Being a working woman, I go through spurts of cooking from scratch when I feel the need to slow down and smell the roses. My lifestyle tends to involve the microwave more than the oven. But, what I yearn for is flavor! Something I don’t often get with my microwave concoctions even though they are 100% healthy & quick.
Case in point – last night, I tried a new recipe from a weightloss cookbook that did not hit the mark. It was a lentil stew that held promise with its spices of curry and ginger but totally missed the mark when all was said and done — it was tasteless.
This was my mindset when I picked up the new book called Cooking With All Things Trader Joe’s by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati. Even though I tend not to like processed foods in general, because I am not as much in control of the nutritional content and calories, I could see the promise of flavor with its inclusion of prepared and pre-packaged Trader Joe’s ingredients.
My husband and I already have many of the prepared foods in our pantry just because shopping at Trader Joe’s is an adventure in itself. But more importantly, we have come to trust Trader Joe’s ingredients. They don’t try to slip in ‘money-saving” ingredients that are not healthy for you.
What struck me most about this cookbook was that I could get flavor and quick, easy-to-prepare recipes that I would be proud to serve to guests. The recipes did not have a lot of ingredients and most items you would have in your refrigerator or pantry — and the ones that you did not, you could be sure to find at Trader Joe’s.
The cookbook was typical, in that it started with appetizers, soups, salads and light meals, progressed through side dishes and desserts. But it did not stop there. It included daring drinks, a breakfast-only section and “bachelor quickies”, which I found amusing because basically, you are warming up a fully cooked refrigerated “Italian Style Turkey Meatloaf”.
What caught my eye were the side dishes. Who can’t use some new ideas here! What do you think about these:
- Olive-Stuffed Bread. Refrigerated bread dough and a jar of mixed olive Bruschetta make something that is out-of-the-ordinary.
- Cucumber Yogurt Dip. Quick recipe that included a surprise ingredient of raisins!
- Wilted Spinach. Fresh bags of spinach lightly sauted in olive oil and garlic.
- Orzo Pilaf. Great substitute for rice – wonderful texture in the mouth and great flavor with chicken broth base.
Usually when I review recipes in a cookbook, I look for nutritional information (calories, fat content, etc) – none of that here. But you know, I didn’t miss it because the ingredients were either fresh or prepared and you could get the nutritional information from the packaging.
This cookbook fits right in my lifestyle at the moment and I look forward to continuing to explore Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s in my kitchen.