Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

As I’ve mentioned before, Sam and I do a lot of running.  Currently, we’re training for the Rock ‘n Roll USA Half Marathon, which is held in DC in March!  Are any of you running it?  I would love to see some bloggers and readers out there!

For me, the hardest part about training for distance races (halfs, fulls, etc) is providing your body with enough nutrition and energy.  Specifically, the day you do your long run- ours tend to be Saturdays.  What can you eat after a run during which you’ve burned over 1,000 calories?  A burger definitely hits the spot, but I some mornings all I want are eggs.

A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing my Google Reader and I saw the perfect post-long run breakfast dish.  It was from Liza, of (a)Musing Foodie- a fellow blogger I met at the Eat, Write, Retreat Food Blog Conference.  The best part was, it’s a dish you put together the night before, and just pop it into the oven in the morning.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Even if you don’t have a long run planned for this Saturday, this is a perfect dish for your brunch guests.  Easy, delicious and very versatile!

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Adapted from: (a)Musing Foodie

Liza used a baguette, I did not have one on hand- so I used leftover whole-wheat bread from Trader Joe’s that had flaxseeds and sunflowers seeds in it.  Feel free to use what you have in your bread box!  Additionally, use any type of milk product for the 2 1/2 cups of liquid (regular milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc)- I ran out of the soy milk so I substituted the rest with the half ‘n half.

2 cups of bread, cubed
6 slices of bacon
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
1 lb Polish sausage, cut into small pieces
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
10 large eggs
2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup half ‘n half
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Spray a 9×13” baking dish with cooking spray. Then spread the bread cubes on the bottom of the baking dish.

Heat up a large skillet, place the bacon on it and heat it up until crispy on both sides.  Set aside on a paper towel, but leave the bacon grease in the pan.  Then add in the onion, let it cook until translucent over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and jalapeño, cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Next, add in the sausage and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until it begins to brown.  Add all of these ingredients into a large bowl.

Once the bacon has cooled off, chop it up and add it to the bowl.  Then mix in cheese, spinach, and green onions.  Once the meats and vegetables are mixed, spread this out over the bread cubes in the baking dish.

Next, in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, soy milk, half and half, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.  Then pour this mixture over the layers in the casserole dish, and gently press down so the liquid drips down.

Cover the casserole, and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

Once you’re ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Bake the casserole covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes.  Then uncover it, and bake it for another 15 minutes when it starts to bubble.

Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Almond & Coconut Rice Pudding

I get excited when a fresh issue of a cooking magazine shows up in our mailbox- so much inspiration, so many recipes to try out!  Check out which magazines we like to flip through on our “Blogs, Books & Magazines” page.  I also like it when I have ingredients to make particular recipes, without having to break the bank- or keep visiting the grocery store.

When I was flipping through the January issue of Food and Wine, I spotted a recipe for Almond-Milk Rice Pudding.  Knowing that I had about the exact amount of sushi rice in our pantry I’ve been wanting to use up, I thought this would be the perfect dessert, or snack, throughout the week.

Almond & Coconut Milk

The week prior, we had access to a car (thanks Carrie!) and I had bought various (delicious) items at Trader Joe’s.  Two of them were almond and coconut milk.  Not too familiar with these liquids?  Almond milk is made from ground almonds, and a great substitute if you have dairy allergies.  Coconut milk is made from grated coconut, also a great milk substitute, and used in many vegan and vegetarian dishes.  I recommend using the unsweetened versions, making this a little healthier, and not overly sweet.

Almond & Coconut Rice Pudding 2

Almond & Coconut Rice Pudding
Adapted from: Food & Wine (January 2013)

1 1/2 cups of sushi rice, rinsed
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 cups of almond milk
4 cups of coconut milk

In a large bowl, or pitcher, combine the almond and coconut milks together.

In a large saucepan, combine the sushi rice, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the milk mixture.  Cook the ingredients over low heat, stirring, until the milk is absorbed- about 5 minutes.  Then add in another cup of milk, stirring until the liquid is absorbed, about 5-10 minutes.  Gradually, every 5-10 minutes add another cup of milk and keep stirring, until you use all but 1 cup.  By then, the rice mixture should be thickened, and the rice will be cooked.  Lastly, turn off the heat, pour in the last cup of milk, stir, and allow it to cool.

Almond & Coconut Rice Pudding

Serve with preserves, defrosted fruit, or fresh fruit (berries would be best).

Almond & Coconut Rice Pudding 3

Tomato Tuesday: Gluten-free Tomato Tart

Today, July 24th, 2012, bloggers are donating their posts to the fight for slave-free tomatoes.  Check out participating bloggers here.   A special thanks to Nicole, of The Giving Table, for putting this call to action together!

This event was created by The Giving Table to support the International Justice Mission‘s summer campaign- Recipe for Change.  IMJ is a human rights agency committed to fighting modern day slavery and exploitation around the world.  Forced labor is happening on U.S. tomato fields.  Check out Tomatoland if you’d like an inside story (a great book!).

This summer, IMJ has partnered with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and The Fair Food Standards Council to sponsor a campaign to raise awareness about the treatment of workers on U.S. tomato fields.  In addition, the campaign is asking CEO’s of large supermarket chains to endorse The Fair Food Program, ensuring that tomatoes sold in their stores are slave-free.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a community-based organization of migrant workers that advocates for rights of farmworkers in Immokalee, FL.  The program was developed to protect Florida’s tomato pickers from exploitation.  The corporations that join the Fair Food Program agree to pay a small price increase for harvested tomatoes (1.5 cents more per pound) and shift purchases to Florida tomato growers who abide by the higher standards.  The 3 supermarket chains targeted this summer are: Ahold (Giant, Peapod, Martin’s, Albert), Publix, and Kroger.

Where can you find slave-free tomatoes?
CSA’s
Farmer’s Markets (DC’s FreshFarm Markets)
Whole Foods
Trader Joe’s

Please join Evi and Sam in signing the petition- Recipe for Change Letter.

Gluten-Free Tomato Tart
Adapted from: Anja’s Food 4 Thought & Simply Whole Kitchen

The best tomatoes for this tart are the juiciest, and most colorful one’s.  Find a heirloom variety at your local farmer’s market and slice them.  If there are any leftover tomato slices, enjoy them with some fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper and olive oil!

Crust:
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tbsp whole-grain oat flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tbsp ice cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped

In a food processor combine buckwheat flour, almond flour, whole grain oat flour, and salt.  Once it’s mixed well, add in the butter and pulse under the mixture is crumbly.  Next, add in the water and egg.  Keep pulsing until the mixture turns into a ball (it might be a bit sticky).  Shape it into a disk, then wrap it with parchment paper, keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  With cooking spray, grease a 9-inch tart pan.

Roll out the dough, and press all of it into the tart pan.  Bake it for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool off for at least 20 minutes.

To make the filling, heat olive oil in a saute pan.  Once the olive oil is hot, add in the onion.  Cook it until it is translucent, then add in the garlic.  Stir in the onion, garlic and cheese in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper.  Then pour the mixture into the cooled-off tart.  Arrange the tomato slices on top of the tart.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Bake the tart for 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts.  Allow to cool off before sprinkling basil over the top.  Divide into pieces, share with friends!

Want to learn more about this topic?  Check out some of these books and articles:
Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit (Barry Estabrook)
Join Michael Pollan in Ending Slavery of Tomato Workers
Did a Slave Grow Your Tomato?
Slavery in the Tomato Fields

Whole-Wheat Pitas

Just like hummus, I have always bought pitas at the grocery store.  I had found that Trader Joe’s carries fresh and fluffy pitas.  The kind you can’t wait to rip open and sit with a giant tub of hummus and eat away.  I stay away from all others.  Why?  Too many times I have picked up a bag of really thin, limp and not fresh pitas from all grocery stores, definitely not an enjoyable snack.

So when hummus  was chosen for the latest Food Matters Project, I started thinking about getting a little crazy in the kitchen and trying out pitas.  Lately, I’ve had some extra time on my hands, so why not try something new?

As I read over the recipe, I saw that the ingredients included bread flour and whole-wheat flour.  I had neither.  For about 2 seconds I contemplated of not adding those 2 items to my grocery list, but I did.  I’m very glad I did.

When I had made the dough, I had this terrible feeling that it wouldn’t rise (which is why I bought extra packets of yeast).  But I wanted to try it until I succeed (I think the chickpeas got me in a groove).  To my surprise the dough rose, beautifully!

Then came the next part- baking.  It all went fairly smoothly.  I rolled out the dough, sprayed the baking pan, and turned on the heat in our oven.  Of course I couldn’t have picked a better day- it was 70 degrees outside, and even hotter in our condo.  In went the pita, and about 8 minutes later when I pulled it out it looked perfect.  Of course, before I could jump for joy our fire alarm sounded- ooops!  I think a chunk burned on the baking pan.

The recipe makes 8 pitas, and we can’t eat them all in one sitting (although I’d like to!).  So the dough pieces which we didn’t heat up, I divided into sandwich bags and froze them.  So the next time we bring home (or make) some more hummus, or want a fresh and fluffy pita, all I have to do is defrost and bake.  I cannot wait!

And I don’t think I’ll be buying any grocery store pitas ever again!

Whole-wheat Pita
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

1 tbsp sugar
1 package dry yeast
1 cup & 2 tbsp warm water
10 oz bread flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
4.75 oz whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in the 1 cup & 2 tbsp of water water.  Stir it around until all of the granules have dissolved.  Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes.

I had used our stand mixer with the dough attachment (looks like a hook), but you can do this using your hands.  Into the sugar-yeast liquid, slowly add all of the bread flour, about 3 oz of the whole-wheat flour (3/4 cup), yogurt, oil and salt.  Keep mixing the ingredients until the dough is smooth.  If you did this in a stand mixer, take out the dough and knead it until the dough is elastic (about 5-10 minutes).  As your kneading it, keep adding the rest of the whole-wheat flour, a little at a time (until the dough stops being sticky).

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, and drop the dough ball inside.  Flip the dough around, so all of the sides are coated with the cooking spray.  Cover the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place.  Leave it out until it has doubled in size, for at least an hour (I left mine out for about 3 hours).

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 8 pieces.  Preheat the oven to 500ºF, and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Take each portion one at a time and roll it out into about a 5-inch circle.  If the dough is sticky, use some flour on the rolling pin, your hands and the surface you’re working on.  Place the dough circle on the baking sheet, and into the oven on the lowest rack.  Bake the pita for about 8-10 minutes, until it has puffed up.  Take it out and let it cool before cutting into it.  Enjoy it with some hummus.

Bok Choy and Mushroom Bulgur

Sometimes I’m in a cooking groove, and cannot wait to get home and make some yummy dinner.  Usually by Thursday, when I’m tired and exhausted, that cooking groove diminishes a bit.  As many of you know, cooking can take time and planning. 
 
Although living in the city does have its perks, the downside is that we don’t have a grocery store nearby where we can just pop in and pick up ingredients for dinner.  The closest grocery store is 1 mile away, although it’s not that far and may be fun to go once in a while, the long lines and the idea of pushing and pulling the granny cart does not necessarily make this our ideal choice.  We sometimes pick up ingredients from different stores.  For example, Trader Joe’s has an excellent variety of cheeses.  And since the Farmer’s Market started, we’ve bought bacon, milk, eggs and butter. 

 

Due to the these “location restrictions”, we meal plan.  We order the majority of our food on Peapod, and list out different meals which we want to eat.  By seeing what we eat over a number of days, we make sure to have a variety of meals (pastas, grains, Mexican or Indian, etc).  I’ve noticed that I have become more aware of the ingredients I put into our food, and into my body.

Which leads me to the dish pictured below.  It was on the cover of Vegetarian Times, and I coud not wait to make it.  And it tasted just as delicious as it looks.  The flavors blended so well, and the broth kept the bulgur moist.  (In the case you don’t have mushroom bouillon, feel free to use vegetable or chicken stock) Between the mushrooms, and the steamed bok choy, this dish had a very earthy, natural taste to it.  It’s great for a warm dinner, or leftovers for lunch.

 

Bok Choy & Mushroom Bulgur
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times

 4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked bulgur
1 1/2 cup water
2 mushroom bouillons
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 small bok choy, halved

Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat, then add half of the garlic.  Add the mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned.  Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.  Add tomatoes to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes, or until browned.  Transfer into the bowl that has mushrooms. 

Add the remaining oil and garlic into the skillet.  Stir in shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the bulgur until the grains are coated with oil.  Add the water, bouillons and thyme.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 5 minutes.

Arrange the bok choy halves on top of the bulgur.  Sprinkle the mushroom and tomatoes between the bok choy.  Simmer for 5 minutes, while covered.  Remove from heat, and let it rest for 10 minutes.