It was a pretty typical shopping trip to Costco this week. Of course, we did have to buy a new JVC Everio HD camcorder, so that we could immediately return it to get the new, $20.00 lower, price of $249.99. It had seemed like that might just be in the stores because they had completely removed it from Costco.com, but the camera with the new lower price is back online too.
Don’t forget that the newest Costco Coupon Book starts up this Monday with lots of great deals. So, take a look thorugh it and make sure you don’t buy any of those things this weekend!
Don Miguel Steak and Cheese Flautas – These are a great, quick weekday meal. All you do is pop them in the oven for about 14 minutes and you are ready to go. We usually put some cheese on ours (like the queso fresco below) and maybe a little salsa, guacamole, or sour cream; depending on our mood. We usually get the chicken ones that they also carry at Costco, but this week we gave the steak a chance. It’s really good. Though, the steak could be a little more flavorful; it kind of got lost when I added some mushrooms and cheese on top. But the flour tortillas get so nice and crunchy in the oven and overall the taste is delicious. At Costco, you get a 2 container pack, much like the pasta, so you can eat one and put the other in the freezer if you wanted. Each container has 8 flautas, which can be quite a bit to eat, especially if you have a salad or some veggies with them; after 2 or 3 I’m stuffed. 16 flautas for $8.99. Item #: 327094.
La Vaquita Queso Fresco – This was the cheese of the week. I’ve never cooked with queso fresco before, and it does take some getting used to a cheese that does not melt but does brown very nicely. It’s got a really subdued flavor that is a lot like mozzarella. It grates beautifully so you can easily sprinkle some on the top of things to get a little cheesey goodness. But really, it does not melt, not even a little bit, but it will soften up a bit. It does brown very nicely if you try to saute it and I think you could definitely grill it. I’m going to try cutting it into little cubes and browning it to see how that works. We paired it with some toasted pine nuts to put over some of the fresh green beans (next item on the list) and it was great. I’m sure you could use it in a million ways that I’m not even thinking about. I make these little skewers of pancetta and grillable cheese that I bet this cheese would be great on. It’s sometimes hard to find a grillable cheese, one that won’t melt and get all nasty on your grill, so this could be the perfect answer since they almost always have it at our Costco. 2, 16 ounce rounds for $8.29. Item #: 364097.
Fresh French Cut Green Beans – I like to take advantage of whatever fresh veggies Costco has stocked in the very cold fridge room because it forces me to widen our selection of vegetables a little bit. And it’s nice to cook something fresh instead of always turning to frozen veggies (though the frozen ones at Costco are great). As I mentioned above, we had some of these with toasted pine nuts and some grated queso fresco for a delicious, quick vegetable dish. Since these are fresh you can either steam them or saute them with a smidge of olive oil and they are done in no time. Of course, you could also eat them just as they are with a little bit of dip like the one that I made with some sour cream (I’ve got to work my way through that 3 pound container) and some jalapeno, flakes and ground, with a little garlic. There are a ton of different ways to have fresh green beans, so I’m sure you will think of something. You can even cook these right in the bag: you just cut off one corner and they are all ready to put in the microwave to cook for about 4 minutes. Of course, if you’re doing that, you are going to need to eat all 2 pounds. 2 pounds for $5.99. Item #: 14221.
Braided Apple Strudle – Normally, I love every single thing I pick up in the Costco bakery. However, the apple strudle I’m not sold on. They have a nice appley flavor but the pastry is just not the right texture. At first I tried them without putting them in the oven first and they were just too floppy, bordering on soggy. Then we tried putting them in the oven, as instructed, for 12 minutes. The time in the oven definitely crisped up the pastry but it still didn’t seem quite right. Dave seemed really unimpressed and is just not interested, but I’m still trying to figure out how I can make them better. Maybe with some sugar sprinkled on top before you put them in the oven, or a little powdered sugar when serving. There’s just something that I found lacking a bit: texture for sure but I think there’s some aspect of the flavor that doesn’t strike me as right either. It’s a bit of a shame too because these would be really great if you were having people over and wanted something that looked nice that you didn’t have to make. If you get these though, definitely do not forget that you will NEED to put them in the oven because otherwise they are just floppy and unappealing. 8 for $6.99. Item #: 38521.
Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug Pack – Dave and I often go for a little two hour hike on the weekend; nothing too strenuous but just something that gets us out in the fresh air and away from the computers. However, after all of the plastic bottle worries we have ended up with nothing to put our water in for these little hikes. We have looked at various options that they’ve had at Costco and other places, mostly plastic but BPA-free of course, that weren’t insulated and didn’t seem that leak-proof. The other thing we were looking for is something that won’t spill in a backpack. So, we ran across these great travel mugs at Costco this week and decided they would fit the bill. They’re not too big, holding 16 ounces, which is ideal for our needs. But the coolest part is the ‘Autoseal’ technology that the Contigo people use on their mugs; it is totally leak-proof. Here’s what they say on their website: “Press to sip. Release to seal. AUTOSEAL® automatically seals between sips to ensure no spills.” And it is really true. I tried tipping it, shaking it, tossing it around, everything I could think of basically, and not a single drop came out. Plus, these mugs are double-wall stainless steel with vacuum-insulating to keep beverages hot for 4 hours and cold for up to 12 hours. They are also very light weight, making them great for hiking or camping. Of course, they’d be great for taking your morning beverage to work in too. I almost forgot the best part, they are completely dishwasher safe. 2 mugs for $19.99. Item #: 278571.