I’m a Costco-shopping judge. I recommend 12 items

I’m a Costco-shopping judge. I recommend 12 items

Kirkland’s organic, pure maple syrup introduced me to the cosmos of Costco.

Kirkland’s maple syrup is excellent for a variety of uses, including sweetening coffee and preparing confections.

The author Meredith Ochs

This syrup is offered at an incredible price, with a 33-ounce jug only $12.99.

Pure maple syrup is a gastronomic initiation ceremony. Once you become accustomed to real “pancake” syrup, there is no going back to the imitation variety.

Kirkland’s syrup is organic and grade A; it has a clean flavor, a light consistency, and a beautiful amber hue. I sprinkle it on oatmeal, combine it with plain yogurt, and occasionally add a dab to my iced coffee.

I’ve also used it to make maple-syrup candy that melt in the mouth.

I’ve discovered numerous uses for plain, nonfat, and organic Greek yogurt from Kirkland.

I occasionally substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream.

The author Meredith Ochs

This yogurt’s high protein and probiotic content motivated me to use my blender a few times per week to make smoothies. A tub of 48 ounces costs $5.79.

I also use it as a substitute for sour cream to temper the intensity of spicy foods, to top baked or shredded potatoes, and to produce cakes that are light and airy.

I enjoy marinating chicken in Greek yogurt because it tenderizes and imparts flavor to the meat.

Simply add lemon, garlic, and your preferred spices, then coat the chicken and refrigerate it for a few hours before grilling it over high heat.

This Sartori BellaVitano cheese features a cabernet sauvignon-infused rind.

I adore the BellaVitano brand of cheeses by Sartori.

The author Meredith Ochs

Since 2008, when their BellaVitano line debuted, I’ve been a fan of Wisconsin-based Sartori cheese.

These cheeses are made with hormone-free milk and feature edible rinds infused with wine, whiskey, and other delicacies.

Costco provides a cabernet sauvignon-infused version. It is sold in approximately pound-sized packages under the Kirkland brand, so I don’t have to overbuy.

A pound of the premium cheese costs $8.69.

The beef-and-short-rib lasagna prepared by Rana is great comfort food.

The price of Rana’s prepackaged lasagna is roughly $15.

The author Meredith Ochs

Supermarkets sell smaller containers of Rana’s pastas and sauces, but this lasagna weighs a whopping 42 ounces.

Even though it may be prepared in the microwave, 20 minutes in a hot oven will yield sizzling cheese, flowing marinara, and tender beef.

It can be paired with only a side salad and a glass of Chianti for a simple, substantial dinner.

An item costs $14.99.

Organic peanut butter from Kirkland includes few ingredients.

A two-pack of organic, creamy peanut butter is available at Costco.

The author Meredith Ochs

I grew up consuming peanut butter filled with hydrogenated oils and sugars, but now I am fiercely dedicated to the natural, stirred variety.

The only ingredients in Kirkland’s organic peanuts are dry-roasted peanuts and salt. For a nut butter that has not been emulsified, it is remarkably creamy and consistent.

I use it to spread on crackers, pretzels, and toast, and it also makes excellent cold sesame noodles. And at my most “hangry” states, I eat it directly from the jar.

A pair of items costs $9.99.

The butter croissants from Kirkland are an incredible value.

A dozen croissants cost roughly $6.

The author Meredith Ochs

I’ve like Costco’s croissants ever since the bakery switched to an all-butter recipe a few years ago, and you shouldn’t be discouraged from devouring them with even more butter.

I prefer to load them with scrambled eggs with herbs or a delicate tuna salad with avocado slices.

They get even more flaky after being warmed in a toaster oven. As with most sensitive baked products, simply keep an eye on them, as they are prone to burning.

A dozen croissants sells for $5.99

Impress your dinner guests by offering entire, fresh fish.

If you are unsure, confirm that the fish has been pre-cleaned.

The author Meredith Ochs

Costco has an extensive selection of seafood in various preparations, such as salmon sides and scallop mounds.

But when I want to impress my dinner guests, I hunt for a package of entire, clear-eyed fish. Branzino stuffed with lemon and herbs and served with a skin that has been lightly seared is an amazing dish.

The white fish, commonly known as European bass, is available for $8.99 a pound at Costco.

Use a fish basket if you’re concerned about it breaking apart when grilling, or cook it in a hot pan. Just ensure that the skin is crisp and the fish is well done.

Generally, the chain’s whole fish is sold cleaned, but if you’re unsure, ask a staff member. The removal of scales and organs is unpleasant.

The organic everything-bagel chips from Schwartz Brothers Bakery are ideal for snacking and entertaining.

I enjoy topping the everything-bagel chips from Schwartz Brothers Bakery with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and dill.

The author Meredith Ochs

These bagel crisps are vegan, nondairy, and kosher, and they mix the crunchiness of chips with the heartiness of the morning staple, as well as an umami kick from the everything seasoning.

These bagel chips float better than croutons when added to soup.

They are also delicious with savory soft cheese spreads like cream cheese, smoked salmon, and fresh dill.

A package of 15 ounces costs $7.99.

I like to get these full Gilroy, California-grown garlic bulbs.

I frequently purchase garlic from Christopher Ranch.

The author Meredith Ochs

Gilroy is well-known for its garlic, a fundamental element in a variety of dishes.

I add raw garlic to guacamole, yogurt or peanut sauces, and salad dressings; however, I refrigerate the dish for at least an hour to mitigate the ingredient’s harsh flavor.

I’ll also wrap a few bulbs in foil and bake them, or peel some to make garlic confit with olive oil, herbs, and peppercorns in a ramekin. Either recipe is delicious on mashed potatoes or toast.

A 32-ounce bag of garlic from Christopher Ranch costs $5.99.

It is convenient to have on hand Kirkland’s organic blue agave as an alternative sweetener.

Agave is fantastic for sweetening drinks.

The author Meredith Ochs

Blue agave is sweeter than sugar and runnier than honey, with a flavor that is pleasantly fruity with a trace of smoke.

Its more fluid viscosity makes it easier to combine with beverages such as homemade lemonade and Darjeeling tea.

It is also excellent in drinks, especially when combined with whiskey or tequila, both of which are distilled from the blue agave plant.

At $8.99 for two 36-ounce bottles, this is a more cost-effective option for experimenting.

Costco, renowned for its low prices on Kirkland liquor, also offers discounted name brands.

I adore this Angel’s Envy Kentucky straight bourbon in particular.

The author Meredith Ochs

Spirits connoisseurs can have fun speculating where Costco obtains its private-label spirits, and casual drinkers can take advantage of Kirkland’s steep price.

This Angel’s Envy Kentucky straight bourbon, one of my faves due to its flavor and lovely color, is also available at Costco.

The price of $49.99 for a large bottle is $20 less than the list price and approximately $10 less than my local liquor store.

From late spring till November, Dulcinea offers cantaloupe in a Tuscan manner.

The cantaloupes at Dulcinea are both beautiful and delicious.

The author Meredith Ochs

With firm, vivid orange flesh and a textured shell, these extra-sweet cantaloupes in the Tuscan style are as beautiful as they are delicious. When cut into thin wedges, the ridged rind gives the fruit an almost flowery appearance.

Two cantaloupes costing $9.99 may seem expensive, but they are dense, weighty for their size, and well worth the extra money.

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