Y’all, it’s no secret that my love for Trader Joe’s runs deep! I put together some of my favorite ingredients with my Kroger staples and made this easy and healthy lunch that I now eat a couple times a week.
Jasmine rice (Game changer for me. I’ve just discovered this rice and LOVE it) There are three microwaveable bags in this box.
Sweet potato (I cut into small bites, drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with TJ Chile Lime seasoning. Then I roast the bits in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes)
Black beans (drained and rinsed)
Feta cheese (I’ve used other cheeses before as well like shredded mozz)
Protein (I use this short cut with Perdue Carved Chicken Breasts from Kroger and cut them into bite sized pieces) You could use steak or shrimp too, I’m sure.
Sriracha Ranch (or a drizzle of regular Ranch would be good too) Also, I’m not a fan of spicy food, but a little bit of this goes a long way and is delish!)
Roast the sweet potatoes.
Cook the bag of rice in the microwave.
Cut the chicken into small pieces. Then, I warm up the chicken and the beans in the microwave together.
Mix rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and protein together.
Top with Feta cheese.
Drizzle with Sriracha Ranch.
When I make this, I can actually get about three meals out of it. So I make one serving in a bowl and divide the other ingredients into Tupperware for other meals. Then, when it’s time to enjoy those, I heat up the ingredients and top with Feta and the dressing.
What do you love from Trader Joe’s?? What are some of your go to lunches?
Hello! How was your weekend? I can honestly say after being so productive last weekend working on our master bedroom refresh, we were pretty lazy this weekend! The weather was so rainy and dreary, so we kind of took that as permission to be lazy.
We’ve regrouped and are ready to tackle the week ahead!
When the weather has allowed, we’ve been grilling out a bit. Over the past few weeks, I’ve made some of my favorite side dishes, so I thought I’d share them with you ! What I love about these is that that they are all even better the next day for lunch or for leftovers for dinner.
I’ve had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for years and make it quite often in the spring and summer months.
1 lb Rotini pasta, cooked
1 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 c. Italian dressing
1/2 c. of olives, chopped (sometimes I omit these which is what I did this time making it….just due to my personal preference)
1/2 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 large cucumber, chopped
3 Mozzarella sticks, chopped into bite sized pieces (I think I used four because it’s my kids’ favorite part!)
3 Tblsp McCormick’s Salad Supreme (If I can’t find it, I use the Good Season dressing mix)
Boil the pasta.
Drizzle with the olive oil and stir.
Add salad dressing and stir.
Add in veggies and cheese and stir.
Add in McCormick Salad Supreme, mix together and then refrigerate.
Wild Rice and Carrot Salad
This recipe, like many of mine, was in a Kroger coupon packet years ago. It’s a family favorite as well….even the kids devour it!
2 c. cooked, cooled wild rice or wild rice blend
2 c. shredded carrots
1 c. chopped, toasted walnuts (I always use slivered almonds instead)
3/4 c. golden raisins
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 Tblsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblsp. honey
2 c. roughly chopped arugula (or spinach, kale, or any leafy greens)
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine rice, carrots, nuts, and golden raisins.
To make the dressing, whisk together shallot, vinegar, olive oil, and honey in small bowl.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (Also, at this point, I usually end up adding another drizzle of honey! Again, just our preference)
Drizzle dressing over rice and carrot mixture, tossing until combined. (Recipe can be made a day ahead up until this point.)
Add greens, tossing until evenly distributed.
Serve, refrigerating any leftovers.
I’ve had this recipe for years. I believe I got it from a friend at a recipe exchange years ago. It’s actually one I’d forgotten about until I was digging through my recipe box recently. I made it as a side when Travis grilled burgers recently, and it was so delish.
1 small head cabbage (I buy the classic coleslaw)
1 package Ramen noodles
2-3 Tblsp. fresh chives, chopped
4 oz. toasted almonds (I used slivered almonds)
1/4 c. salted sunflower seeds
For the dressing:
1/3 c. oil
1/3 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
seasoning from Ramen noodles
1/4 c. water (if slaw seems to dry)…I didn’t feel the need to use water when I made it recently.
Crush noodles, set aside.
Toast almonds in the skillet for a couple of minutes.
Stir together noodles, slaw/cabbage, chives, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
Pour dressing on just before serving.
***Toss everything together, minus the noodles, and chill. Then, add in noodles right before serving. (**This is what I did when I made it) Enjoy!
I hope these side dishes provide ideas for you to add into your meal prep rotation!
I hope you have a great week! For us, it’s time for us to start week 4 of distance learning.
Hello! Happy Monday. I hope you had a great weekend as well as a great Easter. Of course, our Easter looked pretty different this year, but we made the most of a gorgeous Saturday for an egg hunt in our front yard followed by dyeing eggs and decorating cookies. Yesterday, we a day spent in pjs watching our church service online, calling family to say “Happy Easter,” and spending time relaxing most of the day.
Although the weather is supposed to be cooler here in Lexington this week, we have been grilling out quite a bit. I don’t typically love chicken on the grill, but if we do grill chicken, we either slather it with BBQ sauce or use this marinade. I made this last weekend and remembered what a family favorite it is.
Chicken breasts (or tenders)
6 gloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c. Dijon Mustard
1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
If I use chicken breasts, I cut them into smaller pieces, almost the size of tenders.
In a bowl, put minced garlic, zest and juice of one lemon, chopped parsley leaves, salt, pepper, mustard, olive oil and then mix into a paste.
Put chicken in the paste, mix together, and then refrigerate until ready to grill.
A perfect side dish with this chicken is one of my favorite orzo dishes that I found on Pinterest years ago. Even my kids love it!
1 c. uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 c. butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tblsp. chopped, fresh parsley
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
2 Tblsp. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook orzo according to package directions until just tender, about 10 minutes; drain.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Stir cooked orzo into butter.
Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Gradually add milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper, to taste.
I hope you have a great week! I’m about to wake up two kids for week two of virtual/distance learning ! Wish us luck!
Happy Monday! I hope this post finds you healthy and well.
It’s a weird start to the week. Last week, our governor said that schools in the state should close starting today until after our spring break (which is the week of March 30-April 3). So, we have three weeks off (possibly more!) starting today.
At this point, I’d like to continue my regular blog posting schedule, but, of course, please know I never want to seem insensitive to what is going on in our country.
Keeping a routine is important to me in times of uncertainty, and blogging is definitely a light-hearted part of my life.
Of course, thoughts and prayers for those who have been affected by this virus.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue to wash my hands and to practice social distancing the best that I can !
Today, I thought I’d share one of my favorite meals. My dad gave me this recipe years ago. Not only is it tasty, but we always get two meals out of it as well.
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
bread crumbs (I do a Panko/bread crumb mix to make the crust crispier)
Package of chicken thighs (The reason I seem to get two meals out of this is because I can never find a chicken thigh package with less than 12 pieces of meat!)
Remove skin of chicken thighs if necessary. The package I get is skinless.
In a dish or bowl, put the eggs, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix together.
In another dish or bowl, put the bread crumbs (or bread crumb / Panko mix)
Dip the chicken in the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients.
Place on a wire rack on top of a baking pan (I always spray the wire rack with cooking spray)
Spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
*I usually use the wire rack, BUT I’ve also just placed them on a baking sheet. If I do that, I usually flip the chicken halfway through to ensure it won’t stick to the pan.
Wet and dry ingredients ready to go.
In the oven…
Ready to eat!
I served the chicken with microwave Bob Evans mashed potatoes and bagged Ceasar salad. Easy dinner on a week night!
I hope we can find peace and calm in this time of uncertainty.
Thanks for reading today’s post, and I hope you enjoy this meal.
Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Ours was pretty low key in comparison to recent weekends and what our spring weekends will be like! So, it was nice to have a little downtime.
As I mentioned in my What’s Up Wednesday post, something I’m looking forward to in March is making Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish Soda Bread. Growing up, we always had this meal for St. Patrick’s Day, so I started making it for family as well. I guess we could make it any time of the year, but I only make it on or around March 17th 🙂
Rather than share photos and the recipe after I make it this year, I thought I’d go ahead and share now in case you’d like to make the recipe too!
Corned Beef & Cabbage with potatoes and carrots
I always end up buying my corned beef at least a week in advance because I’m always afraid the grocery store will run out. haha Of course, they never do, but I like to be prepared.
1 bottle of beer
1 lb (or more) of red potatoes, cut in halves or fourths
1 white onion, cut into fourths
1 head of cabbage, cut into fourths
1 – 5 lb flat cut corned beef brisket
Put corned beef in slow cooker and pour one beer and as much water as needed to cover the corned beef brisket
Put potatoes, onion wedges, baby carrots in the slow cooker as well.
Cook on low for 10 hours (Mine is usually cooked in 8-9 hours)
Take out cooked corned beef and wrap in aluminum foil
Put cabbage in the slow cooker and cook in the liquid on high for 1 hour.
**I usually cook for 8 when I’m making this and having family over—so I actually use two slow cookers to make two corned beefs. I’ve learned to do this as the corned beef seems to shrink + if there are leftovers, that’s a bonus!
Also, we like Mr. Mustard on the corned beef…and every year, I forget to buy it and my brother gives me grief #itsatradition (He now knows to bring it because I will inevitably forget!)
Irish Soda Bread
Y’all, this is one of my favorite recipes…and definitely worth the effort.
2 c. unsifted flour
2 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tblsp butter, softened
1/2 c. raisins
1 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
Cut butter in with pastry blender or fork until crumbly.
Add buttermilk; mix with fork only until moist.
Turn out onto floured board. Knead 1 minute until smooth. Shape into a ball. Flatten into 7 inch(ish!) circle (about 1/2 inch thick)
Press floured knife 1/2 through the bottom; do again at right angle into quarters.
Bake 30-40 minutes until golden brown & hollow sound when tapped.
Cool on wire rack, brush top with melted butter & dust with flour if desired.
Serve with butter. Enjoy!
**I know some of these steps may sound complicated, but I promise they aren’t. All the steps probably take ten minutes from start to the oven. I’m not a huge baker…and this is probably the most “complicated” thing I bake each year 😉 #evenIcantmessitup
We have some Irish in us, and St. Pat’s Day has always been one we celebrate. The corned beef recipe is my dad’s and the Irish Soda Bread is a recipe I got from my mom, so all family is represented at the table!
An Irish Blessing: ☘️ “May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.” ☘️
Happy Monday! The weekend seemed to fly by! The sun was shining all weekend, and it felt like a taste of spring!
Last Monday, I made both of these pasta meals for my family. I had picked up the gnocchi a few weeks ago and needed to use it. Since I was uncertain if the kids would like it, I decided to make them bow tie pasta with Alfredo sauce because I knew they loved it. A couple of months ago, I bought jarred Alfredo on a whim and made this quick pasta (the second recipe) and they scarfed it down. Believe it or not, but I think it’s the first time they’d had Alfredo sauce! They thought I was the best mom ever. haha
That being said, I’m no short order cook; the kids eat what I make them for dinner…like it or not. But, I knew these were quick dishes, and they would provide leftovers for Tuesday night, so went ahead and made both.
Gnocchi and Marinara Sauce
1 package of gnocchi
Trader Joe’s Three Cheese Pasta Sauce (or any marinara sauce)
1 lb Italian sausage
Shaved Parm (or grated)
Bring pot of water to boil, add a heavy pinch of salt, and follow instructions for cooking the gnocchi. (Only a few minutes in the boiling water)
Brown the sausage in a skillet. (I browned it all and used 3/4 of it for the gnocchi recipe and the other 1/4 for the Alfredo recipe)
Once the sausage is browned, drain any grease.
Add in sauce and let simmer for a few minutes.
Add cooked gnocchi into the sauce and stir to incorporate ingredients.
Serve in a bowl and top with Parm.
Chicken, Bacon, Sausage in Alfredo Sauce
Farfalle (bow tie) pasta (or any shaped pasta)
Jar of Alfredo Sauce
4-5 slices bacon (Short cut: microwave bacon)
Chicken (Short cut: Perdue Carved Chicken Breast strips)
Cooked Italian Sausage (if desired)
Grated Parm (or shaved Parm—I just know my kids love grated parm)
Bring pot of water to boil, add heavy pinch of salt, and cook according to directions.
Cook the bacon in the microwave according to directions and then chop into small pieces.
Cut the chicken strips into desired bite size and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, heat up Alfredo Sauce.
Add in chicken and warm it for a couple of minutes.
Add in cooked pasta and bacon. (and sausage if you’d like–that wasn’t a part of my original plan–but since I had the leftover sausage from meal 1, I decided to use that 1/4 lb because I knew the kids would like it)
Stir to incorporate ingredients.
Serve in a bowl and top with Parm.
Also, last time I made this, I added frozen peas to it when I incorporated the pasta into the sauce–my kids love peas!
I could have added chopped parsley to both for a finishing touch, but I’m not a professional! haha
Also, side note: The Perdue Chicken Breasts (or similar brand) are something I use often. I add the chicken to my bagged salads for lunch or dinner, I cut the chicken strips into bite size pieces to use for chicken quesadillas, and obviously I also use the chicken in pasta dishes as well.
As a busy working mom with two busy kids, I do still like to make dinner as often as possible…but I also like to make something my family will enjoy as quickly as possible!
Happy Monday! After an unexpected four day weekend, we are ready to hit the ground running this week…..at least I think we are! Well, what choice do we have?! haha. The weather was actually cold enough last week (and it finally snowed on Friday!) to make chili, so I made my dad’s chili. I thought I’d share the recipe with you.
2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped (I usually use 3/4 of a big white onion)
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2, 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained
29 oz can crushed tomatoes
16 oz jar thick and chunky mild salsa
4 oz can diced green chiles
1/2 c apple cider (I sometimes use apple juice if I don’t have cider)
3 Tblsp. chili powder
1 Tblsp. ground cumin
1 Tblsp. dried oregano
2 tsp salt
Heat oil in a large pot and add beef, chopped onion and garlic and cook until beef is browned and cooked through.
Drain any grease.
Stir in all other ingredients
Boil, then reduce and let simmer and cover
Stir frequently for 1 hour.
Enjoy–serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, crackers, etc.
**The other night, I made this and let it simmer about 15 minutes and then put it in the slow cooker on high for 1 hour. Then, we ate it when everyone got home from their basketball practices.
I’m glad I went ahead and made this last week (and we got two nights of dinner out of the recipe)….the temps will be back in 50’s this week!
Hands down the recipe I make the most in the fall and the winter is this recipe from Shay . It’s so easy and delicious and we usually get two dinners out of it (or a dinner + a couple of lunches for me!)
The recipe is in her Simmers cookbook. If you don’t have this cookbook, you are missing out. I purchased it on Amazon a couple of years ago, and I use it at least once a week to cook dinner in the slow cooker.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10 ounce) can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can ranch-style beans (This, to me, is the key ingredient!)
1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning
1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
Monterey Jack cheese for garnish, shredded
Green onions for garnish, chopped
In the slow cooker, layer the chicken, tomatoes, beans, taco seasoning, and cream of chicken soup.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve, remove the lid, shred chicken (I use two forks to do so) and stir in the corn.
Replace the lid and heat until the corn is hot.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cheese and green onions.
I mentioned above, but to me, the ranch-style beans are key. I was always able to find them at Kroger until last fall/winter….so I barely made this recipe last year. Then, the beans were back at Kroger this year (maybe Kroger reads my comments/complaints in my weekly Kroger survey ;)) and now I buy them a few cans at a time because I’m afraid they won’t have them anymore!
Anyway, this is a recipe my entire family loves. It takes 3 minutes to put everything in the slow cooker in the morning, and then dinner is ready when you get home.
*For a few years, I’ve used Shay’s tip for perfect chicken (Poach chicken in slow cooker by covering chicken with water (usually 6 c) and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours) Then, I just pull the chicken out of slow cooker and it easily shreds.
In a medium stockpot, cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
Return pasta to pot. Add Alfredo and Buffalo sauces, chicken, 1/4 c Parmesan and white parts of scallion. Toss; add reserved pasta water and toss again, cooking until heated through.
Divide between four bowls; garnish with scallion greens and remaining 1/4 c Parmesan. Serve immediately, refrigerating any leftovers.