrup flavor).
How I Use Them: In stir-frys, along with rice and zucchini, on the side of scrambled eggs at breakfast… the list is endless!
The package describes this delicious mix as “green garbanzo beans, red & green lentils with a touch of tomatoes and olive oil”—and it’s hearty, filling, and rather tasty (in my opinion).
How I Use It: As a side with chicken, fish, shrimp, pork, you name it.
This product is just so convenient: think pre-diced red, green, and yellow bell pepper and onion strips. The fire roasted part is pretty awesome too and lends quite a bit of flavor for such a quick-start frozen product.
How I Use Them: As a base with Italian chicken sausage, as part of a stir-fry, in quesadillas or other Mexican dishes, in omelettes or mixed into scrambled eggs.
Hope you discover at least one new staple from my list!
Question of the Day
What’s YOUR favorite healthy meal base or convenient product to keep on hand?