Product Spotlight: Trader Joe’s Traditional Premade Carnitas

Low maintenance with BIG seasonal flavor- Carnitas and Butternut squash enchiladas for a dinner party.

I thought of this idea when I had leftover butternut squash cans in my pantry and carnitas in my fridge… it all seemed to fit together after that!

IMG_2291

TJ’s Traditional Premade Carnitas

  • Servings: 8-10 Enchiladas
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Recipe by Bonnie Kuss

Ingredients

  • 2 Cans TJ’s butternut squash puree
  • 1 jar chipotle salsa
  • ½ cup chicken broth, veggie broth, or water
  • 8-10 Tortillas of Choice ( Corn or flour )
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup Fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 round of TJ’s Queso Fresco Or 1 wedge of Cotija crumbled
  • 1 Package Carnitas TJS pre made
  • Make it totally Vegetarian or add extra fiber by using 2 cans of drained black beans instead of Carnitas.

Directions

  1. Combine puree, salsa, and ½ CUP broth or water in bowl, add spices and stir set aside
  2. Place carnitas into separate bowl and shred or chop into small pieces add 1- 1 ½ cup of sauce to pork and stir to combine
  3. If using corn tortilla, warm in a pan with oil oil to prevent cracking before rolling, If using flour tortillas feel free to skip that step. Lets get rolling!
  4. Place 1 cup sauce on bottom of pan
  5. Take 1 tortilla, add 2 rounded TB full of sauced meat, 1 TB cheese and roll up, set inside pan seam side down and repeat * *Continue rolling until you have used all your filling.
  6. Pour remaining sauce mixture on top of enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, after 20 minutes remove foil and sprinkle with ½ – ¾ cup cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes until cheese has mostly melted.
  7. Top with the fresh cilantro right before serving!


SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E7): Uncle Gary’s Challenge

This week, we get a special fan mail request from Marie’s Uncle Gary, and she shows up with nothing but #drinkinwine. How are we going to play Swashbuckled with no ingredients?

Read on for episode breakdown.


Ingredients featured in this week’s episode:

So…back story… SUPERFAN Joe Marandola (Marie’s dad), shared our web series with his family back in Rhode Island. From that, we got our first fan request from Uncle Gary: “Here are four…Ground Cinnamon, Soy Sauce, Mustahd and Gingah. Holy sh*t, make something with that!”

We took this request very seriously, and Marie knew that I would have most of these ingredients in my kitchen, so the only ingredient she brought over this week was her favorite fancy mustard (oh, and #drinkinwine, AKA. Lonely Alcoholic White Girl Soda).

Since I had only shopped at 99 Ranch this week, as opposed to Trader Joe’s, we were very limited to things involving tofu, ramen noodles and miso paste. But the final product was a delicious, winter ramen. You can easily make the ramen eggs and broth ahead of time, and just boil the noodles as needed. It should last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Vegetable Miso Ramen

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, Grated
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp White Miso Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • Ramen Noodles of Choice (or just pick the best package)
  • Toppings: Baby Bok Choy, Thinly Sliced Carrots, Halved Grape Tomatoes, Soft Boiled Ramen Egg, Enoki Mushrooms, Sliced Green Onion, Seaweed, Crushed Red Chili Flakes

Directions

  1. Bring chicken or veggie broth to a boil and add miso paste, ginger and garlic. Let boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low, add Mirin, and prepare toppings.
  2. Thinly slice baby bok choy and green onion. Use a peeler to thinly slice carrots. Halve grape tomatoes.
  3. In a separate boy, bring water to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, cook ramen noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, put noodles in bowl and top with ramen broth, desired toppings and ramen egg.
  4. For the Soft Boiled Ramen Eggs, you’ll need to prepare them at least 4 hours in advance so they can marinate.  Fill a pot at heat halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Once water is at a rolling boil, add 4 eggs (with a slotted spoon or skimmer so you don’t crack the eggs), and then set a timer for 8  minutes (if you like runny eggs, go for 7, if you like harder cooked eggs, go for 9-10 minutes). Once timer goes off, immediately transfer eggs to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Peel eggs and place in marinade of 1 part soy sauce, 1 part mirin and 3 parts water. Make sure all eggs are covered. Refrigerate for a few hours, ideally overnight.

Mustard Crusted Tofu

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard (the Grain type)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Directions

  1. Slice tofu into thin, squares (or shapes of your choosing).
  2. In a bowl, combine mustard, soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss sliced tofu in marinade, and let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place marinated tofu in a single layer on parchment. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping tofu halfway through.

Vegetable Miso Ramen with Mustard Tofu

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade and Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Come on, get appy! No, not an iPhone app, not an appendectomy…an appetizer!

I could eat appetizers all day long. Cheese boards. Baguette. Hummus. Artichoke and spinach dip. Everything just seems to be more decadent and taste better when it is in amuse-bouche form (in fact, quit what you are doing right now, and do a google image search of amuse-bouche. ooooooohhh, aaaaaahhhh). And quite honestly, if I were on Top Chef, this would be my specialty, because I LOVE hors d’oeuvres.

Fun fact about me: I once co-hosted a book club with my best friend just for the appetizers.

Any way, I am sure you can imagine that I try to pass off appetizers as “dinner” from time to time. For some reason, I always feel like it would be transformed into a “meal” if we added a simple salad. Here are some from my repertoire:

Polenta and Artichoke

Left: Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade
Right: Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Ingredients:
  • 2 Artichokes
  • About 2 cups veggie broth (home made or store bought)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Aioli Mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp Reserved veggie broth liquid
  • pinch of salt and pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp basil  (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano (optional)

Directions:

  1. To prepare the artichoke: rinse them, cut the stem off, trim the top of the leaves (because they can be a little prickly.) Cut each artichoke in half and remove the bitter, flower-y part in the middle, between the leafs, and the “choke.” (This also helps get flavor throughout and cook faster.)
  2. Store Bought is Fine

    Store bought is fine

    Place the artichoke, cut side down in a pot. Add two cloves of garlic, two lemon slices and two bay leafs and cover with veggie broth. You can easily make your own, which will be coming in a future post. However, in the words of my favorite celebrity chef, Ina Garten, store bought is fine.

  3. Cover and simmer until artichokes are tender. Then remove and serve along side of sauce (but don’t toss the veggie broth just yet! You’ll need that for the sauce)
  4. To make the dipping sauce: combine mayonnaise, mustard, and then a few tablespoons of the veggie broth mixture you just boiled the artichokes in. I think I also added a couple other spices, but I really can’t remember. Maybe some dried basil and oregano? Salt and pepper? I don’t know, but it was delicious. I am sure whatever spice you put in there would be delicious.

Perfectly-Perfect-Artichoke from The Fearless Flying Kitchen

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade

This is REALLY easy to make and will seem very gourmet. I have done this with home made polenta as well as store bought polenta as well as different varieties of olive tapenade. They are all delicious, and it really just depends on how much time you want to invest into this.

Ingredients:

  • Home-made polenta (like this Rosemary Polenta recipe) or the store bought Organic Polenta
  • Approx 1 Tbsp Olive oil or Butter
  • 3-4 Tomatoes (“on the vine” or Beefsteak varieties are best)
  • 1 container of Olive Tapenade
  • 1 container of creme fresh or sour cream
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat griddle over medium high heat and spray with some cooking spray, butter or a little olive oil. Slice polenta into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and place on grill. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, not very long because it is already cooked. Just until heated through and has some delicious looking grill marks. Remove form heat and arrange on dish.
  2. Slice tomatoes into thick slices and grill like you did with the polenta.  Once it gets beautiful grill marks, place on top of each polenta slice. Top with a half Tbsp of Olive Tapenade of your choice (I have used three different Olive Tapenades from Trader Joes, and all are excellent, probably leaning more towards the one found in the refrigeratedsection), a dollop of Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream (or, on that note, Greek Yogurt if you are really trying to make this healthy) and then a sprinkling of fresh basil.

Grilled Polenta and Olive Tapenade from The Fearless Flying Kitchen