YOU GUYS!!!! Trader Joe’s has finally, finally arrived in Colorado. I know that I was not the only person doing a happy dance about this, especially with the insane crowds and crazy empty shelves in the stores. Seriously though? I’ve lived here for 5 years and patiently waited for them to open. I’ve lugged back bags of freezer goodies from Chicago and California. I’ve stuffed my carryon to the brim with snacks and goodies that can only be found at TJ’s. February 14 could not have come soon enough.
We braved the Denver store Sunday afternoon and while parking seemed out of control we just grabbed a spot on the street and walked into the store. It was slight chaos in the store but the employees were rockstars and on top of making sure things were moving along. We walked through the store and I was able to grab some favorite items and some new things to try as well. Sadly they were out of my most favorite pineapple salsa but I think I can survive without it for a while longer. One of the things I was most intrigued by was the box of frozen quinoa. Similar to their boxes of frozen white or brown rice, packaged in 2 smaller bags inside that are thrown into the microwave. I wanted a bag of dry quinoa but since there wasn’t any and I had a salad idea brewing in my head I snagged this to give it a try. I’ll report back on it later this week with the recipe that went along with it!
For Sunday dinner we picked up a package of Chicken Pesto Sausages (precooked) lots of assorted veggies, a bag of bow tie pasta, pesto and parmesan cheese. Dinner was a success, 2 out of the 3 of us liked the sausage. We all agreed it tasted slightly like beef salami (so strange I know) and I think this is an item I’ll bypass the next time I’m in the store. Too many other delicious things to eat out there. Below you’ll find the recipe for the first of many TJ inspired meals I’m sure! All items were purchased at Trader Joe’s. (I apologize for the quality of the photo. It was late, I was beyond hungry after a miserable brunch and I just snapped it and started eating.)
Brown Butter Pesto Pasta with Veggies
1 bag pasta (we used bow ties)
1 package Chicken Pesto Sausages (omit if you want this to be a vegetarian meal! substitute with your favorite sausage!)
1 pack of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 container of mushroom, onion and asparagus (sliced and ready to go in the refrigerator vegetable section)
1 bag english peas (found in the refrigerator vegetable section)
1 bag of small zucchini, chopped
1 jar Trader Joe’s Pesto
5 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lemons (zested and juiced)
Follow cooking instructions on pasta package.
While pasta water is boiling, heat up a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook package of asparagus, mushrooms and onions until asparagus is tender. Transfer to large bowl. In the skillet add in 1 tablespoon of butter and once it’s melted add in mushrooms and Italian seasoning to taste. Cook mushrooms until golden brown. Transfer to bowl of vegetables. Add in chopped zucchini and additional seasoning to taste, cook for a few minutes until you’ve got some nice color on them. Add in 2 tablespoons of pasta water, cover with a lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes until zucchini are tender. Add in garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Remove from skillet and add into the bowl of vegetables. Toss cut up sausages into the pan along with the bag of english peas. Cook until the sausages are warmed through and the peas are bright green. Toss together with all the cooked vegetables. Season accordingly with salt and pepper. In the same pan, place remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and cook over medium high heat until the butter turns a golden brown and smells nutty. Add in jar of pesto and cook down for a few minutes, stirring continuously. Add in lemon zest and lemon juice, give the sauce another stir and then add in pasta. Combine together so that pasta is coated by the sauce. Serve pasta topped with the vegetables and sausages. Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
*omit sausage to create a vegetarian meal.
*to make this into a vegan meal, whip up your own batch of pesto and omit butter from the sauce!