Wow, it feels so weird to type ‘2011’. In any case, I’ll be honest, I was not out shopping at Costco right after New Year’s this week. But I still have loads to write about from my last trip. And if you’re in the US, don’t forget that the new coupon deals run from January 6 – 30. Or, if you’re in Canada be sure to check out Costco Canada’s online site highlighting weekly specials and promotions.
Flamin’ Chicken Tenders – Oh these are so delicious! I will definitely be buying these again. If you like spicy wings but think that they are a lot of hassle and mess for not much meat, you should consider trying these too. They have a breaded coating that is reasonably spiced: not crazy hot that makes you want to cry but not so mild that you could just be eating a piece of plain chicken either. The first bite might seem like they aren’t that spicy but after a couple of more, you start to feel the spicy heat in your mouth. The chicken pieces are all white meat too, which is nice because that means it is really tender and juicy. These reminded Dave and I of a product that they used to have in US Costco stores a few years back and we loved them but then they were gone and never made a return. So, we were both thrilled to give these a try and they were all that are certainly as good as we had thought they would be. They don’t take too long to cook, though if you cook them a little longer than the package directions you can get them quite a bit crispier. They make an easy but tasty weeknight meal when paired with some veggies or even a salad Plus, since they’re a freezer item you can easily keep them on hand without worrying about them getting dodgy before you can eat them. It’s all part of our dietary plan to eat like 5 year olds, occasionally. 1.5 kilograms for £7.99 (US: $12.38). Item #: 0003857.
British Lamb Leg Steaks – I’m used to having lamb chops or a leg of lamb but not so familiar with the lamb steak. I’ve not seen these in the US, so I don’t know if it’s a British thing or I’m just clueless. In any case, I like them. You can cook them just like a regular steak (from a cow) and they will stay just as juicy and tender, if you don’t overcook them. The only difference, I found, was that there is a pretty considerable layer of fat around the outside. We didn’t bother to trim this off while we were cooking the steaks because it definitely added some moisture and helped to keep them juicier. However, it wasn’t really tasty to eat; lamb fat rarely is, honestly. But the meat was delicious. Very tender and had a really nice flavor that you sometimes don’t get when you buy lamb; none of that strong flavor that is kind of unpleasant. So, we ended up eating two of the steaks and put the rest in the freezer. I didn’t do anything too fancy with these though I did make a nice mushroom sauce to go with them. But I was thinking that one of the next times I might try them with a cherry sauce because they can totally take something like that I’m pretty sure. I’ll bet these would be nice braised too, so I might have to try that with a pair of the steaks sometime as well. £12.65; £1.055 per kilogram (US: $19.61; $1.64 per kilogram). Item #: 0013683.
SpoiltPig Streaky Bacon– One of the first things we discovered when we moved here was that what the British call bacon is not what we call bacon. Their version falls more into the ham steak category than bacon, I think. And what they call streaky bacon, is just our regular bacon. So, when we want to buy bacon to have for breakfast we tend to gravitate toward the familiar streaky bacon, though I like the thicker non-streaky British style too. I was really pleased to see the package of nice streaky bacon at Costco though. It is a really nice, thick piece of bacon with lots of streaky fat (like I think bacon should be) and has a nice subtle smoked flavor. This was some of the best bacon I’ve had in a long time. It had so much flavor. Yum! We used it for breakfast and had it with scrambled eggs and hashed browns. It was just like being back in the US for a big American-style breakfast. And if you are concerned about how your animals were raised, this is a good choice for you because it is Freedom Farm approved which means that the pigs have much better conditions: reared outside, have access to fresh water, nutritious diet, and clean bedding. The price is definitely lower than I’d pay buying similar quantities of quality streaky bacon through Ocado or Waitrose. 300 grams for £3.39 (US: $5.25). Item #: 0105489.
Honest Earth All Natural Creamy Mashed Potatoes – I know instant mashed potatoes seems like such a total cooking cop out, and definitely is, but sometimes it’s nice to have mashed potatoes without all the work. And if you’re going to buy something like this, you should certainly get the best version that you can find. And these are great because they don’t have a lot of filler or other ingredients than what you might have in your own mashed potatoes at home. They are simply potatoes, butter and sea salt. If you had a way to dehydrate the mashed potatoes you make in your own kitchen, these could be yours. But even better than not having a bunch of preservatives and strange things in them, these actually taste good. They taste like potatoes and butter, just like they should. On the back of the box you’ll find two ways of making the potatoes, you can either go for the version where you add milk and butter or you can reduce the caloric impact by skipping the butter and adding skimmed milk. The milk and butter make them taste more like fresh mashed potatoes, and that is our chosen method. But really whatever method you choose, they are super simple and quick to make. You boil some water and add the milk, butter and potatoes to it and stir until they’re well moistened. After they sit for 10 seconds you are good to go. So, you can see how these are much quicker than making your own. Plus, the instant potatoes like this are great if you are making a creamy potato soup. And did I mention that even the packaging is earth friendly: 100% recycled paperboard with low VOC inks. These are made by the Idahoan Foods people, so I would think you could find them in the US too. 8 packets with 6 servings each for £5.19 (US: $8.04). Item #: 0495210.
Ford Farm English Cheese Selection – And just so I don’t go more than a couple of weeks without mentioning some kind of cheese purchase, we have this nice little cheese selection. I’ve had other Ford Farm cheeses, so I was happy to see this pack at Costco. It has four different cheese in a nice quantity for having a nice try. The four flavors: Traditional Farmhouse Cheddar, Cheddar with Port, Wensleydale with Honey and Figs, and Double Gloucester with Spring Onions. It’s a nice mix really because there is a traditional, plain cheese as well as a savory cheese, and then a sweeter cheese selection too. I like a nice cheddar cheese and they have some really delicious cheddar in this package but I also really like the Wensleydale with the honey and figs. I don’t know what it is about the flavor, perhaps the balance of sweet from the fruit and honey with the kind of tangy cheese flavor, in any case it just really works for me. This would be a nice little selection to have if you were hosting a dinner party and wanted to let people experience some nice cheese with flavors they might normally shy away from, but you’ve always got the cheddar to fall back on too. 4, 160 gram cheeses (640 grams total) for £4.99 (US: $7.73). Item #: 0039696