Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mango Chutney, Prosciutto and Naan Bread "Pizza"-From Aarti Sequeria, Winner of The Next Food Network Star

When I saw her do this recipe for her pilot, I was intrigued and I knew I we would try this someday.  After my wife discovered that Costco sells naan bread, we decided to do it. My wife followed the recipe as closely as she could, with the exception of using all fresh mozzarella instead of paneer for the cheese. (We don't know where to get paneer locally).

The pizza was pretty easy to make and here is a photo of it before it was baked.

After a few minutes in the oven, my wife topped it with the prosciutto and it was done.
The first word I will use to describe this is delicious!  This is absolutely a great recipe. There are a wide variety of flavors in this dish, but they work together wonderfully.  The sweet, spicy chutney compliments the pungent nature of the green onions.  The cilantro adds a fresh zesty taste and makes the flavors even brighter. The prosciutto adds meat and a slight saltiness while the cheese adds a dairy flavor and texture.

As I said, there are a lot of things going on here, but they really come together in a tasty and fun way.  This is definitely a dish we are going to make again. And it was a particularly Costco oriented recipe with the prosciutto,  cheese and bread all coming from Costco.


Here is the link to Aarti's recipe.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Save 38,750 Calories And $135 A Year On Your Work Day Chocolate Fix With Hunt's Pudding Cups From Costco

I brown bag my lunch and with very rare exceptions, I pack a Hunt's Pudding Cup that I buy from Costco.

The 36 pack of these goes for 7.49, which is a bit over 20¢ each. That compares to 75¢ each for a Snickers bar out of the vending machine.  Figuring in 250 work days per year and that is about $135 a year.

But there are more than just the monetary savings.  A Snickers bar has 280 calories while the chocolate pudding has 130 calories and the chocolate-vanilla has 120 calories. Figuring out an average of 125 calories, that is a whopping 38, 750 calories per year you will save.

As I said in my post about the baked Lays snacks,  this alone won't make you rich and thin, but it will help.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Peaches In Wine

My wife asked me to buy some peaches at the farmer's market and I said I would, on the condition that she would do something intriguing with them.  She agreed to those terms and I sent her a bunch of different recipes for her to get some ideas from.  She settled on something beautifully simple, elegant and delicious: peaches in wine.

For the wine, she used the Kirkland Signature 2007 Meritage, which we thought was a fine drinking wine.  We bought this wine based on the review of the 2006 vintage at the independent Costco Wine Blog.

The preparation was pretty simple. My wife simply peeled and sliced the peaches and soaked them in the wine for a couple hours. Then, just before serving, she garnished them with a little Ginger-Honey Balsamic that added just a bit of a twist.

The results were great.  The wine makes this into an upscale desert instead of just fresh fruit.  And the flavored balsamic added some "zing" from the ginger and a mild tang from the balsamic.  As I said, this dish was simple, delicious and beautiful we will definitely do it again.

Here is a link to the blog entry that this was inspired by.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bourbon Chicken Kebabs

We are fond of the Perdue Farms Bourbon Chicken from Costco and we thought we would try something new.

I took some of the chicken out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw out. Then we made kebabs (also spelled kebobs) with chunk pineapple and fresh green pepper.

We cooked them on the Griddler, with the Griddler being opened up so it was like a big grill.

As they cooked, I brushed them with Ginger-Sesame dressing and turned them now and then. Here is the result.

We were pleased with the results. They were flavorful and fun.  However,  for less effort and time we can make this Bourbon Chicken Salad.  My guess is we will make the kebabs again sometime, but we will tend toward the chicken salad. Let me be clear, the kebabs were fun and a good change of pace, we just get a better return on our investments of ingredients and time with the salad.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake With Nutella Mocha Affogato Recipe

I saw this wonderful recipe at Bell' Alimento.

Here  is the link to this wonderful recipe.

I am adding them to my links.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Costco Pumpkin Pie Review-On Sale With Coupon and Delicious!

Even at the everyday price of $5.99 the pie is a good deal. At $4.99 with the coupon, it becomes a great bargain.

The coupon has no limit, so we bought three: one for my mother in law, one for my wife to take to some friends and another for me to take into work.

The pie has a smooth, firm texture and it definitely has a pleasing pumpkin flavor.  It is sweetened just the right amount for my tastes: sweet but not so sugary that it feels like you are eating a kids breakfast cereal. It has been years since we have had a home made pie in the family and these pies are the reason why.  Excellent quality and a fabulous price. For the time and material at home that we would have to use, it makes no sense but to do anything but buy these when we want pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kirkland Signature Albacore Tuna Salad

The albacore tuna from Costco is definitely top quality stuff: great flavor, good texture, low in fat and salt and a great source of protein. My wife made this lovely and tasty salad featuring the albacore tuna.  She topped a bed a lettuce  with the tuna then layered some rice noodles on top to give it some crunch. Finally, she placed some mandarin orange slices around the side.  We dressed the salad with some ginger-sesame dressing and we were good to go.

It was a nutritious meal, with a variety of textures and flavors and it certainly is pretty.

And it took less time to make it than it did to put up this blog posting.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Mini Review Of The Sabatasso's Pizza Variety Packs On Sale This Month

We saw these in  the coupon flyer for this month and we thought they were worth a try.

With the $3 off coupon, a 12 pack of mini pizzas were only about $7, which is a good price. There were six pepperoni and six cheese pizzas in the package. They are all individually packaged, which does make them easy to serve if you want just one or two of them.

At about 3.4 ounces each, they are definitely snack sized pizza, although we did cook up a couple each for lunch.

As for the taste, they are fine, but nothing outstanding.  With the coupon, they were a good value, so we have no regrets about buying them.  Will we buy them again? Probably not, just because there are things that are a better fit for our needs.

I do see people with families buying them because they are the right size for kids, they definitely are cute and they cook up very easily in a toaster oven.

They might also work well as something for a party, as a snack or as and "emergency lunch or dinner".

Depending on your needs, these may or may not be a good choice.  But I can definitely say this: while not a stellar value, they are a quality item at a decent price with the coupon

Quick Idea For The Pasta Prima Ravioli On Sale At Costco

Yesterday I noticed someone in the checkout line at Costco with several bags of the ravioli in their cart. They too, were stocking up while it was on sale.

She commented that she likes to cover the ravioli with marinara sauce, top it with part of one of the seasoning packets and then bake it.

Sounds like a yummy and easy idea.

I also found interesting she does not use a whole packet of seasoning at a time. The seasoning is good stuff, but it can be overpowering if there is too much of it.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Sirloin Paired With Kirkland Signature Meritage 2007

I recently added the independent Costco Wine Blog to my list of links and I have started using their recommendations.  Before the holiday weekend, I picked up a couple of bottles of wine and one of the was the Kirkland Signature Meritage 2007.

We served it with those wonderful bacon wrapped sirloin steaks that we are so found of.  This robust red wine went wonderfully with them and it was definitely a solid choice. At $10 a bottle, it was an excellent value and I would definitely recommend it.

The Costco Wine Blog did a review the 2006 Meritage and it was a Bronze rated wine.  I definitely feel they are reliable source of objective reviews and highly recommend them.

Nutella-Ricotta Ravioli With Raspberries-Recipe Help Needed

As you might guess from the number of Nutella links I have on my list, my wife and I love the stuff.  I thought I might get creative and try designing a desert using it. What I came up with was a ravioli stuffed with a mixture of Nutella and ricotta cheese and garnished with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries.
The filling was 1/3 cup each Nutella and ricotta cheese, plus a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

I then put some of the filling on wonton wrappers, folded the wrappers over and sealed them with water.

To cook the ravioli, I panned fried them in just a little bit of canola oil.  Then I garnished them with powdered sugar and dressed them with the raspberries.

The result was a mixed bag. As you can see, the dish is certainly pretty enough.  The filling was pretty close to what I wanted, but the texture of the ravioli was off. They were edible, but they were tough enough you had to cut them with a knife.

I think this idea can still work, but I have to figure out how to cook the ravioli. Should I deep fry them, fry them in a 1/4 inch of oil, bake them or something else? (I don't think boiling them will work).

My wife also found them a bit on the sweet side. I can control that by eliminating the powdered sugar and possibly by using something like whipped cream to "cut the sweetness".

If anybody has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Ravioli With Chicken Sausage-Recipe and Review

We bought some of the Pasta Prima Spinach and Mozzarella Ravioli that is on sale this month with the coupon.  While the water was heating up for the ravioli, we cooked some of those Apple and Smoked Gouda Chicken Sausages on the Griddler.

While this was going on, I cooked up some onions and garlic in EVOO and some unsalted butter. (The butter and the oil were both from Costco).

When the ravioli was done, we tossed it with three links of the sausage that have been cut up, the garlic-onion mixture and one of the sauce packets that came with the ravioli.

Finally, my wife garnished it with some fresh tomato.  As you can see, it was a beautiful dish.

As for the taste of the dish, it was very good. The ravioli has a nice flavor and is satisfying.  The chicken sausage adds meat to the dish and broadens the flavor profile with its own seasonings and another cheese flavor.  The topping mixture brings in some more cheese and spice flavors, plus some green color.  Finally, the tomato added some freshness and a bold red color.

Our only negative on the dish was that between the ravioli, the sausage and most notably, the flavor packet, it was just a bit on the salty side. Next time we do it, we won't add all of the flavor packet. We both think that a subtle change like that can take this very good dish up to excellent.

It certainly was a very quick recipe to put together and the price was certainly reasonable.  This made a little less than four servings total for about $6.50, which is about a buck less than what a super-sized Big Mac meal will cost for just one person.

Cooking at home and eating well is definitely very affordable, easy and quick if you keep a few basics around and do just a little thinking.

As for a review of the ravioli:

It comes in a 3.5 pound bag and the normal price is 9.89. The coupon shaved off 2.50, bring the price down to 7.39, which is reasonable price for upscale frozen ravioli.

While not the best ravioli I have ever had, it has very good flavor and texture. The cheese and spinach filling is a nice change of pace from just cheese or meat fillings. The package is resealable which makes for easy storage in the freezer.  It comes with two flavor packets per bag, which you can use as much as you see fit. Honestly, my only negative about these is the flavor packets: if you use a whole one, it is a little salty. Therefore, my recommendation is this:

These are very good ravioli at a low price, but if you serve them with the included seasonings, don't add a whole pouch of it.

We stocked up and there are two and a half bags of these left in the freezer and I am already looking forward to another serving of them!

Nutella Blog Added

After a long hiatus, the Nutty4Nutella blog is posting again.

I have added them to the blog list.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Grilling Ideas For The Holiday Weekend

I thought a summary with links  of some of the items we have grilled would be helpful.

While we did these on the Griddler, these black bean burgers might do well on your gas or charcoal grill.

These bacon wrapped sirloin steaks are a favorite of ours to grill and they store great in the freezer.

Hebrew National Hot Dogs  are a great upscale hot dog at a low price at Costco. 

These chicken sausages with apple and smoked gouda by Amylu are low in fat, high in flavor and are again, a great value at Costco.

We also like grilled romaine lettuce.  We do it with a simple dressing of dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and capers from Alton Brown, but we also have used this citrus dressing recipe.  I must say, the citrus recipe is just fantastic.

I hope these ideas are helpful and have a Labor Day if I don't post before it is over.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Snack Food Review-Kirkland Signature Kettle Brand Crinkle Cut Potato Chips With Sea Salt

With the Labor Day weekend coming up, I thought I would review a snack for those that might be having a party or just enjoying the outdoors.

These Kirkland Signature Krinkle Cut chips are seasoned with Sea Salt and made for them by Kettle. Kettle makes some great chips and these certainly meet my quality standards.  I thought they had the right amount of salt and had great flavor, texture and crunch. They are good by themselves but I have to admit I ate most of them with french onion dip.

As for the price, they are $4.25 for 32 ounces, a two pound bag.  Lays chips in the store are typically 3.99 for a 11 ounce bag, so these are about 60% less than Lays in the grocery store on a per weight basis. That is a huge savings.

Admittedly, you can sometimes buy the Lays on sale for half price, but even then, the Costco chips have a great price advantage.  And from my viewpoint, the Costco chips are better.

My only negative are that the Costco chips are in a big bag and the last few chips were a bit greasy.  But otherwise, these are great chips, a great value and I definitely am giving them a very positive review and I do absolutely plan on buying them again.


Review Of Deli Cilantro-Lime Shrimp On Sale At Costco This Month

With the holiday weekend coming up, I thought I would review some prepared foods and snack items.

This month Costco has their Cilantro-Lime Shrimp on sale for $1.50 off per container, no coupon required.(They take $1.50 off the sticker when you check out).

As my wife does not eat shrimp, I bought these as a treat for me. Overall, I was very pleased with them. I ate them "plain" right out of the container and I was impressed with the quality of the shrimp-they were flavorful and prepared properly, with the tails removed.

The cilantro-lime dressing on them was also well done. I like the tang and zest of citrus flavors and found these to be at about the right level. I also enjoyed the cilantro and other flavorings that made this more than just some shrimp soaked in lime juice.

As I said, I ate them plain, but I would think they would work well in some sort of salad. Also, for those that avoid carbs, serving these in romaine lettuce leaves would make for a flavorful low carb, low fat, high protein wrap.

I was definitely pleased with these and if there is ever another coupon, I will definitely buy them. I also might buy them every once in a while just to pamper myself. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Costco Wine Blog Added To Links

I have added the independent CostcoWineBlog to my list of links.

It looks like a great reference for some wines to pair with the delicious foods you get at Costco.