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    Trader Joe’s Tuesdays! – Shepherd’s Pie with Pot Roast!

    Back from Manila and I took the first whole day with my family. By Day 2 you know I just had to check out my favorite: Trader Joe’s! Okay so I get there super excited because you know, it’s been almost a month and ohhh what have I missed! I don’t ever want to go straight for the sample section because I’ll look like an overly-excited child, plus I don’t want them to think that’s the reason I’m there. So I bee-lined for the crackers I haven’t had in a month oh and also my family has been longing for the fish tacos – it’s convenient that I still have so much of that Chipotle dressing so I don’t want that to go to waste anyways. 😉

    I mosied on over (yessss I say MOSIED and I love that word!) to the sample section and then my heart kinda sank. They were making a Quinoa salad with cilantro… I do not like either. Yes! Admitting it! I don’t really care for cilantro.. it makes me gag a little and it ruins everything it’s put on. It’s bizarre, I like the smell of it but if you put even one piece on whatever it is you’re eating, your entire meal tastes like you’re just eating cilantro. Apparently there’s a science to it.. people either love that stuff or hate it. I was not about to leave discouraged and let down! I’m not rude about it though, if I’m at someone’s home and they put it on my meal, I just scrape it off the top, if it’s all over the salsa, I attempt to eat a little anyways. Quinoa is just, it’s a tough one. Like oatmeal for dinner. I’m in Quinoa-training though, I’m always forcing myself to learn to love it.

    Most of you know this, but for those who don’t, not only is Trader Joe’s one of the best places to shop VALUE-WISE for healthy food, they also have a reputation for hiring people with stellar personalities who can make conversation and really actually care about what you’re there for. Seriously, I’ve never had bad service in this place. But! I’ve also never had a sampler that I didn’t care for, so I was on a mission! Today cannot be an off day! I ran up to the nearest employee I could find. Her name was Renee.

    Hello! Can I help you find something?

    Actually, Renee, can you help me with dinner tonight?

    Sure! What…did you have in mind?

    I don’t know. What’s your favorite thing here? What has your favorite sampler been?

    Ohhh that’s a tough one… (then you see the light flash in her mind-brain and she gets that excited look, which gives me that excited feeling! Haha!) Hey.. do you like Shepherd’s Pie?

    (She just so happened to list one of my husband’s favorite meals!) Yes!

    Okay, I love it too! We made a really good one here a while back and it’s with Pot Roast!

    Lead the way! Let’s get some of these ingredients!

    A couple things to note here. I’ve never done this before.. but now I feel like I have to go in there and ask each and every employee what their favorite sample has been. It was so much fun going around the store with Renee and finding all five ingredients to make our family dinner possible. Super easy to make, and once again, A HIT! Once I had all five ingredients, she instructed me on how to put it all together. Renee even recommended a reeeeally good Pinot Noir that I will share with you all another time. So without further ado, here’s the recipe for the pot roast!

    INGREDIENTS:

    • Trader Joe’s Traditional Pot Roast
    • Trader Joe’s Shredded Cheese Blend
    • Trader Joe’s Mashed Potatoes (freezer section)
    • Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome Veggie mix (freezer section)
    • Trader Joe’s Organic Beef Broth

    Directions:

    • The potatoes are already pre-made, and the package recommends two ways to set this: microwave and also stove top. I have this thing where I really don’t like to use the microwave if I don’t have to. I know it takes longer but I like to heat and re-heat using the stove top if at all possible, especially when cooking with organic food. Take the potatoes out and place them in a wide pan. I used the entire packet so in the pan I put three tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of milk, then I let them all melt up together and mixed it. Salt and Pepper.
    • While potatoes are heating I cut up the pot roast in to bite-sized cube pieces. I placed the pieces in a large rectangular pan (look below) and then I poured just enough beef broth over the pot roast, just to cover it.
    • After that’s done, take the frozen veggies and spread them out right on top of the pot roast.
    • Then pour all of the mashed potatoes from your pan on top of the veggies. Spread it out as evenly as possible.. have fun with that.. it was a little discouraging at first since it kinda picks up the veggies as you move it, using two spatulas helped me for some reason.
    • Finally, sprinkle all of that cheese on top! Yes! All of it! So good!
    • Place in oven at 350 F and wait about 25 minutes. You can broil the top if you want when that’s finished if you prefer the cheese a little burnt.

    The family loved this! The kids ate all of it, including the veggies. Jeff had three servings! It was really, really good. For next time, I will probably add a little red wine to the beef broth (can’t believe I forgot to do that!) and also use a cheddar cheese to melt on top along with the cheese blend. I’ll definitely be thanking Renee the next time I see her. Cheers, everyone!

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    ^Using the microwave as a timer these days…

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