supermarket smarts

Saturday Supermarket Smarts: An Extract for Every Occasion

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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Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Store-Bought Pie Crust

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

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Saturday Supermarket Smarts: La Tortilla Factory Multi Grain Soft Wraps

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!

 

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Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Fresh Mozzarella

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Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Food in a Tube!

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!

 

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Fast Idea Friday: Spicy Cilantro Queso

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!

 

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Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Fresh Mozzarella

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?

 

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Saturday Supermarket Smarts: Cracking the Coconut Oil Code

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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Refresher Course: Portable Cocktails

Knocking back a cold beverage outdoors is one of summer’s great joys. Chill out with seven new drinks that are perfect for picnics—or wherever your day takes you.

Supermarket Spy Cocktails_Jul 2013

1 COCKTAIL RX MOJITO Be the toast of the town at your next potluck with a batch of mojitos. Just add rum and ice to the disposable shaker and you’ll be slinging cocktails like a pro. ($7.99 each; serves 8)

 

2 MIKE’S HARD LEMONADE FROZEN POUCHES Keep your freezer stocked with these bags to toss in your beach tote—by the time you’ve applied sunscreen the slushies will be thawed just enough to slurp! ($1.99 for one 10-oz. pouch)

 

3 STACK WINES These classy, stackable pop-top cups come in four varietals. Think concerts in the park. ($12.99 for four 187 ml cups)

 

4 FETZER WINE ZIPZ GLASSES Major League ballparks like Turner and Citi fields are selling these plastic “goblets” of red and white wine. Bring one to your next sunset toast. ($4.99 for one 187 ml glass)

 

5 KAHLÚA ICED COFFEES Brunching with friends? These small cans are a fun replacement for traditional iced coffee (and can fit in your purse). ($9.99 for four 200 ml cans)

 

6 LEINENKUGEL’S SUMMER SHANDYS It’s lemonade. It’s beer. It’s both! This adults- only seasonal blend is sweet, tart and ideal for your next weekend excursion or concert tailgate. ($14.99 for twelve 12-oz. cans)

 

7 BUD LIGHT STRAW-BER-RITAS Who says camping means bringing the bare essentials? Pack these beer-margarita concoctions on your next trip into the woods for a no-blender-required happy hour. ($12.99 for twelve 8-oz. cans)

 

By Ariana R. Phillips 
Photo by Levi Brown 

 

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Grocery Bags for the Eco-Friendly Grocer

Forget “Paper or Plastic?” As many cities begin banning plastic shopping bags, the new question is, “Recycled or canvas?” Mindful Momma blogger Micaela Preston set out to find a reusable bag for every type of shopper.

1. Best for on-the-fly types: BlueAvocado XO (eco) Hip Pod ($9.99, blueavocado.com). Made from recycled bottles, this lightweight bag rolls into an avocado-size pouch–ready to grab from your purse when you need to make an impromptu stop. Its cross-body strap keeps hands free on the move!

2. Best for Stylish bargain hunters: SnapSac Spring Splash Grocery Tote ($3.99, snapsac.com). This cheap tote holds a lot. The handles are sewn into the bottom for extra support, and fasteners dot the partially recycled fabric, so folding the bag up is a snap!

3. Best for one-stop shoppers: Pack-N-Tote Grocery Cart Helper Bag ($8.95, reuseit.com). Hate using boxes for oddly shaped warehouse-club goods? This superstrong polypropylene duffle clips onto carts for easy filling; a reinforced base makes it easy to load up to 40 pounds at once directly into your car.

4. Best for multitaskers: Ese CarryAll Tote ($35.95, essereusablebags.com). Meet your new (cute) workhorse! This tote holds three small sacks that expand into big ones, plus a shoulder bag–all made from recycled plastic. It even comes with two mesh bags for produce.

5. Best for divide-and-conquerors: Reisenthel Multi Cargo Bag ($24.95, reuseit.com). Trips to the big-box stores can leave you with an eclectic mix of items. This polyester sack’s eight compartments keep cleaning products and clothes separate from food. It’s expensive but versatile–repurpose it as a beach bag.

Rach's Classic ChillOut Insulated Tote

How cool (and hot!) is this? Rach’s Classic ChillOut Insulated Tote ($17.95, RachaelRayStore.comprevents freezer-aisle foods from melting before you get home, plus it’ll keep potluck dishes warm en route.

Get more supermarket shopping tips here.