Two Simple Spring Dishes using Trader Joe’s Ingredients

What do these two dishes have in common? They both use ingredients solely from Trader Joe’s. Now of course, you could get these ingredients from any local grocery store, but I love how Trader Joe’s packages things to make meal time simple. Both of these light, spring time meals are made in one pot (minus the potatoes in the chicken dish that are whipped up in another one) and take no time to prepare. One ingredient that makes each dish is fennel. I feel like fennel is highly underrated and it deserves some praise. When roasted or sautéed, fennel becomes slightly sweet and loses that licorice taste that it’s known for. One Pot Roasted Chicken with Fennel, Petite Carrots and Smashed Potatoes Serves 4 Ingredients: 2 lbs of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs 1/2 cup of Olive Oil 1/2 cup of White Wine 1 pack of petite carrots 2 fennel bulbs, quartered and sliced 6 garlic cloves minced 2 lemons quartered Fresh Herbs (thyme, rosemary, marjoram) For the Panko Mixture: 1 lemon juiced 3 tablespoons of White Wine 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Panko Breadcrumbs (depending on how much breading you’d like on your chicken) Salt and pepper For the Potatoes: 1 small bag of Yukon Gold Potatoes Rinsed 1/2 cup of whole milk or half & half slightly warmed (I heat the milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds or over low heat on the stove) Salt and Pepper Directions: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium to large dutch oven, place in all of the veggies, along with the garlic and lemon quarters. Drizzle with the olive oil (reserve a 1/4 cup for the chicken thighs) and sprinkle with S & P. Stir everything together. Pour the wine over the veggies. Place the chicken thighs on top and drizzle with olive oil, S & P. Meanwhile, make the panko mixture. In a medium bowl, combine the panko, olive oil, wine, and S & P. Press on top of the chicken. Place your fresh herbs on top of the chicken. Place in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes or until done. If the panko is starting to turn too brown, turn the oven temperature down to 400. While the chicken is roasting, make the smashed potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Over high heat, cover the potatoes and remove the lid once they begin boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Off the heat, using a handheld mixer or a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Slowly add in your warm milk and S & P. Mix until combined and creamy. Spring Tortellini Soup with Fennel & Herbs Ingredients: 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil 2 Fennel Bulbs quartered and diced Mirepoix Mix from Trader Joe’s or (2 carrots, 1 onion and 2 celery stalks diced) 4 cloves of garlic Salt and Pepper 4 cups of chicken broth or stock 1 package of fresh tortellini 1/2 lemon juiced Fresh Parmesan Fresh Herbs like cilantro and thyme Directions: Heat your stove to medium-high. Heat the olive oil in a in a medium to large dutch oven. Add in all of your veggies, S & P and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for one minute. Add in the chicken stock and raise the heat to high. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in the fresh tortellini and cook for 2-3 more minutes until the tortellini floats to the top. Off the heat, add in the lemon juice and transfer to your serving bowls. Top with fresh herbs and freshly grated parmesan.