Ina Garten serves this Trader Joe’s dessert to guests with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce

Fans of Ina Garten would likely say the Barefoot Contessa epitomizes the best a “celebrity chef” has to offer: comfort. (We love the iconic Food Network star for her Friday night roast chicken, good olive oil and large cosmos.)

Trader Joe’s, meanwhile, has legions of loyal shoppers who wax poetic about the supermarket’s prepared and refrigerated foods, which are budget-friendly time savers.

Each of these culinary stalwarts is beloved for different reasons. Thus, it’s perhaps unlikely that you would have used them in the same sentence . . . until now.

In a convivial segment earlier this week on “Today,” Garten shared her no-nonsense advice for holiday hosting (and called Willie Geist a funster?). The queen of comfort’s tips echoed her recent viral proclamation that “store-bought is fine,” so can you guess where this is headed?

“When people arrive at the door, I want all of their senses engaged,” Garten told the co-hosts of “Today.” “I want something delicious to eat like caramelized pecans.”

If you’re entertaining, engaging the five senses is a wonderful concept to keep in mind, no matter the time of year. According to Garten, hosts should think beyond food to the smells (think festive candles and what’s in the oven) and sounds (such as crackling fires and timeless holiday songs).

In short, Garten noted that “hosting is about the people.” That being said, hosting may mean something as simple as greeting guests with store-bought apple cider warming in a pot, plus cookies for munching.

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In response to a question from “TRL” icon Carson Daly about the pressure to use expensive or fancy ingredients, Garten revealed that she had recently picked up an apple tart from Trader Joe’s, heated it in the oven and dished it out to guests. She served it with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce from a jar.

Now, can you picture Garten asking, “How easy is that?

Intrigued? TJ’s describes the tart, which features sweet Northern Spy apples and tart Granny Smiths, as “a thing of rustic beauty.”

If you’re looking for more life-changing kitchen shortcuts, try our favorite Barefoot Contessa sheet pan trick. It’s guaranteed to forever change how you make bacon.

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recipes from Ina Garten


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