You might especially love this cookbook if:
You’re short on time: I have these great aspirations that I’m always going to cook my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the many snacks in between from scratch. This is because I am an optimist and also eternally forgetful of the Other Stuff I would also like to be doing. Whether it’s finishing that final paper or making it to a movie, it’s nice to have an option that isn’t a seven-course meal and also isn’t Chinese take out. This week, for example, I made Gazpacho in under 3 minutes. And you know what? My roommates who didn’t have anywhere to be still ate it, so delicious was my chilled soup.
You’re short on kitchen equipment: The great thing about Lynn’s half-prepared approach is that a lot of the parts of cooking a meal that require special equipment, such as cooking or blending, have already happened. There is a whole section on main meals you can make in the microwave, and before you say, “I know how to zap a Marie Callenders pot pie, thankyouverymuch,” I would like to offer this counter-argument: Stuffed Red Peppers with Chicken and Orzo. Everyone knows that orzo is the most sophisticated thing one can put in a microwave, so there you go.
You’re short on skill: When I first started cooking for myself, the only thing I knew how to make was a quesadilla. Not knowing quite how to proceed from here, the second thing I learned how to cook was grilled cheese. The third thing was an omelet–a huge step, because instead of frying cheese in a carb, I was frying it in and egg. Revolutionary. Point is, when you feel like you’re starting from zero, taking the first few steps towards branching out can be difficult. I’d definitely recommend this book for anyone who feels like they need a set of culinary training wheels. Take the Thai Red Curry Deviled Eggs for those who maybe don’t know how to boil and egg. For the true beginner, the recipe in the book directs you Trader Joe’s hard boiled eggs. If you’re ready for a little more speed, there are instructions on how to boil an egg (or cook al dente pasta, or dice an onion) in the back of the book. As you feel more confident, you can even start to make some of the ingredients you used to buy prepared from scratch. Do you feel the wind in your hair? The sun on your face? Riding this cooking-bike is awesome!
Don’t live by a Trader Joe’s? Don’t fear! There are lots of ingredients that can be nearly substituted at most grocery store deli or specialty sections. You could find the ingredients for, say, the Brie and Butternut Squash Quesadillas almost anywhere, for which I think we can all be thankful, wherever we live and wherever our skills are at.
Read on for a sneak peak of some of the recipes, and comment below for a chance to win a copy of your own! To enter the I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook Giveaway, you must:
Thai Red Curry Deviled Eggs
1 package Trader Joe’s Fresh Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Thai Red Curry Sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 scallion, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cut each hard-cooked egg in half lengthwise. Scoop the yolks out into a small bowl.
Add the mayonnaise, curry sauce, lime juice, scallion, and salt to the bowl with the yolks. Mash the ingredients together until combined.
Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves and garnish with a few pieces of scallion.
Brie and Butternut Squash Quesadillas
1 twelve-ounce bag Trader Joe’s Cut Butternut Squash
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 wedge Trader Joe’s Double Cream Brie
2 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 tablespoon canola oil (or more as needed)
Cook the butternut squash according to the package directions. Transfer to a small bowl and mash with the brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
Spread a little brie on each tortilla. Spread the squash mixture on half of each tortilla, then fold the tortillas in half.
In a medium non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 tortilla, cooking until each side is golden, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining tortilla, adding more oil as needed.
Remove the quesadillas from the pan and cut each one into 4 wedges.