Archive for the ‘Trader Joe’s’ Category

I’ve got a secret.  Everyone else thinks I spent an obscene amount of time on this meal.  Heh.  With a lot of help from my good friends TJ and Lynelle, this meal was really easy and super delicious.  I picked up a few bags of Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough, and a bottle of their mole sauce, and hurried home last night to try semi-homemade empanadas.  I do realize how easy it is to make my own dough, and next time I make these wonderful little packets, I plan to.  It’s those rushing-home-from-work, craving a homemade meal nights that requires a little help from my friendly neighborhood Joe. 

My neighbor assembled a salad using nothing but items from our garden (I added the rogue avocado) and a lemon thyme vinaigrette, and we feasted.  Dinner at our house has unfortunately become a bring-your-own-plate affair (ahem, see the chip in our ONE remaining full sized plate), but no one seemed to mind.


Carrie’s Cheater Empanadas

olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 pound ground turkey

Trader Joe’s mole sauce (yum.  Knowing that this exists on the market makes it tough for me to motivate to make my own.  I had a hard time not just digging in with a spoon and a tortilla)

2 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup grated cheese (optional – this may be the only time that I say that cheese is not even necessary!)

pizza dough

1 egg yolk, beaten

I made two varieties – one vegetarian in whole wheat dough and one turkey in regular old white dough.  Hard to say which was more popular.  Empanadas, like pizza, are simply vehicles for any extra ingredients in your pantry/fridge.  They’re the kitchen sink meal.  Because I made two varieties, my instructions are all using half of the ingredients – obviously if you’re mono-empanada-ing, you can combine them all.  Saute half the onion in olive oil until golden brown, then add the turkey.  Break it up with your spoon and cook until there’s no more pink.  Drain the pan of any extra turkey grease, then return to the stove.  Add half of the mole sauce, half of the corn, and stir to combine.

In another pan, saute the other half of the onion and add the black beans and the remainder of the corn and mole sauce.  Preheat your oven to 400°.

Flour your work surface, and roll/stretch the dough.  It was at this point that I made a big show of hiding the plastic bag it came in (for use for something else – the pizza dough bags are a great size for storage, I’ve found) and stretching my pizza dough – I’m pretty sure I fooled them all!  It can be pretty thin – about 1/2″ thick, I’d think?  Cut the dough into large rounds (this is all up to you – they can be tiny, for appetizers, or larger for dinner).  Fill one half of the circle with the filling of your choice, leaving a 1/2″ border.  Top the filling with grated cheese, if desired.  As I mentioned, I kept consistent with the dough/filling combos, so the vegetarians wouldn’t bite into a sneaky turkey packet.  Wet the non-filled side’s border (does that make sense?) with a little bit of water, fold the packet over, and pinch to seal.  Place the sealed empanadas on a baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg yolk for a nice golden shine.  Poke a hole or two in the tops to vent steam. 

Bake your emapanadas for 8-11 minutes or until golden brown and screaming to be eaten.

A picture of Lynelle’s gorgeous salad, with home-grown lettuce, banana peppers, snap peas, and nasturtium (edible) flowers.  It just tastes better when it comes from right outside your door!


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Ah, Trader Joe’s… how I love thee.  Your garlic and herb pizza dough, lovingly tucked away in the freezer, has saved my dinner more times than I can count.  Whenever I have a surplus of vegetables, your dough and cheese are there to take over, providing a safe nest where that chopped chard, arugula, and roasted bell peppers can bake to perfection.  Last night, Trader Joe’s, you did me right.  Can’t wait for the next time…

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