Costco pros know there are some items you can’t leave the warehouse store without. But unless you’re feeding an army, the sheer volume of food can be intimidating. Before setting foot in Costco, a game plan can be helpful. Aside from diamond engagement rings and a one-year supply of freeze-dried emergency food, there’s a bounty of fantastic freezer items you’ll want to make room for in your fridge.
While frozen food can get a bad reputation as the mark of a kitchen amateur, it’s the perfect purchase in large quantities. You don’t have to worry about spoiled food, and you’ll always have something on hand. Whether you find yourself playing hostess often, are a dedicated meal-prepper, or are just looking for something quick and new, everyone seems to swear by these freezer items. Make a beeline for the frozen food and load up the shopping cart with these products to streamline the mealtime routine.
Costco’s Trident Alaskan Salmon Burgers
If your heart says, “burgers,” but your belly says, “salad,” these Trident Alaskan Salmon Burgers are a good compromise. With plenty of protein to satisfy carnivorous cravings, they’re still full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. On a multi-grain bun with sweet potato fries, this Costco frozen gem is a quick and healthy take on the classic “burger and fries.” Or, if you’re focused counting carbs, skip the bun and throw a salmon burger on top of greens for a paleo-friendly treat. These burgers pack a great grilled taste but are still a modest 170 calories a serving.
The patties are made with wild salmon and are a fantastic dinnertime meal hack. The burgers are pre-seasoned with a mild blend of spices and herbs, so they taste great by themselves or as a base for more vibrant flavors like Sriracha mayo or mango salsa. As BBQ season approaches, it’s smart to have a healthy alternative on hand for cookouts and get-togethers. They’re flaky enough to use in omelettes or on top of salad, if you’re experiencing summertime burger burnout.
Maas River Petite Whole Green Beans from Costco
Costco offers plenty of snacking temptation in the freezer aisle, but at the end of the day, it’s hard to ignore that nagging voice in your head begging you to “eat something green!” While it would be great to shop daily, picking up fresh veggies along the way, these frozen organic petite whole green beans are an easy choice. Frozen right off the vine, they’re as delicious as the day they were picked and make a super simple side for more time-consuming dishes. Sautéed on the stove-top with some of that famous Kirkland Extra Virgin Olive Oil or simply microwaved, a bag of these green beans in your freezer are the key to a balanced meal even under the tightest of time restraints.
A great item to have on hand, the big bag is easy to seal up and pop right back in the fridge. There will always be just the right amount of little green beans to make an authentic Nicoise salad or whip up an entire casserole. Costco shoppers swear by these as some of the freshest freezer produce. They’re the key to having summertime veggies year-round.
Kirkland Grilled Chicken Breast Strips from Costco
In an ideal world, we’d have an endless amount of time for meal prep. We all know getting ahead of your diet and planning out entrees is key to sticking to a healthy lifestyle, but spending precious time prepping protein is not our idea of fun. A Whole30, paleo, or low-carb diet must-have, Kirkland Grilled Chicken Breast Strips take the most time-consuming step out of the equation.
Perfectly portioned and prepared with only salt and water, these chicken breast strips go from freezer to plate in minutes flat. The classic Costco generous size won’t go to waste, as there are several ways to incorporate these strips into any meal of the day. They make getting lean protein easy, and are a favorite of health conscious Costco shoppers. Chopped up for chicken salad, shredded into quesadillas, or mixed up with pepper and onions for a fast fajita night, you’ll never run out of creative ways to use this handy freezer item.
Costco’s Kirkland Golden Sweet Frozen Pineapple Chunks
A blender can be a one-way ticket to clean living or really up the ante on your frozen cocktail game. Either way, a great item to have on hand is frozen pineapple. These Golden Sweet Pineapple chunks have a bright, tropical flavor that is perfect on either side of the smoothie spectrum. Try blending it up in a breakfast smoothie with ginger, or later in the day with tequila and lime.
Buying fresh pineapple can be a pain. It turns your kitchen into a sticky mess, not to mention the knife skills and time it takes just to break one pineapple down into poppable bites. But this pre-cut, perfectly portioned frozen version makes it much easier to bring a little bit of Hawaii home. Not just tasty, pineapple is also chock full of bromelain and other immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. A bag of these Golden Sweet Pineapple Chunks can bring cold relief or a healthful boost in a sunny smoothie, making them a must-buy from the freezer section.
Costco’s Kirkland Nature’s Three Berries
Berries are a perfect snack anytime of day, work great in tons of different recipes, and have several health benefits. Unfortunately, it feels like they’re always either out of season or incredibly expensive. Lucky for Costco shoppers, Kirkland’s freezer favorite, Nature’s Three Berries, combines blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
As the days get longer and sunnier, you’ll want to spend more time eating frozen treats on the patio, and less time washing and trimming bushels of berries in the kitchen. Just as flavorful as the ones found at the local farm stand, this enormous bag will last you through several breakfasts of french toast topped with berries and yogurt parfaits. Perfect to pop into a shake or spoon over ice cream, this frozen version makes berries less of a splurge. And if this behemoth bag is more intimidating than inspiring, extras can be cooked down into a delicious jam that tastes like summer year-round.
Mini Chicken and Cilantro Wontons from Costco
If we had to choose one option from the Costco frozen aisle, it would probably be this one because they’re so versatile. You can serve the Mini Chicken and Cilantro Wontons with a dipping sauce as a tasty appetizer, or create a filling main meal by simmering them in soup or serving them alongside stir-fried vegetables.
You have a few options when it comes to reheating the frozen dumplings, too. If you don’t want to dirty any extra dishes, reheat them on a plate in the microwave or plop them (still frozen) into simmering soup. You can also pan fry them in oil in a skillet for a crispier option.
You’ll find a few wonton and dumpling options in the Costco freezer section, but these mini wontons are hard to beat. The chicken, cabbage, and cilantro filling is delicate but full-flavored, and they come in a three-pound resealable bag. The small size makes them perfect for serving at a party, and because they’re fully cooked, it only takes about five minutes to heat them through.
Vegetable Spring Rolls with Edamame from Costco
If you’re in the mood for Chinese takeout but don’t feel like going out, keep a package of these Vegetable Spring Rolls with Edamame in the freezer. They’re so easy to reheat — bake them in the oven or pull out the deep fryer to create a super-crispy exterior. Spring rolls are a great appetizer, but they also make a fantastic low-calorie snack (especially considering that each one of these spring rolls contains fewer than 80 calories).
Each package comes with a whopping 50 pieces, and they’re stuffed with protein-packed edamame, jicama, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions, and leeks. You’ll have plenty of spring rolls to feed surprise guests, or create a platter for a large dinner party, and you don’t have to worry about preparing a sauce, either. These spring rolls come with a tasty sauce concoction made with soy, ginger, honey, and lemon.
This isn’t one of those frozen appetizers that turns out soggy when it’s reheated, either. They’re baked in the oven (or deep fried), so the wrapper remains delightfully crispy.
Costco’s Frozen Shrimp
Every time we go to Costco, we pick up a bag of frozen shrimp. It might not be a meal on its own, but you can use frozen shrimp as the basis for dozens of quick-and-easy weeknight dinners. Because they defrost quickly, you won’t have to plan far ahead to use them, and shrimp taste delicious no matter how you cook them. Pop them on a skewer to hit the grill, or marinate them and bake them as a sheet pan dinner. They’re fantastic when dipped in batter and deep fried, or tossed with rice and vegetables for a quick-cooking stir-fry. As a bonus, they’re high in protein and healthy fats, making them our go-to protein choice for healthy meals.
Frozen shrimp are easy to find at the regular grocery store, but they’re much less expensive at Costco. You’ll find them in two-pound bags for the price of a single pound at a regular store. Pick up the 31/40 peeled, tail-on shrimp if you like smaller shrimp, or go for the 21/25 bag if you prefer the larger ones. You’ll also find pre-cooked shrimp options, too, if that works better for your needs.
Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie from Costco
If you’re looking for a ready-to-eat meal that’s easy to reheat in the microwave, you can’t go wrong by looking at frozen chicken pot pie. Marie Callender’s is one of our favorite brands because it tastes almost as good as Grandma’s. The chicken itself is full-flavored and juicy, and it’s swimming in a thick, peppery gravy. Add in tender celery, carrots, and peas and a delightfully crusty exterior, and you have yourself a well-rounded, delicious meal.
You can find Marie Callender’s outside of Costco, but this eight-count pack is a total bargain: Each 10-ounce pie only runs you a little over $2 (priced at the time this article was published). We can’t think of a single meal you’d find at the grocery store for that price! Considering that Marie Callender’s is made with tender, white meat chicken (raised without antibiotics), no preservatives, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors, picking up a package of these is a no-brainer.
Costco’s Kirkland Italian-style Cooked Meatballs
Meatballs are one of those seemingly simple dishes that always takes longer than we think to make from scratch. All that mixing and rolling, not to mention that you have to time the cooking perfectly or you’ll end up with a dry meatball.
Frozen meatballs take away all the dishes and guesswork, and they (surprisingly) taste homemade after they’re thawed. Add them to the slow cooker with a bottle of Teriyaki sauce and serve them with toothpicks for an easy appetizer, or toss these meatballs in your favorite marinara sauce for a pasta dinner. Don’t forget about using the leftovers to make meatball sandwiches the next day, too.
A six-pound bag of meatballs at Costco costs a little over $4 per pound (at the time this article was published), which isn’t much more expensive than a pound of ground beef. They’re bite-sized and contain the perfect level of spice. Each bag contains a whopping 140 meatballs. The best part: You don’t have to reheat the whole bag at once. Feel free to pull out just a few meatballs to reheat for lunch or dinner.
Costco’s Frozen Organic Vegetables
If you’re trying to make more organic choices at the grocery store, don’t walk away from the frozen vegetable section at Costco. While these vegetables won’t reheat into a ready-to-eat meal by themselves, they make cooking much easier. They’re pre-cut and can be used as a shortcut for most recipes that call for fresh veggies. According to Insider, some frozen vegetables are healthier for you than fresh vegetables. That’s because they’re frozen at the peak of freshness, preserving the nutrients.
Many of Costco’s frozen bagged vegetables are certified organic, and we love how they’re not more expensive than non-organic options, like the ones you’ll find at the regular grocery store. Most of the options at Costco come in at around $2 a pound (priced as of the time of this article), and you’ll take home four- to five-pound bags. We love the Normandy blend (carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli) for soups, stews, and stir-fry dishes, and you can’t go wrong with the bag of pure broccoli when making broccoli cheese soup (like this copycat Panera recipe).
Kirkland Signature Italian Sausage and Beef Lasagna
At one point, the standard lasagna everyone bought at Costco was a layered meat and pasta behemoth that could feed up to 12 people. The one available now is the Kirkland Signature Italian Sausage and Beef Lasagna. It’s much more manageable for smaller families since you get two three-pound lasagnas in each packet. However, you could still divide it into smaller portions and microwave a piece at your leisure if you live alone. While it’s microwavable, you can also cook it in the oven, which is preferable if you like a nicely browned layer of cheese on top. It’s not a bad deal, with each lasagna in the two-pack ending up costing around $10.
Customers tend to love this lasagna. Every individual component from the sauce to the cheese is full of flavor. The tomatoes in the sauce are ripened on the vine rather than after picking to make the sauce robust rather than bland. Kirkland also uses whole milk ricotta cheese, which also elevates the flavor. Without any extra preservatives, all you’re getting is lasagna ingredients in their natural state. If you keep one of these in your freezer, you’ll always have some on hand when a lasagna craving hits.
Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks
If you are in the mood for Chick-fil-A chicken but don’t want to wait in a car line stretching out to the street, Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks are an excellent substitute. Plus, you can get them out of your freezer on Sunday when a Chick-fil-A craving hits but the restaurant is closed. Of course, some people swear by Red Bag Chicken at Aldi, but you can’t buy a four-pound bag at Aldi like you can at Costco to feed your addiction. Buy your favorite Chick-fil-A sauce at your local grocery store, and you’re all set. You can have these on your plate and ready to eat in anywhere from 2 and 24 minutes, depending on whether you decide to cook them in the microwave, air fryer, or oven.
We like that the chickens for these chunks are raised without any antibiotics and that all the ingredients are likely what you would find in your kitchen, like chicken, flour, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and spices. However, it is worth noting that, to attain a flavor similar to that of Chick-fil-A, the chicken chunks contain sugar.
If you don’t have several Kirkland pizzas sitting in your freezer awaiting a pizza emergency, do you even shop at Costco? The types of pizza available change from time to time, but you can always depend on finding a four-pack of Kirkland pepperoni pizza because people would probably riot without it. You can also often find a Kirkland cheese pizza as an option.
Kirkland’s Italian pies come in packs of four, so each individual pizza only ends up costing about $4.25. The pepperoni pizzas come with a ridiculous amount of meat, and you can always customize them by adding more of your favorite toppings. The sky is the limit once you start upgrading. Add some veggies, different meat, or even more cheese. Once you have it the way you want it, it only takes 12 to 15 minutes for the pizza to come out of the oven with bubbly brown cheese. The only real negatives of Kirkland pizzas are that they have a lot of sodium and saturated fat. Each serving contains 10 grams of saturated fat, which is half of the recommended amount you should consume for the day. Plus, one serving has 660 milligrams of sodium, which is 43% of the recommended amount your foods should contain in a day.
Bibigo Beef Bulgogi Mandu
“Mandu” is the word that Koreans use for dumplings, so Costco’s Bibigo Beef Bulgogi Mandu are similar to pot stickers. Inside, however, you’ll find beef bulgogi, a flavorful marinated beef mixture containing ingredients like sesame oil, onions, ginger, jalapeños, cabbage, and carrots. Bulgogi has been around since sometime between 37 B.C. and 668 A.D, which makes it one of the quintessential dishes of Korean cuisine. If you’ve never tried bulgogi before, it’s a gateway food that makes you want to try even more Korean food.
One reason customers really love Costco’s bulgogi mandu is that they have a rich and smoky flavor, making them taste like real bulgogi without all the work. While some people microwave or air fry their mandu, the tastiest way to make them is to follow the package instructions and pan-fry them for about eight minutes. If you can stop yourself from eating all of them on their own straight out of the pan, you can use them as an addition to ramen, stir fry, or even a salad.
Kirkland Signature Tempura Shrimp
When Costco first started selling its Kirkland Signature Tempura Shrimp, it was only available for a limited time. However, enough customers went back for morethat Costco has kept these shrimp on freezer shelves. It’s a little pricey, with 30 of the shrimp coming in a 2.35-pound box and costing over $23. The price and the calorie count beg you to exercise self-control when it comes to chowing down on these. The serving size is only three shrimp, which total 290 calories. So, if you absentmindedly chuck nine into the air fryer and eat them all, you’ll end up consuming 870 calories without meaning to do so.
To end up with a crisp tempura coating as intended for these shrimp, you’ll want to avoid putting them in the microwave. Instead, you’ll want to cook them in the oven or air fryer for seven to eight minutes. They don’t need any extra oil for cooking since the batter coating already contains plenty. The shrimp also come with a sweet soy dipping sauce, which some people like but others prefer to switch out for sauces like Chick-fil-A’s Polynesian sauce.
Beecher’s World’s Best Mac & Cheese
When a box says that it contains the “‘World’s Best’ Mac & Cheese,” it had better be right. People tend to be more critical when a company sets a product up for intense scrutiny like that. Is it better than the one from the city cafeteria that closed down 10 years ago? Does it top the one your favorite aunt always brings to potlucks? Beecher’s macaroni has found itself on countless lists of the best mac and cheese over the years. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese first sold its “world’s best” macaroni at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. Now that Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese is available at Costco, you don’t have to make a trip to Seattle to get the cheesemaker’s famous dish.
Since a single serving is 450 calories, it’s going to make up most of your meal, along with some vegetable sides. With six servings per container, you’ll either want to plan to eat it for several meals in a row if you’re single or with a crowd of friends and family. Not everyone agrees that it’s the best mac and cheesethey’ve ever had, but those who love it are big fans. We guess you’ll have to try it yourself to come up with the ultimate verdict.
Trident Seafoods Panko Breaded Wild Caught Alaska Pollock Fish Sticks
Costco shoppers who like to keep a bag of fish sticks in their freezer for convenience meals tend to be really pleased with Trident Seafoods Panko Breaded Wild Caught Alaska Pollock Fish Sticks. A four-pound bag for around $20 is a fairly good deal. Trident prides itself on making fish sticks that are 65% fish and only 35% breading so that you get far more fish than breading in each bite. Some other things we like about these fish sticks is that the panko breading is whole grain and that you get 620 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids with each serving.
However, you will want to watch the serving size for these fish sticks. The package lists the calories per serving as being 170, but that’s for only three fish sticks. Of course, three is the perfect amount if you’re adding them to fish tacos or serving them with veggies. The cooking time is fairly short, no matter whether you cook them in the microwave, deep fry them, or cook them in the oven. If you’re really hungry, you can nuke them for one and a half to three minutes and have them ready in a flash. Frying takes three to four minutes. And while it takes 11 to 13 minutes to cook them in the oven, they come out crispier than in the microwave and healthier than deep fried.
read full article by: Jennifer Mashuga