a trader joe’s dinner

Yes, it’s been forever since my last post. And I knew it would be.

It’s been almost a month since I started the MS Nutrition program at the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. After a year and a half of prereqs, 41 masters credits, two years of full time classes, 90 practicum hours, 1200 fieldwork hours, and a 4 hour long national exam, I will (hopefully) be legally qualified to tell people to put down that doughnut. (Kidding… but if you really want to know what a Registered Dietitian does, check it out). The irony of going to school for a health profession, if you’re working full time, is that you don’t have time to cook, exercise, or get a full night’s sleep. While I’d love to spend my days wandering through farmers markets and cooking four course meals, summer’s over and the stack of Biochem and Biostats reading wins.

For one of my classes, we’re doing a project on a food corporation and my group picked Trader Joe’s. So last Saturday I headed down to the Court Street Trader Joe’s to find a manager to interview/harass and perhaps beg for free samples. After chatting with Manager Jason (thank you Jason) in his Hawaiian shirt, I figured I should pick up a few groceries since I never really shop there – a 15 minute bike ride is just “too far” these days. I grabbed a salad for lunch which turned out to be pretty awesome – baby spinach with curried chicken, red quinoa, mango, and coconut chili dressing. For the next night’s dinner, I was tempted by the crab cakes, but ended up going with Chimichurri Wild Pacific Salmon and a packet of Seasoned Brussels Sprouts.

The preparation time for this dinner was about 30 seconds. Drop brussels onto a baking sheet, add olive oil, roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. When you pull them out, throw the pre-marinated salmon into the oven in place of the sprouts, and you have dinner 10 minutes later! I also added some of my favorite brown rice to the mix – Lundberg short grain.

Chimichurri wild pacific salmon, roasted brussels sprouts, & brown rice

Everything was delicious and nothing really even needed extra seasoning. Roasted Brussels sprouts by the way, are simply amazing. If you’ve never tried them oven-roasted, do yourself a favor and taste them immediately. Thanks Trader Joe’s for allowing me to “cook” at least once this month. Thanks must also be given to a certain boyfriend who took pity on me (or was grossed out?) and did all the dishes from this meal after I still hadn’t done them three days later. (Dishes: there’s another thing I don’t have time for…)

what’s-in-your-fridge asian salad

September. It’s that time of year again. I’m back to work and have started classes for my MS Nutrition program. So, as will be the case with many nights to come (apologies in advance for the serious decline in blog posts), I pulled myself away from my Biochem textbook and wondered what I could make for dinner that was fast and wouldn’t involve going to the store. I call this the What’s-In-Your-Fridge Asian Salad. This is what I did, but you can really substitute anything here for anything else, as long as it tastes good to you.

Boil vermicelli (rice noodles) for three minutes and then run under cold water. Using a mandolin (or just slice very thinly), slice cucumber, scallion, and red onion, and grate carrot. Arrange the rice noodles atop boston lettuce and baby spinach, and then pile the other veggies on top. Add dressing (1 tbs smooth peanut butter, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1/2 tbs sesame oil, 1 tbs mirin, 2 tbs soy sauce, and red pepper flakes to taste) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

It would be great with some grilled shrimp or chicken on top. And crumbled peanuts. But then it wouldn’t be a what’s-in-your-fridge salad, it would be a walk-to-the-grocery-store-and-buy-stuff salad. Try it! What’s in your fridge?

What’s-in-your-fridge Asian Salad