Herbed Garlic Polenta Fries – I Heart Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook

Sometimes I heart Trader Joe’s and sometime I do not.  This week I was not happy as TJ’s discontinued my kids’ favorite spicy spinach pizzas.  These were pizza bread rounds with a spicy cooked spinach on top.  They were great to dress up with cheese or wrap around veggies or just toast and eat plain for a quick lunch or snack.  Well they’re gone and I’m bitter.

However I do heart their vegetarian cookbook.  This is great for quick meals using their products.  Everything from breakfast items such as Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes (made quick by using their precut pineapple), to creating hearty dinners including a Classic Pot Pie (using their artisian puff pastry).  The recipes use Trader Joe’s products as short cuts however you can use your own ingredients just as well.  Not only are the ingredients bent towards a plant based vegetarian and vegan items but also are touted as budget conscious.  Who doesn’t heart that?

My family’s new favorite side dish is the Herbed Garlic Polenta Fries.  Next time I’ll try some different herbs such as sage and rosemary salt.  They were good in a quick aioli I whipped up using Veganaise, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil.  They could also be dipped in tomato sauce, pesto or catsup.

 

Herbed Garlic Polenta Fries

(page 46 from I Love Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Cookbook)

1, 18 ounce log Trader Joe’s Organic Polenta (find near pasta)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Prepare the polenta slices by cutting into 1/4 inch discs, then strips (about 3 – 4 strips per disc).  In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, garlic powder and oregano to combine.  *Gently toss the polenta with the olive oil mixture and spread in an even layer on the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with salt.  Bake until slightly browned and crispy on the edges, 35 to 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Serve the fries warm with aioli.

Makes 4 servings.

*I found it easier to lay out polenta strips and use a brush to coat the oil and herbs.

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I’m a Little Latke, A Nice Potato Pancake….

If you have a recent preschooler, you know this tune.  Happy Hannukah to those celebrating this first night.  While we do not celebrate Hannukah (my son figured this out after a year or two), we do like to partake in food traditions – no matter what the holiday or religion.  Food is a great way to learn about cultures, religion, beliefs and geography.

 

In the past I made my own latkes (see past recipe), however this year my kids and I discovered and sampled (and purchased) Trader Joe’s frozen latkes.  I’m sure this is probably sacriligious.  However they are tasty and came in handy today as our schedule was so hectic.  It also worked out well with our meatless Monday ritual.  I topped them with apple sauce, creme fraiche, lox and capers.

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Day 5 – Hunger Challenge

son's breakfast - note: the last piece of toast

I feel bored writing about our mornings, there’s so much of the same.  Oatmeal with almond milk and half a banana for me.  My daughter shared some oatmeal and a few slices of apple and grapes.  She put up a little fuss at breakfast.  My son got up earlier and ate the last piece of toast (along with yogurt, aple and a bowl of cereal).  I imagine this would be a regular problem in a large family, but it doesn’t happen much with only two kids.  Even the bread heel wasn’t an option as I used it for my tuna melt the other night, knowing no one else would want it.  We usually put the ends in the freezer to have on hand when we feed ducks at the park.

son's lunch, again
daughter's lunch
my lunch

While I was making my son’s lunch – he just keeps requesting the same turkey wrap, carrots, pretzels and grapes –  I decided to make a few hard boiled eggs.  My daughter loves making egg salad face sandwiches and I thought she’d like that for lunch with me.  I even went to the store and used up close to the last of my money (bread, carrots, flatbread, avocado, tofu, chicken, tortillas).   But no, she didn’t want that.  I enjoyed my sandwich – with no face.  She said “Why didn’t you make a face?”  I said “Because if you don’t have one there’e no one for my face to talk with.”  She had sunflowerbutter and fruit spread wrap, carrots and grapes.  There was one addition.  Cucumber slices.  The garden mom gave it to us at school pick up.  Score!

 

The afterschool snack was not exciting as we had 15 minutes to unpack bags, eat something, fill water bottles and change for soccer practice (both kids).  They had a Clif Z bar, as did their coach dad.  They hadn’t had one in a while and I keep them on hand for hiking or an emergency snack at a sports game/practice.  So this seemed like a treat.  My son remembered he didn’t eat his pretzels at lunch, so he packed them up for after soccer.  He’s now being resourceful and planning against hunger.

 

So I was glad I was able to buy more things today.  It wasn’t much, but staples we ran out of and a few things to get us through dinners.  I went to Trader Joes’ again, eventhough I usually buy meat, fish, chicken at Whole Foods.  It’s too too expensive for the challenge for these items.  I did still buy organic.  I also was happy to see the product demo for a taste of blueberry pancake with syrup.  I could’ve eaten 10 more samples, but I stopped at one.

dad's dinner
daughter's dinner - no meat, no sauce

Tonight was a stir fry.  A stir fry is great because you can add anything.  It’s also a good way to use all your veggies.  It seemed a treat to have two proteins – tofu (1/2 package) and chicken (2 small breasts, less than 3/4 lb total).  (My diet is lacking protein this week)  It also didn’t contain any left-overs or make-overs from previous meals.  My daughter not eating meat of course.  My son wanting chicken and my husband and I having both.  I had “bought” rice from my pantry, which wasn’t great planning.  There was only a little left of brown and the same of jasmine.  So I made a mix to get 1 cup and cooked it together.  This is one drawback to having too many choices – partial bags, but maybe not enough.  This meal was easy…First I heated some oil in the wok.  I rinsed and pushed out the water from the tofu and cut into chunks, then added it to the wok.  I removed the tofu and stir fried the chicken pieces.   I removed the chicken then for veggies I woked up some broccoli, carrots, and kale in some vegetable broth.  Everyone could add the veggies to the rice with their tofu and/or chicken.  I had bought a premade thai curry sauce for flavor, that we buy anyway.  It’s great for quick mid week stir fry, without having to measure and use lots of ingredients (which I don’t have access to this week).

edanamme

I also boiled some frozen organic edaname.  Half of which my daughter ate before dinner.  It’s hard this week to offer enough veggies for them to snack on before dinner, and be able to use them for the main meal.  It was good and we were full.  I even packed up the left-overs – a single serving, just barely big enough for my lunch tomorrow.  Something to look forward to…

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To Market To Market…What To Buy Where?

I thought these articles about what to buy at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods was very interesting and pretty true to my life.  Especially since these are my main markets.  Trader Joe’s for staples such as flatbread, crackers, cereal/oatmeal, baking supplies, cheeses (and of course orchids).  Whole Foods for well, whole foods (produce, meat, fish, specialty items). 

Take a look at these articles from Eating Well Magazine ….

Trader Joe’s

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/financiallyfit/what-foods-to-buy-and-what-to-skip-at-trader-joe-s-2450975/

Whole Foods

http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/healthy_cooking/_4-healthy-food-deals-whole-foodsand-skip

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