Saturday, January 31, 2015

Get Super Bowl ready with Costco!

It's Super Bowl Sunday this weekend!! Are you ready for the big game??

If you're not, follow this 7-step guide to making Costco your one stop shop for throwing the best Super Bowl Party!

Step #1: Buy the BIGGEST TV you can fit in your family room, game room, man cave or basement!
Costco has a nice selection of higher-end model TVs to choose from at fantastic prices. Now I am not an expert on TVs but I think if your current TV is smaller than 65" you probably need a bigger one to watch the Super Bowl ;)
Buying advice from ConsumerReports.org recommends LCD TVs for their better price points and selection over Plasma TVs which manufactures are phasing out of the market anyway. Features like 3D capabilities and 4K Ultra HD were all the rage at this years Consumer Electronics Show but you'll pay a premium for those features and it may not be worth it just yet. 3D TVs have yet to really catch on with the majority of consumers despite manufacturers hopes. And newer Ultra High Definition TVs may provide greater resolution with 4 times the number of pixels as standard HD, but there are currently very few networks and service providers broadcasting 4K content so you'll end up paying more for a capability that you're not actually going to experience until 4K becomes more main stream. Unless money is no object stick to standard HD model for now but opt for one with a refresh rate (the number of frames per second the TV displays) of 120Hz -240Hz to avoid motion blur during fast moving action scenes. Display resolution is important too, and you will occasionally see 720p which is okay for smaller screens (less than 40"), but make sure you get 1080p (aka standard Full HD) on any TV with a screen size larger than 40" diagonal. Most retailers (even Costco) offer extended warranty packages on TVs, but according to Consumer Reports extended warranties are not worth the extra money simply because TVs now a days are more reliable than ever and even when issues do arise they usual come up with in the first year or two and are covered by the standard warranty. Here is an assortment of TVs on sale now at Costco (some are even on coupon).




Now that you have your TV picked out its time to move on to the all important food!

Step #2: Load up on game time snacks!
Super Bowl parties to me have always been about finger foods. Here in the DC metro area its just too darn cold in February to grill out for the Super Bowl so we usually skip the burgers and franks in favor of things like pizza, wings, and meatballs.

For appetizers & munchies you can't go wrong with chips and dip. In our house we tend to go towards a Mexican flare with tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa. We love the KS Organic Tortilla Chips, they are large restaurant style chips that have just the right amount of salt and are sturdy enough to handle both guac and salsa at the same time. (Just remember: NO double dipping! First of all, "eww!" and secondly its flu season, so don't risk it man.)



One must-have thats always on our shopping list for a party is Rojo's Six Layer Black Bean Dip- holy moly is it delicious! It has layers each of Black Beans, Avocado, Classic Salsa, Creamy Salsa, and Seasoned Sour Cream topped off with a blend of Cheddar & Cotija Cheeses. This 6-layer dip is amazing with the KS Organic Tortilla Chips but because it is on the heavier side so you may actually need a fork too.

Our go to salsa is either the KS Organic Salsa or Pace Picante Salsa, both are medium which is not too hot but still has a nice kick to it. I've also tried the Santa Barbarara Mango Peach Salsa and its really good. Two other kinds of salsa I recently found at Costco are Jack's Special Medium Salsa and Sunbelt Fresh Organic Salsa, I haven't tried these two yet but they look great.


When it comes to guacamole, homemade is the best and if you want to take the time to make homemade guac you can pick up most of your ingredients at Costco: avocados, limes, and red onions. You probably already have salt at home and hopefully some fresh herbs including Cilantro, but if not you can pick those up at your favorite market or grocery store (unless of course you really need that 4 lb. box of table salt from Costco).

Don't have the time or don't want to make your own guacamole? No problem, Costco has you covered with several pre-made varieties. Our favorite store bought guac is the Wholly Guacamole brand, its super creamy and I find it has a perfect balance of flavors. Costco also sells other varieties of guacamole too like Good Foods Tableside Chunky Guacamole.

And for a twist on plain guac and salsa my mom showed me this simple trick to make a quick & delicious dip: combine equal amounts of your favorite guacamole with your favorite salsa together in a bowl and you've got yourself one heck dip that is smooth & creamy but still has a little bite to it :)

As for other chips I feel like its not a real Super Bowl party if you don't have Nacho Cheese Doritos, (then again, maybe I have just fallen victim to years of Super Bowl advertisements lol). If you're looking for a classic potato chip you can't go wrong the thick and salty KS Kettle Crinkle Cut Chips made with Sea Salt.

For a heartier dip why not try making Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip? I got the recipe from one of the free sample tables at Costco about a year ago, it's super simple to make: in a glass microwave safe bowl combine 1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing, 1/2 a cup of Cream Cheese, 1/2 a cup of Blue Cheese, and 1/2 a cup of Franks Red Hot Sauce. Heat in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring in between each cycle until combined. Then stir in 1 can of drained KS Premium Chunk Chicken Breast, and microwave until thoroughly heated. (If you're not a fan of using the microwave, I had success combining everything into a saucepan and heating it on the stove instead, just be sure to stir frequently so it doesn't start to stick to the bottom or burn.)


Serve it warm with slices of KS Baguette or your favorite chips.

What's a party with out pretzels?! As a widely popular game time snack you practically have to have pretzels on hand. H.K. Anderson makes delicious bite sized KS Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets. For a classic pretzel you can grab a barrel of Utz Pretzel Rings or of something on the lighter side pick up a bag of Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps.

Want a healthier snacking option? No problem, Costco has you covered there too. Pick up one of their 4 lb. Veggie Trays with an assortment of fresh vegetables, (baby carrots, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets and cherry tomatoes), that are washed, cut and ready to eat.

The tray comes with a low fat country ranch dip, but in case you want a dairy free dip or something a little more sophisticated you can pick up an assortment of hummus at Costco. Organic Pita Pal has a variety tray with four delicious flavors: original, cilantro jalapeño, spicy roasted red pepper, and basil sun dried tomato. (And its on sale $1.80 off through 1 Feb!) If you prefer Hannah Hummus they have a Trio of flavors: Cilantro Lime, Classic and Sweet Roasted Pepper hummuses.

I happen to be partial to the Hannah Hummus brand (probably because I love getting their little organic hummus singles for lunches), but for a party I would get the Pita Pal variety because the tray it comes packaged in is divided up into four sections, one for each flavor, which I think makes for a better presentation and easier serving than the Hannah Trio.

Feel like cooking? Get your wing fix at Costco! In the deli area you can get a 4 lb. platter of Mesquite Chicken Wings for only $19.99. Each platter comes with two containers of blue cheese dressings for dipping and the wings only take about 20 minutes to heat up in the oven.

In the freezer section at Costco you can grab a 5 lb. of Perdue Buffalo Style Wings for only $10.49! (With a $4 off manufacturers instant rebate that's good through 1 Feb 2015.) 
Or for a little Asian fusion try the Coyote Grill Buffalo Style Chicken Rolls.

For a little taste of the South why not whip up some pulled chicken sliders? The Jack Daniel's BBQ Pulled Chicken is finger licking good and since its already fully cooked you just heat and serve. Grab a bag of Dinner Rolls from the Costco Bakery and some Golden Taste Cole Slaw from the deli case and you can enjoy the tastes of a backyard summer BBQ in February.


Like ribs? Pick up a treat of Pork Back Ribs with glaze for only $7.99 per pound, fully cooked these ribs are quick and easy to heat & serve and can be found next to the rotisserie chickens.

Last but never least, one of my all time favorite party foods: Meatballs! The KS Italian Style Meatballs are practically perfect and since they are precooked most of the work is already done for you- just plug in your slower cooker, add the meatballs, coat with your favorite sauce, set to high and in about 3 hours your meatballs will be ready and your house will smell heavenly.

My favorite meatball sauce is a combination of Heinz Chili Sauce and Smuckers Grape Jelly, it makes a tangy yet slightly sweet meatballs that pleases just about everyone. I've also coated meatballs in just Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce which is perfect if you like a more traditional barbecue sauce flavor.

Don't feel like cooking?
Pick up a Costco pre-made deli platter! Choose from a Turkey & Swiss Rollups Platter, or a Croissant Sandwich Platter (each only $29.99) or pick up a 3.75 lb. Shrimp Platter that comes with cocktail sauce. Costco deli platters are perfect when you're serving a crowd and want a little variety without a lot of work. (For larger parties to ensure you get what you need make sure to place a special order with the deli 24-48 hours in advance.)


And of course, for the all time "you just don't feel like cooking meal" you can always just order a Costco Pizza!

Costco pizzas are gigantic (a whopping 18") and you can choose from plain cheese, pepperoni, or combo (which has pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, and black olives), or you can customize your order with a half & half pizza. No matter which variety you choose, ALL Costco pizzas are only $9.95 each!!!! I compared the price of a Costco pizza to how much the same pizza would cost at different local pizza chains and I was astonished to discover that the Costco pizza costs between 56% - 66% LESS than any of the local pizza chains! For example, if you order an 18" "combo" pizza at Vocelli Pizza or Papa Johns you're going to pay $30, order from Dominos Pizza or Pizza Hut and you'll only get a 16" pizza and you'll pay $23 and $23.50 respectively. Granted Costco won't deliver a pipping hot pizza to your front door, but if you're already making a run to Costco it's totally worth picking up one (or two) while you're there.  And don't worry about waiting in that long Food Court Line- most warehouses now have a dedicated Pizza line so you can call to place your order by phone as soon as you arrive at Costco and while you shop your pizzas will bake. When you get to checkout just tell the cashier to add the pizzas to your order and then show your receipt to the Food Court Counter and walk out with your pizza without getting stuck in another line :) 
Costco Fun Fact: Did you know that Costco is considered one of the largest pizza chains in the US?!
 
Step #3: Don't forget beverages!
You can't serve up all that food without providing an assortment of adult and non-adult beverages. In my experience offering a simple selection of soft drinks, beer and water is sufficient. We don't drink a lot of soft drinks but when we do we're Coca-Cola people, and right now at Costco you can get $1.10 off (with a manufacturers instant rebate through 1 Feb 2015) on 32-pack 12oz. cans of Classic Coke, Coke Zero and Diet Coke!

For a caffeine free option Canada Dry Ginger Ale is also on sale!

As for beer, Costco has a huge selection of beer at rock bottom prices, get a 24-pack of of your favorite bottled beer (like Corona Extra, Dos Equis, Yuengling, Heineken, Samuel Adams, or Budweiser) and it will only cost you between $15.99 - $29.99 per case. 



Prefer cans? Pick up a 36-pack case of Bud Light, or Miller Lite for less than $24, or try something new and grab a 48-pack of the new KS Light Beer for only $21.99! (Read more on the KS Light Beer in the January 2015 issue of Costco Connection Magazine!)

Don't forget a case of Deer Park half liter water bottles and an assortment of juice boxes (like Apple & Eve 100% Juice, or Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk) for the kiddos and you'll be set for drinks.

Step #4: Sweet, Sweet Dessert!
If you don't mind a little baking you can't go wrong with the Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie MixWith three kinds of chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk and bittersweet) these brownies are better than any homemade recipe I've ever tried. (Sorry mom!) I usually prefer to make everything from scratch, especially baked goods, but this brownie mix is so good, (and quick & easy), that it has become a staple in our pantry.

Don't feel like baking? No worries, grab some baked goods from the Costco Bakery!  Superior Sweets Brownie Bites are always a crowd pleaser, as are the gigantic freshly baked Costco CookiesFor a large group you can pick up a platter with a variety of Double Nut, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chunk cookies for only $15.99.


Want something a little more? Order a famous Costco Sheet Cake ($19.99)! For the Super Bowl Costco is even making football themed cakes. For a smaller crowd you can pick up a 6-pack assortment of giant Cupcakes ($6.99) also with football themed icing, (choose your team colors or footballs).

Of course no dessert would be complete without a scoop of KS Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream!! (In April of 2014 Consumer Reports rated different vanilla ice creams and KS Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream was rated #4 overall and it was the only ice cream awarded the "best buy" rating.)

Want a healthier dessert dessert option? Costco has loads of fresh fruit and for a no prep option pick up a 3 lb. Fresh Cut Fruit Bowl by Sunnyside Farms which has an assortment of pre-washed and pre-cut fruit that you can serve right out of the bowl.

Take things up a notch by serving Fage Greek Yogurt along with the fresh fruit.

Step #5: Keep Cleanup Swift and Simple
To ensure no one gets left doing a pile of dishes pick up some Dixie Paper Plates, Dixie Paper Bowls, KS Paper Napkins and KS Clear Plastic Cutlery. 






And make sure you have plenty of KS Drawstring Kitchen Bags on hand to collect all the rubbish.

For larger parties set up at least two bins, one for trash and one for plastic & glass bottles and aluminum cans for recycling. To distinguish between the two bins try using black KS Drawstring Trash Bags for trash and KS Clear Trash Bags for recycling.

If you don't want to end up with a lot of leftovers you can send your guest on their way with a take home plate thanks to these Snap Pack storage containers.  The BPA plastic containers are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe and at only $8.99 for a pack of 25 containers w/ matching lids you don't have to part with your good tupperware.

Step #6 Prepare for those inevitable tummy aches
With all that food and sugar and drinking folks are bound to over indulge and I always say it's better to be safe than sorry, so do yourself (and your guests) a favor and have some OTC medications handy just in case. You can't beat Costco's prices on Pepto Bismol and Alka-Seltzer, and you can save even more by buying the KS Antacids instead of the pricer name brand TUMS antacids.




Step #7: Dress up your Costco Bears!!!
Finally, get into game day spirit by having a little fun with your Costco Bears! Just keep in mind that that since the Costco Bears do hail from Seattle (where Costcos Corporate Headquarters is located), the only appropriate colors for a Costco Bear to don for this years Super Bowl are Navy, Bright Green and Silver/Grey ;)


Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to see what my Costco Bears will be up to on Super Bowl Sunday!



Until next time,
the Costco Connoisseur

#GoingToAllTheCostcos


P.S. - Selections and prices listed above will vary from different Costco locations.

P.P.S.
Follow me on Twitter! @CostcoConoiseur
Follow me on Instagram! @theCostcoConnoisseur

6 comments:

  1. By far my favorite post ! If I wasn't such a wuss I would try that buffalo chicken dip. It sounds amazing !!!! I age all the ingredients now except for the ranch. I'm craving shrimp cocktail now after seeing that monster tray ! LoL! Great post !

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  2. Oh and I love the last step for all the tummy trouble! Hahahaha! Good thinking

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  3. Thanks for the feedback! So glad you enjoyed my post :)

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  4. You are so amazing for taking pictures of the products and their prices. Thank you!!

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  5. Thank you
    Very informative and helped me alot

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