The last several weeks have been very hectic, and we just managed to visit our “new” Costco after moving. It may be a horror for some to hear, but sometimes a corporate chain can really give you a nice feeling of familiarity. While pushing the cart through the wide aisles, I noticed that I missed our monthly Costco run. In particular, we seem to have developed a routine for the food that we buy. Lest you think I am some sort of food snob that actually has the energy to cook a full meal every night, here are some products that we get that provide us with quick and easy meals for weeks. Don’t expect any gourmet tips here!
Today: Eat Lunch at Costco Food Court. My wife and I usually split a Hot Dog & Coke and a Chicken Bake. The hot dog comes with sauerkraut, which is key. I forget the total now, but I’m pretty sure it’s less than $5. You can buy the hot dogs and chicken bakes in the freezer section, but for health reasons we restrict our intake of these delicacies. If you still aren’t satisfied, you can always graze on the samples that they are giving out in the aisles.
Next Week: Buy Some Hot Dishes To Go. We always leave with a rotisserie chicken and one of the spinach salads. Much has been written about the many things you can do with that chicken, from quesadillas and sesame noodles to chicken salad and quiche.
First 2 meals – Chicken breast with spinach salad
Next 2 meals – Shredded chicken inside quesadillas with cheese and salsa
Last 2 meals – Take the bones and remaining meat on the bone, and make homemade stock for chicken and rice congee.
Long Term Staples: Minimal prep, on the table in 15 minutes or less
- Krusteaz Pancake Mix – Add water, stir, and spoon onto the griddle! Stir in chocolate chips, bananas, or berries if you got ‘em.
- Individually Frozen Chicken Tenders – Lean protein, no preservatives, just chicken and salt. Although more expensive than the breasts, the tenders are more easy to portion, and cook faster without any extra work. Just grill/broil/saute and top with something: cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, cheese, gravy.
- Individually Frozen Salmon – Similar to chicken, just grill and add lemon juice.
- Paradise Valley Creamy Mash Potatoes – Instant mashed potatoes, but the only ingredients are potatoes, butter, and salt. Again, no additives or preservatives. Just add boiling water and butter, and you’ve got some carbs!
- 20 lb sack of rice – More tasty carbs via my trusty and easy-to-clean Zojirushi rice cooker.
- Dried pasta – Usually they have some sort of variety pack of shapes.
- Kirkland Four Cheese Ravioli – These are well-stuffed and all you have to do is boil water. Goes great with just olive oil or butter and some capers, or add some jarred sauce.
- Kirkland Lasagna, as well as other similar pre-cooked dishes – Just heat and serve.
- Frozen Pizza – Although we usually prefer the Trader Joe’s frozen pizza, Costco has some decent options as well.
- Frozen or Fresh Vegetables – They often have pre-cut carrots, blue lake beans, broccoli, and spinach in addition to their bagged frozen stuff. Just steam or stir-fry with some garlic.
Mix and match as needed, and you’ve got 20 different meals without breaking a sweat! For slightly fancier ideas, check out the recipes in the official Costco Cookbook.
By Jonathan Ping | Frugal Living | 7/29/07, 1:58am