#NoBuyJanuary is over people! I know I had an extra post in February but that Gluten-Free Eggplant Parm is a great recipe and I didn’t want to wait to share it with you. Now is the time to stock back up on food. February is going to be all about my favorite grocery store items. I guess we will call it #FebruaryFavorites.
p.s. I’m digging the theme months trend I have going on so far in 2021. Does two in a row equal a trend?
As we start this new theme month here are my thoughts (subject to change at anytime without notice), I’m going to tell you why I love the grocery store and what my favorite things are at that grocery store. I would love to hear ALL your comments on these. Add items to my list, disagree with me, whatever. Let’s help each other out!
My #1 favorite grocery store is Aldi. My #1 reason for going there is for everyday shopping: bread, milk, cheese, eggs, fruits, veggies, meat, etc. This has not always been the case but ever since the organic milk I had been buying my children went from $5.99/gallon to $8.99/gallon something had to change! That was when I started going to Aldi. I don’t even buy their organic milk. Their regular milk is antibiotic and hormone-free and that is all I’m really looking for. Plus, it is less than $3/gallon! I started going to Aldi about 8 years ago and I have never looked back. It made a significant, noticeable difference in our bank account. I have always been a huge brand snob when it comes to food so this was a major transition for me. Let me tell you what I have discovered.
Aldi has the best prices on almost everything. I can buy a gallon of milk, loaf of bread and carton of eggs for less than $8 including tax (probably less than $7). To get these prices they do take some shortcuts. You need a quarter to get a cart… like at the airport. And just like at the airport, your quarter will be returned to you once you return your cart. You have to bag your items yourself and you have to bring your own bags. If you forget your bags, you can purchase bags there. These simple steps don’t bother me at all. I prefer to bag my own stuff because I think other people do it wrong and I use reusable bags anyway.
Aldi has GREAT produce at AMAZING prices. You simply can’t beat it. Here are some examples.
Organic foods are available at Aldi. In general, I am not an organic food buyer but I know many of you out there are. They have tons of choices from eggs to milk to produce to pantry items. I do regularly buy their organic spinach as pictured above and I love it! However, I am not an expert on this. Those of you who can speak more intelligently on the subject, please share your wealth of knowledge in the comments section below.
You have to taste test. The first few years I shopped there I would buy some different things just to try them out and see if I liked them. Most of the time I did like them but there are definitely things I will not buy at Aldi. The Aldi brand/version of the following items are a NO for me and/or my family:
1. Kraft Deluxe American Cheese- This is more like Kraft singles which I detest.
2. Doritos- Don’t even compare to the original; thinner and less cheesy.
3. Natural Peanut Butter- It is not JIF Natural so I don’t like it.
4. Zatarains Red Beans and Rice- The Aldi version is spicier. Some of you may love this but it makes it a no-go in our house.
5. Specially Selected Pita Chips (Sea Salt)- These aren’t bad. My kids love them. But they are “pillowy” pita chips and I like the good old thin and crispy ones. Stacey’s are the pita chips for me.
Now, let’s move on to the GREAT stuff! As I already mentioned the price on staples can’t be beat! If you only go for those things you will be happy. But let me introduce you to some of my favorite finds!
Specially Selected Dark Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramels. These things are the best! Don’t feel like making dessert but need to have something to offer your guests? Buy a container of these. Don’t want dessert but need just a little something sweet to go with your last swallow of red wine. Chocolate covered caramels to the rescue. I actually hide them in a different part of the pantry so there is always one available when I need it. (Specially Selected is Aldi’s “fancy” brand.)
Specially Selected Naan. They have both mini and regular sizes. I love them both. We make naan pizzas all the time and I heat them up and serve them with Brian’s Lamb Lollipops (pg. 91 in the cookbook) too. The girls just grab them for snacks. They are fabulous!
Specially Selected Brioche Bread. For Monte Cristo’s (pg. 53), French Toast… or just for a slice of delicious brioche. You can’t beat it!
Southern Grove On The Go Trail Mix. I’m definitely partial to the Cranberry Nut pack. It only has peanuts, cranberries and almonds in it. Nothing tiny that is going to fall through my fingers. I like the individual packs so I can always have one in my purse for those occasions when I find myself starving while running errands. Then, instead of grabbing fast food I have a healthy snack. Plus, I always try to keep a box in my car. That way I can always give a pack to homeless people I come across at highway on/off ramps. That makes me feel good.
Casa Mamita Salsa Con Queso. Perfect snack for watching sports. And look at that price. How much is a jar of the Tostitos brand? I don’t even know but I know it’s at lease twice as much! This is what I use to make Hot Fat!
Chef’s Cupboard Onion Recipe Soup & Dip Mix. I use this for my Oven Roasted Brisket (pg. 95). Or, mix one packet of this with 16 ounces of sour cream and you have the perfect French Onion Dip. Also perfect for watching sports. All you need is a bag of potato chips…
Clancy’s Wavy Potato Chips. Whereas the fake Doritos are an abomination, these fake Ruffles are a pure delight. And they hold up to all the dips! Stock up!
Savoritz Penguin Baked Cheddar Snack Crackers. I hate Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Did you know that? HATE THEM. And Cheez-It’s. My parents and siblings could live on Cheez-It’s. Gross! BUT, I love these fake Goldfish in penguin form. They are lighter or crispier or something. They are so very satisfying!
Park Street Deli Cantina Salsa (Mild). You will never need another salsa again. This is The. Best. Ever. I can’t wait for the next time I make Florida Salsa (pg. 62) with this as the base. I already know its going to be my new favorite thing.
Simply Nature Organic Hummus (Classic). I don’t buy this just because it’s organic, I buy it because I love it. I use it in my 7 Layer Greek Dip (pg. 60), Mediterranean Roll-Up’s and just for snacking with pita chips or veggies. (Simply Nature is Aldi’s organic brand.)
Park Street Deli Tzatziki (Cucumber Dill). I make my own Tzatziki (pg. 60) that I absolutely love. But, to have something ready to go at a moment’s notice is so convenient sometimes. Mine is thicker and heartier; I think of this store-bought version as more of a dip. I love it.
Appleton Farms Proscuitto and Bite Size Dry Salami (Original). You all know what fans we are over here of The Big Platter. Aldi proscuitto is always included! And although Volpi salami will always be my favorite, this salami is great!
Appleton Farms Center Cut Bacon. Our favorite bacon! And look at that price! We don’t like thick cut bacon over here. We like it to get nice and crispy. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it hard to get my favorite bacon. But one day, we will be reunited!
Bake House Creations Jumbo Buttermilk Biscuits. Yes, I am a baker. Yes, I bake my own breakfast treats. But these are $0.99!!! Sometimes you just need the quick and easy solution and these are delicious. Plus, they are perfect for making a small batch of Sue’s Monkey Bread (pg.29). Just cut each biscuit into 6 pieces instead of 4 and make it in a small loaf pan or mini bundt pan.
Season’s Choice Potato Puffs. These are so much better than Ore-Ida Tater Tots it’s not even funny. They get so much crispier. I love them. And again… look at the price! Tater Tot Casserole here we come.
Specially Selected Cold Smoked Salmon. My kids love it. They make smoked salmon sandwiches all the time. It’s great to put on a spinach salad or make a salmon eggs benedict. And of course I use it for my Smoked Salmon Spread (pg.24).
Well, there you have it. Have I over done it? Yes. Is there so much more I could share? Of course. But I really hope you try some of these things. Check out your local Aldi and tell me what some of your favorites are!