Best Costco foods to buy for $100, according to a culinary judge

As a culinary judge, I get Garofalo pasta and Starbucks coffee blends from Costco.
Meredith Ochs

  • As a culinary judge, I look for nutritious, customizable meal components and high-season produce.
  • I stock up on specialty foods like Garofalo organic dried pasta and Starbucks coffee blends.
  • I also make sure my husband and I have plenty of fruit, such as grapefruit and medjool dates.

Florida red grapefruit is now in peak season.

Red grapefruit is delicious on its own or in salads.
Meredith Ochs

From January to spring, grapefruit develops a perfect sweet and sour balance. A 5-pound bag of grapefruit may seem like a lot for two people, but we easily go through it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I bought a juicer and started making fresh juices every week.

Grapefruit juice adds a fun twist to homemade vinaigrette, and parts of the fruit give salads a boost. Occasionally I brûlée sliced ​​grapefruit sprinkled with sugar with a kitchen torch or in the broiler to eat neat or float in a cocktail.

You can pick up a bag of grapefruit at Costco for $6.

Costco has the best price on quality Garofalo organic pasta.

I love the quality of Garofalo pasta.
Meredith Ochs

Garofalo pasta has been made in Italy for over two centuries and contains spiral gemelli from Puglia; the tubular, ribbed penne ziti rigate; and the curly, Sicilian casarecce, a champion sauce holder.

I like that Garofalo is an old-school brand with a modern take on sustainability and transparency, and how I can trace the origin of ingredients on every package.

You can buy a nearly 18-ounce six-pack of organic semolina pasta for $10.

The Starbucks Winter Blend is a seasonal exclusive at Costco.

The largest bag of coffee I buy is a 40 ounce pack.
Meredith Ochs

Medium roast, organic whole beans are my go-to home-brew coffee of choice these days, so I’m always happy to see seasonal Starbucks blends. The Starbucks Winter Blend lists notes of candied nuts and warm spices on the packaging.

We process about a pound of beans each week so the size is perfect as I won’t have an open bag for too long as the beans start to lose their flavour.

You can buy 40-ounce bags of Starbucks Coffee blends for $15.

Earth Greens baby spinach works in both hot and cold dishes.

Earth Greens baby spinach can be shrunk or used fresh.
Meredith Ochs

I love buying pre-washed mesclun vegetables. But since a 16-ounce box tends to spoil before the two of us can eat it, I grab Earth Greens baby spinach.

Baby spinach is tender enough to eat as a salad and/or add to smoothies, and can be cooked gently. I’ll shrink a generous handful into a bowl of hot lentil soup, add to omelettes and quiches, and sauté with fresh garlic.

Costco sells Earth Greens baby spinach for $4.50 a pound. It’s the same price as the salad greens, but the flexibility means virtually no waste for us.

Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Beef is a great value protein choice at Costco.

Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Beef can be frozen.
Meredith Ochs

Packaged in three separate packages, the Kirkland Signature 85% Lean Ground Beef is a bulk purchase that makes sense for smaller households. I can cook with one pack and freeze the other two.

Costco also has the slightly more expensive Wagyu from America, which is packaged in the same way as Kirkland Signature’s organic ground beef.

Kirkland Signature Organic ground beef costs $20 for four pounds, a great deal at $5 per pound.

Costco’s rotisserie chicken is an excellent budget choice.

The Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken is seasoned, cooked in the store and ready to eat.
Meredith Ochs

At just $5, the 3-pound Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken is too budget-friendly not to buy. It requires no preparation and is an easy go-to for a satisfying dinner.

For us, the bird makes about four meals.

It can be taken off the bone and chopped; shredded to make chicken salad; or added to stews, pot pies and other dishes.

Add another colorful vegetable to your plate with Del Monte butternut squash.

The Del Monte butternut squash chunks take all the prep work out of your hands.
Meredith Ochs

I don’t usually buy pre-chopped veggies, but a box of Del Monte Organic Butternut Squash Pieces is so convenient because there’s no peeling, chopping, or seed removal.

Butternut squash has a rich texture and nutty flavor enhanced by a touch of butter and brown sugar. It can be cooked almost any way, but I like to steam chunks and use them in a vegetable lasagna.

At 2 pounds for $6, a package is slightly more expensive and won’t stay fresh as long as a whole pumpkin. But it’s not a budget breaker.

Costco has “US #1 fancy” Kirkland Signature pecan halves.

The Kirkland Signature pecans are of good quality.
Meredith Ochs

Heart-healthy nuts are a regular at my Costco stores, and this time I grabbed the Kirkland Signature pecans.

I add pecans to whole grain cereals, salads, cheese boards, baked goods, and basically anything that pairs well with their buttery, earthy flavor.

Pecans are high in calories, so I only eat a few at a time and keep the rest in the fridge to extend their shelf life.

I think the Kirkland Signature pecans are well priced at $13 for a 2lb bag.

It’s easy to make Brussels sprouts from 4Earth Farms taste good.

The little nutritional powerhouses are surprisingly delicious.
Meredith Ochs

My mom used to cook Brussels sprouts so I hated them until I found out how to make them crispy by roasting them in a very hot oven with lots of olive oil, salt and pepper.

4Earth Farms Brussels sprouts are delicious raw as a crispy slaw or thinly sliced ​​and tossed with balsamic glaze, pomegranate molasses and arils, goat cheese and pine nuts.

Costco sells 2-pound bags of trimmed sprouts from 4Earth Farms for $4.

Kirkland Signature baguettes are baked on site.

The Kirkland Signature baguettes also freeze well.
Meredith Ochs

I guess I’m genetically incapable of leaving Costco without some fresh baked goods.

The classic, crispy Kirkland Signature baguettes had just been put on the shelf when I arrived, and they were still warm from the oven. I admit that I nibbled on it on the way home and made sandwiches with the rest.

I try to budget at least $6 for good bread, and the 24-ounce baguettes fit right in at that price point.

Natural Delights organic fresh medjool dates are a trendy sweet treat.

Natural Delights medjool dates are a versatile fruit.
Meredith Ochs

At $12, a 2-pound box of Natural Delights medjool dates are practically a splurge on a $100 budget. But I think their versatility and nutritional value make them worth it.

Dates are considered the oldest cultivated fruit in the world and are currently a trend among deli lovers. They pair well with pumpkin and pecans, on top of crostini, or in a baked side dish. They also serve as a perfect accompaniment to different types of cheese.

They are also useful in simple no-bake desserts. Mix them with a little hot water to form a sweet, caramel-like paste.

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