I've been eating the same things over and over again, having a really hard time coming up with something new using the same ingredients that I can find at Fred Meyer. They opened up a new Trader Joe's near my house quite some time ago but I didn't make it opening weekend. Too many people and, having never been to a Trader Joe's, wasn't all that excited. I decided to stop by a week later, after the frenzy had calmed some. It was pretty busy when I went in there, hard to get through the isles, to many people to really look around and see what they had. I spent all of maybe 20 minutes in there and came up with a frozen risotto dinner and a quart of rice milk. Then I saw the lines. Okay, fight through the crowd to put my two things back, get out of there before I go mad. I had pretty much given up on them but with my recent boredom of food I decided to give them another try. Was I ever glad I did! There weren't many people in there, I could make it up and down each aisle and I could actually see what they had on the shelves. I inspected every shelf of every aisle in that little store. I had to because, unlike Fred Meyer, they don't have all their gluten free things in one handy labeled aisle. It's mixed in and sharing shelf space with their gluten filled counterparts. I keep finding new things that they either didn't have or that I missed on previous trips.
Here are some of my finds that I now regularly buy at Trader Joe's. rice pasta, which is a given, but I prefer theirs over the tinkyada brand. It cooks faster and holds its consistency, making me feel like I'm eating the real thing. Cheaper too, that's always a bonus. They have all kinds of nuts, bagged and salted or unsalted if you prefer that. Dried fruit roll-up thingies, there are flat but very good. Vacuum fried banana chips. I don't even know what vacuum fried really is but this are a great alternative to chips when you're craving something crunchy. Chicken sausages. They have different flavors, they are all white meat chicken, organic, and of course, gluten free. Some of the sausages have cheese in them so check the ingredients and make sure you didn't accidentally grab ones that contain dairy. Sliced white mushrooms that are cleaned, sliced, and bagged. My boyfriend swears that these mushrooms taste better than regular grocery store bought ones. Dark chocolate bars that are made without dairy and soy. This is an especially nice find!
So, if you have a Trader Joe's near you and you aren't familiar with them, it's worth a trip. Everything in their store is organic and cheap, compared to organic items in other stores. Wasn't I supposed to post a recipe of some sort in here? The recipe that I'm going to post is made all from ingredients that I found at Trader Joe's, but if you don't have one in your area you can substitute with any other brand and still make it. I don't really have a name for it, it was just a few things that I thought would taste good together. I call it my Trader Joe's mess or concoction. It's also really quick and easy to make. It also makes a quite a bit. So here it is.
What you'll need
* 1 package penne brown rice pasta
* 1 package chicken sausage, cooked (I've used sweet italian and apple chardonnay flavored sausage and they both taste just as good in this)
* 1 package sliced white mushrooms
* 1 pack of fresh goat cheese
* Olive oil
Cook rice pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is boiling, heat or cook your sausage and saute your mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil. Cut the sausage into slices after it's done heating.
Strain the pasta and rinse excess starch off. Pour pasta into a large bowl, add mushrooms and sliced sausage. Pour some olive oil over the entire dish, about a 1/4 cup or so, maybe slightly less. Add in the goat cheese. It will melt and mix into the entire dish rather than staying in chunky pieces. I usually break it up into pieces over the bowl and then mix in but I've also just dumped the log in whole and mixed it up, it just took longer to spread and melt it that way. Enjoy!