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DIY Trader Joe’s Cheese Board Guide

Thanksgiving (& Christmas) are right around the corner so I wanted to share with you my ultimate Cheese Board Guide so you can rock the holidays with a cheese board of your very own!

This guide is strictly a Trader Joe’s shopping guide but in the future I’ll be sharing guides that can be used at other grocery stores. However,  this guide is also  designed to allow you to take these principles & apply them to any other grocery store!

The purpose of this guide is to give you an idea of what you can buy from Trader Joe’s, in order to make your very own cheese boards. It will help with planning, shopping & most importantly, budgeting. Cheesed boards can get expensive but having this guide as a resource can help you understand how to manage the cost, depending on what you’re wanting on your board. My intention is for you to use this guide as a “build your own cheese board” tool to help you navigate a possibly confusing arena. Ideally you’ll want to choose between 2-5 items from each category, but this is dependent on number of people, size & budget!

While I didn’t catalog every single item at Trader Joe’s that could possibly make its way onto a cheese board, there is a good variety of items ranging in price.

*I have not personally tried every single item on this list, but I wanted to show you what is available to you & I will add notes to the items I have tried! I have also highlighted my personal favorites that I use frequently on my boards for inspiration! At the end of the guide you can find pictures of some of the boards I have made in the past!

I hope this is helpful to your cheese loving soul!

Cheese:

  • Unexpected Cheddar – $3.99 / 7oz
  • Double Cream Brie – $5.99 / lb*
  • Cherve Goat Cheese – $2.99 / 5oz
  • Goat Milk Brie – $2.99 / 4.4oz
  • Goat’s Milk Creamy Cheese – $3.29 /4.5oz
  • Boursin – $3.79 /5.2oz
  • Double Cream Gouda – $7.99/ lb*
  • Cracker Cut Cheddar Cheese – $4.49 / 10oz
  • Dorothy’s Comeback Cow – $6.99 / 7oz
  • Cave Aged Blue Cheese – $6.99 / 7oz
  • Manchego – $9.99 / lb*
  • Chevoo (Marinated Goat Cheese) – $4.99 / 4oz
  • Le Gruyére – $14.99 / lb*

*Cheeses sold using ‘per pound’ prices are usually sold in portions ranging from 5-10oz so pricing will vary depending on location & availability.

My Favorites – Unexpected Cheddar: it’s my favorite cheese sold at Trader Joe’s & it’s great for cheese boards because its familiar enough being a cheddar, but it’s a little elevated in look & flavor! This cheese always makes it onto my boards! Double Cream Brie: it’s simple. People. Love. Brie. & this one is fabulous, great flavor & creamy texture. Cherve Goat Cheese: this goat cheese is mild in flavor but just tangy enough to add interest to your boards! You can also dress it up nicely with garnish since it’s basically a blank canvas. Boursin: it’s a very familiar cheese which makes it great for a crowd that’s new to fancy cheese! It also spreads wonderfully. Cracker Cut Cheddar: when you want something familiar & simple, this is the way to go. Bonus, it’s already cut for you! Cave Aged Blue Cheese: this is a mild blue cheese, it’s similar to gorgonzola which a lot of people love & has amazing flavor & creaminess!

Meats:

  • Prosciutto – $4.99 / 5.29oz
  • Peppered Salame $5.99 / 10oz
  • Chianti Salami – $4.99 / 8oz
  • Turkey Summer Sausage – $3.99 / 8oz
  • Sopressata Salame – $4.99 / 8oz
  • Calabrese Salame – $2.99 / 5oz
  • Italian Dry Salame (Sliced) – $4.49 / 8oz
  • Italian Dry Salame – $4.49/ 8oz
  • Pepperoni – $2.99 / 5oz
  • Salame de Parma – $4.99 / 4oz
  • Salame Secchi – $7.49 / 9oz

My Favorites – Prosciutto: it tears nicely into small pieces great for cheesed board snacking & it’s not too highly flavored so it goes well with stronger cheeses. Chianti Salami: this is a red wine salami with a really deep flavor & good chewy texture. Calabrese Salame: this salame you’ll notice has a more red color because its heavily spiced which is really nice when you want to add a spicy kick to your boards! Italian Dry Salame: it’s a classic! Everyone knows it & loves it. Always a safe choice. Salame de Parma: this salame is thinner & longer in shape which I love using to add interest to the boards. It’s always nice to add ingredients of different sizes & shapes! Salame Secchi: this salame comes with a white casing (totally edible) which gives it a great contrast to the colorful red interior. It slices into nice rounds & has a wonderful meaty flavor with a harder texture.

Crackers:

  • Savory Thins – $1.69 / 3.4oz
  • Pita Bite Crackers – $2.49 / 6oz
  • Water Crackers – $1.39 / 4.4oz
  • Bite Size Everything Crackers – $2.49 / 10oz
  • Brioche Toasts – $1.99 / 5.26oz
  • Golden Rounds – $1.99 / 12oz
  • Organic Salty Squares – $1.99 / 5.5oz
  • Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers – $2.29 / 10oz
  • Fig & Olive Crisps – $3.99 / 5.3oz

My Favorites – Savory Thins: these crackers have a mild sesame flavor that pairs really nicely with Brie & Goat cheeses! The crunch is also amazing! These are usually my go-to for boards. Pita Bite Crackers: these crackers are great because they have a nice pita like flavor & they have layers giving them a good crunch. These pair nicely with Cheddar & Gouda! Fig & Olive Crisps: these crackers always make an appearance on my boards because they’re so different than regular crackers. They have a deep dark brown color with specks of fig & olive which are two things that go amazingly with cheese! These crackers pair nicely with strong cheeses like Goat or Blue!

Dips:

  • Fig Butter – $2.49 / 16oz
  • Multi-Floral & Clover Honey – $3.49 / 12oz
  • Mostly Mesquite Honey – $6.49 / 24oz
  • Pink Grapefruit Marmalade – $3.99 / 13oz
  • Honey with Honeycomb – $6.49 / 16oz
  • Pepper Jelly $2.49 / 11oz

My Favorites – Fig Butter: this stuff is amazing I could just eat it with a spoon, but it’s even better on cheese! This fig butter almost always makes it onto my boards! I bought a jar & it lasted through 4-5 cheese boards! Honey: honey pairs incredibly well with cheese so I always recommend adding any kind of honey to a cheese board!

Crunch:

  • Pistachios – $6.99 / 16oz
  • Walnut Halves – $5.99 / 16oz
  • Pecan Halves – $4.99 / 8oz
  • Almonds, Roasted & Salted – $5.99 /16oz
  • Mixed Nuts, Dry Roasted & Salted – $7.99 /12oz
  • Truffle Marcona Almonds – $5.99 / 6oz

My Favorites – Pistachios: they’re so salty & so crunchy, they add a nice contrast to the really creamy cheeses! Walnuts: they’re my favorite nut so they’re usually on my boards & they pair well with Brie! Truffle Marcona Almonds: they have a great truffle flavor that goes well with the stinkier cheeses & they really elevate any board.

Extras:

  • Dried Persimmons – $3.49 / 5oz
  • Dried Apricots – $3.99 / 16oz
  • Black Mission Figs – $4.99 / 12oz

My Favorites – Dried Apricots: they’re pretty familiar to people so they’ll naturally gravitate towards them & they always add a really pretty colorful contrast to boards! Plus, they’re delicious!

Garnish:

  • Rosemary – $1.79 / .75oz
  • Mint – $1.79 / .75oz
  • Basil (Potted) – $1.99
  • Arugula – $1.99 / 7oz
  • Blackberries – $3.99 / 12oz
  • Raspberries – $2.99 / 6oz
  • Pomegranate Seeds – $4.49 /5.3oz
  • Blueberries – $2.99 / 11oz
  • Granny Smith Apples – $0.69 / each
  • Green Grapes – $2.99 / 16oz
  • Red Grapes – $2.99 / 16oz

My Favorites – Rosemary: it’s pretty much my go to garnish because its so beautiful & fragrant. It’s not consumed so I pretty much only use it for the look & smell, plus its always available! Blackberries: they look really great as a garnish on top of Brie because the color contrast really makes them both stand out, plus they’re delicious & go pretty well with most cheeses! Pomegranate Seeds: these look really beautiful scattered across a finished board to add a pop of color & they’re especially great on a fall or winter board! Granny Smith Apples: apples are usually my go to because they’re pretty much always in season & always taste great. Its another familiar item you can use on your boards & you can’t beat Brie on an apple slice drizzled with honey!

I’ve added some pictures of completed boards I’ve made in the past to show you how all of these ingredients come together! I hope all of this inspires you to make your very own cheese boards! Feel free to tag me (on instagram) so I can see all of your hard work! @millennial_kitchen_

Recipes · Uncategorized

Classic Blue Cheese Dressing

Makes: about 1 1/2- 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 6oz blue cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, reserving 2oz of the blue cheese, using a whisk.
  2. Add remaining blue cheese & gently mix into dressing.
  3. Store dressing in a container in the fridge for up to a week.

 

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Recipes

Ricotta & Spinach Calzones

Finding meatless dishes continues to be a challenge as the weeks go on, but it has also really opened my eyed & my mind to new ideas. I found this recipe when reading through a Buzzfeed article about meatless lunches and thought it would make a great meatless dinner. It seemed simple enough to throw together on a busy day, which I always love.

Any dish that resembles pizza in the slightest is something I can get behind. Calzones are no exception to that. This version is stuffed with spinach & cheese giving it a creaminess you always crave with calzones, but the spinach makes the calzones a little lighter, and I don’t know about you, but that always makes me feel a little better about what I’m eating. Not to mention the crust is whole grain so this dish is basically “healthy”… right?

Serve these up with a simple green salad, or Cesar if you’re feeling a little fancy on a Monday night, & some warmed marinara sauce for a complete meal.

I hope you love these!

Ricotta & Spinach Calzones

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic powder, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, oil & egg yolk.

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Place the pizza dough on a well-floured surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out the dough until it is between 1/8″ & 1/4″ thick. For this recipe I used a whole wheat dough because its heartier & better for you, but you can use whatever dough you like.

 

Cut out 4 large circles to make larger calzones, or cut out 6 smaller circles for smaller calzones. (For this recipe I made 6 calzones, but the amount of filling will work for either.)

 

Once the dough is cut it is time to fill the calzones. Divide the filling into either 4 or 6 portions, depending on the size of the calzones. Lay the filling on one half of the dough, making sure to leave a border.

 

After you have filled each calzone, fold the half that doesn’t have the filling over the top of the half with the filling. Pinch the edges together (like a pie crust) to seal the calzone, then go over it with a fork to ensure a tight seal so the filing doesn’t escape in the oven. Then cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the calzones to let any steam escape. Brush them with the egg wash and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the calzones from the oven, brush with remaining egg wash & sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to oven & bake an additional 8 minutes.

Serve with a side of marinara & simple green salad.

 

Recipe adapted from Kitschen Cat-Ricotta and Spinach Calzones with a few small changes noted above.

Ricotta & Spinach Calzones

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 calzones

Ingredients:
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed & with all liquid removed
4 ounces shredded mozzarella
8 ounces ricotta
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 pound whole wheat pizza dough

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, garlic powder, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, oil & egg yolk.
  3. Place the pizza dough on a well-floured surface and dust the top with flour. Roll out the dough until it is between 1/8″ & 1/4″ thick.
  4. Cut out 4 large circles to make larger calzones, or cut out 6 smaller circles for smaller calzones. (For this recipe I made 6 calzones, but the amount of filling will work for either.)
  5. Once the dough is cut it is time to fill the calzones. Divide the filling into either 4 or 6 portions, depending on the size of the calzones. Lay the filling on one half of the dough, making sure to leave a border.
  6. After you have filled each calzone, fold the half that doesn’t have the filling over the top of the half with the filling. Pinch the edges together (like a pie crust) to seal the calzone, then go over it with a fork to ensure a tight seal so the filing doesn’t escape in the oven. Then cut 3 or 4 slits into the top of the calzones to let any steam escape. Brush them with the egg wash and bake for 8 minutes. Remove the calzones from the oven, brush with remaining egg wash & sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to oven & bake an additional 8 minutes.
  7. Serve with a side of marinara & simple green salad.
Recipes

Creamy Chicken & Rice

One pot meals are truly a wonderful thing. Especially when that pot is filled with vegetables, rice, chicken, and wine. That one pot gets even better when finished with parmesan cheese, but I digress.

This is probably one of my most made recipes, because of how quickly and easily it comes together. A little bit of prep time to chop a few vegetables is about as hard as this recipe gets.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, which I will link below. I cut the recipe in half because the original recipe serves 8-10 but I still use the original amount of chicken (1.5lbs) because I felt like that was enough chicken for 4 to 5 people. The measurements I use for the 4-5 servings are listed below.

The original recipe as well as the direction for cooking can be found here: Natasha’s Kitchen, Creamy Chicken and Rice

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4-5

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped onion*
1 cup shredded carrots*
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 bay leaves, optional
1/2 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup medium grain rice such as Jasmine rice (un-rinsed)
1 head garlic
⅓ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

* I buy pre cut and pre shredded onions and carrots from Trader Joe’s which cuts down on the prep time by about 10 minutes.

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