Category: Dinner

Happy (almost) Halloween 2014!

Tomorrow is Halloween. My boys can’t wait. I asked my Bigs what his favorite part about Halloween was going to be and he said that it was the dressing up, “alllll the caaaannnndyyyy”, and being with us. Bless. It’s going to be a fun night.

Here is his school lunch for tomorrow:

wpid-photogrid_1414714689093.jpg

I made a PB&J ghost and used my black Food Writer and candy eyeballs for decoration. I also packed a few veggie chips, some seasoned corn, two pitted dates (or cockroaches, as my kids call them – perfect for Halloween!), cantaloupe and pineapple, a blueberry yogurt squeezy thing, and a few Halloween candies for dessert (a mini Kit Kat, orange and black chocolate covered sunflower seeds, candy corn). I used cupcake picks and plastic spiders to decorate it all.

And tonight, for dinner, I actually cooked something yummy. Everyone liked it. It’s a recipe I used to make all the time. It’s so easy. And cheesy. And trashy. And naughty. And a little embarrassing.

wpid-img_20141030_173944.jpg

I could have eaten the whole pot (almost did, waiting on everyone to get to the dinner table!).

Cheeseburger Pasta:

Serves 1 (HAHA just kidding [sort of])

Pasta of any kind (we used GF)

Ground beef

Ketchup

Mustard

Cheddar Cheese

Pickles

Make. Mix. Eat out of pot. By yourself. In the kitchen.

I told you it was a bit embarrassing.

On a classier note…

I also made a treat for my boys’ teachers for tomorrow. It’s more Christmassy than Halloweeny, but I went with it. I found a recipe for copycat Jason’s Deli gingerbread muffins, after a recent dinner there with my kids. I am ob-sessed with those muffins (and all things gingerbread). These came out just like those! For the teachers, I baked loaves.

wpid-img_20141030_185420.jpg

It’s moist, tender, but dense, fragrant, spicy, and sweet. I love it. I’ll be making it a thousand more times.

http://www.thedomesticcurator.com/2013/11/jasons-delis-gingerbread-mini-muffins.html?m=1

I hope you all have a very BLESSED weekend!

Kristin

Thankful Thursday

Tomorrow is Thursday and it’s my turn to work in my son’s co-op! I’m so excited! I love his teacher and his classmates and absolutely adore spending the whole day with him in school. I am so thankful for his school and the experiences it has given us both. I am MOST thankful for the love of Jesus that the staff, parents, and children have at his school. Jesus is in every conversation, every lesson. I’m so thankful that my sons’ hearts are filled with His love, even while at school.

Here is the lunch I packed for my Bigs:

wpid-collage-2014-10-15-18_22_25.jpg.jpeg

I made a chicken, cheese, and mayo wrap and sliced it in half. I used Halloween cupcake picks to keep them together. I packed peanut butter filled pretzels, seasoned corn, a yogurt squeezy thing, and a teeny slice of apple gingerbread (my Mom made it and sent it over), cut into sticks. Yum. I used other Halloween trinkets and cupcake picks to decorate (a Frankenstein [I just read that the SCIENTIST was named Frankenstein, not the monster] and a plastic spider ring. Good times.

For my Smalls:

wpid-collage-2014-10-15-18_25_25.jpg.jpeg

I made a PB&J wrap, cut in half. I also packed a few peanut butter filled pretzels, freeze dried mango, red grapes cut in half, and some of that apple gingerbread cake.

And for me:

wpid-collage-2014-10-15-18_30_27.jpg.jpeg

I packed cinnamon raisin quinoa (recipe below), fresh steamed green beans (with S&P and red pepper flakes), a mini plum, some green grapes, and a honeycomb candy. I can’t wait for that one. I bet you that my Bigs will be poaching my dessert. 😉

I made the quinoa and green beans for dinner. The leftovers are perfect for lunch and taste delicious cold.

wpid-20141015_175430.jpg

Cinnamon Raisin Quinoa

1 C quinoa

1/2 C slivered almonds

salt

1 1/2 C boiling water

1/2 C raisins

Toast the almonds until they are brown, add the quinoa and do the same. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff.

The original recipe called for a cinnamon stick and cranberries. I only had raisins and cinnamon was easier for me to use. Either would be delicious!

And for a sweet ending (not for me, sadly), COOKIES! I made gluten free peanut butter cookies (with chocolate chips) for my gluten free friend’s birthday.

wpid-20141015_174455.jpg

I love how easy these babies come together…

wpid-20141015_174459.jpg

…and how they make my house smell.

wpid-20141015_180248.jpg

That’s another good time right there.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/gluten-free-peanut-butter-cookies

I have made these before several times, and they always come out wonderful.

Have a WONDERFUL Thursday, blessings to you!

Kristin

“A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger. But an unkind answer will cause more anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

“As a tree gives us fruit, healing words give us life. But evil words crush the spirit.”             – Proverbs 15:4

Proverbs 15 is FULL of wonderful Biblical truth!

Won’t you take me to Dippy-Town?

Won’t you take me to, a-Dippy-Towwwwn?

Is the song “Funky-Town” in your head now? It is in mine. I love that song though. It totally reminds me of “Shrek”. I’m such a Mom.

Tomorrow, at lunchtime, my Bigs is going to Dippy-Town. It’s a town where you dip stuff. Like food into other foods. It’s a great town.

wpid-photogrid_1411431557329.jpg

Almost every part of his lunch is something he can dip – rice cakes, cookies (Trader Joe’s School Book Cinnamon Cookies), carrot chips, banana chips, and raisins. The dippees are applesauce and peanut butter. I love a good interactive lunch. I know my buddy does too.

We had an extremely productive day. I love those kinds. I did laundry, cleaned out two hall closets (I meannnn, the JUNK I had in there was unreal), cleaned bathrooms, balanced our checkbook, went grocery shopping, went to karate, and made a birthday cake for one of my besties.

AND I made dinner on top of that! AND guess what? It was good!

wpid-img_20140922_165225.jpg

These would be great on a game day! I don’t even know when those are or for what sport you’d be celebrating, but I DO know about eating!

Earlier today, I marinated chicken wings in a Ziploc bag. I made the marinade (no real measurements, that’s what’s so wonderful about marinades) in gluten-free soy sauce, orange juice, fresh garlic, orange marmalade, and S&P. I baked them at 400 for about 40 minutes. They were sticky, gooey, crunchy, tender, orangey, and garlicky. Yum. Try them. You know, next time you’re celebrating the ol’ pigskin.

Blessings!

Kristin

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

(This verse has gotten me through some of my darkest times)

The Ghostess with the Mostess

My unfortunate run of cooking this week has been hit AND miss today. Dinner was a just okay. I made chicken. Nothing special. What is wrong with me?! If only I had the same passion about cooking as I do baking!

I gotta get back on track with cooking dinners that are both complete AND edible, so my family doesn’t starve.

I did make something really yummy earlier today, that I served with tonight’s chicken. I also was hoping to put it in my Bigs’ lunchbox tomorrow, but alas, he did not care for them.

Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese Muffins:

wpid-img_20140917_113651.jpg

http://www.produceforkids.com/meal-planning/mac-n-cheese-muffins

My Bigs can sniff out a green vegetable like a hound dog. These “muffins” had broccoli, carrots, and onions in them. A trifecta of deliciousness, if you ask me. I was really hoping Bigs would love them and want to enjoy one for lunch tomorrow. Oh well. My Smalls enjoyed them. He doesn’t love noodles, but he’s crazy about savory food…broccoli in particular. He ate about a pound of broccoli today. And enjoyed the noodles because of the broccoli. I even convinced him (no convincing needed, actually) to eat broccoli as his prize for going twosies in the potty. Funny kid.

Anywho, because Bigs did not like these, I had to come up with another lunch.

wpid-photogrid_1410994705701.jpg

I made a turkey, cheddar, and mayo sandwich. I shaped it like a ghost and added candy eyes. I also packed seasoned corn, plum slices, a honey zucchini muffin, two TJ’s ginger cookies, and some dried blueberries.

I made the muffins on Monday. They are delicious – whole wheat, honey, zucchini. What’s not to love?

wpid-img_20140915_101912.jpg

Another great recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. Although I think I didn’t grate my zucchini small enough, my Bigs doesn’t seem to mind these. Maybe because I call them “Army Men Muffins”. I never thought I’d be the parent to HIDE vegetables.

Here’s the recipe:

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/06/25/recipe-zucchini-bread/

My Smalls has school tomorrow too (and his “school” pictures, so cute!!). I made him a special lunch:

wpid-photogrid_1410994882893.jpg

I turned a PB&J into a pumpkin shape and used my Food Writers to add some details. I also packed banana chips, two ginger cookies, and some dried blueberries. I hope he knows what his sandwich is!

Blessings,

Kristin

It’s a Lunchbox Party!

So yesterday, I got busy in the kitchen. I made three things, that when put together, would make quite a party in the lunchbox!

I started with homemade fruit snacks.

wpid-20140901_094925.jpg

I’ve made these many, many times before. They are easy and healthy. MUCH more healthy than store-bought fruit snacks (which I won’t judge if you eat them – we do sometimes too!).

wpid-20140901_095434.jpg

They only have a few ingredients – frozen (or fresh fruit), honey, orange juice (I use concentrate with water), and gelatin.

Here is the recipe (feel free to use the fruits you love!):

http://www.thankyourbody.com/homemade-healthy-fruit-snacks/

My Bigs loves these. My Smalls doesn’t adore the squishy feeling. The taste is so much cleaner than the over-processed ones.

I also made pizza rolls. I didn’t follow any recipe, but made it up as I went along. These were also very easy, only using four ingredients, as well.

wpid-20140901_081639.jpg

Crescent rolls, pizza sauce, Italian cheese blend, and mini pepperoni. That’s it!

wpid-20140901_082319.jpg

I rolled out the crescent rolls and used a rolling pin to flatten them. I spread around a few tablespoons of pizza sauce, sprinkled some cheese, and scattered some mini pepperoni. I then rolled up the dough, like I would cinnamon rolls.

wpid-20140901_082351.jpg

I placed the rolls in the fridge for a while, so they wouldn’t be too gooey when slicing them.

wpid-20140901_083733.jpg

Once chilled, I sliced them and put them in a greased cake tin and baked for about 20 minutes.

wpid-20140901_090000.jpg

My house smelled like a pizzeria! They came out golden brown, ooey, gooey, melty, cheesy, saucy, and pizza-y.

wpid-20140901_094033.jpg

I think they’ll be a hit.

And lastly, I made mini chocolate chip cookies. I love any size chocolate chip cookie. These were fun to make. I didn’t even mind rolling up a thousand little cookies.

wpid-20140901_091954.jpg

These are the perfect size for small hands and lunchbox treats!

wpid-20140901_093704.jpg

I can’t wait for my Bigs to be able to have these in his lunchbox (good behavior is the key to getting these).

wpid-20140901_093734.jpg

They are DELICIOUS – slightly chewy, soft, a bit underdone…and best of all, adorably little.

wpid-20140901_093741.jpg

Get in my belly, a thousand of you!!!

Here is the recipe, if you are interested (and why wouldn’t you be?):

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/07/chocolate-chip-cookie-bites/

Blessings,

Kristin

wpid-20140901_103634.jpg

Love a cookie jar full of homemade goodness!

Vacation Eats

What’s your favorite part of vacation? For tropical vacations, is it the sand between your toes? The sound of the ocean’s waves, lapping up to your feet? Is it soaking up the sun in your vacation spot’s crystal blue, fancy pool? While I love ALL of those things, my real joy is discovering the local food. I’m a foodie, through and through!

We recently got back from our annual sojourn to the tropical Sanibel Island. We always look forward to seeing our favorite things down there and eating at our favorite restaurants there.

I’ll jump right in!

We always go straight to the Island Cow, a funky, cow-themed, tropical restaurant in the middle of Sanibel Island. They put “bread” on the table when you arrive…read “bread” as strawberry and funfetti muffins. How can you go wrong?

We ordered the Frickles (fried pickles). If you’ve never had these, I URGE you to try them. They fulfill a lot of taste pockets on your buds – crunchy pickle crunchy, crunchy fried crunchy, salty, and savory. They come with ranch dressing and are sprinkled liberally with Parmesan cheese. Again, seriously, how can you go wrong? 🙂

wpid-20140808_120232.jpg

I ordered the grilled salmon. It was a little dry. But I didn’t care. I was eating fresh fish and funfetti muffins on a tropical island, surrounded by extended family. Standards are different.

wpid-20140808_123044.jpg

I ordered it with veggies and cheese grits. Because cheese. And grits. Everyone enjoyed their meals (Hubs got shrimp, Bigs got waffles, and Smalls got catfish – he actually asked for catfish and loved it – such a mini-foodie-baby!).

We then went to the best grocery store on the Island – Jerry’s, as we always do after lunch. We picked up some food for the week…and a few extras….DONUTS.

I was on a donut hunt. Like a Great White Shark (sorry, this all happened during our beloved Shark Week) hunts its blubbery prey, I was out to find the best donut. My hunt began earlier in the week (and in my hometown).

wpid-20140806_113516.jpg

We had to spend 3 hours in Pediatric Cardiology earlier in the week to check out my Smalls’ heart murmur (healed, God is good!) and I thought we deserved donuts. And it was a nice way to round out the week before leaving for vacation. These (strawberry icing with sprinkles, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, coconut crunch, and jam-filled) were delicious, but still not as good as my go-to donut shop (I’ve talked about them and posted pictures before – they’ve been featured on Food Network’s “Donut Showdown”!).

Back to Jerry’s in Sanibel…

wpid-picsart_1408198627311.jpg

We picked up a chocolate icing with sprinkles, an almond-filled bearclaw, and a custard-filled croissant bundt. I was delighted to see that as my search continued, the donuts (and pastries, as it were) were getting better and better. The sprinkle donut was very good (the boys devoured it, they love their sprinkles). The almond-filled bearclaw was DIVINE. The pastry was delicate and crunchy and topped with glazed almonds. The inside was lovely marzipan-esque, chewy, and absolutely wonderful. And the little bundt in the back was a delicious surprise. It was made with torn up croissants, pressed into the mini-bundt pan, baked, glazed, and filled with a creamy, cool, vanilla custard. SO fun!

We finished off our donut crawl at Bennett’s Fresh Roast donuts, which have also been featured on “Donut Showdown”.

wpid-img_20140809_122528_20140816105020462.jpg

Our group liked them so much, we got them twice! The picture above shows their s’mores donut, pink icing with sprinkles (for the boys, obvi), and their Orange Crunch. Despite loving all things s’mores and not really liking Orangesicle flavored things, the Orange Crunch was out of this world. It was FULL of fresh orange flavor.

Even after all of those wonderful pastries, I still prefer my go-to! And that makes me happy, because it’s close to me. 😀

We also took our boys to the famed Bubble Room! It was SO much fun! My husband used to go to the Sanibel and my parents used to take my to the one where I grew up – such happy memories!

When we sat down, I ordered Bigs a Shirley Temple (as my parents did for me when I was little) and a Roy Rogers for me. Everything about it is happy.

wpid-picsart_1408198905481.jpg

Bigs thought it was great. And seeing him experience something I did as a wee one made me so happy.

The bread basket they put on the table also made me happy…

wpid-20140809_185710.jpg

It was filled with their “Bubble Bread” (garlicky, cheesy, and delicious) and sticky raisin buns. I meannnnnn….

I ordered the Prime Rib, but my picture came out blurry. It was really delicious.

We took a slice (SLAB is more like it!) their famous Orange Crunch Cake back to our condo to share with our family and friends.

wpid-picsart_1408199235885.jpg

We all loved it. It was so delicious.

The food was incredible, as well as our vacation.

Until next year, Sanibel!

What are YOUR favorite places to eat on your recurring or one-off vacations? I’d love to hear!

Kristin

 

A Tree-Hugging Trader Joe’s Review

So. We’re back from vacation. School is about to start. Summer is coming to a close. Things are changing. I should be able to keep up with my blog posts now, right? RIGHT?! Right.

Back to biz.

You guys know I have a serious sweet tooth. It’s well documented. You might not know that I also have a health food tooth (I feel like that’s less sparkly and lovely than a sweet tooth). Is that a thing? I love all vegetables, fruit, tofu, and other healthy fare.

Salad is one of my top favorite foods. I love going to salad buffets. And eating all their yummy veg. I even love beets. BEETS. Even as a kid I loved them. If you don’t like them, I have recipes that will forever change your mind about them.

I digress.

I went to Trader Joe’s this past week to try their healthier food (and some not so healthy food…blog posts on those to follow).

My kids love dried fruit as snacks. My Mom dries her own fruit and it’s delicious. Since I don’t have a dehydrator, I don’t mind buying them (or eating my Mom’s).

wpid-20140812_210420.jpg

We tried the TJ’s Dried Flattened Banana. I’ve never had this before now. They were really good, like banana fruit roll ups (if you rolled them up). The ingredients were bananas and something to keep them from browning. At $1.29, it was a bargain.

wpid-20140813_192145.jpg

Organic Banana Chips: They were good, crunchy, and delicious. Like any ol’ banana chips. They were $2.99 and there were a lot. I’d call it a deal.

Dried Sweet New Zealand Apples: These were delicious. Despite only having apples (several different varieties) as the only ingredient, when I opened the bag, they smelled like fall. They were chewy, moist, and full of apple flavor.  And the bag wasn’t skimpy on quantity. Also priced at $2.99, I think they were a deal.

Dried Fruit Mandarins Soft & Juicy: I’ve never had these before either. These were the only dried fruits we tried that had sugar as an ingredient. I’d serve these more for a lunch dessert. When I opened the package, the fresh, bright, citrusy scent of mandarin oranges hit my nose. The flavor copied that. They were delicious and sweet. They cost $2.69. I’d get them again.

Freeze Dried Mango: The only ingredient was mango. I like to see that. They were crunchy and yielded a nice bite, but also melted in my mouth (like most freeze dried fruit). They were also delicious. They also cost $2.69.

Lastly for the fruit and nuts category, we got some slivered almonds. They were delicious and like any other slivered almond. I like to put these on my oatmeal and in granola bars. I got quite a bit for $3.69.

I’d get all of those again.

I also picked up some gluten free pasta. Trader Joe’s has a good selection of such pastas. They offer both brown rice and corn pastas (perhaps more, but those are all I looked for). They had different shapes too – fusilli, penne, spaghetti. It’s great to see GF pasta becoming more mainstream.

I picked up a box of brown rice penne, brown rice fusilli, and brown rice spaghetti. They were $1.99 each (which is comparable to Aldi’s and far better than grocery store prices).

A few nights ago, we tried the brown rice spaghetti.

wpid-20140813_173702.jpg

It was delicious. I love that they give you a whole pound. Some GF pastas come in smaller packages. It was nice to feed the whole family from this (very cheap for GF) pack.

wpid-img_20140813_183826.jpg

It was delicious. We really couldn’t tell the difference between this pasta and flour-based pasta, in the best way possible.

It’s a must-buy for us now.

I also restocked my TJ’s sprouted tofu. I can’t wait to eat that. It, too, was delicious, the last time I made it.

Enjoy your day, go hug a tree, and eat something healthy!

Blessings,

Kristin

Happy 2nd Birthday, Smalls!

wpid-20140727_113408.jpg

Today is my Smalls’ 2nd birthday. He has brought me so much joy in his little life. I am crazy about him. This kid has spunk. He’s fearless about so many things, and I secretly love that about him. Even though it can be scary, as a parent, for my child to go into things without thinking, it’s neat to see the joy that fearlessness brings him. On the flip-side, he’s very complex – he gets overwhelmed very easily in certain situations. He gets upset at things that are too sensory-oriented (he’s got some proprioceptive things going on). But…I LOVE that we have this understanding, me and him. I know when he’s got his issues, and he comes to me to make them go away. He trusts my hugs to make him feel better. I love his silly, fun-loving sense of humor, the way he loves to make people laugh, but also gets shy when directly addressed by others. I love his wild antics, his mischievous smile, the naughty twinkle in his eye, partially hidden by his dark, long lashes. I love his teeny, little button nose. I love his lanky, long, skinny stick legs that envelope me in a hug, like a little koala bear. I love his hands, they are still like little baby hands. I love his bouncy, golden curls that frame his face, and flounce all over the place, especially because he’s almost always running and jumping, everywhere he goes. He’s simply the best. And I’m so blessed and eternally grateful to be his Mommy. What a gift from God.

We had a little party for him over the weekend with both sets of his Grandparents. I went with a beachy, tropical theme. It was a little tacky. I love tacky. And it was kind of a nod to his first birthday party, last year, where I did an under-the-sea theme.

I cooked and baked allllll day.

I made a Pineapple Cilantro Pulled Pork in the crock pot. It was an easy(ish) recipe because the crock pot did most of the work. I simply seasoned the pork butt and made a BBQ sauce.

wpid-20140727_170438.jpg

It was delicious and FULL of flavor.

http://www.fivehearthome.com/2014/07/14/slow-cooker-pineapple-pulled-pork-with-pineapple-barbecue-sauce/

I also made a Porky Pineapple Fried Rice.

wpid-20140727_170237.jpg

It was also very good.

http://damndelicious.net/2014/06/25/pineapple-fried-rice/

I made green beans, too! I boiled fresh green beans, put them in an ice bath, and then sauteed them with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Delicious.

I also made crescent roll octopi. They more came out like jellyfish. I don’t know how on earth I was supposed to get EIGHT legs out of them. But they came out so cute. The boys kept asking for “legs”.

It wasn’t weird at all.

wpid-20140727_163958.jpg

They were a hit. Just cut 7 (or however many you can, then call them “jellyfish”) strips on the short side of the crescent and then roll the top down to form the head. Use (or not) black olives for the eyeballs.

wpid-20140727_171307.jpg

Dinner was delicious.

But dessert…oh boy, dessert was where it was at.

wpid-img_20140727_114644.jpg

I have to say, and not to pat myself on the back, but it was my best ever work. It was DIVINE.

wpid-20140727_113002.jpg

I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe, but I used Hershey’s dark cocoa in place of the regular cocoa (both turn out delicious). Because of that change, this cake was black and fudgey with a deep, complex cocoa flavor. It was insanely good.

https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184&name=HERSHEY%27S-PERFECTLY-CHOCOLATE-Chocolate-Cake

I paired it with a white buttercream.

The buttercream was silky smooth. I just added blue coloring (Americolor Sky Blue). I used my offset spatula to make waves with the blue frosting.

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2013/06/double-chocolate-cupcakes-and-crispy-magic-frosting/

wpid-20140727_113002.jpg

I left some of the buttercream white and used that as the shore, and added graham cracker crumbs for sand.

wpid-20140727_112955.jpg

I decorated it with palm trees and a surfboard (all from Smalls’ first ever birthday cake last year), flamingos, fish and dolphin sprinkles, and gummy turtles (Smalls loves turtles).

It was so, so, so good.

wpid-img_20140728_162311.jpg

The combination was heavenly. And not because of what I did, but because of the recipes. So good. I can’t even stop thinking or talking about it. My mouth is watering for it now.

It was a great celebration. And today is family day – we will be showering Smalls with lots of love, fun times, and good food.

Happiest Birthday, my sweet, spicy nugget. May you always feel as loved as you are. <3

Blessings to you all,

Kristin

Fun Kid Food Dinner

For one dinner last week, I did something fun for me the kids.

wpid-img_20140706_175032.jpg

I love using my compartmentalized trays. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while or know me in “real” life, you know much I love cafeterias. I know how weird it is. Anyways. I found some chicken tenders at Trader Joe’s. They were individually frozen (although packaged together) and it was really helpful, when pulling them out one by one. I was able to get two meals out of the package (with leftovers each time) and it was only a little over $6. The tenders were void of any fat, which was such a time saver for me, and they were all about the same size. I made a gluten-free breading of crushed cornflakes, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. I dredged them in the breading after their egg bath, and baked for only a few minutes. Easy peasy! I served them with creamy, homemade mashed potatoes (using almond milk and soy butter), seasoned corn, and a delicious fruit salad. I’ve made variations on this meal before and I now know it’s my family’s favorite. They clean their plates and ask for more. It’s so nice to feed them something homemade and healthy and have them love it.

Review Result: I will definitely be getting these tenders again and again from TJ’s!

I hope you make it and enjoy!

Kristin

Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano! (And a TJ’s Review)

My sweet cousin is in Italy right now. Her pictures look amazing. The food, the landscape, the weather. It all looks incredible. I am, quite sadly, not in Italy right now. But I did try a few frozen Trader Joe’s Italian meals and I’m up for reviewing!

wpid-picsart_1404860848130.jpg

I tried the Perline Pasta & Proscuitto. They were like little purses. They were ready in minutes and were quite delicious. I couldn’t help but taste them without the sauce. The pasta was firm and held together well. The inside tasted like it had cheese in it, as well as proscuitto. They were delicious. I paired them with TJ’s Party Size Mini Meatballs. Those were also very easy to make. I actually did them in the microwave. They were chewy, but in a good way. They were savory and had a good seasoning to them.

Review Result: Both delicious, great for quick meals.

The second I tried (third, technically, I suppose) was another carb-filled package.

Sue me.

wpid-collage_20140716202043424_20140716202125103.jpg

The Polenta Provencale with Spinach & Peas in a Spicy Cream Sauce. It was frozen, including the sauce. I warmed it up in the microwave and the sauce melted off of the frozen polenta balls, coating all the other yummy bits in the bowl. I had a fleeting thought that it wouldn’t be so good, but after my first bite, I was convinced for the good. The polenta was chewy, yet tender. The spinach, as well as the peas, held their green color and didn’t turn mushy. The sauce was delicious, although not spicy. It was creamy and tangy.

Review Result: Yes! Also a great purchase for a quick meal.

I know pre-packaged, frozen meals aren’t the best for you, but hey, neither is going to Olive Garden and eating eighteen bowls of salad and eleventy six breadsticks.

Not that I’ve done that.

That you know of.

Or that I’ll tell you of.

I am excited to see what else TJ’s has in store (get it?) for me to try!

Kristin