A quick supermarket run this morning provided a glimmer of hope based on the number of shoppers in the aisles that online shopping hasn’t severely affected the state’s supermarkets. I'm equally fond of national chains and locally owned neighborhood grocery stores. I’ve heard all about the options for online food shopping, and the impersonal manner in which it’s done leaves me cold. Personally, I don’t want anyone else picking out my food, and even more importantly, I want our state’s retailers to stick around. A sea of delivery trucks and brown cardboard boxes stacked on front porches is not my idea of a perfect world.
So, let’s vow to support our food stores in 2019. To bolster my argument that food shopping is fun, I’ve compiled my annual list of top 10 favorite supermarket items in 2018. Some are new, while others become favorites after I sampled them this year.
Hellmann’s Real Ketchup – Step aside, all you Heinz and Hunt’s Ketchup fans. You’ll ditch your favorite brand in a heartbreak when you dip just one fry into this delicious concoction launched by the company formerly famous for its mayonnaise. With no unpronounceable ingredients - only tomatoes, honey, vinegar, spices, onion powder, and salt – it was a winner in my book before I tasted it.
California Olive Oil – Trying to select the right olive oil for sauteing meat and vegetables or to use as a base for dressings is a confusing task. That changed when I found this olive oil. One, I don’t have to worry about its origin – it’s listed in the name. Secondly, it’s a light, flavorful oil with no overpowering taste or aroma.
Tree Top 100% Pure Pressed Apple Cider Sweet & Tart – Checking the ingredient list is unavoidable these days. However, with this product, there’s not much to see. There’s only…wait for it…apple juice. Just like the name says, it’s lightly-tart and delicious either warm or cold.
Mama Mancini’s Turkey Meatballs - I’ve shared my love of a pasta and marinara sauce meal, especially one topped with meatballs. I’ve tried to switch to turkey instead of beef, but rolling pale meat isn’t my idea of fun. With a little sauce and a base of pasta, these slow-cooked Italian-style meatballs make me forget I’m not indulging in a favorite high fat and calorie meal.
Chobani Flip S’Mores – Sampling s’mores filled with chocolate and marshmallows on a regular basis isn’t a good idea. However, one serving of this tasty, low-fat vanilla yogurt with a flip top containing crunchy bits of goodness that actually taste like fire-seared marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate is a more-than-acceptable substitute.
Green Giant Veggie Spirals – I’m not going to lie – I wasn’t fooled into thinking I was eating pasta. But with 65% fewer calories and a whopping 12 grams of protein, these crunchy spirals are easy way to reduce carbs while enjoying my favorite pasta sauce.
Newman’s Own Lemonade – How many times have you taken a drink of supermarket lemonades and experienced a sickening-sugary taste? Newman’s is one of those that actually tastes like fresh-squeezed lemonade. With a guarantee of “no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives,” it’s a no-brainer when shopping for a tangy drink.
Bird’s Eye 100% Vegetable Pasta Rotini Marinara – This is a product that actually does fool you into thinking you’re eating, well, real pasta. Zucchini lentil pasta topped with a built-in preservative-free marinara sauce is a quick and healthy pasta meal that can on your plate in minutes. With no artificial flavors or preservatives to worry about, you can treat yourself to a large slice of garlic bread.
Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Organic Cracked Black Pepper Turkey Breast – Getting enough protein in my diet is a daily struggle, especially when the ingredient list of many sliced meats contains nitrates and preservatives. These organic turkey slices contain vinegar, salt, and honey, a much healthier alternative. Plus, the cracked black pepper adds the perfect touch of flavor with minimal salt.
Amy’s Margherita Pizza – You may have to shop around to find Amy’s products, but if you can find one in your local supermarket freezer case, grab it. A pet peeve of mine about frozen pizzas is the cardboard-tasting crust. Amy’s is the only one that takes it to a new level. The Margherita variety has a thinner, hand-stretched crust topped with sauce made from organic tomatoes and seasonings, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan and basil. Even better, it’s soy and tree nut free and kosher.
Here’s to a great year as we uncover new restaurants, share recipes and learn a few new things about food, shopping and enjoying life along the way.