Trader Joe’s – Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less

I have something to share with you. 

I have been shopping at Trader Joe’s for years but mostly in other cities.  During any business trip to St Louis, Chicago or Detroit, I would stop by a TJ’s to pick up numerous pound plus chocolate bars to bring home to the family.  Plus I would grab a few chocolate covered treats and transfer them to ziploc bags to fit in my suitcase(YES, my bag always came home almost 8 pounds heavier!)

Now that they are all over Dallas, I asked some friends what they buy since I have my favorites list(kind of short).  Below are some of the best recommendations I got from mom friends of mine for getting dinner on the table for the family or just the kids in 30 minutes or less!

  • Start your meal with soup- the organic boxed soups are great!  Tomato soup, red pepper/tomato or even butternut squash.
  • Making a great big salad? Add some jarred hearts of palm
  • A salad needs dressing. Try the Reduced fat Cilantro Dressing –  in the refrigerated section(Thanks JR!)
  • Want Italian?  The Ricotta and Spinach Raviolini(Giant Raviolis) or the Organic 3 cheese frozen pizza (tastes like Italy!) is great with a salad for a quick kid meal!
  • Maybe Asian?  Frozen Mandarin Orange Chicken & frozen Jasmine Rice – It’s fun to make Chinese at home and you can do this with or without the sauce!
  • Enjoying the warmer weather?  Hawaiian Style Boneless Beef Short Ribs– They cook in under 10 minutes on the grill and you can serve them with black beans and rice and fresh pineapple. Perfect weeknight meal in a flash!
  • BBQ anyone?  Fully cooked Baby Back ribs in Smokey BBQ Sauce. 10 minutes in the oven and they fall off the bone. Or try their grass fed hamburger patties in the freezer section if you want to fire up the grill.
  • Want to start from scratch?  Try the organic grass fed ground beef or organic free-range chicken breasts
  • Need a veg?  Try the organic baby spinach, bagged and chopped organic broccoli, organic baby carrots or shaved brussel sprouts (just roast them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder).  (Thanks AG!)
  • A super fun side for kids?  Mac and Cheese balls (freezer section)

Of course we cannot forget about dessert or appetizers and finger foods for parties but that will be another post!  Anything else you recommend?


My Favorite Things – Rachel Ray Oval Saute Pan

I have something to share with you.

The Wedding Registry.  A very exciting thing for brides(sometimes grooms), a potentially overwhelming thing for guests.  I love eating and I love cooking.  I registered for a bunch of the expensive “silver” cookware for our wedding and thought I would be cooking dinner every night!  How wrong.

Most of the items were super heavy, the handles were hard to grip, the pans would get discolored – I spent more time using Bar Keepers Friend to clean them then to actually cook.

At a family dinner my sister-in-law mentioned that she was looking into new pots and pans and had bought something from the Rachel Ray line.  I knew all about Rachel Ray.  I watch FoodTV, I see the ads, I shop at Target and Kohl’s.  But, my sister-in-law, who I love dearly, is not fond of being in the kitchen.  So, I wasn’t sure if I should take her advice or not.

So of course I turn to Google and read the reviews.  I needed a new saute pan that had a comfortable grip and was big enough to make my daughter’s favorite meal when she is in an adventurous mood(Tarragon Chicken).  Plus, anything I can throw in the dishwasher gets extra points.  And so I found the Rachel Ray Hard Anodized Dishwasher Safe 5qt. Covered Oval Saute Pan.


LOVE IT!!!  (And yes, I did buy it on because the price was right!)  It has not one, but two handles, it can go in the dishwasher, and it is deep enough to both saute and boil pasta in it.  They come in numerous colors and this added a flash of blue to my very white and grey kitchen.  I liked it so much I bought a skillet in the matching blue for making eggs and sautéing onions, peppers, etc.

So, if you are looking to try out a new pan and are a bit skeptical about some of the TV Chef lines, this should be the first one you try!  If you tried a different one, what is your favorite?  I’m open to trying out some new cookeware!