Monday, April 26, 2010

Manic Monday - Trader Joe's Easy Fixes

The idea to do a "Manic Monday" post every Monday has been in my mind for awhile but I've just never implemented. I know that most people dread Mondays. As a teacher, Mondays were always a new beginning, however when it came time to come home things were usually a little crazy. Now with Makenzie here, Mondays continue to be just a little off for some reason. I've decided to use Mondays as a way for me to share things that I'm doing or have done that make life a little easier.

If you are just starting to read my blog you probably think that this is a blog mostly about my baby but in all actuality it all started with my passion for cooking. I was newly married and loved to cook so I decided that I would share some of what I was cooking, amongst other things. I haven't posted anything related to cooking or baking for awhile because frankly, food at the Dallas household either hasn't been exactly noteworthy or I've taken a recipe directly from a source like Annie's Eats (one of my favorite food blogs) and certainly don't want to just repost exactly what she posted.

This Manic Monday dinner post is all about Trader Joe's. On the menu: sauteed chicken, brown rice and fire-roasted balsamic veggies.

For the rice I used Trader Joe's frozen brown rice. I absolutely love this stuff. If you haven't tried it, you must. The box is inexpensive and comes with three bags of frozen brown rice (each bag can provide a side dish for two people). You cut the corner off of the bag, pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes and you have absolutely perfect brown rice, not mushy, not sticky, just right. It's a new staple in the Dallas household.

The veggies were also from Trader Joe's frozen section and were pretty yummy. I'm not a big fan of frozen veggies but for some reason Trader Joe's frozen veggies aren't soggy or rubbery. The fire-roasted balsamic veggies are made with a balsamic infused butter. The best part is that every ingredient is something that you would have in your house so you know it's not processed. The tomatoes were a little too soggy for my taste as were the mushrooms but they still had a great taste.

To make this a meal I sauteed some chicken. To add a little extra flavor I used some herbes de provence and sauteed garlic. I know that this is as simple as it gets but sometimes, when life is crazy, you just need the idea to do it. I love sauteed chicken breasts, here's how I made these:

4 chicken breast halves (I just butterflied two whole breasts)
herbes de provence (if you don't have this on hand, you can use dried rosemary and thyme)
extra virgin olive oil (one turn of the pan)
1 garlic clove, minced

Sprinkle the chicken with a little salt, pepper and herbes de provence.
Pour extra virgin olive oil in the pan, one turn
Add the minced garlic and cook only until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Remove garlic from the pan, leaving the olive oil in the pan.
Saute chicken about 6 - 8 minutes each side. (I tend to cook our chicken a little more than may be needed but Dirk and I are really picky about making sure that our chicken is very well done.)

While chicken sautes put veggies in a pan (they cook for 4-5 minutes) and cook brown rice (3 minutes).

To plate, put the rice on the plate, add the veggies and the chicken and drizzle with the left over sauce from the veggies, there's quite a bit of leftover sauce.

This was a super healthy, yummy meal with very little clean-up, not much thought involved and super fast. Sure beats eating dinner from a box.

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