Let me preface this by saying we’re ALL ABOUT taking time out of our day to cook something delicious. We wholeheartedly believe that learning to cook is an essential way to greatly improve your quality of life, and, with some basic skills under your belt, cooking is a relaxing, stress-relieving, and enjoyable activity (especially when there’s wine involved)!
With that out of the way, we fully understand that sometimes it’s just not going to happen. Sometimes we get off work, exhausted, with houses to clean and kids to take care of and four legged friends to walk and remember we invited the neighbors over for dinner and oh dear we have nothing in the fridge and they’ll be here in an hour.
Or, maybe we’re trying to impress a new special someone but aren’t quite ready to introduce them to the Truffle Shuffle family yet (we get it, but can’t wait to meet them in due time!). Maybe you tried to make a non-Truffle Shuffle recipe and it didn’t quite turn out (typical 😉) and now you’re hangry.
Whatever the case may be, sometimes getting out the blender and sharpening the knives and putting on the apron just isn’t the move. Sometimes, we need dinner to come in a package and only require minimal stirring.
That's where this back pocket list comes in. We laid out our top 5 grocery store hacks for quick meals, from savory to sweet, that still feel luxurious. The *top secret* fact about our Chef’s Pantry Products is they’re a bit of a “cheat”—they really do bring even a basic, everyday dish to restaurant level with very minimal effort.
So here it goes. They say with great power comes great responsibility. Use this list sparingly, only when absolutely necessary, in case of kitchen emergencies.
There is a certain mac & cheese box at the grocery store we have an affinity for here at Truffle Shuffle. I have a feeling that, without even telling you it’s all-natural with a cute little bunny on the box, you already know the one.
So the thing about this mac & cheese is it’s kind of like one of the French “mother sauces,” you may have learned about in one of your Truffle Shuffle classes: A perfect base you can use to get creative with flavor.
I’m always curious to learn about people’s boxed mac & cheese creations—or what I like to call “The Ultimate 2 AM Top Chef Challenge.” (Please email me with yours because I’m always looking to level-up my mac attack firstname.lastname@example.org!)
A good go-to of mine, though, is to stir insome freshly grated cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan—really whatever you have in your fridge. From there, fold in some coarsely chopped Truffle Carpaccio, perhaps a sprinkling of Balinese Truffle Salt, and you have an undeniably delicious dinner that would make even the toughest critic give you the chef’s kiss.
This one’s pretty self explanatory, but in the case of a dinner party or even casual get together with friends, you really can’t go wrong with a bunch of cheese, maybe a few cured meats, a baguette or crackers, some Brown Butter Truffle Honey, and Balinese Truffle Salt-seasoned Marcona Almonds.
Just get your most attractive cutting board or platter and a few small bowls and get creative with plating. In other words, no cooking involved!
If you haven’t yet had the unique pleasure of tasting a Marcona almond, they’re basically the
queen of all almonds. If regular almonds were my high school basketball coach, Marcona almonds would be Michael Jordan (no shade to my high school basketball coach, they’re both great. Michael Jordans just… better). Sweet and soft, these Spanish almonds can typically be found in the nut or specialty foods section of your grocery store. They’re delicious on their own, but, when mixed with our Balinese Truffle Salt, cross the line into the totally blow-your-mind irresistible category.
While “compote” sounds very fancy on a restaurant menu, it’s actually incredibly easy to make! Simply grab whatever fruit you have in your freezer and put it straight into a pot on medium-high heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of Brown Butter Truffle Honey (or more if you have a good sweet tooth) and a pinch of kosher salt.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. When the compote starts to break down, use the back of a spoon to mash any large chunks. Simmer until your compote has reduced by half, about 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more honey and/or a squeeze of lemon.
Set aside to allow to cool slightly before spooning over ever-so-slightly softened vanilla ice cream. Finish with a drizzle of honey over top and enjoy!
Chopped roasted nuts, a chiffonade of fresh herbs like basil or mint, and lemon zest would make for delicious additions, though certainly aren’t necessary. This compote can also be made with fresh seasonal fruit, just make sure to peel, pit, chop, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Rotisserie chicken may be the grocery store hack to top all grocery store hacks. The hack that’s been well-known since the dawn of time. When cavepeople didn’t feel like building a fire and Romulus and Remus were tired from building Rome—in what I hear took longer than a day—they picked up a rotisserie chicken and a beer and called it a nice evening.
So chances are you already know about this little trick, but I’m here to tell you about rotisserie chicken with living legend Chef Darryl Bell’s Truffle BBQ Sauce. Developed based on his beloved Kansas City-style BBQ, this sauce hits you with a smoky-sweet flavor, surprises you with a tangy finish, and keeps you wanting more with notes of truffle lingering just beneath the surface.
Use it as a dip, or perhaps shred up the chicken and mix with the sauce, then toast up some buns, spread on some mayo and pickles, and have at it. Or maybe you have some strong opinions on what belongs on a BBQ chicken sandwich and I’ve just completely offended you—I totally respect that. What I’m trying to say is, make this hack what you will, just know the two main ingredients: rotisserie chicken (classic) plus 816 Stateline BBQ Sauce (incredible).
So I know we live in the Bay Area where you can buy caviar at Whole Foods which may be the most obnoxious sentence I have ever written and incredibly annoying depending on who’s reading. If you’re one of those people rolling your eyes at me, I get it. Please skip to the next suggestion which should ease the tension as it involves alcohol.
Okay back to this no-cook “recipe.” If you don’t live in a caviar-at-the-grocery-store kind of place and don’t have a specialty store nearby, you can order caviar online (we’re partial to SF’s The Caviar Company but online resources are abundant).
Once you’ve secured the caviar hook up, simply grab a bag of potato chips (yes, even the classic kind in the yellow bag will be delicious), our Truffle Carpaccio, a tub of Crème Fraîche, and a handful of chives. Slice the chives and lay all the ingredients out and let your guests serve themselves: chip + Crème Fraîche + truffle slice + chive. Perfection!
I don’t think the simple joy of cozying up with a hot, buttery-meets-sweet rum cocktail, garnished with Truffle Kettle Corn on a cold night requires much explanation, so I’ll just leave you with the recipe and a quick tip: you need a cocktail skewer or toothpick for this one. Kettle corn melting directly into your cocktail will only be appealing after maybe the third one. If you don’t have a toothpick or cocktail skewer, just serve it on the side. On second thought, serve it on the side either way—you’re definitely going to want more.