How to Make Stir Fry Vegetables

Are you interested in learning how to make stir fry vegetables at home? They really are a quick and yummy way to enjoy vegetables on a regular basis.

One of the good things about making stir fry vegetables is that you can use just about any vegetable that you have in the house: onions, carrots, green beans, zucchini, bok choy, mushrooms- the list can go on and on.

What I feel is the most important part of making a stir fry is the order that you cook the vegetables and what you use to add flavor to the dish.

When I say the “order” of the vegetables, I mean to be mindful of which vegetables cook faster or need longer cooking than others. Sometimes, as with carrots, if you cut up these longer cooking vegetables into small thin pieces then you can shrink the cooking times. Vegetables such as onions, carrots and peppers are great when they are cut a little bit smaller for a stir fry.

So you are asking “what are fast –cooking vegetables”? These include softer vegetables such as mushrooms, snow peas, spinach or bean sprouts. These sorts of veggies are best when added right at the end of the stir fry.

Now if you are using a frozen bag of veggies like the Trader Joe’s Stir Fry Vegetables, just pour the whole bag into the pan and start to cook from there.

Trader Joe's Stir-Fry Vegetables

Trader Joe's Stir-Fry Vegetables

Beyond the order that you add the veggies to the pan, what you are using to flavor this dish is very important. There are certain flavors that are special to stir fry or Oriental cooking in general. These flavor makers include:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil

When you add a combination of these 4 ingredients, you are going to create the best stir fry veggies.

Grated Ginger & Garlic

Grated Ginger & Garlic

So what we do to make Stir Fry Vegetables quickly and easily  is to pour one bag of Trader Joe’s Stir Fry Veggies into a sauté pan and add about ½ inch of water to the bottom. Cook on medium until the veggies are just thawed, about 5 minutes.

Now add 2 cloves of grated garlic and the same amount of grated ginger to the pan (Use the Microplane 35001 Home Series Coarse Grater, Black for best results). Also add a splash of Soy sauce ( ¼ cup) and a Tablespoon of sesame oil. Turn the heat up on the pan and “stir fry” all the ingredients together for 2 minutes or until hot and sizzling.  Taste a veggie and see if you need to add more soy sauce or sesame oil to taste.

It really is just that easy to have a delicious batch of stir fry vegetables ready to serve.

To make it even easier, Trader Joe’s sells small jars of chopped garlic and chopped ginger so that all you needed to do was add a spoonful from a jar to your pan. We used to use these items but now that Trader Joe’s sells fresh ginger root in the produce area and also those wonderful Elephant garlic bulbs right next to the ginger, I just love to use the items fresh and just grate up what I need each night.

So give these 4 super flavor makers a try and see if they don’t make your next Stir Fry meal the best you ever had. You will also see just how easy it is to make stir fry vegetables at home.

Easy Strawberry Shortcake

Easy Strawberry Shortcake

Easy Strawberry Shortcake

I always love to see ripe berries when I go to Trader Joe’s.  There is just something so “summery” about seeing all those containers of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Recently our Trader Joe’s in Tucson had the nicest looking strawberries. We even purchased two containers thinking…wow the look sooo good!

One plan that was starting to form in my mind on the way back from the store… strawberry shortcake!  While we did not have all the ingredients on hand for traditional strawberry shortcake, we think you will agree that the ones we made were, in their own special way, just marvelous.

Great items from Trader Joe's

Great items from Trader Joe's

What made our strawberry shortcake so unique? Well, we started by using the Trader Joe’s Baking Mix to make our shortcakes (great and easy shortcut!), and then we substituted Vanilla flavored thick Greek yogurt for the whipped cream (a decadent tasting substitute that is for sure!)

What you need:

Scones:

  • 1 ½ cups Trader Joe’s baking mix
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar + extra for sprinkling (Trader Joe’s granulated Sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (cold)
  • 1/3 cup milk (Trader Joe’s whole milk)
  • Dash Trader Joe’s pure vanilla extract

Trader Joe’s  0% Fat, Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Strawberries

How to:

Scones

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Measure baking mix into a bowl, and add the cold butter. Use your fingers to pinch and rub the butter into the baking mix, until it disappears. Add the sugar and mix lightly.

2. Measure out the milk and add a dash of vanilla extract to it. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.  Divide into 4 parts and spoon onto a foil lined baking pan (I sprayed mine with non-stick cooking spray first). Make sure you leave some room between these shortcakes- they really grew in the oven! Sprinkle the tops with sugar

3. Bake in the oven until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.  The next time I make these, I am going to leave them in the oven for a few minutes more- I would have liked them to be a bit more golden.   Let them cool to room temperature before you serve them

Strawberries

1. Wash, trim and slice the strawberries while the shortcakes bake.  Toss in a small bowl with a spoonful of sugar- and a dash of vanilla if you like (my secret ingredient).

To make your strawberry shortcakes:

Cut your shortcake in half, and place on a plate. Spoon some strawberries on top and then a spoonful of the yogurt. Add the top of the shortcake and more strawberries and yogurt.

Another way to serve these is to place some strawberries in a dish and crumble the shortcake on top and then add a scoop of yogurt.

These were simply fantastic- and the best part was that we had most of the ingredients in the house already – No special trip back to the store (Thanks Trader Joe’s!)

Give this easy recipe a try and let us know what you think!

Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade

Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade

Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade

We found a wonderful new (to us) product at Trader Joe’s this week: Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade: Traditional.  We have tried a Trader Joe’s tapenade item before, but it was discontinued last year and we have not found another product to take its place- until now.

This wonderful product (which is found in the refrigerated case near the salsa and hummus) is an excellent version of a tapenade.  There are nice big pieces of olives, pimentos and garlic in this spread giving a lot of flavor in each bite.  This is one of those yummy items to have in your frigid to add some pizzazz to an ordinary meal or snack

Are you familiar with the many ways to use Tapenade?   Here are a few ways we like to enjoy this Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade:

  • Spread thinly on a cracker or slice of bread
  • Tossed with hot pasta and Parmesan cheese
  • Spooned onto a piece of baked fish after cooking
  • As a dip with vegetables
  • But our favorite is in a  cold pasta salad!

This is how we used our container of Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade. We bought all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s as well- So easy and convenient! First we cooked some whole wheat pasta,  then sliced some cherry tomatoes in ½, added a can of garbanzo beans, sliced some green onions and used the Olive Tapenade and some Balsamic Vinegar as the dressing. We mixed everything all together and …. well…. YUM!

The pasta salad was very colorful and all those flavors combined overnight and the next day the  pasta salad was just fantastic!

Do you like Tapenade? Have you tried this item? What did you think?