Yummy Indian dinner (with help from Trader Joe’s)

My family enjoys Indian food, but going out can get a little expensive for our clan (two adults, two teens who eat like adults and one 9-year-old), so we are always looking for creative ways to recreate some of our favorite flavors at home in a more frugal manner. I’ve been happy with a couple of the frozen, single-serving Indian entrees from Trader Joe’s, so I decided to work with some of the other elements there to see what I could come up with.

I used to watch a lot on the Food Network, and even more important than following specific recipes, I learned to have more confidence in my cooking techniques and in knowing what flavors and foods complement each other.

One of our favorite dishes at the local Indian restaurant is butter chicken. But I’ve also enjoyed the chicken tikka masala there. So I wanted to start with TJ’s Masala Simmer Sauce. I also picked up some TJ’s frozen chicken breasts (with rib meat, not the tenderloins). Other elements: 1/2 a package of TJ’s frozen Vegetable Melange in Seasoned Butter Sauce, 1/2 package of TJ’s Garlic Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce, Mahatma Basmati Rice (I had this in my pantry already, not sure if TJ’s sells it) and TJ’s frozen Garlic Na’an.

I cooked the chicken breasts in my crock pot until they were shreddable, then added the simmer sauce. After a while longer, I added the half packages of the veggies and potatoes. Cooked the rice separately, according to the package directions, and right at the end, heated the garlic na’an according to its package instructions.

Overall, it got a thumbs up from the two adults and two teens. Even the 9-year-old finished as much as I wanted her too, even if she wasn’t thrilled with it. It was easy, yummy and not too hard on the wallet, especially compared with an evening out at the Indian restaurant.

Most of my recipes involve working with more ingredients from scratch, not so much combining different frozen elements. But, as a working mom (even if I’m not working at the moment), sometimes convenience wins out, especially when it tastes this good.

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