Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Brussels Sprouts… On Pizza

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point there seemed to be a shift from kale to Brussels sprouts as the coolest vegetable on the block. There wasn’t a specific moment I remember (i.e. some celebrity talking about how they OMG LOVE Brussels!), but when looking at recipes I noticed about a year ago or so that there were suddenly a lot more Brussels sprout recipes than ever before. I can get them as a side instead of french fries at my local burger joint, there are shaved Brussels salads with beets and goat cheese on tons of menus, and I’ve made a delicious Brussels sprout mac ‘n cheese. But I distinctly remember that when growing up Brussels were always the horrible side-dish that every kid dreaded, right? I actually didn’t have them until I was an adult, but always wanted to try them simply because they seemed to be everyone’s least favorite. Naturally I loved them immediately and started incorporating them into my meals whenever possible. So when my sister told me she made an amazing Brussels sprout pizza, I knew I had to give it a try myself.

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza | FoodosaurusRex.com

The pizza is actually really simple, and really delicious. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve had Brussels sprout pizzas out a few times in the last year or so, and I liked mine the best! Admittedly, I didn’t make my own crust (ain’t nobody got time for that), but the Trader Joe’s dough I bought was good enough for me. I want to make this pizza all the time, and I’m confident you will too!

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza | FoodosaurusRex.com

Brussels Sprout + Goat Cheese Pizza

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pizza dough/crust (I used Trader Joe’s dough, but anything will work – you can even get fancy and make your own!)
1 cup Brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven for the pizza dough (i.e. 450 degrees)
2. In a medium sauce pan heat the olive oil and add the onions with a little salt and pepper. If you have the patience, make these caramelized because the flavor will be a million times better. This is going to require you to stir the onions frequently for at least 10-20 minutes.*
3. Once the onions are beginning to brown, add the diced Brussels and toss to make sure they’re coated in the oil. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, until they start to get crispy.
4. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface. When ready, add the 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, followed by the Brussels and onion mixture. Top with the crumbled goat cheese.*
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

*NOTES: 1. You don’t have to make the onions caramelized, but the pizza will taste better if you do.
2. If you don’t like goat cheese (blasphemous!), then feta will work well as a replacement

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Pizza, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Friday Favorites

From time to time I like to share things I’m really loving at the moment. If you hang out with me in person, you’ll likely hear me refer to these things as “my jam.” I guess it isn’t as bad as calling them epic? I don’t know. But anyway, here are the things (completely unrelated) that I am currently enjoying.

PicMonkey Collage

Jack Rogers Sandals

I’ve had my eyes on these sandals for awhile, but never knew the brand, or where to get them. My sister (who is very fashionable, but is picky) refers to these sandals as “preppy Southerner shoes,” and while I am neither of those things, I liked them. So when I saw that RueLaLa had them on sale, I figured I’d grab myself a pair, because I’m not really willing to spend more than $100 on sandals.

You can typically find me wearing flip flops or basic (read: cheap) sandals in the summer, so these were a nice change of pace. The construction of the shoe is serious, and its obvious that you get what you pay for. I bought them in white so I could wear them with pretty much anything (and they have a little sparkle!), but I love a lot of the colors they offer.

Local CSA – “Fresh Box”

This is my second year participating in the “Fresh Box” program with a local fresh foods grocer, Alan’s Orchard, and my love for it grows each week. I really love getting a fresh box of produce every weekend and figuring out my meals for the upcoming week based on what I have. The grocery stores by me don’t always have the freshest produce, so it’s nice to know that I’m getting something that is from a local farm. My only complaint is that things can be really dirty (which I would expect considering they literally pick it out of the ground, and bring it to the store!), so it takes some extra time to wash things. If you have a CSA program near you, I definitely recommend checking it out!

Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

This stuff is the bomb.com. Seriously. (Yes, I’m aware of what I just said). I actually tried this for the first time before becoming a vegetarian, and was really impressed with the flavors and texture… so naturally once I became a  vegetarian I continued buying it (it’s actually vegan!). While I’ve only had real chorizo a few times so I don’t think I can compare the two fairly, I can say that regardless of it’s close proximity to real chorizo taste, it’s awesome as it’s own product. I’ve used it in burritos, casseroles, grilled cheeses, omelets… the list goes on and on! I’ve found that both vegetarians and carnivores really enjoy it, so if there’s a Trader Joe’s near you, I definitely suggest giving it a try.

Nathan “Power Shower” After-Run Wipes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I sweat a lot. So naturally I’m drenched after each summer run (whether it’s a speed workout or an easy run). So if I don’t have the opportunity to shower right away, having a wipe available is a great “get me a few extra hours” option. These wipes were particularly handy last weekend when I “ran” a color run with a bunch of my college friends. I wound up using two wipes, but was able to get all of the powder and color off of me, and I didn’t feel grimy and gross.

As  I was using them I noticed that there was a little soapy film, which I appreciated, since I definitely needed something substantial to get all the color gunk off of me. I just wish they came in bigger packages – I’m almost through the package I bought not too long ago!

How To Be A Heartbreaker, by Marina & The Diamonds

I don’t remember how or why I happened upon this song, but it’s been constantly stuck in my head since. I play it while I’m sitting at my desk at work, if I’m cleaning around the house, and even though I don’t listen to music while I run, this would be a perfect workout song too.

Hope everyone has  a great first official weekend of summer! Any big plans?

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Gluten Free Goodies

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m trying out a gluten-free diet to see if that helps get rid of my GI-woes. I mean it when I say this isn’t necessarily a choice I wanted to make, but one that I felt was necessary in order to try and figure out once and for all what’s going on in my gut. That’s my new goal of 2012 – have a diagnosis and actually feel better by year’s end. So obviously in order for me to start this gluten free diet, I needed to make some quick changes in the kitchen.

I started out with a trip to Trader Joe’s, where I grabbed some necessities (for me). Since we get a CSA box each week, our grocery trips have resulted in picking up less items – just beans, grains, milk, yogurt, some type of snack and dessert, and miscellaneous fruits and veggies we need but didn’t get in our box.

My biggest concern was bread. I don’t usually have sandwiches at work, but I do have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before most long runs. So I picked up a package of Udi’s bread, which tastes a lot more like freshly sliced bread, rather than sandwich bread. The slices are small and the price is high ($4.99), but if it means I can keep my pre-run routine, I’m okay with it. I don’t want to mess with perfection (good joke, my running is far from perfect).

In addition to bread, I wanted to find a pasta alternative; even though I don’t eat pasta too often, with marathon training kicking it up (20 miler is looming!), I wanted it (even if it’s more for my mental state than my body). So, I picked up some corn pasta, which my mom made a face at. Yes, I realize it’s weird, but at this point, I’ll try anything. I’ve also seen some black bean pasta and things like that around the blogosphere, so I’ll be on the lookout for any alternative.

In addition to lunch and dinner staples, I needed to find breakfast options. I typically eat breakfast at work, which involves some sort of cereal – I was used to the luxury of mixing it up each week. A lot of the labels I looked at didn’t blatantly say wheat was or wasn’t included, so I settled on a granola that was labeled gluten free. I found myself typing the same phrase over and over again in Google: “is X gluten free?” I can tell you I learned lot this past weekend! I would have automatically assumed oats weren’t gluten free, but some of them are. Of course the giant tub of steel cut oats I have at home isn’t gluten free, but I’m glad to know there are options out there (like the beloved Love Grown Foods, which I also picked up).

 Snacks were another big concern, since I usually have some type of cracker, fruit, and yogurt (spread throughout the day). While I didn’t need to worry about the fruit and yogurt, I needed to find a substitute for the crackers. I picked up a package of granola bars and rice crackers, and they’re both just okay. I know there are tons of options out there (I’m looking at you, delicious KIND bars), I just have to actually spend the money on them.

While the goodies I picked up should get me through the week, there is another equally important gluten free option I need to find… beer! Thanks to the suggestions of Twitter, I have a brand I’m planning on trying that my local liquor store seems to carry. I just have to cross my fingers that when I go, they have it. I also scored some gluten free pizza crust mix at Marshall’s of all places. The package says it makes two 14-inch pizzas, so I can’t wait to try it. I’m glad I can still enjoy pizza Fridays, gluten free style!

In my Googling frenzy over the weekend, I read mixed things about how long it could take to feel better, if you do in fact have a gluten intolerance. For some it’s a matter of two days, while for others it’s months. I’m thinking that I should see some difference within a week or two, and if not, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe it’s just the time of year (I felt pretty bad around this time last year), or stress, or a combination of it all, and it really isn’t anything I am or am not eating. But the only way to know for sure is to try it. I mean, it can’t hurt (more).

Are there any other must-have gluten free foods I should try? 
I’m trying to stay away from overly processed foods, but am willing to try suggestions! 

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A Love Affair

I’m lucky enough to live only about 30 minutes away from my parents, so I’m able to stop by and visit a few times a month. They happen to live in a town that’s full of yummy restaurants, specialty shops, and grocery stores, so it’s only natural that I try to take advantage of that as much as possible. There is one place, though, that seems to have a magnetic pull, and I can’t bear to leave without making a pit-stop – Trader Joe’s! Naturally I went this past weekend when I was visiting for Mother’s Day.

The store is always packed, and parking can be a nightmare. That would typically keep me away from a store, but I’m never disappointed with what I find once inside. There are some things I grab every single time I go, whether or not I’m actually in need of them. I’m a big fan of tempeh and tofu, and theirs is always reasonably priced. I can get a block of 7 grain tempeh for under $2, and it’s usually double at most grocery stores near me. They also have really delicious soy chorizo and sausage-less sausage. Non-meat and meat eaters alike should be impressed with their substitutes!

I also almost always pick up some quick lunch options, and can never pass up some Indian Fare. Paired with a tortilla or naan, all you need to do is heat up the pouch in the microwave for about a minute or two, and lunch is served! It’s also really great over rice. They have a bunch of different kinds – some with chickpeas, lentils, paneer, spinach… you name it, they’ve got it. I have one in my lunchbox for today.

There are a lot of other “staples” I pick-up from Trader Joe’s each time I visit, but the most decadent and far from necessary treat is their Cookie Butter. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know I’m obsessed. I had it for the first time in the winter, and was immediately hooked. There was a brief period after I had it for the first time where it was on hiatus at the store (I think they underestimated it’s popularity), so as soon as it was back in stock I grabbed multiple jars. Now that it’s regularly in stock I make sure to grab just one jar. If you’ve never had it before and there’s a Trader Joes anywhere near you (or you have someone that can mail it to you), I HIGHLY suggest getting it. But, be forewarned – it’s addicting!

So there you have it  – my love affair with Trader Joe’s. I’m sure if I lived closer to a Whole Foods that would be an equal affair as well (it’s just a little too far, but I get excited any time I do have the opportunity to go). I have quite a few trips to Westfield planned for the next few weeks, so Trader Joes will definitely be seeing me more, and I don’t think my bank account is going to like it!

Do you have any favorite groceries, or particular grocery items? 

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This Week in Yum

This past week was all about meatless meals and sweet treats!

With a craving for something with tangy buffalo sauce, I thought I’d give buffalo tempeh eggrolls a shot. It was super easy, and really delicious. All you need to do is steam a package of tempeh for about 5 minutes, toss it in your favorite buffalo sauce (4 Tbsp), combine it with some slaw mix, and roll them up in wonton wrappers. They only need to bake for about 12 minutes at 425, and you’ve got yourself dinner! Or a really good party snack. Of course, you need some extra buffalo sauce for dipping on the side, and maybe some blue cheese.

Staying with the meatless kick, I made tofu balls as substitutes for meatballs to have with pasta. It sounds weird, and the flavors are definitely interesting, but they are really good. I could even see having these with some type of stir-fry, since there’s peanut butter and soy sauce mixed in. I found the recipe over at the always delicious Post-Punk Kitchen.

Earlier in the week I decided to check out Gilt Taste, which is a dangerously delicious counter-part to Gilt Groupe, which has amazing sample sales. As you can guess, Gilt Taste is basically a foodie’s sample sale heaven. You name it, they have it, and it all looks absolutely amazing. There were a few things I decided to order as Christmas gifts, and figured a treat for myself (and my husband) would be appropriate as well. If you’ve never had popcorn mixed in with candy and chocolate, you are seriously missing out. I’ve had a few different variations, and when I saw The Hampton Popcorn Company’s peanut butter cup popcorn, I just had to have it. I don’t know how long this tin is going to last…

I spent Saturday with my parents, and took a trip to Trader Joe’s, since they have one in their town. In addition to picking up some things for my Foodie Pen Pal, I stumbled upon Cookie Butter, and had to grab a jar. Oh. My. Goodness. There really aren’t even words to describe how delicious it is. It sounds weird, I know, but it’s really good. Christmas in your mouth good. I really hope it isn’t a short-lived thing, because I need to go back and stock up. It’s already been eaten by the spoonful, and mixed in oatmeal. I have grand plans for this little jar.

I’ve also managed to stick to December’s goal of running at least 4 times a week. This past week I ran 5 times! Granted two of those runs were only 2 milers, but it isn’t about the distance – it’s about being out there. I ended the week at 25 miles, which isn’t quite as much as I was hoping for, but still not bad. I need to get in a super long run (15-20 miles) this weekend in order to feel remotely prepared for Goofy.

The week ahead is looking busy, albeit yummy. I have some promising dinners planned, miles to run, and Holiday parties to attend. Who doesn’t love the Holiday season?

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A Spicy Fat Tuesday

Never being one to celebrate Mardi Gras (I grew up in New Jersey, and have sadly never been to New Orleans), I decided to play into the “Fat Tuesday” idea this year. While I didn’t gorge myself at every turn, I thought it would be a perfect night to make some Chicken(less) Buffalo Pizza! I love buffalo styled sauces, and have had my fair share of buffalo chicken pizza from pizzerias all over. In college, my friends and I always made it a point to stop at the place across the street from the bar before heading home to get our late night fix. So healthy, I know.

The chickenless chicken strips I had picked up at Trader Joe’s last week were meant for my Thai Pizza, but since that was a fail, I’m glad I didn’t waste them. Instead, I put them to good use as a nice barrier between the spicy and tangy pizza sauce, and mounds of cheese. Buying these pre-made pizza crusts has been a lifesaver – all you need to do is prepare whatever toppings you’re planning to use, then pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes. How much easier could it get?

Unfortunately my fiance wasn’t a fan… since I mixed the hot sauce with blue cheese dressing, it was just too blue cheese-y for him, as he really doesn’t like it. Apparently he was never much of a fan of the dressing or cheese itself, but after a little food poisoning incident with some moldy fruit snacks, he’s steered clear. So, that left me with an entire pizza to myself… dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Wednesday!

I realize that this is far from what one might call a Fat Tuesday, but hey, I got to enjoy one of my favorite meals that isn’t very healthy, so I’ll take it as a Foodosaurus FT win! And speaking of winning – don’t forget to enter my giveaway – you have until Sunday (3/13) at 9p EDT to enter!

Chicken(less) Buffalo Chicken Pizza
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
1 pre-made pizza crust
1/4 cup light blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup buffalo sauce + 2 Tbsp for drizzling (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
1/2 cup chicken substitute strips (I used Trader Joe’s, but Morningstar makes some good ones, or you can use real chicken!)
1 cup shredded cheese blend (I used cheddar and jack)
2 scallions, chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Combine blue cheese dressing and buffalo sauce, spread on pizza dough
3. Add chicken atop pizza (strategically placed, of course), and cover with cheese. Drizzle extra sauce on top.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then add scallions, and continue to bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, until crust is golden brown

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They can’t all be winners

I love party food. This means chips, pizza, appetizers, and of course desserts. Obviously, I don’t have parties too frequently, and they aren’t necessarily the best for you (by default), so they’re more of a treat than a regular occurrence. But, with a little tweaking they can be healthier, and incorporated into more meals (at least I think so).

Prior to my trip to Trader Joe’s on Saturday, I check out their Fearless Flyer to see what deals they had, and also perused their website where they have just a few favorite recipes listed. I was immediately drawn to the Thai Chicken Pizza recipe, since it seemed so different. I’m always up for pizza, because as one of my fiancé’s teeshirts boasts, pizza is the best!

Unfortunately this pizza wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I think it might have been the peanut satay sauce used solely as the sauce for the pizza – it was a little too much. The cheese, scallions, carrot, and cabbage mix worked nicely, though. I left out the chicken because I forgot to grab the Chickenless Chicken strips I purchased from TJ’s out of my parent’s fridge when I was leaving. Maybe the lack of chicken was the culprit. Oh well, I’m just going to have to make up for it by making some Chickenless Buffalo Chicken Pizza next week.

My other culinary adventure this week, though, turned out to be a success. I made a Smokin’ Hoppin’ John, from The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donel. I’ve seen variations of this recipe in quite a few different places, but finally settled on giving this variation a try, mainly because I already had the cookbook out when I was trying to plan our meals for the week.

Since I had the opportunity to throw it all in a pot and let it simmer for 25 minutes, it provided the perfect opportunity for me to fold the laundry pile that continued to grow as the week progressed. I also got to squeeze in a 45 minute yoga practice before starting to cook, and everything was ready in a reasonable amount of time. And I had leftovers… hello lunch!

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John via The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook
– Serves 6 –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium sized onion, chopped coarsely
1 cup uncooked medium or long grain rice (I used long)
1/2 Tsp smoked paprika
1 (20-oz) bag frozen black-eyed peas
2-3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water)
1/4 cup beer you like to drink (optional, but I added it!)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tsp salt or soy sauce (I used smoked salt)
scallions, grape tomatoes, chopped parsley, shredded cheddar, and/or hot sauce as garnishes

Directions:
1. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large saucepan or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir to coat with the aromatics. Allow to toast for 1 minute. Add the smoked paprika and stir to coat.
3. Add the peas, followed by 2 cups of water, the beer (if using), and the chipotle chile. If not using beer, add 1/4 cup of water in it’s place. Bring to a lively simmer, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes without lifting the lid. At 25 minutes, check the rice for both doneness and moisture. The rice and peas should be moist, but not super soupy. If the mixture is too dry, add additional liquid, a few Tbsp at a time (up to 1 cup). Return to the lid and allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the salt or soy sauce, stir, and taste, adding more as you see fit.
5. Serve hot with any or all fixins <– I used shredded cheddar, and a chipotle hot sauce

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I know the alphabet

I know, I’m just like everyone else doing the ABC’s. But I realized I don’t really share that much personal information on my blog, so I figured now would be a fun time to do that!

A. Age: 24

B. Bed size: I’m 99.9% sure it’s a queen

C. Chore you dislike: all of them…

D. Dogs: None of my own, but my parent’s dog, Kennedy, is my first official pet dog and the #1 man in my life (sorry Andy)!

E. Essential start to your day: Enough time to lay in bed and think about the day ahead, followed by coffee and some cuddling with Leela the cat

F. Favorite color: Green! And I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect shade of green for my bridesmaid dresses

G. Gold or silver: Usually silver, but I like to spice it up with gold here and there

H. Height: 5’6″

I. Instruments you play(ed): I played the flute in 4th and 5th grade, does that count?

J. Job title: Implementation & Support Specialist

K. Kids: Does the cat count?

L. Live: New Jersey (insert fist pump here)

M. Mom’s name: Susan

N. Nicknames: Dan, Dani, Heff

O. Overnight hospital stays: None

P. Pet peeves: We don’t have that kind of time!

Q. Quote from a movie: “NO Todd, NOT NOW”

R. Righty or lefty: Righty

S. Siblings: Kate (aka “Just Kate,” because that’s the name on her birth certificate, it isn’t short for anything but people refuse to believe it!)

T. Time you wake up: Alarm goes off at 6:45, I’m out of bed by 7:15

U. Underwear: Yes please.

V. Vegetables you dont’ like: I don’t think there is one!

W. What makes you run late: I don’t. I guess that’s one of my biggest pet peeves, it drives me insane when someone else is late, and even more so if it’s me!

X. X-rays you’ve had: Teeth (obviously), finger when I broke it

Y. Yummy food you make: I think most of what I make is yummy, but I’m usually most proud of my baked goods (I seem to struggle with them the most)

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Monkeys and Penguins

I hope everyone has a relaxing Saturday… I’m off on a hunt for the perfect shade of green dress for my bridesmaids (see letter F). Followed by a hopefully victorious shopping trip at Trader Joe’s. Fingers crossed, and here’s to hoping I don’t wind up like this…

(source)

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Summery Tomato Salad

Aside from having both veggie and regular hot dogs and hamburgers for this past Saturday’s BBQ, I made a bunch of different side salads, and of course cupcakes. I have to admit, aside from my fiancé’s super spicy burgers, I think my salads were show stealers. In addition to the Corn & Black Bean Salad I’ve made a few times, I also made a tomato salad, which was awesome. I think this recipe came from Vegetarian Times, but I don’t remember for sure. I of course made some tweaks to what was available, and doubled the recipe. Thankfully, we had some left over, so I’m looking forward to enjoying some of it with a giant ear of corn later!

These fruit and vegetable salads are some of the most flavorful, and easiest dishes I’ve made! Since neither my fiancé or I are fans of mayo (I can eat things with it, but he can’t even be near it) we don’t ever have potato salad or maccaroni salad. So, I’ve been exploring other cook-out and picnic accompaniments, which have been awesome. This recipe suggests to make the dressing the night before and allow it to marinade overnight before combining it with the tomatoes and cucumbers and it’s defintely a suggestion to heed.

I’ve decided that ShopRite really isn’t cutting it for me these days. Unfortunately, we don’t have many other (better) options, aside from Wegman’s. I’d love to be closer to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but I know I’d wind up spending double every trip since they have such an awesome selection. My parents have a Trader Joe’s in their town, so if I’m looking for something specific or just want to treat myself to some yummy goodness, I’ll stop in. My latest problem with StopRite was their lack of heirloom tomatoes. Oh, and the fact that on Friday afternoon when we went after work, they didn’t have any corn left! Thankfully the Stop & Shop near our house had a ton of corn, so we stocked up. Since I didn’t get the heirloom tomatoes, I just used Jersey tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and plum tomatoes – good enough!

So aside from the tomato mishap, the only other difference with this recipe was the cheese. I went with an herb seasoned feta, which was delicious! I also decided not to puree the dressing and just cut the basil into little pieces, and combined it only with 1/2 tsp of oil, leaving out the second two tsp. The salad was a hit, and everyone was asking for the recipe. So here it is!

Heirloom (or any tomato) Summer Salad
– Serves 6-8 –

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2/3 cup of fresh basil leaves (and more for garnish)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salad:
12 oz. heirloom (or other) peak tomatoes, cut in different shapes
1 medium cucumber peeled & sliced
1/4 cup small red onion, chopped
1 1/2 oz. ricotta salata, crumbled

Directions:
1. Puree basil, garlic, and 1/2 tsp of oil, stir in remaining oil
2. Toss together veggies
3. Pour dressing and combine

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Yet Another Quickie: Hormel Chili

In our constant effort to save time and money, my fiancé and I have come up with a few weekly staples that we like to rotate. Aside from the tortellinis and the always delicious burrito [which we had Monday, shh], we also have some Hormel chili on hand. Now, I’m not talking just your regular can of beans and/or meat, I’m talking gourmet style (well, for a can that is).

Hormel’s “Chili Master” line of chili comes in four variations; chipotle chicken, roasted tomato, white chicken, or three bean. Often times they’re on sale at the store, 3 for $5 or something of that nature. So, when they are, we stock up. I’ve had three of the four (no white chicken yet), and they are all really good. Clearly good enough that we keep buying them!

There’s a lot of great things about chili. It can be eaten alone, or on top of a starch; a potato, rice, pasta, or in tonight’s case, whole wheat couscous. I know, I know, it sounds totally weird. But it works! Typically we have the chili with just some long grain rice. Tonight, however, after I got back from my run and was waiting for the man to return from playing soccer, I decided to make it with couscous. Now, this isn’t any type of couscous – it’s whole wheat and from one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s! It takes about 8 minutes to make, from boiling a cup of water with butter to then letting it sit for 5 minutes.

Pairing the lightly spiced chili with it’s chunky pieces of black beans, corn and tomato on top of seriously fluffy and buttery couscous was a really great combination. Considering I’m not a huge rice fan, this was a really nice change of pace. My fiancé even made note that it wasn’t anything like he’d ever had before, but in a good way. I never seem to make couscous to serve with “normal” things. I’m a big fan of mixing chunky salsa into it, too.

I like to think I eat decently (most of the time) and I think the chili covers a lot of my dietary needs (served with a salad, of course)! Plus a little bit goes a long way. So whether you’re having it alone or as a topper to a starch, you’ll definitely be full quickly, and it isn’t that type of full that wears off in an hour – it sticks around.

I can’t recommend this enough for a quick and easy meal. Whether you’re in a hurry or just don’t feel like actually making anything, Hormel Chili is a super quick and easy way to enjoy something that would typically take hours. This way, you can let Hormel do all the work for you! It’s nice to take a night (or in my case, week) off from slaving in the kitchen every once in awhile.

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