I think you’re supposed to save money shopping at Costco. We’re definitely not.
In theory we should be saving money, buying bulk laundry detergent, paper towels, and eggs at these fantastic prices. It’s just, well, all of that other stuff.
An impulse buy at Costco looks like this:
Not one box of macaroni and cheese, but TWELVE.
Sometimes an impulse buy will get you 12 chicken patty pita sandwiches you find you don’t actually want to eat more than two of. Other times you find a winner that you re-purchase time and again.
As I made another “Frozen Costco Stuff on a Sheet Pan Supper” dinner, I silently mouthed, “I’m so sorry Sandra.”
I used to make fun of Sandra Lee. When I was younger I watched her Semi Homemade cooking show in morbid fascination as she doctored-up store-bought foods and products like seasoning packets and baking mixes. In fact, one of the recipes I just found for fish and chips creates the coating with ranch dressing mix and mini wheats.
I would be dead-ass lying if I claimed that my cooking was more intricate than this.
Back when I was in my 20’s, overflowing with unbridled energy and not working a corporate job, I cooked and baked everything from scratch. I’m older now and probably tired at any given moment. There are days after work where I return home stifling wails and gnashing of teeth on a Biblical level. And after I unwind for a moment post walking the dog and paying a bill or two , the last thing I want to do is lovingly stir a risotto.
I’ve bumped risotto from my weekly menu now for two weeks I will probably keep bumping it until I die.
All these years, Sandra wanted us to enjoy a wacky cocktail after work or a warm, three course meal. So what if the the taco seasoning comes from a packet and the butter squash is (gasp) pre-cut in a bag. If her show helps someone make a nice meal after work with less effort, then God bless the semi homemade queen.
Here are three frozen foods that make our lives easier after work. They taste so good we keep buying them:
Bibigo Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls
At Costco, products can come and go. We found these beef bowls at the Maplewood, MN location a while ago and never found them until recently at St. Louis Park.
Bibigo is a brand that offers fast casual Korean restaurants and frozen food products. For years, we’ve said that there should be a Chipotle-style Korean bibimbop bowl type of place. People would love it. I guess Bibigo is doing the damn thing.
For a microwavable, pre-made meal, these are actually pretty good. There’s plenty of tender beef that has a grilled flavor, cooked carrots, glass noodles, and a shower of paper thin egg.
Drizzle gochujang sauce over the bowl (we buy ours at United Noodle), add some kimchi and you’ve got the easiest meal after a long day.
Additional Note: I recently tried Bibigo’s Chicken Sesame Soy bowls that we also found at Costco – the meat tasted so bad that I had to discard the dish.
High Liner Foods Tortilla Crusted Tilapia
This product doesn’t seem to be on rotation. To cook, you simply pull out as many frozen fillet plants from the bag inside as you wish. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 375 (convection oven) for about 14 minutes. The tortilla crusting becomes crisp and flavorful. It’s slightly spicy with a hint of tang.
They’re so easy and so satisfying that I made them twice last week.
Kasia’s Potato and Cheese Pierogi
Finally, pierogies. We’ve tried many versions of frozen pierogies before and these are the best. The dough is sturdy enough to fully contain the fluffy mashed potatoes and cheese and survive a toss in a buttery skillet. The mashed potato pockets are like plump little pasta bellies.
After heating in some boiling water I tossed in a pan in which I had caramelized onions in butter. Enjoy them with some sour cream or Top the Tater for a Minnesota flair.
What are your favorite Costco products?
I am a loyalist to the Costco pesto. it can go on anything and a little goes a long way!
The rotisserie chicken. It’s a bargain.
I love the tortilla crusted tilapia. Its one of my favorite costco frozen foods!
This was one of our favs too. We let our membership lapse before the pandemic but need to renew so we can get that meal again.
I just discovered your blog through your ‘Feeling 33’ post since that’s it’s an overlooked age and how I’m feeling. But oh my gosh – my love for cooking everything from scratch in my 20s totally disappeared now! 20 year old me was fascinated with all sorts of international cuisine, unusual ingredients, and laminated pastries. Today all my recipes are about simple and quick. Now the freezer is stocked with Costco frozen food for days when I just want to microwave a meal. Life is so different. Anyways, thanks for a wonderful blog and a fun read.