Meatless Monday – Raclette

Have I mentioned how much I love Trader Joe’s?  LOL!  While grocery shopping one day, I stopped by the cheese aisle because I was looking for pasteurized (can’t have cheese with raw milk during pregnancy) parmesan cheese and saw this.

My first thought was please let it be pasteurized cheese because I would LOVE to try.  Thank goodness it was (although I’m sure the French would disapprove).  The next thought was I cannot wait to make this at home.

I first had raclette during a trip to Borough Market in London.

Raclette contraption to melt cheese.

Boiled potatoes, cornichons, and cheese.

 The melted cheese is served over boiled potatoes with pats of butter and cornichons.  The cheese is melted on the contraption as shown in the first picture, and then placed on top of the potatoes.  Obviously, I don’t have the contraption above, so in order to melt the cheese to it’s GOOEY GOODNESS state, you have to use the broiler.

I suppose you could do this with any cheese but the Trader Joe Raclette cheese is the stinky buttery goey goodness I remember having at Borough Market (the hubs complains about the smell whenever I make this, so I try to have it when he’s not at home).

This recipe is easy.  Boil some potatoes in salted water to almost tender.  Then place in an ovensafe dish add pats of butter, salt, and pepper then top with cheese and place in the broiler for 3-5 minutes.  The directions are on the back of the package.  They also suggest using broccoli instead of potatoes for a healthier kick.  I did my own twist the other day and added sauteed mushrooms and spinach on top of the boiled potatoes.

My lunch the other day.

 YUMMY!

A Lazy Cook’s BFF

TRADER JOE’S FROZEN FOOD AISLE!!!

I can spend minutes upon minutes in this aisle!  So many options.  The fish and meats section are divided in ready to make and make from scratch.  Most of the stuff in this aisle is ready to make though.  And when you’re feeling to lazy to make dinner, its GREAT to have any of these options in the freezer.  I definitely stock up with these items when I go on the road for the hubs to enjoy.  Better than fast food everyday while I’m out.  I’m going to list a couple of the ones I’ve tried and the ones that are my FAVORITES!

Trader Joe’s Pho

Just tried this one and it’s good, but when I’m in the mood for pho, it wouldn’t suffice my craving.

Mandarin Orange Chicken

This is a go to family favorite.  My mother-in-law introduced us to this when we were home about a year and a half ago.  For $4.99, it’s a cheaper alternative to Chinese delivery!  It’s definitely a staple in our freezer.

BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

This is another staple.  After we tried the Mandarin Orange Chicken, I purchased this.  It’s much easier to prepare and I believe the same cost and just as delicious.  To make it an all around balanced meal I add some frozen edamame or broccoli.

Szechuan Spicy Beef and Broccoli

I think I may have bought this sometime in the Spring.  I’m not quite sure if it’s been at Trader Joe’s longer, but that’s when I snapped it up.  Pretty good.  Again, a cheaper alternative to Chinese take out.

Tom Yam Soup

Definitely yummy!  This sufficed my Thai soup craving; however, the serving size its a tad small.  I think the serving size said 2, I’m guessing cups and not bowls.  But if you wanted to serve to multiple people you would need to buy more packets.

Arancini Balls

Otherwise known as risotto balls and OH-SO-DELICIOUS!  They were sampling these one day and I liked them SO MUCH (but I’m a HUGE fan of risotto balls) that I picked them up.  Such a good appetizer for an Italian dinner.

MultiGrain Croissants

I tried these after I saw them in the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer.   I’m a huge fan of croissants but haven’t tried croissants that are multigrain  If you’ve read my post about eating on the road, you know that I try to eat items that are packed with fiber for breakfast and this is one of those items.  I know what you’re thinking “Multigrain?  Doesn’t that mean it taste like cardboard?”  NOPE.  Tastes like regular croissant just wheat breadish.

Other honorable mentions are their frozen mac and cheese (both guilt free and regular version) and grilled eggplant parmesan.  I’m sure I’ve tried more but I can’t remember.  Some items that I would like to try are the Indian and Mexican frozen meals, the marinated frozen fish, a couple of appetizers, pizzas, pastas, etc.

Do you have any TJ favorites?  If so, please share in the comments below.

Presto Pesto…

Until I started watching Food Network more and more I thought pesto was your basic basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese combo.  I didn’t realize that you could make anything pesto.  Spinach, arugula, red peppers, etc.  While in London I saw that one of the vendors at Burough Market, who was selling various dips and sauces, was selling Red Pesto, which I was super intrigued by.  It consisted of sun dried tomatoes, cashews, pecorino, etc.

After seeing this and coming home, I was inspired and decided that I was going to try to make it myself.  I’ve made Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce before and thought that the sundried recipe was somewhat similar.  Of course, I used what I had on hand.  Instead of pecorino I used Parmesan.  Instead of using cashews I used the pine nuts.  Remember that’s the key to budgeting and cooking, inspiration of recipes and using what you have on hand and making it your own.  🙂

I made this recipe during lent and yes, I’m only sharing this it now.  Instead of using regular pasta, I made it with Trader Joe’s tortellini.  I made this dish on a Friday and I wanted to put more carbs in our meal since we didn’t eat meat all day.  Feel free to make this with penne or fusili or any kind of pasta you’d like.  I definitely bumped it up a notched by adding some cherry/grape tomatoes and spinach.  I must say it was a success.  YUM!

TORTELLINI with RED PESTO

INGREDIENTS

1 package of Trader Joe’s refrigerated cheese Tortellini
1 jar of SunDried Tomatoes in Olive Oil
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
handful of basil leaves (you don’t want too many, as you’ll mask the tomato flavor)
Olive Oil
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, Halved
1/2 lb of spinach
Salt
Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cook Tortellini according to package instructions.  Note:  If you’re using the refrigerated pack, this should take probably 5 minutes.  If you’re using dried it will take 10-15 minutes.

In a food processor, combined the sundried tomatoes with olive oil, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, basil leaves.  Start pulsing.  Let the food processor go and start streaming olive oil in until its a desired consistency.  Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

Prior to draining off the tortellini, reserve a cup of pasta water.  Add the Tortellini back to the pot and pour in red pesto.  If too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a bit.  This also helps the pesto become more of a sauce consistency.  Add in spinach.  When the spinach is wilted, add cherry tomatoes.

Top with a little bit of parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.

Super easy and super delish!