Today was the first day of 2013 in which my car thermometer reached 60 degrees. It eventually dropped to 53 after I started driving, but it’s the small things.
I left work this afternoon and decided that this blessing of sunshine called for a delicious dinner of “little bites”. This is a regular practice of mine in which I find a bunch of tasty morsels at Trader Joe’s and turn them into a meal. However, sometimes when I walk into the market, my stomach starts to take charge over my brain, and an argument begins. Thus, my shopping cart looked a little something like this:
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Tenders
- Green Beans
- 2 lb. bag Jasmine Rice
- TJ’s General Tsao’s Cooking Sauce
- TJ’s Triple Ginger Snap Cookies
- Ridge-Cut Sweet Potato Chips
- TJ’s World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Bites
- Frozen, Breaded Fish Sticks
- Frozen, Chicken Taquitos
- Frozen, TJ’s Potato Tots
- TJ’s Organic Shells & White Cheddar
- Organic Mac & Cheese
- 3 Fruit & Nut Bars
My stomach and brain, clearly, could not reach a compromise. My love of green beans and my desire for a balanced meal overpowered my idea for a meal of “little bites”. In the end, though, I ended up with snacks and/or lunches that are quick, easy and long-lasting in the freezer and I was able to put together one of my favorite types of dinners: chicken with vegetables and a carb (usually potato or rice).
When I got home, I cleaned my chicken and divided it into two batches. I always freeze half of the chicken so that I can make it another time, and can also use it as a back-up meal. I marinated the chicken in a little bit of the General Tsao’s Cooking Sauce – not too much because upon smelling it I found that it was a little strong. (The bottle suggested stir-frying any type of protein and/or vegetables and then adding the sauce at the end.) I only let the tenders sit in the sauce for as long as it took for me to finish putting away my groceries and to wash the knife and cutting board I used. I pan-fried the chicken and then set it aside to cool for a few minutes while I finished throwing together the rest of the meal.
With the green beans, I blanched them and then tossed them with garlic, a little bit of canola oil, salt and pepper in a small saute pan. And, finally, I took a reasonable serving size of tater tots – I say reasonable because I could probably eat half of the one-pound bag in one sitting – and followed the heating instructions on the outside of the box. Typically with these types of foods, I prefer to heat them in the oven, or toaster oven, as opposed to deep-frying or pan-frying in oil as I do not like them to be greasy.
So, at the end of the day, all I can do is adore Trader Joe’s. And the best part? The total for that purchase was $39.86, and most of the items will last me at least a month.
It’s amazing what warm weather, a good trip to the market and a delicious meal can do.