supermarket smarts

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Peanut Butter

Written on January 4, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

The Product

At only $0.22 per ounce, jarred peanut butter comes in a variety of flavors and textures. Comparably, fresh ground peanut butter costs $0.27 per ounce and takes time to prep before you can grab it off the shelf!

 

Why You Should Buy It

It’s convenient, it’s cheap and if you pay attention to labels (beware of sugar and hydrogenated oils), you’ll find many natural options that are as pure as the fresh ground version.

 

How You Should Use It

Though we’d never turn down a classic PB&J, peanut butter makes a great addition to dips, sauces and desserts:

 

Peach-Jam-Glazed Shrimp with Spicy Peanut Butter Dip

Peanut Chicken Noodles

Peanut Butter Fritters

Related Links

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Store-Bought Pie Crust

Plastic-Wrapped Mozzarella

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Cocoa Buffs

Written on December 28, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

New hot chocolates are pushing the kiddie classic in delicious new directions–and leaving plain powdered mixes in the dust. Here are our six favorite new mixes. BYO marshmallows!

 

Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Hot Cocoa K-Cups

The old-school packets catch up with the times thanks to these single-serving cocoa capsules. No need to stir out the lumps–the machine takes care of that for you! $8.79 for 12 servings

Ghiradelli Chocolate Caramel Premium Hot Cocoa

The San Francisco chocolate company does its classic hot chocolate mix one better by blending it with sweet, buttery caramel. $4.89 for 9 servings

Chuao Chocolatier Deluxious Dark Drinking Chocolate

A cocoa for true chocolate lovers: This powdered mix has big chunks of Venezuelan dark chocolate that melt into a rich, smooth cup. $15.95 for 9 servings

City Bakery Hot Chocolate

New Yorkers are hooked on this Manhattan cafe’s decadent mix of heavy cream, whole milk and dark chocolate. Thanks to these handy cartons, now the rest of the country can taste what all the fuss is about. Just heat and drink! $3.99 for 2 servings

Land O’Lakes Arctic White Hot Cocoa Mix

Instant cocoa lightens up with this sweet, creamy white-chocolate blend. Simply add hot water, stir, then sip. $5.49 for 12 servings

CocoaPlanet CocoaMint Chocolate

Delicious straight out of the package, these peppermint-flavored organic dark-chocolate disks can also be stirred into hot milk to make a refreshing twist on hot chocolate. $2.99 for 1 serving

Written by Robin Jones

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Hot Drink Recipes

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

An Extract for Every Occasion

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Written on December 7, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

The Product

Pillsbury Gluten Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough delivers one large crust or six personal pies for an almost-instant pizza party! ($4.99)

 

Why You Should Buy It

With so many people on a gluten-free diet, play it safe with this dough that tastes and feels just like the regular stuff.

 

How You Should Use It

Did someone say pizza party? Forget the marinara and mozzarella–try one of these pizza alternatives:

 

Pizza Pie

Go Green Giant Calzone

Aloha Pizza

Related Links

Store-bought pie crust

Multi-grain tortilla wraps

Food in a tube

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: An Extract for Every Occasion

Written on November 30, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

A slew of tasty new extracts are making the baking aisle look not quite so, um, vanilla anymore. Spike everything from dinner to drinks with these flavor boosters.

Cinnamon Extract does double duty in pancakes: Stir 1/2 tsp cinnamon extract into 2 cups pancake batter before cooking. Then, use it to spike your syrup!

(Pictured: McCormick Cinnamon Extract, $4.25 for 1 oz.)

Anise Extract makes a super flavorful broth for mussels in white wine: Saute chopped onions and garlic in butter; add white wine, chopped tomatoes, a few dashes of anise extract and mussels. Cover and cook until mussels open; serve with lots of crusty bread.

(Pictured: J.R. Watkins Pure Anise Extract, $3.49 for 2 oz.)

Coffee Extract brings new flavor to steak: Spike a classic marinade of EVOO, garlic and rosemary with a few drops of coffee extract and some cracked pepper. The coffee really perks up the steak and gives it a flavorful crust.

(Pictured: Nielson-Massey Pure Coffee Extract, $5.95 for 2 oz.)

Peppermint Extract adds a homemade feel to brownies: Stir 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract into a prepared boxed brownie mix. Transfer to pan; top with walnuts and bake. White heavy cream with confectioners’ sugar and a dash of extract for a minty topping!

(Pictured: Simply Organic Peppermint Flavor, $4.39 for 2 oz.)

By Alexa Weibel

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Battle of the store-bought pie crusts

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Food in a Tube

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Store-Bought Pie Crust

Written on October 19, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

The Product

Compared to the preformed version, rolled pie crust costs just $3.74 for a pack of two and takes five minutes to prepare. Perfect for easy Thanksgiving prep!

 

Why You Should Buy It

The flaky texture and buttery flavor of refrigerated rolled pie dough are closer to the homemade stuff. Since it’s not preformed, you can use it for double-pie crusts, mini pies, tarts and other treats. Fan of a more rustic looking pie? You can style this dough any way you like!

 

How You Should Use It

Put your creativity to use! Crimp it; double it up; use cookie cutters. Here are some of our favorite recipes:

Bourbon Pecan Pie

 

Jerk Shrimp Mini Pies

 

Pumpkin-Potato Pie

Related Links

Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Fresh Mozzarella

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Coconut Oil

 

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: La Tortilla Factory Multi Grain Soft Wraps

Written on October 12, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

The Product

La Tortilla Factory Multi Grain Soft Wraps in October’s special pink breast cancer awareness product edition.

 

Why You Should Buy It

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When you buy these nutritious and versatile (and pretty-in-pink!) wraps, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation gets 25 cents of each purchase. Each wrap contains 12 grams of fiber, and you can feel even better about eating these multi grain wraps because they’re made with Rach’s favorite: EVOO!

 

How You Should Use it

 

These wraps make a sturdy base for Chicken Tortilla Pie.

 

As a snack or light meal: Cheesy Shrimp Tortillas go perfectly with the wrap’s subtle flavors.

 

 

The best way to start your day is with a Crispy Mediterranean Breakfast Wrap. La Tortilla Factory’s crisp up beautifully!

 

With so many great options, we’ll be buying these wraps all month long!

 

Related Links

Tex-Mex 30-Minute Meals  

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Fresh Mozzarella

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Coconut Oil

 

 

 

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Food in a Tube!

Written on October 5, 2013 at 10:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

 

The Product

Food tubes are filling up grocery store shelves quicker than ever. But don’t think your options are just limited to tomato paste. Some of our favorite tasty tubes include anchovy paste, ginger paste and wasabi paste.

 

Why You Should Buy Them

It’s always frustrating having to throw out a can of tomato paste or a bag of fresh herbs because we just couldn’t finish it on time. Resealable tubes not only keep condiments for weeks, but they also make measuring easy and add flavor to food in a pinch.

 

How You Should Use Them

Each tube has a concentrated flavor. Just squeeze and mix!

Salty anchovy spread adds easy zing to Caesar salads, but it’s also great in sauces. While many recipes call for canned anchovies that you melt into oil, the paste eliminates that step completely! Try it in Linguine with Rach’s Cupboard Red Clam Sauce.

 

Most of us don’t use enough fresh ginger to finish it up before it shrivels- and peeling can be a pain. Try the tube to lend a kick to marinades, sauces and soups, like Carrot Ginger Soup.

 

Wasabi paste isn’t just for sushi! Use it to spice up veggie sandwiches, chicken breast, or condiments, like in our Panko-Crusted Fishwiches with Wasabi Tartar Sauce.

 

With so many different flavors and options, the squeeze-abilities are endless!

 

Related Links

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Fresh Mozzarella

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Coconut Oil

Cozy & Comforting 30-Minute Meals

Fast Idea Friday: Spicy Cilantro Queso

Written on October 4, 2013 at 10:00 am , by

The weekend is nearly here, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to celebrate National Taco Day with a fabulous menu, strong drinks and great friends. But why limit Friday evening to just one Tex-Mex staple? Behold, the easiest, most delicious Spicy Cilantro Queso:

 

 

The best part about this dish- besides being incredibly fast- is that you can throw just seven ingredients into one pan. Make it as spicy or mild as you like (by keeping or removing the jalapeño seeds, respectively), grab a bag of crunchy tortilla chips of your choosing and call it a night. As if the recipe couldn’t get any easier, here’s a step-by-step video to take you through the process. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it!

 

Related Links

Tex-Mex 30-Minute Meals

Fast Idea Friday: Artichoke Bruschetta

Fast Idea Friday: Warm Chocolate Pudding

 

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Fresh Mozzarella

Written on September 28, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

The Product

Plastic-Wrapped Mozzarella costs only 75 cents per ounce and requires just a minute to prepare.

 

Why You Should Buy It

Compared to its water-packed counterpart, this stuff can have a more concentrated flavor. The wrapping also firms up the cheese, making it easier to slice and better for melting on pizza or in baked pastas. Plus, for just a few cents extra you may be able to find a package that is pre-sliced–a bargain considering that soft mozz can be tricky to slice!

 

How You Should Use It

A firm mozzarella is great fresh or melted in your favorite Italian dish.

The slices hold up perfectly–even when stuffed inside chicken for our Stuffed Chicken Caprese.

 

Gooey cheese keeps salty prosciutto and crusty bread in place in these Mozzarella in Carrozza with Prosciutto Cotto sandwiches.

 

The rich flavor compliments fresh fruit and basil in our Pluot “Caprese” Salad.

 

Really, is there anything this cheese can’t do?

 

Related Links

Cracking the Coconut Oil Code

Easy Italian Dinners

Meatball Recipes

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Cracking the Coconut Oil Code

Written on September 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.

The Product

Coconut oil is making its way from the grove to the grocery store. It comes in a jar as a creamy semisolid, but once heated will resemble more familiar oils like canola and peanut.

 

Why You Should Buy It

Coconut oil is a milder-tasting alternative to other oils, butter and shortening. In addition to raising levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol, it contains lauric acid, which research suggests may boost your immune system and stimulate your metabolism.

 

How You Should Use It

It makes the perfect substitution for vegetable or canola oil in cooking and baking.

With a high smoke point, coconut oil can withstand high temps without burning, so swap out the vegetable oil in our Vegetable-Noodle Stir Fry.

Make your baked goods feel just a little healthier, since it contains a low amount of unsaturated fat and lots of antioxidants. Replace the canola oil in Gigi’s Apple Cake.

A neutral smell and pleasantly nutty flavor make coconut oil a great dairy-free substitute for frosting recipes that call for cream cheese or butter, like our Triple-Layer Carrot Cake.

 

We’re seriously nuts for coconut oil! Just remember, as with any fat, moderation is key.

 

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