I thought I'd take time to list a few of my favorite products and what I do with them (listed in the order I pick them up in the store):
- Stoplight peppers, these are frozen, precut bell peppers. They are not as good as fresh, don't get me wrong, but they are good to zest up spaghetti or make a tasty addition to my scrambled eggs. Actually, my scrambled egg "recipe" is so good that it is beyond a convenience food at this point. I like to add peppers, cilantro, and crushed red pepper. Yum.
- Frozen cilantro/basil cubes. Lets face it, fresh herbs can be expensive for a grad student, when you cook for one it's hard to use a whole bunch, and when sharing a fridge with 3 other people there isn't really room to keep these AND all the regular vegetables. Trader Joes sells them in cubes with a teapoon of frozen herb, which is perfect for adding to eggs, soup, pasta, my favorite thai stir fry, or really almost anything you would normally add these herbs to. And it's much better than substituting dry for fresh in recipes.
- Black cocoa almonds. Trader Joe's has everything covered in chocolate, but I'd say these are my favorite, not too sweet, very chocolatey and the almond provides a nice crunch. But like I said, they also have the best collection of chocolate covered things I've seen, and lots are good, but not the chocolate covered ginger. I would stay away from that if I were you.
- Pesto tortellini. My suitemate introduced me to this. It's simply an awesome quick meal, I like it with a little Parmesan/Romano cheese blend (which incidently, I also got at Trader Joe's)
- Precooked/seasoned chicken/turkey sausage. Pork sausage is something you will never see me eat. But I don't mind chicken sausage in the right context. These are delicious because they come in many great flavors, and oh so easy because they are precooked. Keep them in the freezer and just defrost. I like to cut them up and cook them with (fresh, not frozen) bell peppers and brown rice. It might be my favorite quick and easy meal, and one sausage and one pepper plus a half cup of rice has the perfect amount for lunch leftovers the next day. I've tried and like the sweet basil pesto, but I'm sure they are all really good.
And for the record, Trader Joe's did not pay me for this endorsement, but maybe they should have.