Sunday, December 2, 2012

Noodles With Tuna, Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Artichoke Hearts

The other day I was talking to my wife and she asked if I had any ideas about dinner. I said how about some tuna, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes served over pasta. My wife was pleased with my suggestions and when I got home, that is what was ready for dinner.

Aside from the above ingredients, she also added some ground pepper, some garam marsala and some tumeric.  For pasta, she used some spaetzle we had on hand.

We were both very pleased with how well this turned out. The tuna, artichoke hearts and tomatoes all worked well together and my wife's seasoning of it gave it some zing and character. And aside from being easy and flavorful, this had a great blend of textures.

This was definitely a "very Costco dish" since the tuna, artichoke hearts and tomatoes all came from Costco. And certainly, I would say this would work with a variety of noodles and pastas.

I am pretty confident something like this will show up at our dinner table again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Savory French Toast With Antico Artichoke And Asiago Tapenade

We are big fans of the Antico Artichoke and Asiago Tapenade at Costco  and recently my wonderful wife surprised me with a dinner of savory french toast featuring this as an ingredient.  In addition to the tapenade, she used eggs, fresh herbs and soy milk. (The soy milk and eggs also came from Costco).

The looks and the smell of this had me intrigued even before I tasted it and my expectations were certainly met!

This was a wonderful and easy midweek dinner that was a great change of pace. It was also a good use of some bread and other ingredients we had laying around.  The actual dish had a good french toast texture and the tapenade's flavors blended well with the fresh herbs.

I hope to see this on our dinner table again and if you have some bread you don't know what to do with, this is a fantastic use of it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Costco Coupon Book-Good Until November 25

Thanks once again to my friends at Addicted To Costco, I have this month's coupon book.

Among the items I recommend are the Spanakopita, the DiGiorno Pizza and the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are all items we tend to buy.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Quick Review of Nature'd Path Flax Plus Pumpkin Flax Granola

Generally, I tend to eat simple cereals like frosted shredded wheat, raisin bran and such. However, this granola looked pretty tasty so I thought I would give it a try. I have to say that I am very pleased with it.

It comes in a two pouches in one box. A lot of cereals seem to be doing that these days and if you don't eat the cereal fast, this helps it from going bad.  I suppose it is also makes it easier to work with than one big bag.

As for the cereal's nutritional profile, it had a good quantity of fiber at 20% of your daily requirement per serving. It also has low sodium if you are watching that. Finally, the only allergen mentioned on the label is soy, although they have the caveat that this is made in a facility that uses tree nuts, peanuts and wheat.

As for the taste and texture of the cereal, it is, being a granola, nice and crunchy. The pumpkin seeds make it more interesting that your typical granola in the area of taste. While the cereal is good just by itself, I have discovered it is absolutely delicious with dried cranberries.  My wife followed my lead on this and she definitely thinks that while the cereal is great plain, the craisins add a lovely touch.

My wife and I both give this cereal two big thumbs up and I highly recommend stocking up on it while it is on sale.  This is a flavorful cereal, low in sodium, with a good quantity of fiber and it is a great change of pace.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review of Tiramisu Cake On Sale This Month At Costco

We have bought a variety of baked goods at Costco and I thought the Tiramisu Cake that is on sale this month looked like a great thing to take over to our friend's house for a casual get-together.  I have to say I was definitely pleased with the decision.  Before we get in to how fun it was to eat, I have to say it does make for a pretty presentation.

As the cake is very rich, even a small slice, like the one below, is satisfying.

As for the reviews of the cake, my brother in law used the word "yummy" and I would concur with that. The flavors are balanced with the coffee/expresso flavor being well presented without being overpowering.

The combination of the textures were also very good with the smooth filling and topping contrasting and complimenting the cake.

The cake was very well received and we had some more again last night at my in-laws, who have also been won over by it.  This cake is a good value at full price and an outstanding value on sale and I absolutely, positively recommend it without hesitation.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick Quinoa Beef Soup And New Link

Many of the readers of this blog will know that we are big fans of quinoa. It is nutritious, tasty, versatile and easy to make. (We usually make it in a microwave rice cooker).  The other day we made some to go  with a rotisserie chicken and we made enough so we would have some left over for another use.  That "future use" turned out to be a ground beef soup.

We bought another package of ground beef and before we froze it, we took some of the beef and the liquid from the cooking and used it as a base for a soup. We also added some onions, celery and carrots, plus a bit of seasoning and some quinoa.

This dish came together in minutes, it has some solid nutritional value and it sure was tasty!  Having the right ingredients around speeds up any food preparation and this is a classic example of that. It also illustrates the value of quinoa as a soup ingredient.  Aside from being nutritious and tasty, this also helps make the dish gluten-free for those that have that requirement.

As I said, we are big fans of quinoa and I am pleased to add another fine blog to our list of links: Queen of Quinoa.  This is a wonderful blog with lots of great recipes and I hope that you will take the time to visit it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Save $550 And Over 2000 Grams Of Fat A Year With Quaker Chewy Granola Bars And A Banana From Costco For Breakfast

Costco has Quaker Chewy Granola bars on sale this month in the Coupon Book.  Even at full price of $10.99 for a box of sixty, they are a bargain.  On sale, they are an absolute steal!  They are tasty, easy and quick to eat and they are decent nutritionally.  Have a couple of these and add in a banana and you have breakfast for less than 50¢.

Compare this to an Egg McMuffin and you have a huge cost and fat gram savings.  Over the course of the year of eating a breakfast like this on the way to work  would save you over $500 and over 2300 grams of fat!  Plus, you get more fiber, although I will admit an egg is a great source of protein.

Also, these are easy to store in your car for a breakfast on the go and it saves you the hassle of stopping at a drive through to get breakfast.

Thus, you save massive amounts of:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Fat
I highly recommend these granola bars and if you eat breakfast on your way to work or school, these are a fantastic option.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Costco Food Court Review: Hot Turkey And Provolone Sandwich-Hot, Meaty Cheesy Goodness At A Costco Price

While we primarily buy our food at Costco to take home, we also often like to get a snack or a quick lunch before we head home. Not too long ago, Costco added a hot turkey and provolone sandwich to their food court menu.  Anything with hot melted cheese sounds good to me, so I had to try one!

This is a good sandwich. The choice of bread for this works very well in terms of flavor, texture and construction of the sandwich.  I am definitely glad that they chose a bread that makes the process of eating this sandwich relatively neat.

The quality of the ingredients used in the sandwich are certainly up to par and that really helps to make this a success.  I like that they added the tomato, that made really helps make it seem like more of meal than just a couple of pieces of bread with some meat and cheese.

Finally, choosing turkey and provolone for the meat and cheese is a good idea. Turkey goes well with provolone but it is considered a healthier meat, so people will feel less guilty about eating it.

I enjoyed the sandwich and I will order it again, but the one negative is that at $3.99 it is not as good a value as the hot dog or the pizza by the slice. However, It is still a good value and a great change of pace.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Costco Coupon Book August 16-September 9

Once again, thanks to my fabulous friends at Addicted To Costco, I have a link to Costco's current coupon book.

Once again, Costco has a sale on their Chicken Alfredo and you will find my review of it here.

They also have a variety of other products on sale, such as the Tomato Basil soup which I also recommend.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tasty Bites Madras Lentil Dip And A New Link

My wife and I are big fans of the Tasty Bites Madras Lentils we get at Costco.  They are delicious, easy heat up and a great way to work some fun flavors into our menus.  Recently, we had a family reunion to go to and my wife suggested making a dip out of them. I thought that was a fabulous idea so I did some research online and then went grocery shopping.  After provisioning for all the raw materials, my lovely wife was eager to spend a few minutes making the dip. (We got the recipe from the appetizer section of the Tasty Bites website. The specific recipe is the Madras Lentils Dip).

The recipe was easy, quick and delicious.  It was also a bit of an exotic change of pace from your normal bean dip.  But while it was a bit on the exotic side, it certainly went well with tortilla chips.

This dip was a huge success and I think I will probably bring it into work for my friend Bill that has Celiac's Disease.

I am also adding a link to Tasty Bites recipe page.  We think they have a great product lineup and I am looking forward to have more fun with variety of their products.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kirkland Signature Atlantic Salmon-Easy And Delicious Pouch Preparation

One of the items on sale this month at Costco is the Kirkland Signature Atlantic Salmon.  This is a great product that is delicious and healthy and a serving only costs about the same as a Whopper or Big Mac. Below is a repost of a wonderful meal we made for the anniversary of our first date. We have since served this meal to both my mother and my father in law for their birthdays and they have also given it rave reviews.  I hope you will consider making a meal like this because it is affordable, delicious, easy and elegant.  

Now that I am settled into my new 1st shift job, I have a lot more time to spend with my lovely wife.  Normally, to celebrate the anniversary of our first date, we go out of town or have dinner out. But my wonderful wife thought it would be romantic to have a nice dinner at home and watch a movie, and I concurred.

However, as much as we wanted a nice dinner at home, we had no desire to spend three hours in the kitchen, so we came up with this elegant, simple and quick meal to celebrate eight years together as a couple.

For the main course, my wife  took some Kirkland Signature Atlantic Salmon and cooked it in parchment paper with butter, dried dill, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. She set the oven to 350 and baked it for 20 minutes.  While that was going, I snapped some fresh green beans and my wife cooked up some pancetta from the local Italian deli.  After steaming the beans, we added the pancetta to them and they were good to go.

For the potatoes, I made some Honest Earth potatoes we bought from Costco and dressed them up with bacon bits and dried chives.  The resulting dinner, along with being tasty, was also quite attractive.

The salmon comes in individually wrapped portions, which made the preparation of them simple, neat and quick.  The potatoes were also a snap to prepare, but as I said, adding the chives and bacon (real bacon!) made them more upscale.

The salmon was tasty and a great value for the dollar and we have already decide to make a meal like this again for entertaining my mother.

Once again, Costco gave us some great food at a great price that was easy to cook with.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baked Omelet With Feta And Olives And Why You Should Always Have Extra Batteries For Your Camera

Recently, I was looking through the fridge and I found some leftover feta from Costco that looked like it needed a purpose.  Being that it was Sunday morning, I thought an upscale egg breakfast was a great idea.

I started with some of the Christopher Ranch Chopped Garlic we get from Costco and I browned it gently in some EVOO. Then I added three eggs and scrambled them with a little soy milk. However, I did not completely cook the eggs, for I had additional plans for them!

I took some foil and lined the little pan that is in our toaster oven.  I then sprayed the pan with some EVOO and poured the egg mixture in.

Finally, I topped the egg mixture with some of the feta and some chopped Tassos Mediterranean Gourmet Stuffed and Double Stuffed Olives.

I then put the omelet in the toaster oven and cooked it until the eggs were finished and the cheese was melted just a bit.

The results were fantastic and I am sure I will do something like this again.  And aside from the dish being tasty, using the foil lined pan made for easy serving and cleanup.

I was going to show a photo of the finished, baked omelet, but alas, my camera battery died on me in the middle of this and I had forgotten to have another one charged.

I learned two lessons on this day: baked omelets in the toaster oven are a wonderful thing and always have a second camera battery on hand.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Costco Coupon Book July 12 To August 5

Once again, thanks to my friends at Addicted To Costco, I have this month's coupon book.

I certainly hope I can convince my wife to let me buy some of the Chocolate Chunk Cookies that are on sale with no limit and no coupon required.

These cookies have been on sale during previously during the summer, so I will keep my eyes open for them.

My list of recommendations also includes the Oberto Jerky.

Finally, for your canine friends, I recommend the Jerky Treats they have on sale.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Elegant Mediterranean Cheese And Vegetable Platter

Recently, my wife had a party to go to and while she didn't want to spend a lot of time cooking, she wanted to make something that would be appreciated and show our love of food. Her decision was to make a fantastic cheese and vegetable platter using a variety of ingredients from Costco including:

As you can see, the presentation was as good as the food was tasty:

When my wife got home from the party, I asked her if there were any leftovers and she said no!  That certainly indicates it was a success in both ease of prep and flavor.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review Of Costco Calzones

A while back we tried the Costco brand of calzones in the deli and I have to say, I was pretty impressed with them. They are easy to heat up in the oven and they come with their own marinara sauce.

Upon cutting them open, you will find they done have a good quantity of filling in them.

I found these satisfying in everyway: texture, taste and serving size.  You can easily get two meals out of each one if you extend it with a nice romaine salad.

The price was pretty reasonable and I would definitely give these a thumbs up.  While these are not a gourmet meal, they are tasty, filling and extremely affordable.  An excellent value in every way.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Costco Coupon Book June 14 to July 8 Plus A Review Of The Apple Strudel

Thanks once again to my friends at Addicted to Costco, I have this months coupon book.

The Craisins are on sale again and I highly recommend them.  Here are links to some previous posts about them.

Trail mix with craisins, M&M's and peanuts.

Pork Loin with cranberry relish.

Apple, cranberry and quinoa salad.

The take and bake pizza is on sale again and I have done a variety of posts on them.  Here is one.  They are a great deal to start with but on sale they are simply a crazy deal. In fact, we are having one for dinner tonight. (And the leftovers will be lunch tomorrow).

And while I haven't written about the Sun Chips, I have posted about the multi packs of chips in regards to the Baked Lays products.

As for the apple strudel, I highly recommend it. It has a good, flaky crust and a well executed apple filling. I also like the fact that they are miniature strudels which make for easy serving.  My mother in law put some sharp cheddar on hers and thought it was excellent.  And I am positive that heating these up and serving them with some good vanilla ice cream would be totally awesome!

And for extreme decadence, some of my wife's family topped them with fresh strawberries and Cool Whip, although I did not go far myself. I did use some Cool Whip though and that worked well.

I highly recommend them and with the coupon, they are about 80 cents each, which makes them an excellent bargain.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pasta Prima Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli With A Sauce Of Grape Tomatoes and Cheese

We are big fans of Pasta Prima ravioli and my lovely wife took a package of the Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli and made of a sauce from:

The results of this were absolutely fabulous and kudos to my wife for thinking of this.  If you don't have an extra sauce pack laying around, just substitute some of your favorite herbs and grated cheese. And if you don't have lemon EVOO, just use some fresh lemon and your favorite EVOO.

The dish had a great chicken flavor and the ravioli and the sauce also added a couple of cheese components. 

The tomatoes were fresh and made the dish lively and the remaining herbs and seasonings rounded out the dish and just put it over the top.

I am sure we will do something like this again and I have to say, having all these Costco ingredients on hand really made this quick and rewarding work.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last Day for Costco Coupon Book

Sorry I have not been posting much lately, but things have been keeping me busy outside of the blog.

Courtesy of my friends at Addicted To Costco, here is this months coupon book.

I have done postings about a couple of items that are on sale this month.

Here is a review of Sabatasso's Mini Pizzas.

And a entry on making trail mix with M&M's.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Antico Artichoke & Asiago Tapenade With Grilled Naan Bread

We recently discovered the joys of toasted naan bread and I thought it would be great as a replacement for crackers.  And as it turned out, I was right and the outcome of this experiment was absolutely delicious.

We bought some Antico Artichoke and Asiago Tapenade at Costco recently and I was eager to try it.  When we got to our friend's house for a get together, I took the naan bread and cut it up with kitchen shears.  Using the kitchen shears works very well and it makes quick and easy work of the project.  Then my lovely wife toasted the bread in the oven and it was ready to go.

This was a major success and it disappeared like magic.  I have the jar of the tapenade open by me right and I was so overwhelmed by the smell of the cheese, herbs and garlic that I had to run into the kitchen and grab a spoon and have a taste of it!

Artichokes and asiago by themselves are delicious but they have the right mix of herbs and garlic to really put this over the top.  And the naan bread as a base to serve it on made it elegant and added a toasted flavor and some crunchy texture.

I highly recommend this combination. I am also sure toasted naan bread would be a great base for a wide variety of spreads. And I am positive this tapenade is very worthy of spreading on crackers and other breads.  My wife also suggested putting in on a pizza or using it as a pasta sauce and I am sure we will try at least one of those ideas.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Costco Craze Premeres Tonight On CNBC

The Costco Craze: Inside The Warehouse Giant  premieres tonight and will be rebroadcast a number of times over the next few days.

I will be updating this post with my comments.

I will be curious to see what they say about the food at Costco.


I was generally pretty pleased with the broadcast. It elaborated on a number of things I was already aware of such as their private label products and their small selection, But it also talked about their major sales in areas such as toilet paper and wine.

I was also pleased that they said their prices for food were 30% lower than the typical major grocery store.

And in the area of wine, I was impressed by the analyst who said they have played a part in upgrading America's taste in wine. (I am paraphrasing).  No wonder the independent Costco Wine Blog is so successful and useful.

I was also pleased with the interview with my friend Kim at the Addicted To Costco blog.  That was fun and it was exciting to see another Costco blogger on tv.

While the show definitely portrayed them as aggressive negotiators and extremely shrewd marketers, I thought the overall tone was pretty positive. They have happy customers, they sell quality products and they treat their employees very well. They are also concerned about being true to their strategy.

It was a fun show and I recommend watching it.

Frozen Make Ahead Mini Meatloaf-Make One Big Batch And You Are Set For Weeks!

We have had tremendous success with freezing rotisserie chickens and ground beef.  Freezing Costco sized packages in smaller, ready to use containers is a versatile idea and I thought it would work well with meatloaf.  My wife concurred and she went searching for recipes.  She settled on Paula Deen's recipe and set to work.  She did make some minor substitutions such as using some breadcrumbs in addition to the oatmeal.  And while I thought of making larger meatloaves, my wife suggested using the 24 ounce containers for freezing them and her insight was absolutely brilliant!
Here is a photo of the frozen meatloaf.

One of the nice advantages of the mini-meatloaf is that it can be cooked in the toaster oven.  To facilitate cooking these, we typically let them thaw in the fridge for a couple of days beforehand to shorten the baking time.
Here is a photo of the finished meatloaf.

This was a good meatloaf recipe and the tomatoes in this recipe make it very moist.  And for us, the mini meatloaf is good for four servings so we have dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day.  As for serving ideas, this works really well with just mashed potatoes and a nice salad.

We are totally sold on this idea and I am sure we will do it again.  It is affordable, tasty and it is so easy to do.  I love the idea of homemade comfort food in the freezer and doing a big batch of it like this makes it extremely time efficient.

And of course, you can use your own favorite meatloaf recipe, so I encourage to explore and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pasta Prima Chicken & Mozzarella Ravioli With Rachel Ray's Peas And Prosciutto Sauce

We are big fans of Pasta Prima's Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli and we have definitely enjoyed it before.  With it on sale again, we bought some to freeze and some to cook more immediately.  I thought something with a red sauce would be good and I remembered Rachel's Pasta, Peas and Prosciutto.  My wife seconded the idea and while she finished grading some papers for work, I got dinner going.

I did make a few of minor adjustments to Rachel's recipe.  The first one was that we don't any herbs from our garden yet, so I substituted some freeze dried basil.  Second, we left out the small can of tomato sauce.
Finally, I would say we added more like two cups of peas instead of one.

As for the result, it was very good. The peas add some color and texture you don't see in your typical red sauce plus it also adds another vegetable.  The prosciutto adds a bit of meat, but it is delicate and elegant in its flavor.  All these flavors went well with the ravioli.  And leaving out the small can of tomato sauce was exactly the thing to do. Otherwise, the dish would have had too much sauce.

This was definitely a success and it was a wonderful, flavorful Sunday evening meal that took very little work and time.

And it also left us enough for some nice lunches on Monday.

This positively gets two thumbs up from us and I am very confident in recommending this as an excellent use of this fine ravioli.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Costco Canine Cuisine Review: Jerky Treat Tender Strips-Treats So Good Your Dog Will Learn To Close Its Cage Door By Itself To Get Them!

While our dog is not able to blog, she also enjoys food from Costco.  We bought some Jerky Treats Tender Strips and she is very fond of them.  These treats are made in the USA by Delmonte.  They are on sale this month, so we stocked up.

Layla really seems to love them, as you can see she has quite a look of anticipation on her face waiting to get one.

Layla is a clever girl and she knows when we leave in the morning she has to go in her cage.  The other day, she trotted in well before I got the treats and it seems like she was able to figure out how to close her cage door after herself, which seems like quite a trick!

She is a good girl that deserves some pampering and we are happy to give her treats that she enjoys that are made in the USA.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Costco Craze-Inside The Warehouse Giant: Premieres Thursday April 26 at 9PM EDT on CNBC

CNBC's special on Costco is going to premiere on April 26.   They have a couple of short teaser clips on their website and links to other Costco blogs and various Costco related articles.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

This is definitely on my "must watch" list.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chicken Sausage and Quinoa Soup

This post was primarily written by my lovely wife as I was out walking the dog on this pretty but crisp day.

It is spring and that brings thoughts of grilling sausages in our household.  So this last weekend while at Costco, we perused the sausage section and came home with a package of Sabatino's Smoked Mozzarella with Artichokes & Garlic Chicken Sausage   It comes in two sealed packages that contain eight sausages each.

Our first menu item with this is a soup that starts with the standard mirepoix of celery, onion and carrot sauteed in olive oil with a spoonful of chopped garlic and a little salt.  Four of the sausages were sliced and sauteed in the pan.  Next was added a couple of quarts of homemade chicken stock which we made from the last two rotisserie chickens we bought.  Finally, a cup or so of cooked quinoa was added to bulk up the soup and it was done.

This was very filling and yummy.  There is a lot of flavor in the sausages so it doesn't require much other seasoning but in the future a little garam marsala may be added to warm up the flavor.

To serve with the soup, a piece of naan bread from Costco was cut into slices and toasted.

Aside from having another successful main dish, we were thrilled with how well the naan bread toasted and what a great compliment it made to the soup. I am sure we will be toasting some of it again soon!


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Costco Coupon Book For 4/12 to 5/6 Plus A Link To Recipes For Items on Sale

Once again, I would like to thank my friends at the Addicted to Costco Blog for this month's coupon book.

Among the items on sale this month is the Pasta Prima Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli.  Below are some recipes using this wonderful product:

With a sauce of Pancetta and Vidalia Onions

With a sauce of Italian Brats and Tomato

Also, the Tostitos Artisan Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Chips are on sale and here is a recipe and a review of them.

Chicken Taco Salad With Tostitos Chips

A review of the Roasted Garlic and Black Bean Tostitos

I am intrigued, it looks like they were on sale at this same time last year.

Also, the Hebrew National Hot Dogs are on sale. I highly recommend stocking up on these for your  ssummer grilling. These are definitely some of the best hot dogs you can buy.

Hebrew National Hot Dogs With A Side of Summer Squash

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Leftover Easter Lamb With Tasty Bite Madras Lentils, Celery and Onions, Served Over Rice

We really enjoy the Tasty Bite Madras Lentils we get at Costco. They are flavorful, nutritionally sound and ready to go.  I was thinking that they would combine well with some left over lamb and my wife eagerly seconded that opinion.  Therefore, I chopped one small onion and one stalk of celery, which my wife sauteed while I trimmed and cubed the lamb.  We tossed the lamb into the pan, added the lentils and warmed everything up.  The meat mixture was then served over some rice.

My wife and I were totally pleased with how well this worked out.  Just serving the lamb and lentils together would have been fine, but I am thrilled with how we made the dish more substantial.  Adding the onions and celery and then serving the whole mixture over rice was effortless but it really made this a very complete dish. The lentils added an elegant but reserved spicy flavor, the onions and celery added crunch and the rice made a wonderful base to serve all this on.

We don't cook leg of lamb that often in our family, but the next time we do, I can guarantee that I will be thinking about this.  Also, for lunch tomorrow, we will be serving the lentil and lamb mixture over quinoa and I am looking forward to that for lunch already!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Slight Variation To Giada's Sweet and Sticky Caramel Hazelnut Rolls

We bought a large multipack of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls a while back and my wife commented that she was intrigued by Giada's use of them  to make some very tasty looking rolls for breakfast.  My wife followed the recipe, except for substituting some nuts we had on hand for hazelnuts.

These rolls were tasty, stick, sweet, delicious and easy!  That is an incredible combination.  I am betting the next time we buy a bunch of them we will make some rolls like this again.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Chicken Soup With Quinoa: Grandma's Home Cooking Meets A Bolivian Staple

My wife had a couple of long nights in a row with concert rehearsals and she told me in advance for her night off she wanted comfort food.

Few foods are as comforting as chicken soup so I quickly settled on that for dinner. Since she gave me warning, I pulled some of our frozen chicken from Costco out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge to thaw.

When I got home from work, I pulled out our big soup pot and drizzled in some EVOO. I then added a generous helping of Christopher Ranch Chopped Garlic we get from Costco and a small palmful of rosemary I crumbled in my hand.  Meanwhile, my wonderful wife chopped:

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 cup of baby carrots
These were added to the pot and I sauteed them until the onions were tender. While this was going on my wife thawed out a couple of quarts of homemade chicken stock and added that to the pot while I tossed in the somewhat thawed chicken.

She then rinsed a half cup Nature's Earthly Choice Quinoa  and threw that in the pot with about a cup of boiling water.  We brought everything to a boil then turned it to a simmer for about 15 minutes to cook the quinoa.

This dish was absolutely a home run!  It was a delicious, healthy, hearty chicken soup with lots of comfort but it also had a distinct character.

Rosemary and chicken are a natural combination and while parsley is a great seasoning for chicken soup, the rosemary gave it a bit of panache.  Also, the garlic helped give it a more varied and hearty flavor profile.

And finally, the use of quinoa instead of noodles gave it a twist without making it so out of the ordinary it was no longer comfort food.

And by using all the foods we had in a cupboard, fridge and freezer, this went together in very little time with minimal effort.

In every way this dish was a success:

  • Taste
  • Ease
  • Cost
  • Comfort
I am positive we will do something like this again and it only reaffirms our strategy for rotisserie chickens.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Two Birds In The Hand From Costco Is Worth Five Packages of Chicken And Four Quarts of Stock In The Freezer

Buying things in bulk and having them ready to use can be a big time and money saver.  For example, we love cooking up the big family size packages of ground beef we get at Costco and freezing them in a number of small packages that are the right size for a single recipe.

Recently, we expanded upon this idea with the rotisserie chickens we buy at Costco. I bought two of them and while I was putting away and organizing the other items from the shopping trip, my lovely wife cut up the birds and diced the chicken into bite-sized pieces.  She then took and put all the chicken in a number of containers that we then froze.

After all the chicken was put in the freezer, she then threw the carcasses in a pot with some onions, carrots and celery and let it all simmer together.  Then she strained it and put it into some containers (which I think were from soup we bought at Costco) and froze them.

As I said, this gave us five packages of high quality ready to use chicken and a couple of containers of delicious home made stock.  Doing all this at once right when the chickens were bought was extremely time efficient.

The number of different meals we will get out of these two chickens is really pretty impressive from both a time and money aspect.  Plus, rotisserie chickens are tasty and chicken can definitely be one of the healthier meats to eat.

And I have to say, homemade stock is wonderful stuff. In addition to having lots of real chicken flavor, it    is much lower in sodium than what you typically buy at the store.

My wife and I are absolutely thrilled with this idea and I can guarantee you we will be doing it again.  There are so many plusses to it that I simply can not recommend this enough.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Review Of Costco's Chicken Alfredo

My wife and I enjoy cooking, but the deal on the Chicken Alfredo on sale this month was just too good to pass up, so we took the plunge.  Aside from covering it with aluminum foil, there is no real prep involved other than putting it in the oven.  Cooking time was about an hour, but when you figure out how long it takes to get to a restaurant, order a meal and have it come to the table, that time is really not bad.

My wonderful wife removed the foil near the end of the heating to help brown the cheese a little.  The chicken is pre-cooked, so that makes the process of heating a bit quicker than baking it from scratch.

The dish had good flavor and we enjoyed it, although we both thought it was more alfredo with chicken than Chicken Alfredo. Still, there was enough meat in the dish you didn't feel cheated.

This was a good alfredo, about the quality you get at a place like Applebee's or Fridays.  Even before the coupon, it is a very good value and the coupon makes it a great value.

Thus, I give it a solid thumbs up: great value and tasty food.  Not the world's best alfredo, but competent and satisfying.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pasta In A Hearty Red Sauce With Fresh Spinach

A basic red sauce and meat pasta is a very reliable dish: it is tasty, easy, quick and satisfying.  Another thing going for it is that it can be spruced up in a variety of ways.  You can adjust the seasoning, add different vegetables and use basic dried pastas or filled ones.

In this case, my lovely wife kicked it up by adding some of the fresh spinach we buy in great big bags from Costco.

Aside from adding flavor, the spinach adds another layer of texture and it has some great nutritional aspects.

If you have been wondering what to do with some of that great big bag of spinach, try throwing some of into your pasta.  You might be very pleased with the result.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jarlsberg Cheese Dip With Gluten Free Crackers From Costco

My friend Bill at work requires a gluten free diet and so to celebrate Fat Tuesday and my six months at the job, I brought in a treat he could eat.

There are only four ingredients in this recipe that I found and the prep is very easy. This makes for both a great return on time and money.

I served the dip with two types of gluten free crackers: the Mary Gone Crackers ones that are on sale this month (until 2/26) and the Food That Should Taste Good Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers.

I was pleased with the result and I enjoyed the crackers with the dip.  I will say though that for this particular dip, I thought the Food Should Taste Good Sea Salt Brown Rice Crackers went with the dip a bit better than the Mary Gone Crackers one did. This dip had a couple of onion flavors in it and I think the Sea Salt crackers with a more subtle flavor made for a better pairing.

But let me be clear that I  think both of them worked fine. And I have to say, the price on gluten free crackers at Costco is a bargain compared to other stores.

So be nice to your friends Celiac Disease and serve this tasty, easy dip with fun and safe gluten free crackers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coupon Book For February

Once again, I have the coupon book from Costco courtesy of my friends at Addicted to Costco.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy World Nutella Day!

Nutella is one of our favorite products to buy from Costco. We love the stuff and it is vastly less expensive to buy at Costco versus the grocery store.

Therefore, I want to make note that today is  World Nutella Day.  Here is a link to recipes that celebrate this magnificent product.

Also, here is a quick thing I did with Nutella a while back:

I got some chocolate bread from Costco and toasted it.  Then I added sliced bananas and Nutella. Presto,  I had a delicious breakfast sandwich. The actual prep time for this was mere moments but the return on the investment was great.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Saving Time And Money With The Family Sized Packages Of Ground Beef At Costco

As much as we enjoy cooking and eating together, my wife and I both work and when we get home at the end of the day, we want to eat dinner not very long after we get home. One of the strategies my lovely wife came up with that support this is to always have cooked, browned ground beef in the freezer ready to go.

What we do is we buy those big five or six pound packages of ground beef at Costco and then we brown all the beef at once.  Browning one great big package is really not that much more work than browning one or two pounds.  After the meat is browned, we let it cool, put it in containers and freeze it.

This saves us a lot of time in many ways:

  • As previously mentioned, browning a big package of meat is very time efficient
  • We have the meat divided up into easy to use packages
  • There is always cooked meat in the freezer, ready for us to make dinner with
  • Using frozen cooked meat is much faster than taking frozen  raw meat and then cooking it
 So even if you are a couple or just one person, buying the big packages of ground beef makes a lot of sense. It is both economical and a huge time saver.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Review Of Skotidakis Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dip On Sale

The current coupon book ends tomorrow 1/29 and I thought I would make a few comments about this fun dip that is on sale.

It comes in a 24oz container, so there is enough if you want to serve a larger group of people.  As for the dip itself, it is a competent, well made product that I think has a lot of uses. It has a bit of heat that builds but it is not heat only for the sake of heat, it definitely has flavor.

However, it is not an overpowering flavor, so it should be a good crowd pleaser. People that want some "zing" in their dip will like it but those with milder tastes will not find it overpowering.

And I think it is versatile too. We had it with some the Garlic and Black Bean Tostitos that I am fond of and it worked pretty well.

My wife also suggested that it would be great on baked potatoes and I think that would be a excellent thing to do to a spud.

I also see this as a garnish on Mexican style dishes.

While not the most amazing dip on the planet it is a good product and being yogurt based, it is probably healthier for you than something based on sour cream.

I recommend the product and the next time it is on sale, we will probably buy it again

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Been Gone And Now I Am Back With: Peroggies With Spinach & Crumbled Black Bean Burger

It has been a long time since I posted and a lot has happened. The Holidays came and went and I got a great gift for Christmas:  A New Job!  That and a few other things have been a distraction but it is time to return to blogging.

As time goes buy, I will probably be posting a few things that I have not gotten around to over the past few months but I do hope to keep more current with what we are cooking and eating.

As for this dish: my wife and I are very fond of those lovely  black bean burgers we get from Costco.   They are great being served as burgers, but for a long time, I have wondered how they would work as an ingredient in a recipe.  One night, I came home from work and my wonderful wife answered the question for me.

She took some of that wonderful spinach we get from Costco and mixed it with some of the crumbled black bean burgers.  Then, she tossed them with some pierogies.  She was thinking the dish would either be a disaster or a big success and guess what, we both thought it was a big success. And it was interesting to look at too.

The flavors really worked well together.  The black bean burger gave a bit of zing without being heat for the sake of heat. The spinach gave a lively, fresh vegetable flavor to the dish. Finally, the pierogies added some nice heartiness to the meal. And all this came from what we had on hand, so the dish went together in minutes.

I am sure we will do more with the black bean burgers and we will probably do this particular variation again.