Costco Favorites? What are they?
I will be doing a Costco run this weekend and wanted some new ideas for not-to-miss items. I always like the artichoke hearts, the 2lb bulk fresh mozzarella (a true cost-savings), the frozen potstickers, and the mini-bell peppers. Any new ideas would be appreciated! I realize Costco isn't the epicenter of gourmet foodstuffs, but here in the Midwest I'll take what I can get, so please save the criticisms and share the highlights!
I am a new member to Costco(I enrolled to get a good deal on tires for my SUT.), and I have found some items a good deal. $9.99/lb. King Crab Legs, a 5 pack of some of the freshest avocados for just over $5.00 a bag, & cheap Enfamil baby formula. I have also found their meats to be above average in quality(for choice graded meat), and pretty decent in price. Although I still buy most meats/poultry @ my local butcher shop which is top notch(prime beef). I imagine I will find more items @ Costco on my visit this weekend.
Where do I begin......Stuffed sweet peppers, they come in a jar down by the cheeses. So good would be a perfect party appetizer.
Rotisserie chicken, I don't know how they do it but they are delicious.
Prepared pizza, they're huge and only $7.99 loaded or plain, they barely fit in my oven.
Artichoke raviolis very good
Many more but they escape me. I've never had a bad piece of meat, and their ground beef usually runs 50-75 cents/lb cheaper then any market close to me.
Oh if you're into trail mix try the Tropical at least that's what I think i
If they have Petit Basque (a sheep's milk cheese) in the cheese section, at $10.99/lb. it's a great buy. It's the exact same cheese that goes for $15-20 most places, even on line.
Here in San Francisco I can buy a 3lb bag of organic coffee beans for $10. I don't recall the brand, but the Golden Gate Bridge is on the bag.
We also buy cheeses there. The chunks are pretty big, but they are good if we are having a party.
I like the manchego cheese there and they have decent vegan frozen burritos. When my boyfriend bought them, I thought they were vegetarian until I read the ingredient list...never would've known the difference.
their fruit is also pretty tasty and the pineapples are usually pretty cheap - one for $2.99. Also in the summer the watermelon is priced pretty well. Not costco, but once I found a HUGE watermelon at sam's club for $1.75..I kid you not.
It takes me some time to get over some of the stuff psychologically, but I have yet to be disappointed. Some of the items I buy:
- the shrimp U15 at $11 are a great buy
- strip steaks
- whole coffee beans
- String cheese
Other than that its staples, paper goods, mayo, water, propel, cleaning supplies and stuff like that
Bulk nuts, vitamins and coffee alone more than overpay my membership dues. After reading about all the great value of bulk nuts at TJ's, I made a point to check them out last weekend despite all the Manhattan crowds, and am happy to say that Costco's per lb. prices are still better and the quality is hard to beat.
I absolutely love how their added their in-house brand wholebeans coffee - first Columbian and then Sumatran French Roast.
The wine selection and prices are great here in the Bay area. I also love the Consorzio garlic infused olive oil. Fantastic and a good value as well.
I love their naked juice and kashi frozen entrees at half the price. I also love their cheese selection.
Lamb, especially the Frenched racks. They are beautiful, nice size eyes, well trimmed and usually $9.99/lb. I use them all the time. Also, their olive oil is not too bad for cooking. Their nuts, cashews and fancy mixed are great as well.
The product mix at Costco varies quite a bit, regionally, especially with foodstuffs. That said, if you like the bulk mozzarella, you should look and see if they have the mozzarella di bufala from Italy -- a 500 gram container (four balls) for $9.97. Sooo good! If you have a chowcanine, it can do well, too, with Costco's house-brand dog foods (good quality, great prices, especially their organic kibble), and their bully sticks.
Their boneless beef short ribs. They're fabulous for braising & for making beef veggie soup. Usually grab a log of goat cheese for pizza, pasta dishes, etc. Last spring their blackberries were divine - haven't seen them yet this year. Just grabbed a 10 lb bag of yum-yum-yum Texas 1015 sweet onions. Starbucks coffee. King crab legs. Their Parisian salad kit is delish when they have it.
Second the rec for the rotisserie chicken (the secret is the brining! for the other poster that asked how...)
My boy loves the packages smoked honey turkey.
The muffins are really good, esp the crumb ones and the chocolate ones, and freeze well too. In fact, most of the baked goods, i.e. cookies, pies, and cinnamon rolls, are pretty tasty.
When in season, I buy a few boxes of the grape tomatoes (and have to control myself not to eat an entire box in one sitting). The berries and grapes are also really good. Last time, we also snagged a bag of Honeycrisp apples.
Their frozen marinated lamb shanks are wonderful. They only take about a half hour from frozen.
Yes the meat department rocks, and you can't beat those individually wrapped chicken breasts that you don't have to rewrap once you get home, love that and the person who made that call!
I shop Costco for most of my food, except the produce because at my store, the produce is not that great. I think that they just don't turn it quickly enough.I have bought produce that went south fast. Mushrooms that were slimy on the bottom of the carton, and spinach that just had that "rotting" smell. So rather than to be disappointed I just buy produce at the farmers market or my local grocery store. I waste less this way.
The frozen steak burritios when you don't have time to cook, but not to eat every day are good.The cheeses; swiss, provolone, mozzerella, bobolinos and Mortons Tri Tip all good. Only Morton's orginal flavor is good. Some of the precut deli meats are too pricey, and I prefer to see my deli cut to my thickness. When I was working for corporate, a friend and I would split one of their salads, and still have left overs. Or we would buy the chicken and a salad, and have it for lunch for a couple of days while dieting. (Lucky it was around the corner, and we had a full kitchen at work. A beautiful thing.)
But the Hershey's brownies are to die for. I made a ganache with grand marnier and orange and they just flew off the plate.
If I were to buy any produce, I would buy the grape tomatoes if i were using them within a couple of days, and the Asian pears. I just have to be careful here.
I have friends that have been with Costco for years, one is a buyer for the wine. The other manages a Costco store (not here) They've told me that they search for the best products for the best prices, the meat is high quality, and the wines, and the selections and pricing is also a good value. The Kirkland brand French Vodka, gives my all time favorite, Grey Goose a run for the money. The nuts are a bargain as well the vanilla and of course the eggs. I just have to check dates at mine. Sometimes not enough time so I have to resist and pass. I never buy the cream, again the date problem. So I think its just a problem with my store. It's really too bad more people don't use Costco here, so they can keep the product rotated properly. Perhaps I need to make a suggestion. The pizzas, are wonderful and a bargain for a party or when you have kids. I buy the fresh scallops, prawns and the lobster. It's good.
The ribeyes, the lamb chops and the boneless pork chops I wouldn't get anywhere else. The hamburger that is molded into little balls are easy to wrap and freeze. The baby back ribs are terrific, as well the pork loin.
Oh and the ciabatta bread! That makes great sandwiches. Having a freezer is a great benefit to freeze breads and use later.
Since I was so close to the store, what I would do is bring a cooler with ice the care trunk and my friend and I would shop at lunch time. Anything that was double we would split then rewrap after work. Saved my Saturdays and we ate lunch while we shopped!
Good grief you can refi your home, insure it and your cars, run a business with their services, carpet your home, buy eye glasses, fill your prescriptions and use the endless other services and then feed your family well. I love that store!
re: chef chicklet
I agree that the individually wrapped (actually, mine were two to a pouch) chicken breasts are a great idea. Just throw them in the freezer at home.
Not only can you buy eyeglasses, but they fixed mine for free when my dog chewed them (both pairs). They never even asked if I'd bought them there (which I hadn't). That probably paid for my membership fee right there. That, and the fact they have the lowest gas prices in the area.
I agree that the individually wrapped (actually, mine were two to a pouch) chicken breasts are a great idea.
re: Ruth Lafler
I also agree that those 2 breasts/pack pre-marinated chickens are great. They're my standby dinner option when I forgot to take something out to thaw the night before, and can be cooked so many ways. I picked up a container of an olive blend tappenade from the deli section, and it is fantastic. I've been eating it on torn pieces of pita bread, and enjoying every bite. I also bought some fresh dolmes from the deli that are lower fat than those packed in oil, and quite satisfying. The Kirkland brand wild caught smoked salmon is also really nice for a treat, though I tend to have a hard time finding ways to eat a whole package within four days of opening! Thanks for all the ideas everyone!
Speaking of tapenade, I've been working my way through a bottle of Gertie's artichoke tapande I bought at Costco a while back. It's really handy for jazzing up all kinds of things, from a plain piece of meat to a baked potato (watching those calories!).
The chicken breasts I bought weren't marinated, though. Just plain Foster Farms boneless, skinless breasts, packed two to a pouch with several pouches packed on a large meat tray.
If someone were to criticize you for shopping at Costco, they're just plain a snob. They do a very good job of sourcing out great suppliers. Most, to practically all of their products you can buy and rest assured you've done well.
As for products not to be missed. Here in TO we have fresh Italian (Sweet and hot) sausages in the meat department. They aren't THE BEST but close and at half the cost of the best, they're outstanding.
The peeled and deveined frozen raw shrimp are great as are the Kirkland brand salmon filets.
Their hummus is fantastic too.
There are a TON of things at costco that are awesome. Here are a few that I always end up with in my cart:
individual chicken breasts
guacamole (its seriously awesome)
fresh mozarella( not the BEST ive ever had, but for things like lasagna and baked ziti you cannot go wrong!)
rotisserie chicken (amazing!!)
some produce (tend to just get peppers and tomatoes)
frozen thin crust pizza (i think its mystic pizza?)
assorted nuts (cashews, peanuts)
there are so many more and i could go on and on haha
Flowers are great, wines, and anything from the bakery. Especially the bakery, the muffins are to die for. We have bought a dryer, small appliances, jewelry, art glass,clothing, books, just about anything for the home. Their Kirkland products are very good. The food items are major brands. And if you don't like something there is no fuss on returning items. And of course the pizza and hot dogs for lunch, the best.