We Gave $10 to a Cookbook Author to Buy Dinner Essentials at Trader Joe’s — Here’s What He Bought

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Shopping cart successful Trader Joe's

Credit: Lauren Masur

Weeknight dinners don’t person to beryllium difficult aliases costly — moreover if you person aggregate mouths to feed. If it ever feels for illustration you person to take betwixt having a really delicious meal and a crockery that says, “I put nutrient connected nan table,” I’m present to show you nan nonstop other tin easy go your reality. There are truthful galore budget-friendly meals that are not only flavorful, but besides eye-catching successful a measurement that rivals edifice meals.

Trader Joe’s is my first extremity for uncovering affordable, yet caller ingredients to cook. One zig-zag done nan aisles and you’ll announcement location are tons of options to make a awesome weeknight repast nether $10. I specifically picked nan ones beneath to make this Savory Gochujang Rigatoni — a hearty, pretty, rich | pasta that will fulfill your tight fund and quiet belly. Let’s spell shopping (and get cooking)!

1. Italian Rigatoni, $0.99 for 16 ounces

Dry pasta is simply a no-brainer erstwhile feeding a large family. I for illustration rigatoni because it’s a pasta style that makes maine consciousness for illustration I’m eating astatine a restaurant. Trader Joe’s dried pasta, contempt its incredibly debased price, tastes arsenic bully arsenic nan fancy branded ones that costs much than $5. The texture comes retired perfectly al dente, and erstwhile it’s cooked pinch nan sauce, it absorbs nan flavors deliciously. 

2. Cento Flat Fillet Anchovies successful Olive Oil, $1.79 for 2 ounces

Canned anchovies are my go-to constituent successful salads, pasta, and more to adhd tons of umami and salty flavors. This peculiar canned anchovy has a cleanable magnitude of oliva lipid and anchovy filets — they are tightly packed pinch plentifulness of lipid to cook. Even though this is not a Trader Joe’s-branded product, I find nan value is typically little than astatine different retailers, truthful it’s 1 of those pantry items that I ever get whether I request it aliases not. 

If you’re wary of anchovies, spot maine — you won’t spot chunks of anchovies successful your crockery (which I support!) erstwhile you navigator them down. The anchovy-infused oliva lipid acts arsenic an instant spirit boost.

3. Gochujang, $1.99 for 7.05 ounces

Gochujang is a Korean reddish capsicum paste, and it’s a delightful measurement to adhd a small herb to this pasta and your mundane cooking. As a Korean migrant who cooks tons of Korean food, I americium truthful happy to find this Korean pantry staple astatine Trader Joe’s. It’s not arsenic heavy and spicy arsenic I prefer, truthful I get this gochujang successful a pinch. It’s an perfect size for an affordable value and, astatine nan extremity of nan day, it feels bully knowing that much shoppers person entree to a Korean pantry staple I emotion and use truthful much.

4. Large White Eggs, $1.49 for 1 dozen

I’m truthful gladsome we tin get affordable eggs astatine Trader Joe’s now! Remember erstwhile a carton of eggs was much than $5 because of inflation? I surely do. Thankfully, eggs are astir 60% cheaper now, compared to January 2023. They are 1 of nan astir versatile ingredients (try frying them successful chili crisp aliases swirling them successful savory, kimchi oatmeal). 

Just adding an ovum tin elevate nan dish. Because we get a twelve for nether $1.50 (or 12 cents per egg!), we tin beryllium a small generous pinch them, which is why I usage them successful different ways successful this crockery (like utilizing nan rich | ovum yolk arsenic nan sauce) to bring maximum flavors. 

5. Green Onions, $1.49 for 6 ounces

If there’s 1 constituent that I usage nan most, it’s greenish onions. I garnish them complete my favourite charred scallion dip aliases make scallion-infused lipid arsenic a guidelines to build flavors. I get greenish onions from Trader Joe’s because they are genuinely 1 of nan cheapest options I’ve seen astatine nan shop and they ever look fresh. Sometimes nan scallions astatine different market stores look somewhat wilted, but astatine Trader Joe’s location are almost double nan magnitude of scallion bundles successful a package, pinch agleam greenish tops and cleanable roots. 

6. Garlic, $0.49 for 1 bulb

I seldom navigator thing without utilizing garlic. It’s 1 of a fewer ingredients that you tin prime retired individually successful nan Trader Joe’s nutrient section, truthful you tin beryllium much selective pinch nan size. I for illustration that it’s priced by nan bulb, not by weight, and nan value is conscionable arsenic inexpensive arsenic different places. 

7. Lemon, $0.49 per lemon

Lemon’s bright, zesty flavors are often what make a crockery shine. (I usage it 2 ways — freshly squeezed citrus juice and citrus zest — successful this pasta.) It’s different Trader Joe’s basal point because it’s 1 of nan cheapest places to get caller lemons. They are big, firm, and not bruised (most of nan time!), and they are priced per item, not by weight. You tin get 2 ample lemons for little than $1.

Now, we’ve selected our items nether $10 (with a full $1 to spare, too!) — let’s commencement cooking to make a delicious, rich, savory pasta that will feast your eyes and psyche astatine nan aforesaid time. 

How to Make Savory Gochujang Rigatoni 

We are going to riff connected nan thought of carbonara, pinch 2 awesome additions that make nan pasta moreover much flavorful: anchovies and gochujang. Here’s really to make it.

Chop immoderate scallions (I usage 4) to make scallion-infused oil, which is simply a guidelines of nan condiment (reserve a tablespoonful of greenish parts of nan scallions for garnish). Mince 3 aliases 4 cloves of garlic. In abstracted bowls, zest and juice nan lemon.

Separate nan yolks and ovum whites of 5 eggs into 2 bowls. Set speech nan ovum whites. Add 2 tablespoons of gochujang to nan vessel of ovum yolks, 1 spoon kosher salt, and 1/2 spoon achromatic pepper, and operation pinch a spoon until combined.

I navigator nan pasta 1 infinitesimal little than nan package instructions say, and reserve 1/2 cup of starchy pasta cooking h2o for nan sauce.

Meanwhile, successful a ample skillet, navigator nan full tin of anchovy fillets pinch nan lipid complete mean heat, stirring often and breaking up nan anchovy fillets pinch a backmost of spoon, until nan anchovies dissolve into loose paste (for 2 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons oliva oil, chopped scallions, and minced ail cloves, until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add nan reserved ovum whites pinch a pinch of kosher brackish into nan flavorful anchovy-garlic-scallion lipid and navigator them until they are group for 1 minute. 

Transfer nan cooked rigatoni into nan skillet. Keep nan power complete medium-low, and adhd 1/4 cup of nan reserved pasta h2o while tossing everything together to create nan sauce.

Pour nan gochujang-egg substance complete nan pasta and flip vigorously to combine. Slowly drizzle successful much pasta water, a fewer tablespoons astatine a time, to create a creamy condiment if necessary. Finish nan pasta pinch freshly squeezed citrus juice and citrus zest. Divide nan pasta into serving bowls, and decorativeness them pinch different earthy ovum yolk, which becomes a rich | condiment to overgarment nan pasta, pinch much freshly cracked pepper.

Savory, crumbled ovum whites are mixed into holes of rigatoni, and gochujang and ovum yolk create a awesome condiment that’s somewhat spicy and delightfully rich.

This pasta crockery is besides endlessly riffable: You tin adhd crispy bacon bits aliases operation successful shredded rotisserie chickenhearted for further proteins too ovum whites. But, moreover without those, this carbonara-ish pasta is truthful delicious, you mightiness moreover hide that you spent little than $10 to make it. 

What’s your favourite budget-friendly constituent to prime up astatine Trader Joe’s? Tell america astir it successful nan comments below.