Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At Costco, one can yields several meal ideas

Organic Diced Tomatoes, left, are one of the new Kirkland Signature items at Costco.


Costco Wholesale has been offering cans of organic diced tomatoes from Del Monte and other companies for years, and I've been using them in several fish, pasta, rice and egg dishes.

Now, Costco has introduced its own Kirkland Signature-brand Organic Diced Tomatoes, Organic Stewed Tomatoes, Organic Tomato Paste and Organic Tomato Sauce.

Penne in marinara sauce with added diced tomatoes, left. The pasta made a rib-sticking breakfast when eaten with Korean-style stewed tofu and pollock from H Mart.

Comparing the nutrition labels of the Organic Diced Tomatoes from Del Monte and Kirkland Signature, the only difference for a half-cup serving size is calories. 

Del Monte lists 20 calories and the Costco store brand lists 15, none from fat.

Both are made from organic California tomatoes and both are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.

An 8-can pack of Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes was $5.99. 

Diced tomatoes are a versatile ingredient in quick, no-recipe, home-cooked meals.

Diced tomatoes with fish

Empty a 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes into a large, non-stick pan and add extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice, powdered garlic and other seasonings; cover and warm over medium heat.

When the mixture starts to boil, uncover and place fresh, wild-caught fillets in the pan, season with Costco's Kirkland Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning and cover.

My Costco in Hackensack usually has wild-caught haddock from Iceland, as well as wild-caught flounder and cod fillets ($7.99 and $8.99 a pound).

This also would work with frozen, wild-caught salmon or cod fillets from Costco.

Depending on the thickness of the fillets and whether the fish is fresh or frozen, cook for 15 to 30 minutes, place a fillet in a plate and cover with diced tomatoes. 

You can do the same with those large Black Tiger shrimp available at Costco, but they would be ready in 5 minutes or less -- when they curl up and turn white.

I prepare organic brown rice in an electric cooker, and often mix a can of diced tomatoes with the rice to add moisture, texture and color to the finished dish.

A can of drained diced tomatoes adds texture to bottled marinara or other pasta sauce, which I supplement with extra-virgin olive oil, red-pepper flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasonings, and a can of anchovies in oil.

To cut the sodium content of the dish, I drain the anchovies in a colander and rinse them under water before adding them to the sauce.

The anchovies cook away, but give the sauce a robust flavor it wouldn't normally have.

Good in omelets
You can also drain a can of diced tomatoes, place them in a plastic container and refrigerate them for use with egg dishes.

I make open-face egg-white omelets with buffalo-milk mozzarella or sliced, reduced-fat cheese, all available at Costco. 

Adding a tablespoon of diced tomatoes is a natural -- sort of a pizza without the fattening crust.

On Tuesday, I bought a 1-pound plastic bottle of Kirkland Signature Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy, where the cheese was aged for 24 months ($13.79).

This flavorful shredded cheese would be perfect in an open-face omelet, supplemented by grated Pecorino Romano and dice tomatoes.

If you use whole eggs to make a frittata -- such as the Organic Brown Eggs from Costco -- you can mix the grated and shredded Italian cheeses, diced tomatoes, sweet peppers and other ingredients with the eggs.

Pour the egg mixture into a heated non-stick pan with oil and cook over medium heat.

When the bottom is set, put the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the top is browned.  

Organic eggs with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.


  1. Agreed, the Kirkland Organic tomato products are excellent, but unfortunately, they are no longer being stocked in our Morelia, Mexico Costco. They have been replaced by #10 cans of S&W tomato products, which are fine for food service, but highly impractical for home cooks.

    The canned tomato situation here is dire. Similarly, the Cirio Pomodori Pelati that we used to be able to buy in a few supermercados here are vanishing from the store shelves. For me, few other brands are acceptable substitutes.

    Don Cuevas

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I wonder whether the drought in California has anything to do with the shortage at your store. The Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes use California plum tomatoes, according to the can.

      I find Costco products "disappear" from the shelves, only to show up mysteriously weeks or months later.

      The store's computer can tell you if a product is available in your store, even if you cannot find it on the shelves.

  2. In re-reading this post, I should point out I no longer buy the previusly frozen farmed Tiger Shrimp that Costco sells. The shrimp are from Vietnam.

    We look for wild-caught Mexican shrimp at H Mart, a chain of Korean supermarkets, and on occasion, I will buy wild shrimp from Whole Foods Market, where the employees will devein them for me.


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