5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less!)

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Deep question of the day: where do you guys grocery shop?

 5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

I tend to shop based on proximity, but the store has to have the natural and organic selection of foods I’m looking for or it just won’t work. In my current neighborhood (West Hollywood!) there are quite a few options within walking distance. I tend to visit most of them (Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms) on a pretty regular basis to see what new foods are out there, but Trader Joe’s is, without a doubt, a weekly stop for me. I can find most of the things I need – and for a pretty reasonable price – but I’ve got to admit that I love the frozen and convenience foods that Trader Joe’s offers. (If you’re ever wondering how something is, just ask. I’ve probably tried it!)

Recently, my friend Lynn and her husband came up with this super-clever buzzfeed video featuring Trader Joe’s mashups:

I loved the video and the premise –  it’s absolutely what inspired this post!

I started brainstorming some of my favorite trader joe’s combinations that fit the following criteria:

  1. under five ingredients (all but one are made with three ingredients)
  2. fairly healthy (all of them come in under or around 500 calories)
  3. include a vegetable (because every meal should!)
  4. delicious (again, because every meal should be!)

Here are the 5 Trader Joe’s meals that I came up with:

Classic Southern Dinner:

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Let’s start with an easy, classic meal: bbq chicken breast, mac & cheese and collard greens. Prepare the mac & cheese and bbq chicken as directed and lightly steam or saute the collard greens. *I really like their “reduced-guilt” mac & cheese, but have yet to try the gluten-free variety!

Palak Paneer Eggs:

 5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Why have I not combined Indian food with eggs before? Ah-mazing. Top cooked palak paneer with a fried or poached egg and serve with hot naan. This will definitely become a regular in our meal rotation – perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tortilla Pizza:

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats
Tortilla pizzas are one of my favorite meals and considering that I’ve eaten them on  regular basis for years, it was a no-brainer. When topped with sauce, arugula, cheese and turkey meatballs, this is a particularly filling pizza. Simply bake the tortilla until crisp, top with sauce, cheese, arugula and warmed meatballs and bake until cheese has melted. (Brown rice and sprouted tortillas are my favorite to use.)

Chimichurri Rice & Sausage:

 5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

Chimichurri rice is a somewhat new item and I’m so glad I finally put it in my cart – it’s delicious (so is the kimchee rice!).  When it’s combined with chicken sausage and a vegetable, you’ve got a balanced dinner that comes together in minutes. Slice and saute the sausage and rice as directed while you roast the broccoli in the oven.

Pasta with Mushrooms & Parmesan:

5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

This vegetarian meal is delicious and simple. And absolutely OUTSTANDING if you add a drizzle of truffle oil or sprinkling of truffle salt. Simply prepare the pasta and mushrooms as directed and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Use your favorite pasta variety.

Got any favorite quick meals to share? 

P.S. I’m really sorry if you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s! Come visit and I’ll take you on a tour. :)

whole-grain oat muffins

(We just returned from Thailand and I can’t wait to tell you more about it – it was absolutely amazing!)

Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

Ok, I’m usually an anti-muffin person. Why? Because most of the time they run a fine line. They’re either essentially a cupcake or they’re so healthy that they don’t resemble anything close to an actual muffin. So if I’m going to eat a cupcake, I’m going to eat a cupcake – with lots of frosting. And if I’m going to eat a healthy breakfast, I’m going to…you get the point.

But these muffins. Oh my. I don’t do a ton of baking but when the LA Times featured Clementine’s whole grain muffin with plump dried cherries, I knew it was a muffin I needed to try. Clementine is a bakery/cafe a few blocks from my office and I’m there a few times a month. Rarely do I get any of their baked goods though (even though their blondie is amazing), I usually stick with their deli salads and cold-brew coffee. (Other copycat Clementine recipes: lentil, beet & goat cheese salad and fall chicken salad)

Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

So here I had this recipe for a muffin that I figured had to be good, but I had never tried it. Research time! I picked up the muffin one afternoon and actually thought I would save it for breakfast the next morning. Um, nice idea in theory, but totally not realistic. After I finished my lunch, I dug into the muffin (a small portion!).

It was so good and wholesome!

Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

These muffins are dense, and pretty short but I promise you that they taste more like the ‘cupcake muffins’ than the ‘healthy muffins.’ That’s all to say, they are delicious! I (again, lacking any sort of patience) dug into them right out of the oven was honestly a little surprised by how good they tasted. Richie (and my coworkers!) agreed.

As you can see, they are packed full of oats, almond and flax meal and chia seeds. I love that the streusel topping gives it the ‘cupcake muffin’ feel without the typical white flour and sugar requirements of a ‘cupcake muffin.’ There are a few things that I think are worth discussing: 1) I decided to make the serving size two muffins. I felt it was a more realistic serving size. 2) These are calorie-dense. They are full of good-for-you ingredients that aren’t low in calories. Most of the time, I focus on ingredients rather than calories and this is a prime example.

Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

Nutritionally, these muffins are pretty impressive. They are 100% whole-grain, gluten-free and have an impressive 10 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber per serving. Yes, there is real sugar in these muffins (remember I wanted them to taste like a cupcake muffin?) and normally I’m the type of person who is anti-ANTI-sugar, but for comparisons sake, the 17 grams of sugar are similar to what you would find in a strawberry greek yogurt.

nutrition facts (for two muffins): 405 calories, 25 grams of fat, 10 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber

Whole-Grain Oat Muffins

by

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: bake bread breakfast high fiber high protein vegetarian

 

Ingredients (24 muffins (12 servings))

    For the Streusel Topping

    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup soft butter
    • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

    For the Muffins

    • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
    • 2 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil (liquid)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup almond meal
    • 1 cup flax meal
    • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    • 1/4 cup chia seeds
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt

    Instructions

    For the Streusel Topping

    In a small bowl, stir together sugar and butter until smooth.

    Add oats and mix until combined.

    Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until hardened, about 10 minutes.

    For the Muffins

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

    In a medium bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and set aside.

    Beat together the oil, eggs and vanilla in a stand mixer with paddle or large bowl with a hand mixer.

    Whisk together the dry ingredients: almond meal, flax meal, sliced almonds, chia seeds, sugar, baking powder and soda.

    Add oat and buttermilk mixture to egg mixture and with the mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time.

    Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 of the way and sprinkling with streusel topping.

    Bake the muffins for 12 minutes, than rotate pan. Bake another 12- 14 minutes until golden brown.

    Cool slightly before removing them from pan.

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    breakfast tacos with chipotle sour cream

    Breakfast Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream | A Nutritionist Eats

    This recipe has been a long time in the making but it’s quite fitting that I’m sharing it today. Why? Because I’m on my way to Mexico and plan on eating many versions of mexican breakfasts for the next week or so. I had something similar – goat cheese breakfast tacos – at a restaurant (almost a year ago!) and while I loved the idea of the goat cheese tacos, they didn’t blow me away. I’ve been wanting to recreate them ever since.

    Breakfast Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream | A Nutritionist Eats

    So I finally got around to making them and it turns out that the chipotle sour cream totally stole the show. Dare I say…it left the goat cheese totally and utterly pointless. (Which in my world is a bit shocking given my intense love for cheese.)

    I made the tacos again, this time omitting the goat cheese and they tasted just as good. No point in adding calories you can’t taste, am I right?

    Breakfast Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream | A Nutritionist Eats

    But back to the star. The chipotle sour cream is just…well, it left me wondering two things: why has this little can of chipotles been in my cupboard for almost two years and what else can I do with it?! (Brainstorms are in the works and chipotle chili is happening.) So all this is to say – you can’t (CAN. NOT.) leave the chipotle sour cream off. It takes a few short minutes and is so worth it.

     Breakfast Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream | A Nutritionist Eats

    The rest of the tacos? They are full of good stuff. I’m talking black beans, scrambled eggs, caramelized onions and fresh avocado slices. It’s pretty much the breakfast dreams are made of. And if you like eggs throughout the day, they would make a killer lunch or easy dinner.

    nutrition facts (4 servings): 380 calories, 13 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber

    Breakfast Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream

    by Emily Dingmann

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: breakfast gluten-free high fiber high protein vegetarian eggs Mexican

     

    Ingredients (4 servings)

      For the Chipotle Sour Cream

      • 1/2 cup sour cream
      • 1-1 1/2 chipotles + sauce depending on heat preference

      For the Tacos

      • 1/2 onion, caramelized
      • 6 eggs
      • 8 corn tortillas
      • 1-15 oz can of black beans
      • optional: avocado slices, chopped cilantro

      Instructions

      For the Chipotle Sour Cream

      Finely chop the chipotle peppers (you can basically mash them together)

      Mix into sour cream.

      Add some of the sauce as desired.

      For the Tacos

      Whisk eggs together in small bowl and scramble until cooked through.

      Heat tortillas in microwave until hot.

      Assemble tacos: layer beans, eggs, onions and sour cream on tortillas. Top with avocado and cilantro if desired.

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      texas caviar rice & beans

      texas caviar rice & beans | a nutritionist eats

      First things first: Texas Caviar Rice & Beans is genius. I’m a big fan of bean salad (you’re aware of this: black bean & corn relish + more recent obsession with simple bean salads) so this recipe caught my eye almost immediately.

      But let’s back up. I was sent The Slim Down South Cookbook, Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon written by Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD. In addition to the standard, breakfast/lunch/dinner recipes, the book also includes “Stay Slim Secrets” and features “Slim and Savvy Southerners” who share their strategies for enjoying southern food while staying healthy. The images are beautiful (a must for me) and each recipe includes nutrition facts. 

      I oddly enough love Southern food. Odd only because I’ve never lived in the South and because well, we all know that Southern food is known for being anything but healthy. While I definitely don’t eat perfectly (or even close) I still don’t like that it frequently seems obnoxiously-rich, and way over the top. But this book changes that. It lightens up the classic recipes that we all love, like fried chicken and grits, to calorie levels that are more acceptable for every day eating.

       texas caviar rice & beans | a nutritionist eats

      The publisher let me share this recipe with y’all…catch that? It’s a fresh take on rice and beans and it’s flavorful, crunchy and oh-so-satisfying. We loved it!

      Canned beans and pre-made rice make this salad come together quickly. And the combination of rice and beans with fresh celery, tomatoes and cilantro is great. If you like spice, top the salad with lots of hot sauce and pickled jalapenos!

      nutrition facts (about 1 cup rice-bean mixture + 1 oz tortilla chips): 451 calories, 19 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber

      Texas Caviar Rice & Beans

      by The Slim Down South Cookbook

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Keywords: appetizer entree salad side gluten-free high fiber vegan vegetarian beans

       

      Ingredients (6 servings)

        For the Salad

        • 1 (15.8-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
        • 1 (15-oz.) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
        • ⅓ cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
        • ¼ cup seeded and finely chopped poblano pepper
        • Texas Vinaigrette
        • 2 (8.8-oz.) pouches fully cooked basmati rice
        • ⅔ cup thinly sliced celery
        • ¾ cup (3 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese
        • 1¼ cups chopped tomatoes
        • ¾ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
        • ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions
        • 6 oz. tortilla chips
        • Garnish: sliced pickled jalapeño peppers

        For the Vinaigrette

        • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
        • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
        • 1½ Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
        • 1½ Tbsp. hot sauce
        • 1 minced garlic clove
        • ¼ tsp. chili powder
        • ¼ tsp. ground cumin

        Instructions

        For the Salad

        Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium-size microwave-safe glass bowl; let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring at 30-second intervals.

        Heat rice according to package directions; fluff with a fork. Layer rice, bean mixture, celery, cheese, tomato, cilantro, and green onions in 2-qt. trifle bowl or straight-sided bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

        Note: The original recipe tested with Tasty Bite Basmati Rice. I used brown basmati rice.

        For the Vinaigrette

        Whisk all ingredients together. *You’ll need only half of this dressing for the Texas Caviar Rice and Beans. Store the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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