By Jen Hurst

I asked Jen to share her Chicken Rice Bowl recipe after our bunco group devoured it at her house – and then we all made it for our families that same week. We literally bumped into one another at Trader Joe’s shopping for the ingredients, and then created a shortage of cilantro in the Triad. Turns out, this was not the only yummy TJ recipe Jen had up her sleeve; she is somewhat of a Trader Joe’s connoisseur and had other favorite TJ recipes to share as well. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I do! ~ Katie

One stop shopping, and still able to create a great meal.  Love when that happens! My Go-To grocery store is Trader Joes. I found myself shopping there every week, for just a few items, until now! It’s where I buy 90% of my grocery for the week. Many items are seasonal and ever changing, so it’s fun to collect ideas for new menu items each week. Here are a few crowd pleasers…

Chicken Rice Bowls

~ 6-8 baked chicken breasts. Cooled, and cubed. I coated mine heavily with salt and pepper.
~ 1 bottle Trader Joe’s Thai Peanut dressing/ marinate (This is found in the produce section with the refrigerated dressings)
~ 1 package Cilantro, chopped
~1/2 for on top of finished dish, 1/2 to serve on the side
~1 package Pea Sprouts, chopped
~1/2 for on top of finished dish, 1/2  serve on the side
~1 bag Lightly Salted Peanuts, chopped (I used a Cuisinart) – Use 1/2 for on top of finished dish, 1/2 to serve on the side
~Jasmine Rice, cooked

~ Add cooked chicken to large skillet. Add the entire bottle of dressing, and heat.
~ Once heated, top with 1/2 of the following ingredients – Cilantro, Pea Sprouts, and Peanuts.

Add to the Chicken Bowl
~ Add a serving of rice to your bowl, top with the Chicken mixture. Then add additional Cilantro, Pea Sprouts, and Peanuts to taste. And to kick it up a bit, serve with Sriracha Hot Sauce!!

Lentils and Rice

~ 1 Box Frozen Organic Brown Rice
~ Use 2 packages and cook in the microwave per package directions
~ 1 package Melodious Blend (seasonal) – Blend of Green Garbanzo Beans, Red and Green Lentils, with a touch of tomatoes and olive oil
~ Off season- replace with Trader Joes cooked lentils in the Produce department, and a can of Trader Joes Garbanzo beans. Cook in the microwave per package directions
~ Honey
~ Sriracha Hot Sauce

~ Once both are cooked, add all to a pan, cooking a bit longer with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
~ Plate up, and drizzle with Honey and Sriracha Hot Sauce.

Potato Soup

~ Trader Joe”s Mirepoix (Celery, carrots, and onions)
~ Trader Joe”s Leeks – chopped
~ 3 tablespoons Trader Joes Olive Oil
~ 2 pounds Trader Joes Gold Potatoes – diced
~ 6 cups water
~ Salt and Pepper to taste

~ In a large dutch oven, brown Mirepoix and chopped Leeks. After about 10 minutes, add diced potatoes. Add 6 cups water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover for 40 min.
~ Then with a hand-held immersion blender or Vita Mix, blend soup to a smooth consistency and enjoy.

Chocolate Coconut Frap

~ 2 cups Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Milk
~ 1 packet Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee
~ 1-3 drops coconut extract
~ ½ Teaspoon trader Joes Cocoa Power
~ A few ice cubes

~ Blend all, sip, and remember that you can make 10 of these, for the price of 2 Starbucks Fraps!