Showing posts from 2015

Whole Wheat Flour is back!

ALDI has whole wheat flour right now for $2.75 for a 5 lb. bag. I like to stock up for the year so that I make sure I have enough till it comes back. This is way cheaper than the price at other stores in my area. So what to do with whole wheat flour?

Whole Wheat Waffles 
Crust for Quiche (just swap whole wheat for the all-purpose flour in this recipe)
Whole Wheat Pancakes (coming soon)
Whole Wheat Tortillas (100 Days Recipe)
Whole Wheat Bread (coming soon)
Rolled Pie Crust (coming soon)
Whole Wheat Pinwheel Rolls (coming soon)

A few tips for baking with whole wheat:

Use a sifter before measuring so you don't over measure.Let whole wheat flour sit in the wet ingredients to soften. I use this with pancake and waffle batter.Whole wheat yeast recipes will take longer to rise than when you use all-purpose flour so give them time or switch to fast-acting yeast when you work with whole wheat flour.

Homemade Bread Crumbs (Italian Instructions too)

I try to waste as little as possible in my kitchen and one way I do that is by turning stale or old bread and buns into bread crumbs. When I find that leftover package of hot dog buns at the back of my fridge, or that last end of a loaf that has gotten hard corners, or I have a homemade loaf that is a dud, I just throw it in the freezer in a plastic bag until I am ready to make breadcrumbs. The freezing helps dry them out even more and keeps them safe from molding until I need breadcrumbs in a recipe. If you make them from fresh bread, you will need to toast them in a toaster or dry them out on a baking sheet in the oven.

Ingredients4 slices of frozen or toasted old bread or buns (each slice yields about 1/2 c. of breadcrumbs) For Italian Bread Crumbs Add: 1 tsp. dried oregano1 tsp. dried basil1 tsp. dried parsley1/4 tsp. onion powder1/4 tsp garlic powder1/2 tsp. salt1/4 tsp. ground black pepper Directions 1. Tear the bread into pieces and pulse the bread in a food processor until it i…

ELTs (Eggplant, Tomato, and Lettuce Sandwich)

I absolutely LOVE Carolyn's recipe for Baked Eggplant Parmesan. I spotted a grilled eggplant sandwich online when looking for other ideas for what to do with eggplant when it gets to be such a good deal and had this idea for a revamped BLT. I fed it to my husband and he scarfed it up and then said, "That was good. What was it?" You could very easily make a batch of the cutlets one night and use half as Eggplant Parmesan and then the other half in these tasty sandwiches. They reheat nicely in a skillet. Very affordable recipes when eggplant gets down to $.99 at ALDI!

Cost approx $.70 per sandwich.  Ingredients1 eggplant, peeled (opt.) and sliced approx. 1/4"-1/2" thick 2 eggs2 c. Italian bread crumbs - or make your own2-4 T. olive oil1 tomato, slicedlettuce or greens, torn into sandwich size piecesmayo - I prefer ALDI's organic SimplyNature Mayonnaise Sandwich Buns or Sliced Bread DirectionsPreheat oven to 375* and spread a baking sheet with a light layer of…

New Organic Whole Wheat Bread @ ALDI!

I think ALDI really is reading the blog because I just spotted and purchased whole wheat organic bread. $3.29 for a 1 lb. loaf. The ingredient list is a little long and the bread is fairly dense compared to their other whole wheat, but overall ingredients look a lot "cleaner" than  your typical store loaf.

Ingredients: (* denotes Organic Ingredient)
*Whole Wheat Flour
*Wheat Bran
*Wheat Gluten
*Brown Sugar
*Cracked Wheat
*Canola Oil
Sea Salt
*Cultured Unbleached Wheat Flour
*Distilled Vinegar
Mined Calcium Sulfate
Ascorbic Acid
Guar Gum

Organic Lentils this week at ALDI - $1.99/lb red or green

I know I am a little odd to be as excited as I am about lentils, but going in to soup season, these will be awesome to have around. You may want to beat me to the store because I will be buying a ton!

Barissimo Limited Edition Cayman Coconut Coffee Singles

Katie and I had a lovely Saturday morning shopping trip, yes we are lame, and came across these wonderful things. I put a box in my cart immediately. Now Katie wishes she would have because we got our families together on Saturday night and I brewed one of these.....simply amazing!  If you like coconut at all, you should try these bad boys!  Also for a fraction of the price of other individual serving size coffee pods. I paid $4.79 for 12 cups, roughly 40 cents per cup....BARGAIN!

Product Review: Crofton Cast Iron Skillet

I have had my Crofton Cast Iron Skillet for about a year. My mother-in-law gave me one as a birthday gift (Thanks Cyndi!) and it has seen a lot of use. I am a big fan of cast iron and have added a few pieces of "vintage" cast iron to my cooking collection from grandparents as they have down-sized. Cast iron has been around for years and years and if you know how to take care of it, it will last you for many more. I like that cast iron pans have no chemical non-stick coating but when well-seasoned are pretty non-stick.  A few things you should know about taking care of cast iron: 1. Never put it in the dishwasher. One of mine went through the dishwasher recently and came out with rust all over it and the seasoning (non-stick layer) stripped. Make sure you let anyone doing the dishes in your house how to properly wash them. (Ah hem- I love you, Honey)

2. To wash, simply run it under hot water and use a plastic scouring pad or sponge to scrub off any food residue. I don't u…

Spaghetti Pie

This recipe is for all those Mama's who fall into the dinner slump that usually includes spaghetti once a week. I gave this a shot last night and my family loved it. My husband also compared it to lasagna which I hate to cook because it's so tedious. We also had plenty of left overs that I froze in individual containers for our lunches this week, which is a nice change from the typical frozen meals!

1 box spaghetti
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 package sweet Itallian turkey sausage
1 lb Fit n Active ground turkey
1 container cottage cheese
1 egg
1T grated parmesan cheese
1 onion chopped
Mozzerella cheese

In a large pot cook pasta al dente. In another pan brown the ground turkey and the turkey sausage along with the chopped onion. I cut the sausage casing and squeeze it all into the ground turkey. This is more than enough meat. I actually froze half of it to use in another meal. Add the sauce to the meat once it's cooked. Once the pasta is cooked and drain…

Product Reviews: New Lullabies Diapers

So ALDI went and messed with one of my favorite items in the store. I had previously posted about how much I loved the $4.99 packs of diapers and how the price per diaper beat out every house diaper around. ALDI recently switched the diapers not only in packaging, but the actual diaper appears to be different. The diapers are now sold in a box for $13.49 and contains 96 diapers in Size 3. 
Product Review: The new Lullabies diaper is not as thick but is longer than the old one. It still works perfectly and holds up overnight but the fit is a little different than the old one. The pattern is different as well; pretty gender neutral and a little more updated.  Price Breakdown: Size 3: ALDI: $13.49 for a box of 96 = 14.1 cents per diaper Target: $17.99 for a box of 104 = 17.2 cents per diaper Walmart: $13.97 for a box of 96 = 14.6 cents per diaperWalgreens: $17.99 for a box of 96 = 18.7 cents per diaper Size 4:ALDI: $13.49 for a box of 82 = 16.5 cents per diaper Target: $17.99 for a box …

Product Review: Specially Selected Glaze with Balsalmic Vinegar

If you can still find this amazing glaze at your local Aldi, then you must have it. I have put this on shredded chicken sandwiches and grilled chicken sandwiches. I'm thinking it would be quite delicious over salmon as well! I caught it marked down to $1.50 and have not seen it around anymore, so good luck!

You Can Make Any Dish with Pasta....Pasta with a Mexican Zing

This meal was one of those, "Oh my, we have spent the entire day at the pool, and I didn't plan anything for dinner, so nothing is thawed. Oh, but we have a ton of fresh veggies, and turkey kielbasa doesn't really have to thaw!"  Oh, and the title is my husband's response when I have been making the grocery list and meal planning, "We should have something with pasta every week, it's pretty easy to make that a meal, right?!"  So let's just call this recipe Pasta with a Mexican Zing

Pasta with a Mexican Zing

1 T olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini sliced in half circles
1 yellow squash sliced in half circles
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 broccoli crown
1 Turkey Kielbasa Sausage Link sliced
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 -1 cup chicken broth (see Katie's recipe for chicken broth)
1 box bow tie pasta
1 block Monterrey Jack cheese

Cook pasta til done. In a separate pan heat olive oil with 1 tsp …

Basket Sets - Teacher Alert!

These stackable 3-basket sets are $4.99 at ALDI this week. Posting for all my teacher friends that are organizing classrooms and getting set up for the year.

Black Grapes at ALDI are awesome-sauce!

$2.38 for a 2 lb. package and these are awesome! That's all...

Back to School Bakeoff

It's back to school time, not just for our kids but also for Carolyn and myself since we are both teachers. We have started this tradition of a back-to school bake-off night where we meet up and bake as many breakfast foods, lunch snacks and treats as we can. We portion them in baggies to fit in lunch boxes and it makes packing a lot healthier and easier. We also have a lot of fun drinking too much coffee late at night (thought about wine but we were worried the baking quality would suffer!) All of the recipes are ALDI-friendly (nothing they don't carry).
The Recipes:Blueberry Muffins Banana Bread from Better Homes and Gardens -nutmeg seasonally available Carrot Applesauce Muffins from 101 Days of Real Food - ginger seasonally available  Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies from Chocolate Chip Cookies from Blueberry Pancakes from  Whole-Wheat Donuts from 100 Days of Real Food

Kitchen Living Food Dehydrator: Product Review

I recently purchased the Kitchen Living Food Dehydrator for $19.99 at ALDI. There are a few left in stores, so worth snagging if this is your thing. I have never dehydrated foods before, so I am by no means an expert on what makes a good food dehydrator. I have had quite a few zucchini, summer squash, and kale from my garden this year and last and I was looking for something to do with them other than freeze. I have done a few batches so far of zucchini chips (Yum!), summer squash chips, and kale chips (I am not a fan. I really don't get what all the fuss is about?) I also just did a quick batch of drying italian parsley, basil, oregano, lemon thyme, and greek oregano. It's a fun new kitchen gadget to have and I am happy with my purchase.

Price: Similar 5-tray, single setting, food dehydrators are priced $30.99 at Target and $40.99 at Walmart. Steal at ALDI for $19.99.

Drawbacks: Other dehydrators have temperature settings, so you can adjust the drying process. For my purpose…

Grassfed Cheddar - Special Buy $2.99/ 7 oz.

I just spotted this cheddar at ALDI - appreciating that is a grass fed, whole block and not shredded. Product of Australia? I would still love to see that organic block cheddar back - pretty please!

Blueberries are 99 cents per pint @ ALDI

Blueberries are a steal for $.99/pt. at ALDI this week. This is a buy and freeze or can price! I freeze blueberries by rinsing, drying, and transferring into a small freezer bag. That makes it easy to grab a small handful to sprinkle in pancakes, smoothies, parfaits, and muffins. I bought 4 pints and canned 6 pints of blueberry jam that will go on PBJs this school year. (Not all ALDI ingredients, so I can't post the recipe) Now if ALDI could get strawberries down to $.99/pt. so I can make strawberry jam, my kids would be so happy!

Product Review: Cookware Challenge with Crofton Silicone Bakeware

I recently picked up a new cast iron muffin pan at a specialty store and wanted to test it out. I am in love with cast iron cookware and have one skillet from ALDI which was a steal. Just as a fun test, I pulled out my other muffin pans to see how which one produced the best muffin. The batter is the blueberry muffin recipe I posted earlier except I subbed chocolate chips instead of blueberries and used half whole wheat flour and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

The Contestants:
1. Crofton Silicone Muffin Pan - ALDI purchase
2. Aluminum Muffin Pan - thrift store purchase
3. Lodge Cast Iron Muffin Pan - specialty store purchase
4. Calphalon Non-Stick Muffin Pan - wedding gift

The Results:

1. Crofton Silicone: The muffins baked in the silicon pan popped out clean beautifully. They were cooked through nicely, but the bottoms were slightly blackened by the time the tops were golden. I think I could avoid this by knowing that they will cook a little faster than the regular cooking tim…

Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans and Pears

I am such a fan of spinach salads over iceberg lettuce for the nutrition value alone. ALDI carries either the 8 oz. bag of baby spinach for $1.79 or the 5 oz. box of organic spinach for $2.49. This recipe is for a large salad, but it can easily be made for just one serving. If you want to save some calories, skip candying the pecans.

Ingredients 1 c. pecan halves or pieces 2 T. Butter 2 T. Brown Sugar
2 ripe pears, sliced (do this when you are ready to serve as the pears will brown once cut) 1 bag fresh spinach (8 oz.) 1 small tub of blue cheese crumbles (Feta or Gorgonzola will work too)
Tuscan Garden Poppyseed Dressing or make your own vinaigrette: 1/3 c. oil (I prefer olive) 1/3 c. white or red wine vinegar 1/3 c. sweet (either sugar, stevia, honey, or agave) 1 tsp - 1 T. herbs and spices to what fits your mood - for this salad I might use minced onion or a little garlic salt. *Shake it a leak-proof container and let chill in the fridge.
Directions 1. In a saute pan melt butter ove…

Red, White, and Blue Parfaits

I know I always post these things too late for people to put on their holiday menus, but this was our Independence Day breakfast today. These would be awesome for a brunch or a healthy dessert and could be made ahead of time - just leave off the granola until you are ready to serve. I just discovered the SimplyNature Organic Yogurt at ALDI and it is awesome! My 6-year-old asks for it for dessert rather than ice cream!

Ingredients Vanilla Yogurt (I used the Whole Milk Organic Vanilla Yogurt at ALDI) Blueberries Strawberries, trimmed and quartered Granola (I used  homemade from 100 Days of Real Food - just omit the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds if you are shopping at ALDI or buy the prepared granola at ALDI)

Directions 1. In a clear cup or dish, layer blueberries to 1/3 the height of the cup. Next sprinkle granola. 2. For the next layer, spoon in yogurt with a teaspoon being careful not to smear the sides of the glass. Fill to 2/3 the height of the glass.  3. For the top layer, fill…

4th of July Spinach Salad

This is so super simple and is a go-to for BBQs and Potlucks.  The recipe is sized for a potluck or party, but it is easy to adjust for a single serving. (will update picture when I make for this 4th - the one pictured is made with dried cranberries for the fruit since that's what I had on hand). Strawberries and blueberries are a decent deal right now at ALDI.

Ingredients Salad: 1 bag spinach leaves (the big bag at ALDI  or 2 of the organic boxes) 1 c. fresh quartered strawberries 1 c. fresh blueberries 1 c. slivered almonds (in the baking section at ALDI) 1 container crumbled feta
Dressing: *Specialty Selected Gour
met House or Raspberry Vinaigrettes would be nice if you don't want to make your own.
1 T. minced onion
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 c. white wine vinegar (seasonally available in the Priano brand)
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. sugar (or equivalent powdered stevia for baking)

Directions  1. Place spinach in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle strawberries, almonds, and feta on top. …

Easy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This week I menu planned as I was doing my grocery shopping at Aldi. When I came to the produce section and noticed Eggplants were only 99 cents, I thought I would attempt eggplant parmesan.  The first time I ever tried this dish was at Olive Garden about a month ago, and it was so good, and seemed simple enough to figure out so I gave it a shot and the family loved it! I served it with steamed broccoli, toasted bread, and a yogurt parfait for dessert!      

1 large Eggplant, sliced. I believe I got about 14- 16 slices out of mine
2 eggs beaten
2-4 T olive oil
1 jar pasta sauce, I like the Simply Nature Tomato Basil
2 cups bread crumbs, I used Italian flavored
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven with baking sheet inside to 375. Place eggs in a zipper storage bag and mix around. Add eggplant slices to the bag and shake around until slices are well coated. Place bread crumbs in another bag. Add egg coated slices to the bag of bread crumbs and shake aro…

Easy Monkey Bread

Well, summertime is officially here...yippee!  Summertime means lots of cooking for my hungry kiddos and their friends, and it also means no work for me so I have more time to look for and create recipes!  This monkey bread recipe I stumbled upon when I was on the search for a breakfast item for my son's slumber party, other than going and getting donuts or having to prepare something the night before.  I have since made this two more times, once today for Father's Day, as my husband loved it the first time!  However, I have yet to get a picture of it fresh out of the oven because it gets gobbled up, so imagine one of those beautifully sculpted monkey breads fresh out of the bunt pan!

Easy Monkey Bread

2 tubes jumbo flaky biscuits
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter

Grease a bunt pan and preheat oven to 350. Put sugar and cinnamon in a gallon size bag and shake until mixed well. Cut biscuits into quarters and place in the bag of cinnamon and sugar. Sh…

A Very ALDI Road Trip - 10 Tips for an Affordable Vacation

Our family is headed to North Carolina that won't and Tennessee to explore Great Smoky National Park for an eleven day vacation. While we are really excited, I am also challenged to stay on a budget. This is our third summer of road trips with two kids and I am by no means an expert, but I am going to share a few of my strategies for keeping a lid on vacation expenses.

1.Plan ahead: I may be a tad bit of an over-planner, but I always make my packing list, meal plan, and to-do list at least a month ahead of time. Doing so allows me to keep my sanity and see where I can save money before we even hit the road. For example, I am borrowing a child carrier for hiking from a friend (Thanks Laura!) which is saving me atleast $100.

2. Shop at ALDI: I have been looking over my meal plan and shopping list and smuggling in any dry good items that I can keep until the trip. That way I won't have huge grocery bill stocking up at an expensive resort location grocery store and most of our food …

Cheesy Potatoes

I know there are a million versions of this recipe out there, but I just tweaked a few versions together to be Aldi-friendly and served it at my son's birthday party BBQ. My mom suggested I bring it to our next Christmas dinner, which is quite a compliment considering she serves Prime Rib and usually a fancy-pants side dish like Spinach Souffle or Green Bean Amandine. I told her it didn't deserve to be there since it involves corn flakes and condensed soup out of a can, which in my mind demotes it to the level of slacker cooking, no matter how tasty. Ingredients 32 oz. frozen shredded potatoes (whole ALDI bag) 16 oz. sour cream  1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1/4 c. chopped green onion (or regular onion finely chopped) 1 tsp. sea salt 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 8 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded (approx. 2 cups) 2 c. corn flakes 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350* 2. In a large bowl stir together sour cream, mushroom soup, green onions, salt…

German Foods are back!

This week's ad features the Deutsche Kuche line so we can snag some awesome German products. My top three are:

1. Egg Spaetzle $1.99 for 17.6 oz    I use these spaetzle noodles to make Kaese Spaetzle (think of it as German or Austrian Mac and Cheese) which we eat as a main dish but most would probably serve it as a side dish. I am still perfecting this recipe but I will post once it get it right.

Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina, egg (Product of Germany)

2. Red Cabbage with Apples $1.69 for 24 oz. I make this from scratch around Christmas time when my husband gets in his "let's celebrate our heritage" mood. This jarred variety is a great was to get our red cabbage fix when I don't want to go through the effort of making it from scratch.

Ingredients: Red cabbage, apples, sugar, vinegar, onions, salt, clove (Product of Germany)

3. Spinach and Ricotta Strudel 10.6 oz This and the artichoke and cheese strudel are delicious, but only serve two as a main entree. 

Simply Nature USDA Organic Shells and White Cheddar

I really wanted to like the new boxed organic mac and cheese but I was a little disappointed. It is definitely comparable to Annie's boxed mac and cheese, but I think I am spoiled on my own homemade mac and cheese . My family also prefers the "Velveeta-style" sauce packets in Shells and Cheese over the dry mix packets. So ALDI, if you want to roll out a box of organic plain elbow mac noodles or an organic shells and cheese with the liquid sauce packet, you would have my vote! In the mean time Annie's fans will be thrilled with this affordable box priced at $1.29.

Ingredients listed: organic pasta (organic wheat semolina), organic cheddar cheese (organic cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes), organic buttermilk, organic nonfat milk, salt, sodium phosphate, and silicon dioxide.

New Never Any Line: Uncured Bacon

ALDI rolled out a new meat line advertised as "Never Any!" I gave the bacon a try and was happy with the quality. I followed the oven directions for cooking so I wouldn't have to clean bacon splatter off my stove top. I also saved the drippings to cook hash browns and eggs. Not exactly a low fat breakfast but it was delicious! Priced at $4.29/12 oz. it is cheaper than the Kroger Simple Truth bacon - good job ALDI!

The package reads: No Antibiotics, No Hormones, No Animal-By-Products, Vegetarian Fed, and No MSG. No nitrates or nitrites added -Except that naturally occurring in sea salt and celery powder.

The ingredient list reads: Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Evaporated Cane Sugar, Celery Powder

Shrimp Creole

My mom always made this growing up and it was one of my favorites. My sister even had her recipe printed onto fabric and made into a tea towel one Christmas.
Ingredients 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped 1 medium onion, finely chopped 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped 1 clove of garlic, minced 1 T. olive oil 3 oz. can of tomato paste and 3 cans of water 1 pinch red pepper 1 tsp. parsley  1 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 12-16 oz. raw, deveined shrimp, peeled
4 c. cooked rice

Directions 1. Heat oil in a skillet. Saute bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic for five minutes. 2. Remove from heat and add tomato paste and water.
3. Stir and return to heat. Add red pepper, parsley, sugar, ans salt. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes more.
5. Serve over prepared rice.

Stock up time- Butter and Cream Cheese- Low prices at ALDI

This week at ALDI cream cheese is $.89 per block and butter is $1.89/lb. Both of these items freeze well, so buy ahead and save some money down the road!

Pizza with Homemade Sauce

This recipe is great on a night when I don't have a lot of time to cook a meal, but want to provide my family with something that I feel is a wee bit better than a frozen pizza (Notice the difference between the barbecue chicken plate and the pizza plate). The homemade sauce gives it a great flavor as well. This week the Mom and Dad pizza was pepperoni and red onions and the kids went for the usual pepperoni. Ingredients for Sauce 1 can tomato sauce 1 can tomato paste 2 T grated Parmesan cheese 1 tsp parsley 1 tsp basil 1/2 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp pepper dash of Italian seasoning
Directions for sauce Stir all ingredients together until mixed well. I honestly don't measure exact and sometimes sprinkle in a little more or less of each ingredient. This makes enough for at least three pizzas, so I am able to freeze some to have on hand. 
Pizza Ingredients 1 package Aldi pizza crust (2 crusts) 1 block mozzarella cheese Pepperoni, red onion, black olives, pineapple, ham, etc.  Directio…

Lazy Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken with Steamed Brussel Sprouts

On a night when I actually have time to cook, my family's plate looks like this. Remember this photo when you see the pizza plate!  Katie chose to laugh at my variety plate, "It looks like you went to a buffet!" Thanks, Katie!  Ingredients 5 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, etc. I've even made with bone in, skin on.  3/4 can Aldi root beer 1/2 bottle barbecue sauce (about 1 cup) 1 tsp brown sugar (for a little sweeter taste, but not necessary) Directions 1. Place chicken in crock pot. 2. Pour barbecue sauce over chicken. 3. Pour root beer over the sauce. 4. Sprinkle in brown sugar. 5. Cover and cook on low all day or high for 4-5 hours. I put this in the slow cooker at 12:00 and it was ready at 5:00 being cooked on high and the thighs were frozen.

Freezer to Crockpot: Add all ingredients to gallon freezer bag. Press out air, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months. The day of cooking empty frozen contents of bag into Crockpot and cook on low all day.

Steamed …

I got dirt cheap chicken!

I heard on Facebook that our ALDI got in a pallet of chicken breast that was getting close to its "sell by" date. All these trays were marked half off the sale price, which made it $.90/lb. I went a little overboard and bought over 30 lbs of chicken. I repackaged them into 2 breast packs for the freezer, except for one package that I immediately made into Oven-Baked Chicken Nuggets and froze hoping to avoid our typical bag of processed chicken nuggets for awhile. I am also going to make Naked Wings as a substitute for my husband's usual freezer boneless wings.

Cinnamon Rolls

Carolyn has been telling me forever that I could handle making homemade cinnamon rolls from the back of the yeast package at ALDI. Here are hers packages as gifts at Christmas time:
I have always killed yeast when it wasn't inside my bread machine. These went great for a first attempt. Next time I wouldn't squish nearly so many into one pan so they would have more room to expand. I didn't get the picture taken without half already being eaten. I am reprinting the ALDI recipe here with my notes- hope they won't mind.
Ingredients Dough:
2 packages Active Dry Yeast (seasonally available at ALDI) 1 T. sugar 1 c. warm water 1/2 c. butter, I softened/melted in microwave - not sure if this was right, but seemed to work 1 T. unsalted salt 7 c. flour 1 c. scaled milk 1/2 c. sugar 4 eggs, well beaten

4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

2 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk - or more
Directions 1. Dissolve yeast …

Organic Ketchup

ALDI now has USDA Organic Ketchup! Ingredients list looks pretty decent compared to most ketchup. Good job ALDI!

O'Cedar Robotic Floor Cleaner: Product Review

A few weeks ago ALDI had this O'Cedar Robotic Floor Cleaner for $19.99. I have always wanted an iRobot Roomba or Scooba but $600 for Rosie from the Jetson's was never in the budget. I decided to give this a whirl since it was only $20 and I know ALDI has a wonderful satisfaction guarantee.  1. For entertainment value, this thing is awesome! Our five-year-old likes to let it bump off of him and see what it does and Stella, our Boston Terrier is sure that it came to play. (I think it has a good chance of dying an early death at our house.) 2. For cleaning purposes, this is what I should have expected for $20. It is a bare floor duster with a static cling-type pad that velcros to the bottom. It is great at picking up dog hair and dust. It leaves behind anything that is heavy or sticky. I would say it compares to a Swiffer.  3. It comes with 3 cleaning pads and I am not sure if you could rinse, dry and reuse. I haven't tried it yet but I fully intend to. O'Cedar sells mor…

Queso Dip - without processed cheese!

A friend asked me to bring cheese dip to a SuperBowl party this past weekend and I was instantly determined to find a recipe for queso that did not involve a processed cheese product - a.k.a. "Velveeta" or any of its variations. (As a side note, her husband said, "I hope she doesn't do anything weird to it." He knows me all too well!) After scouring recipes, I finally found something to work with and decided to wing it. I think it turned out really well and retains the creaminess without having ingredients I can't pronounce. Ingredients 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded 8 oz. cream cheese 1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies with the juice  2 T. milk - possibly more 1 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. onion powder 1/2 tsp. garlic salt Directions 1. In a medium saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the cheeses and mix in the whole can of tomatoes. Keep stirring until the cheeses have all meted together. (Don't microwave as I find it gets rubbery…

Greek Quinoa Salad

I was a little doubtful about having quinoa cold, but this salad was amazing! I am using the leftovers on top of baby spinach as an actual salad, but I served it last night as a side with soup. The original inspiration recipe can be found at I made quite a few tweaks to keep it vegetarian and 100% ALDI, so I figured I better write down what I did before I forgot. The picture does not do it justice at all, so keep an open mind. Some of these ingredients are only seasonally available at ALDI, so stock up when you get the chance. Serves 6, $.79/serving

 Ingredients (*) ingredients available USDA organic at ALDI 2 c. vegetable broth or stock (or chicken if you don't need it vegetarian)* 1 clove garlic 1 c. uncooked quinoa, rinsed* 1 large red onion, diced (or 1/2 yellow onion) 1 green bell pepper, diced 1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives* 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese (omit if you want vegan) 2 T. dried parsley 1/2 tsp. sea salt juice of 1 lemon 1 T. balsamic vinegar* 1/4 c. …

Organic Milk!

I spotted it this week at my NE KS ALDI! $3.39 for a half gallon of organic milk. It is offered in skim and 2%. Can we please get whole? And a more competitive price as this is more expensive than Natural Grocers? (But thanks for the progress!)

Shepherd's Pie (Dad's Casserole)

This is a family classic that was my dad used often when he was in charge of the dinner plans. There are a lot of variations of Shepherd's Pie out there, but this one is my favorite. We always put an initial or shape in the top of the mashed potatoes just to make someone's day.
Ingredients 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained (I like the organic grass-fed at ALDI) 1 can cut green beans, drained 1 can condensed tomato soup 5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (If you are in a hurry, you could use instant mashed potatoes- wouldn't fly at my house:) 4 T. butter - approx. 1/2 c. sour cream - approx. salt and pepper Directions 1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain and return to pot. Mash with butter and sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste.  2. Brown and drain ground beef. Set aside. 3. Preheat oven to 350* 4. In a casserole or 9 x 13, layer ground beef at the bottom, green beans on next, and pour condensed soup on the top.  5. Spread…

Sistema Lunch Cubes are back!

These lunch cubes are back at ALDI and are priced at $3.99! These save me a small fortune in sandwich and snack baggies with sending my kid's lunch to school nearly everyday. They are closer to $6 at other stores. 

Updated Wishlist for "Real Foods" at ALDI

1. Organic Whole Milk
2. Organic Block Cheeses (I saw you brought the shredded organic cheese back, but I am still waiting for wedges or blocks. I have a thing about cellulose on the ingredient list.)
3. Whole Wheat Bread with shorter ingredient list
4. Cage-Free or Free Range Eggs
5. Organic Unsalted Butter
6. Cayenne Pepper
7. Bay Leaves (Thanks "T")
8. Whole Wheat Tortillas (Thanks Erin!)
9. Corn Tortillas - bring 'em back
10. Organic Chicken!  (Thanks ALDI- the new chicken you rolled out is pretty close!)

*Have some more ideas? Please post in the comments!

Huntington Home Memory Foam Bath Mat $5.99 and $9.99: Product Review

I purchased one of these bathmats at ALDI last time they were available. I have been very happy with it overall. It is still cushy, it cleans up well in the washing machine, and does a great job at containing drips and sloshes from my boys' bathtime. I am planning on purchasing another for our second bath. My complaint/tip is that water gets trapped underneath and then has nowhere to go. (This only seems to happen when my boys have been having a bath. Hmmmm....)  I have learned to flip the mat over the side of the bathtub to dry the backside of the mat and the floor. Similar bathmats are priced at Target $14.99 for the 17"x 24" and $19.99 for 20" x 34" so at $5.99 and $9.99 this week, these are a steal!

Nana's Waffles: Whole Wheat and Coconut Oil Version

It only took my about six failed attempts to figure out how to adjust my nana's recipe for waffles to a "real food" version. Finally, I have a waffle batter recipe that skips the more processed oils and uses whole wheat flour! My family loves these for "Breakfast for Dinner" night. I also think they freeze really well. We reheat them in the microwave and use them for a quick breakfast on school days. If you want to amp up the protein you can also use them to make peanut butter waffle sandwiches. Ingredients 1 3/4c. Whole Wheat Flour 1 T. Baking Powder 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt 1 1/4 c. Whole Milk  1/4 c. Coconut Oil (melted) 2 Eggs Real Maple Syrup Directions 1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. 2. Mix in the milk and oil. (The coconut oil will go back solid when it hits the cold milk, so mix as you pour in the oil.) 3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and then fold into the batter. 4. Preheat waffle iron. (I like to wait to preheat the waffle iron so that the…

Product Review: Kitchen Living Juice Extractor for $34.99

I purchased this juicer from Aldi approximately two years ago. I was planning on doing a juicing detox (spare me the criticisms please) and I wasn't ready to purchase some of the more expensive juicers that can run so much more. I felt this was a great buy if you aren't sure if juicing is going to be a long-term interest. I am sure you can find more bells and whistles on the pricier juicers, but this has suited me perfectly for the times that I use it. I have also loaned it out to friends that are interested in juicing. Everything is still working like new, but I haven't put a lot of mileage on it. My one complaint is that it can be difficult to clean as some of the parts are hand-wash only. I think this is probably true of most juicers. Overall, a great buy at $34.99!