You ever have one of those weeks where you’d like to just go back and start all over again? It looks like it’s going to be one of those months here. And it’s all rainy here, which doesn’t help. But I’m off to Costco today, so maybe that will cheer me up! If you missed it, my Thursday post was my monthly update on new Costco location news.
Kirkland Signature Marinara Sauce – I’m just going to say right up front, if you haven’t tried this marinara sauce yet, you really must do so. It is the best jarred sauce I’ve ever bought, I think. And honestly, I’ve been to some Italian restaurants, even good ones, that could improve the quality of their sauce by going with the Kirkland Signature version. I think the reason it tastes to good is that it is made with all real ingredients, with nothing in the sauce that you wouldn’t put in your own if you were making it yourself. It is made with vine ripened California tomatoes, tomato puree, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh basil, sea salt, and black pepper. As result of all of those great ingredients, the sauce has a really lovely fresh taste, despite coming out of jar. And the smell of it heating or cooking, is mouthwateringly good. It smells like I’ve been making my own sauce. The texture is just like a good marinara should be too, thick with chunks of tomato and pieces of basil (yes, you can actually see the pieces of basil, it’s not just basil essence). We have had this on pasta, of course, which was great. We also tried it on spaghetti with a bit of nduja added to give it a bit of fire and that was amazing; I wish they sold nduja at Costco. Of course, we have also found that it is perfect for topping pizzas or adding to calzones. I think we have probably used it most often in our calzones, along with fresh mozzarella, basil and ricotta, it is unbelievably delicious. No matter how we have tried it though, it has been outstanding. The jars are big, there is no doubt about that, since each of them is 907 grams/2 pounds. Unless you are making a huge amount of pasta or pizzas, I don’t think you’ll manage to consume it all in one meal. I know we sure didn’t. However, it keeps in the fridge for seven days (what they say on the bottle). I will confess, I know we have a bottle that has been in our fridge right now for a few days more than that though and it is still fine. Naturally, the price is really great too. The price is much better than jars of marinara at other supermarkets, which are smaller at 737 grams per bottle, but still cost around £3 – 4.00 per bottle. And honestly, they not even as high quality as the KS marinara since they are made from tomato puree and have things like soybean oil and carrots or dehydrated onion in them. I’d much rather pay the slightly less than £2.00 per bottle at Costco for a sauce that is like something you would make at home but you don’t have to put in the time. 3, 907 gram bottles for £5.99 (US: $10.27). Item #: 0811813.
Me Too! Roasted Red Pepper Houmous – Dave and I love hummus and we buy it all the time. I really miss the delicious Sabra red pepper hummus that we were able to get in Austin (I think they have it all over the US), so when we saw this we were thrilled and thought it would be a good replacement. It was not and we were very wrong to be happy to see it in the store. The texture was good but the taste was bland and not even as good as regular non-flavoured hummus. There was no red pepper flavour, except maybe a hint of sweet bell pepper flavour. But just the smallest of hints. Sad. We normally have hummus with chips, or veggies like carrot sticks or celery, for snacks but after we tried it initially, this just sat in the back of our fridge doing nothing but taking up space. We all gave it a wide berth and I think were secretly hoping that the other person would “accidentally” throw it on the floor or in the bin. I finally got sick of having it waste space and threw it away. In any case, we won’t be buying this again and I really don’t think I could suggest it to anyone else either. It’s a very sad version of roasted red pepper hummus. The good thing is that it is gluten free and vegetarian appropriate, but since it isn’t good that outweighs those factors. I guess next time, we’ll just stick to the plain hummus since Costco has a couple of good versions of that. 500 grams for £2.19 (US: $3.76). Item #: 0167196.
Pacific West Salt and Pepper Squid – I really love squid, whether it is breaded like this is, or just the rings, I love it all. But only if it is cooked properly, otherwise it turns into a rubber band and I’m pretty sure no one things that is good eating. Luckily, this salt and pepper squid always seems to come out of the oven perfectly with crunchy breading on the outside and tender squid on the inside. The breading is nicely peppered to give the right balance of flavour to the little breaded squid rings. We always cook things like this in the oven, and never go the deep frying route. They come out of the oven really nice though and don’t take that long, so I can’t imagine messing around with deep frying them (not to mention all that oil mess). The only problem I’ve had is that sometimes they stick to the pan a bit if I don’t give it a bit of a rub with some olive oil or something. I guess that’s a good sign because it indicates that these are loaded up with hidden fat in the breading, so they don’t get all greasy while they are baking in the oven. Mostly we just have these by themselves with a little dipping sauce. However, we have tried them a few times on top of a salad and that was a really great way to pep up our salad with an extra boost of flavour and get a bit of protein too. They say that there are 6.25, 160 gram servings in each bag, which seems pretty accurate, I think. Though we might have gotten 8 servings out of the bag. Since our freezer space is quite limited we pick our frozen items quite carefully, but we have both agreed that we would get these again. We think they are freezer-worthy. 1 kilogram for £8.39 (US: $14.39). Item #: 0139646.
Kirkland Signature Microfibre Towels – These towels are amazing! They’re a bit like magic, honestly. But they clean amazingly well. I had a pack of the previous version of the microfibre towels that Costco carried (also bright yellow), but I think these might be just a little bit better than even those which I thought were great. Each towel is 16 inches by 16 inches and has a soft texture, and of course, the very bright yellow colour. You will definitely not wonder where you’ve left this if you put it down. These little towels can clean anything to a sparkling finish, like mirrors, windows, cars, computer screens, stove tops, sinks, whatever. You can clean with just this towel and a bit of water, no nasty, chemically cleaners need to be involved. Plus, they are great for dusting because they actually pick up the dust, they don’t just push it around. They are perfect for cleaning wood floors because they are so good at picking up dust and dirt without the need for cleaners or anything that might damage your wood flooring. For instance, you can easily clean mirrors to a perfect finish with just this towel and a bit of water. The towel cleans and dries at the same time, so you won’t end up with streaks. And you won’t end up with a linty residue either, since these towels are totally lint free. They can do hard cleaning tasks but also delicate ones too, like your computer. I also find these towels perfect for drying delicate herbs or lettuce leaves because they wick the water up really quickly and don’t crush the leaves. Of course, if you’re going to do this, I highly suggest you have a couple that you set aside just to use for food handling. I also think these are great to include in your camping supplies too because they absorb so much and dry so quickly. They absorb eight times their weight in water, which makes them great for soaking up spills or drying things very quickly. The only trick to getting the most out of these towels, is in the washing instructions. You cannot use fabric softener with them. Ever. If you do that they lose their magical powers and turn into just another cloth. Also, you cannot wash them with anything that produces lint because that will also ruin them. So, it is safest to just wash them by themselves. And if you treat them well, they are quite durable and should last through more than 300 launderings, according to Costco. Considering how many of these towels come in the pack at Costco, and how big they are, I’m quite certain you will never find microfibre cloths at a better price. A pack of just 10 towels at Amazon UK costs £7.50, and they aren’t even quite as big; that’s £0.75 per towel. At Costco, you are paying just £0.28 per towel! You just can’t beat Costco for the price and quality. I know they definitely have these at Costco locations in the US and probably in Canada too. You can find them at Costco.com for $22.99, but probably for less in your local warehouse. 36 towels for £9.99 (US: $17.13). Item #: 0713160.