>20 Minute Family Dinner with the Help of Good Ol’ Trader Joe

22 Aug

Dear Trader Joe,

You are filled with fun snacks and irresistible brand name treats! Why do you tempt me so?

Your thick cinnamon raisin bread is just heavenly when turned into French Toast! Your Raisin Bran and Vanilla Almond Clusters cereal…once I start, I can’t stop! All of those cute prepared salads! And your pizza doughs! Don’t even get me started on your trail mix collection and those gosh darn chocolate covered almonds! You used to carry this Greek style Fig Yogurt, but now you don’t…tears…sniff sniff…

In case you haven’t seen this video yet, anyone familiar with Trader Joe’s market should watch! Here you go!

Anyway, I just spent 5 days with the fam basking in the San Diego sunshine, cruising the beaches, and riding the waves on a sailboat and a powerboat, a kayak and a jet-ski!

After sitting in traffic on the way back to Los Angeles, we had no desire to “futz” around in the kitchen. Quick, easy, and delicious was tonight’s motto.

We decided to be inventive and use up whatever was left in the house (which was pretty slim pickin’s since we were out of town for 5 days!).

Well, those “slim pickin’s” made a mighty fine 20-minute dinner! We took the easy way out and popped some Trader Joe’s brand “chicken tenders in panko bread crumbs” in the oven with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. We sautéed a little spinach with some garlic and salt to top it all off!

Trader Joe, you did it again! We took your simple already made chicken and kicked it up a few notches with our own twist!

To keep our chicken dish company, I prepared a “musgo” (pronounced muZgo; term for everything in the fridge “must go”) chopped Italian style salad with celery, cucumber, hearts of palm, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pepperoncinis. Drizzled with some oil and vinegar, a dash of salt, and a sprinkle of rosemary, this salad was a big hit tonight for the fearsome foursome!

Breaded Baked Chicken with Tomato Sauce, Spinach, and Cheese

1 package of Trader Joe’s “chicken tenders in panko bread crumbs”
½ a large jar of your favorite marina sauce
a few handfuls of shredded cheese (mozzarella…parmesan…)
Garlic (1-2 cloves)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking dish with foil.
  • Place the chicken tenders on the foil and cover with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake until heated through and the cheese is melty, about 10-15 minutes or so.
  • Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan and add the garlic. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add a bag of spinach and sauté until wilted. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When the chicken comes out of the oven, lay the spinach over the top!

“Musgo” Chopped Salad

4 stalks of celery
3 Persian cucumbers
1 can of Hearts of Palm
Sundried tomatoes in oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Vinegar (I used Balsamic, but feel free to use Red wine or another vinegar of your choice)
Rosemary (I used dried but fresh would be ideal! Also, you can substitute whatever herbs you prefer!)

  • Chop everything into bite-sized pieces. Dress lightly with oil and vinegar, herbs, and salt.
  • Feel free to add in whatever ingredients you have on-hand or like to eat. I would love some chunks of feta cheese! Some toasted nuts! Artichoke hearts! Avocado! Let your imagination run wild!

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