Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Refurbished Griddler-$45.00 Shipped

Some of you may remember we are very fond of our  Griddler.  Today, 8/31,  Meijer has a refurbished one for 49.99.

Use the coupon code "KITCHENSINK" and get 10% off and free shipping.  While the sale on the Griddler lasts until noon on 9/1, the coupon expires today, 8/31.  Also, there is a limited quantity, so buy early if you want one.


Soup and Panini

We always keep provolone and salami from Costco on hand so we have sandwich making basics. The other day we also picked up a two pack of roasted garlic bread and some of that  Harry's Organic Tomato Basil Soup that is on sale with a coupon this month.  We made a panini with the salami, provolone and some capicola that we picked up from our local Italian deli.

A few quick minutes on the Griddler for the sandwich and a few minutes in the microwave for the soup and we were ready for dinner.

The Italian meats and cheese went wonderfully with the roasted garlic bread and the sandwich alone was satisfying and flavorful.  Adding the soup completed the meal and gave us a vegatable course.  This was a very upscale sandwich and soup supper that went together in less time that it would have taken us to drive to Panera Bread. And the price was very reasonable.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Off Topic: Donating Items From Costco To Charity

I won't belabor the point that these are tough economic times and that charities need all the help they can get.  While money is almost always good, time and materials are wonderful, useful donations. One of our favorite things to donate to is the local animal shelter, Harbor Humane Society.  This link is to a list of  things they can use on a regular basis that they will always take donations for.  We have donated pet food and other supplies and it is a great way to give back.  Plus Costco's great prices on Iam's, paper towels, hand soap and other items give you a lot of donating power for the dollar.

If you have a favorite charity, it never hurts to see what they need and see if you can pick it up at Costco.  Buying something for half the price they might have to go out and pay for it, plus the time you save them might really make their day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Save $100 And 2500 Calories a Year, Plus Eat More With Baked Lays!

Many of us spend money on snacks out of the vending machines at our place of work. Recently Costco had a 30 pack of Baked Lays for $2.50 off.  The price in my local store is normally 10.89 so the final price is 8.39, which is 28 cents for each bag.

I looked in the vending machine we have at work and most snacks are 75 cents each which means bringing your own saves nearly 47 cents, which is a pretty huge savings.  And even without the coupon, you would be saving about 39 cents each.  If you buy a bag a day at work, this will save you about $100 a year, which is decent money.

And there is also a calorie savings too. I compared these to the regular Lays products at Costco and the baked products were about 10 calories less for most of them. However, the portion size for the baked products is larger than the fried products, so you get to eat more.

The boxes come with four varities:

  • Regular Baked Lays Potato Chips
  • Baked Barbecue Lays Potato Chips
  • Baked Cheddar Cheese Ruffles
  • Baked Cheetos

As I said, the box holds 30 bags, so it saves some space that way.

I admit that you need to do more than just buy these snacks to get rich and thin, but they certainly will help you reach those goals.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lentil Quinoa Salad Recipe From Melissa d'Arabian-5th Season Winner Of The Next Food Network Star

We have been doing more with quinoa lately. It is versatile, extremely healthy, a great change of pace and the stuff from Costco is very affordable at four pounds for 8.99.  We had a family reunion on my side of the family this past weekend and we thought something with quinoa would be fun and different for the occassion.

The recipe my wife made was for a Lentil Quinoa Salad from Melissa d'Arabian's "10 Dollar Dinners" show.  It was very quick and easy to make and it did have an intriguing appearance.

While we liked it, it did not strike us as a "five star recipe" which is how it is listed on the Food Network site.  It just was not that exciting of a flavor profile.  We have made other dishes like Giada's Herbed Quinoa that we have liked much better.

That being said, I think it might be a good dish for a family with a couple kids that don't want flavors that are too bold but yet the adults want some variety.  In that context, I can see where people will rate it higher.

There was only about one serving left after the family reunion, so it was a success in that context.  Also, my wife took that last serving and spruced it up with some paprika and she said it was much better. Therefore, we might well make this dish again, but we will add to its spice profile.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Curried Chicken Quinoa With Veggie Salad And Corn On The Cob

The other day we did not have a lot of time for dinner so my wife made a quick supper using a couple of our favorite things from Costco: quinoa and rotisserie chicken.

She seasoned the quinoa with curry and cooked.  Then she added the rotisserie chicken.  I know, it was very simple, but the elegant warmth of the curry powder complimented the taste and texture of the quinoa very nicely.

The meal was completed by a vegatable salad and some nice corn on the cob. It was a flavorful, healthy and fun meal done in very little time and at a reasonable price.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Refurbished Griddler-$49.99 Shipped

Via eBay Daily Deals, Buy.com has the Griddler for $49.99

Great deal!

We use ours all the time. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Heaven-A Couple Of Nutella Links Added

One of our favorite things to buy at Costco is Nutella.  At 8.79 for two 26.5 ounce jars, it is definitely the best price I have seen for it. 

In recognition of this wonderful substance, I am adding a couple of new websites to my links.

The first one is for the recipe collection that celebrates the 5th Annual Nutella Day of February 5, 2010.  It definitely seems to be a pretty extensive list of a wide variety of recipes.

The next one is for an independent Nutella forum.  Traffic on this site seems to be very low, but there are a few recipes and ideas there and who knows, maybe traffic might pick up some day.

While these recipes are wonderful, one of my favorite ways to enjoy Nutella is just to get a scoop of it on a clean spoon and slowly savor it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chicken Taco Pizza

My mother-in-law gave us an extra pizza crust she bought at the farmer's market. It was a tomato jalapeno crust from Bova Bakery in Gobles, Michigan.

We topped he pizza with some rotisserie chicken, fresh tomato and onion.  To finish it off we added some fresh Jack's Medium Salsa from Costco and cheddar cheese.  Then just a few minutes in the oven to melt the cheese and we were ready for dinner.

While a bit spicy, the pizza was not too hot and it was an interesting selection of textures.  The crust was a bit crispy and chewy at the same time, while the veggies and other ingredients were more middle of the road in terms of mouth feel.

All the fresh ingredients gave it a bit more vibrant taste and it went together in less time than it takes me to write this blog post.  We think it was a big success overall and will certainly consider doing something like this again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pasta, Peas & Prosciutto

Prosciutto is another one of those items that is at a ridicously low price at Costco.  Their Citterio brand at 8.99 for a pound is truy a great price.  It is pre-sliced and ready to use.  Prosciutto is great wrapped around melon and it is an excellent sandwich and panini ingredient. 

We also like to cook with prosciutto. One of our favorite recipes is from Rachel Ray.  It is Pasta, Peas and Proscuitto.  This dish has a lot of the typical elements of a red sauce but it has some nice touches that make it special.  The peas add color and another vegetable while the proscuitto gives it meat and another set of textures and flavors. Finally, all the fresh basil adds a nice, bright touch.

This is a great recipe and it is really affordable, since I think it makes a lot more than four servings. My wife constantly says Rachel must be feeding teenage boys when she figures out portions!

New Coupons Start Today 8/19

The new coupons start today.  Here is a post about them at Addicted To Costco. In the post there is a link to a PDF of the coupons.

One thing I know we will be stocking up on is the ravioli.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

White Bean, Green Bean And Red Bell Pepper Salad

My wife and I are fond of those bacon wrapped sirloin fillets from Costco.  We grilled a couple more of them the other day and for a change of pace we served them with fresh tomatoes with basil and EVOO and this fun and easy bean salad. The recipe comes from Bon Appetit's "The Weekday Cook"
  • 1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch long strips
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon-optional (we didn't add this)
  • Salt and ground pepper
Cook the green beans in salted water until crisp-tender. Drain.Refresh under cold water. Combine with pepper and cannellini beans in a medium bowl.

Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Mix in the orange peel and tarragon.  Mix into salad.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

We followed the recipe except we were low on red pepper so I alsoadded some green pepper to complete the dish.  Also, I messed around with the dressing ingredients a bit: I added more mustard and a bit more EVOO.

Finally, I used frozen green beans, which I cooked in the microwave.  That saved some time.

This was a dish that had a nice zip to it from the vinegar plus a broader flavor from the mustard.  It was a nice combination of textures between the two style of beans and the pepper.  This is not the best thing I have ever had, but it was really good and easy and we will definitely make it again.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tucson Black And White Bean Salsa With Kirkland Signature Tortilla Strips By Mission

I have been on my new job for a week so I thought I would bring in some snacks to work. We had one of those big three pound bags of Kirkland Signature Tortilla Strips in the house and I thought they would be ample enough to satisfy my new friends at my new job.

The strips went well with this Tucson Black and White Bean Salsa.  Here is the recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit, July 1993 issue.

3 tablespoons corn oil
1 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 15-ounce can Great Northern white beans, drained
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 large jalapeño chili, seeded, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
print a shopping list for this recipe


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add corn and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and all remaining ingredients. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

My only modifications to the recipe is that I saute the corn in EVOO and then I splash the salsa with some EVOO and let it sit overnight in the fridge. I feel that the additional oil and extra time give the flavors a chance to disperse better.

While I like tomato salsa, I am fond of this recipe because the beans give the dish some body but it is still not heavy feeling.  And all the different colors make for a pretty dish.

This also works well as a filling for a meatless burrito. However, I did not get a chance to do that since the salsa was gone by the end of lunch time, which is good, because that means people enjoyed it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cool Dish For A Hot Summer Night-Asian Style Chicken Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing

Rotisserie chicken has many great uses and this is one of our favorites. And with it still being summer out, making a salad from a chicken someone else cooked is a great idea. Here is a one paragraph recipe for it:

Let the chicken cool and make some bite sized chunks out of it.  Lay down a bed of shredded romaine lettuce from Costco and then top the lettuce with the chicken.  Garnish with sliced almonds (from Costco), some golden raisins, rice noodles and your favorite sesame ginger dressing.

The meal has numerous flavors and textures including:

  • The meaty flavor and texture of the chicken.
  • The crispness and freshness of the lettuce
  • The crunch of the noodles and almonds
  • Sweetness from the raisins 
  • Tang from the dressing
Writing this blog entry took longer than assembling the salad.  This salad is definitely another favorite of ours.  It is easy, it has a bright, summer flavor to it and it is pretty affordable. Hard to do better than that for a meal.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Open Face Black Bean Burger Sandwich-A Favorite

Recently we bought some of the black bean burgers from Morningstar Farms at Costco.  They are frozen and are less than $14 per box of 12. That makes them convenient and reasonably priced.

We buy some delicious black pepper bread from our local farmer's market and toast it for the base of the sandwich. Meanwhile, we grill the burgers on our Griddler.

After the toasting and grilling, we put the burger on the toast, top it with some of the Jack's Special Medium Salsa and some cheddar cheese and we are good to go.

We love this meal.  The burgers have just the right amount of zing and they are filling and certainly healthier than a beef burger. The toasted bread compliments the spicy flavor of the burger and give a chewy bread in contrast to the "meatiness" of the burger.  The salsa and cheese provide a vegetable and dairy balance to the meal and a sense of completeness.

I can't say enough about how tasty this meal is.  I could certainly see something like this on the menu at a restaurant by someone like Bobby Flay.  Yes, it is that good.  And the time, effort and money involved are very reasonable.

And the meal is just plain fun, too.

Sorry About The Delay And Now, A Taco Salad

Sorry I have not posted in a few days, my wife and I got busy with some volunteer work and then I started a new job.

Even though it is a bit cooler, we are still making a lot of salads because we are not in the mood to stand over the stove much lately cooking, although the grill is a different issue.

We recently made a taco salad that featured some Jack's Special Medium Salsa from Costco. It is a fresh salsa sold in the refrigerated section near the produce. It is a salsa that is truly medium- it has some heat but it is definitely not hot. It also has flavor besides the heat. And at 4.99 for three pounds, it is lower in price than many store brand jar salsas.

We also used the crunchy and tasty tortilla strips we get at Costco. At 3.39 for three pounds, they are less expensive than any other store brand I have seen and they have just the right amount of salt.

The romaine lettuce, the tortilla strips, taco meat, fresh salsa and sharp cheddar give a variety of textures and flavors that make for a complete meal that is satisfying, fresh tasting and reasonably priced.