Tag Archives: Recipes

Chicken Pelmeni European Dumplings at Costco: Product Review

Yesterday was a bumper crop for new Costco items; I’ll be the first to admit that as much as I like trying new things, the essence of Costco savings is replenishing your stock of existing products while making sure you get the best possible price. That being said, yesterday we bought a bunch of new things, including what turned out to be absolutely delicious uncooked Chicken Pelmeni European Dumplings. Just to give you an idea, I had absolutely no idea what ‘pelmeni’ meant until I came back home and Googled it. Turns out they’re peroguies, with a fancy name.

Chicken Pelmeni European Dumplings

Chicken Pelmeni European Dumplings

This 1.4 kilogram bag of dumplings costs $9.99 at my local Costco, and contains approximately 125 dumplings. Each dumpling thus costs about 8 cents each, and each portion of 9 dumplings costs less than 75 cents ($0.75). This is a great price for something that is so incredibly delicious.

Speaking of new things, I made video review of this product, my first ever! Check it out below, and make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel to be notified of new reviews!

I really had no idea what to expect when I bought those, and even less when I cooked them, but I needn’t have worried. The meat is extremely tasty, meaty and filling, and the dough, soft and silky yet pleasingly chewy, a little like Asian dumplings. I made the choice of cutting each dumpling before eating it, just to check out the consistency of the filling, but they can and probably should be eaten in a single bite, as the chicken filling has a tendency to pop out when cut. It’s not a real problem.

Now it turns out that these were our main mid-day meal, rather than the appetizers they are almost certainly meant as. My wife had some soup, while I polished off some leftover pasta to go with the dumplings. I used both Oyster Sauce and Hoisin Sauce as dipping sauces. I found that while delicious, their taste were a little overwhelming for the delicate taste of the chicken, so next time I’m thinking a simple soy dipping sauce will work great, maybe with some green onions and whatnot.

One of the things I really appreciate from these little perogies is that the ingredients are really wholesome. No conservation agents, nothing unpronounceable. See for yourself:

Filling Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Onions
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Dough Ingredients:

  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Canola Oil
  • Salt

End of list. Incredible, isn’t it?

I go through the nutritional information in the video (see above), but in a nutshell, each serving is 220 calories, and overall, these are not really bad for you, eaten in moderation. There are few vitamins but some iron, they’re not too salty or greasy, et cetera. You could do a lot worse with something that comes out a bag in the freezer.

The cooking process, as recommended by the packaging, involves boiling the pelmeni and drizzling them with oil once drained, in order prevent them sticking to each other. It’s really fast and simple. The longest part really is waiting for the water to boil.

I will be buying these Chicken Pelmeni European Dumplings again; they are really good and will be great for stocking up our freezer. I hope they go on sale so I can stock up. These dumplings are also made in Canada, so you know you are supporting a local company and local jobs. Are they available at your Costco? If so, in what flavors? Let me know in the comments below!

CJ Bibigo Chicken and Cilantro Mini Wontons at Costco: Product Review

Today I would love to share with you what has become, over the last few years, of my favorite products to purchase at Costco, the Chicken and Cilantro Mini Wontons, from CJ Food’s Bibigo brand. These won-tons are absolutely delicious, surprisingly healthy, filling and affordable. In short, the perfect combination.

As the back of the package will happily demonstrate, these won-tons are fully cooked, and basically just need to be defrosted and heated through, usually a quick process. They can be pan-fried in about 5 minutes, from frozen, or boiled in less than 3 minutes. A delicious homemade won-ton soup, with a healthy dollop of Hoisin sauce and Sriracha, is one of my favorite weekday lunch meals. Quick and filling.

CJ Bibigo Chicken and Cilantro Mini-Wontons at Costco

CJ Bibigo Chicken and Cilantro Mini-Wontons at Costco

These won-tons are sold at Costco in 3-pound bags, or 1.36 kilograms. The regular price is $12.99 per bag, in Canadian dollars, but they come on sale regularly, so I stock up then. The bag pictured I purchased at $3 off, so $9.99 for 3 pounds, or $3.33 a pound.

CJ Bibigo Chicken and Cilantro Mini-Wontons Nutrition Facts

CJ Bibigo Chicken and Cilantro Mini-Wontons Nutrition Facts

According to the nutrition fact sheet, each serving is comprised of four (4) won-tons, for a total of 36 grams. We can thus deduce, through the power of intellect and basic math, that each bag contains approximately 150 won-tons.

When I make my soup, just for me, I use about 15-20 won-tons. So each massive bowl of soup costs me less than a dollar in won-tons, and I have not calculated the cost of the chicken broth yet, but I buy it at Costco too, so it’s super cheap per serving.

Besides the fact that these won-tons are really, really good, I love the fact that they are reasonably healthy, for something that you buy frozen in a bag. As you can see by the nutrition fact sheet to the left, each serving contains few calories – only 50 – and very little fat, only 1% per serving. What is highest in this case is the sodium, at 7% per serving, but even when you multiply it by 5, because you *will* eat more than 1 serving, it’s still not that bad.

Of course, when combined with the Hoisin sauce, you’ll probably get sausage fingers and be really thirsty, but that’s on you, not on the won-tons!

On to the ingredients. At first glance, the best news is that there are no incomprehensible ingredients. I can actually tell what all the ingredients in these won-tons are, which is uncommon, again, for frozen stuff that comes in a bag. The first ingredient is chicken -good news! – and sugar, my personal least favorite, comes way down the list.

Seriously, though, I have nothing more to say. Look at the ingredients. These things are wholesome by prepared food standards. Really wholesome. Of course, don’t look for them to contain much in the way of vitamins, but that’s a minor drawback. You can read more about the history of won-tons right through here (opens in a new window)

Bibigo’s Chicken and Cilantro Mini-Wontons, available at Costco are best served pan-fried and tossed with oyster sauce, on rice with sauteed vegetables, or in soup. Just be careful not to overcook them, or they’ll become very mushy and lose their shape and substance, if not their taste. Stock up when they are on special at Costco, and keep a bag or two of these in the freezer; they make for a quick, healthy meal the whole family will love! Sounds corny, I know, but in our case, it’s true!

Pan-Fried Salmon in a Creamy Herb Sauce Recipe

Who doesn’t love salmon? Well, I guess people with allergies, or those that don’t like fish in general. But salmon’s pretty awesome. What I have here is a recipe that was originally for cod, but brilliantly adapted by one of my colleagues, and yours truly, for salmon.

The gist of the recipe is pan-friend salmon chunks in a creamy sauce with salted herbs. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: “Creamy and salty! Oh my God, he’s discovered the secret to ultimate flavor!” And you would be mostly right. Except that this really is quite good, and not nearly as greasy nor salty as the name would imply.

Start with about 600 grams – a pound and a half, more or less – of nice, fresh salmon fillet, from which you’ll remove the skin. I’m really bad at this and tend to butcher the fillet, so no pictures of that. Cut the salmon in cubes about an inch a side.

Cutting the Salmon

I then prepared a mix of white flour, cayenne pepper and curcuma – for color. The mix was mostly flour, but took on a very slight red and gold tint from the other ingredients. I then rolled the pieces of salmon fillet in the flour mix, individually so as not to bruise them any more than needed.

Salmon in Flour

In an anti-adhesive pan, I melted a good-sized nugget of butter, maybe about one big heaping tablespoon, and added some olive oil. I then turned up the heat just short of “MAX”.

I carefully deposited the pieces of salmon, now nicely coated with the flour mix, in the burning hot oil and butter.Butter and Oil

I say carefully, both for the salmon, which I did not want to break apart, as well as for my fingers, who react predictably to contact with burning oil.

That being said, salmon is a lot sturdier than cod when fried, and should not fall apart too much. Once the fish was cooked on one side, I carefully (again) turned over the salmon so that the other side could comfortably bathe in hot butter and oil.

Salmon starting to FryOnce the salmon was outwardly cooked more or less evenly, I added one tablespoon of one of my favorite condiments, Les Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve, which translates as “Salted Herbs from the lower River”.

Les Herbes Salees du Bas du Fleuve

Les Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve

The “lower river” pertains to a region on the St-Lawrence river, not actual water herbs. It’s a mix of parsley, carrots, and lots of other things, and it’s really, really salty. So don’t put too much. I ended up with this:

FRIED_SALMON_WITH_HERBS

Now, this is good enough to be eaten as is. But I got the recipe from one of my colleagues, who is French, and never, ever misses an occasion to drown food with cream. He actually recommended that I use 45% cream, but that’s too much, even for me. I added maybe a quarter-cup of cream, and kept the heat on high for a few minutes, until the cream started to boil.

SALMON_WITH_CREAM

I I served the pan-fried salmon over a bed of rice, with probably some sort of vegetable on the side, I don’t remember that part! This is a really delicious recipe, easy and quick to make. It’s not exactly ‘light’, so it shouldn’t be an every day thing. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this. Bear in mind that all quantities are approximate. Look at the pictures and use your cooking common sense.

Bon appétit!

PAN_FRIED_SALMON_WITH_HERBS_AND_CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 600 grams of salmon (1 ½ pounds)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Cream (15% or more)
  • Flour
  • Curcuma (a pinch)
  • Cayenne (a smaller pinch)
  • Herbes Salées du Bas du Fleuve (or equivalent)

Serve on rice.

Author’s Note: This is a reprint from the recipe I’d published a few years ago on a food website I owned. I haven’t changed a word. What has changed, however, is that I try not to eat greasy food like that too often. My doctor frowns upon it.

Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Back Ribs: Quick Recipe

For some reason, cooking ribs has always been one of my fears. Maybe it’s because I managed, with the help of alcohol, to ruin a fantastic rack of ribs that had been smoking for 6 hours… or perhaps, just perhaps, my expectations have been driven too high by the restaurant industry, particularly Baton Rouge… In any case, a few months back I had purchased a bunch of back ribs at Costco, since they were unusually cheap, $14 a pack instead of the usual $22-25. I froze them using my trusty Foodsaver, which I also bought at Costco.

Just before I get to the recipe, I’ll just point out the fact that I had bought these ribs in February, and I’m now eating them at the end of October. The vaccuum-pack afforded by the Foodsaver really made a difference, as they were as fresh as the day I bought them. Maybe better.

In any case, I decided to follow the advice of one of my colleagues, who really knows his ribs. The method is incredibly simple, maybe a little time-consuming, but you can’t get something for nothing.

My Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Back Ribs Recipe

The ingredients list is super simple:

  • Back Ribs – as much as can fit, single layered, on baking sheets in your oven
  • One big Jar of commercial BBQ sauce (I used Garland Jack’s, bought on rebate at Costco)
  • End of list
Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Back Ribs Recipe

Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Back Ribs Recipe

The cooking process is simple. Preheat the oven to 225 F. Lay out the ribs, ugly side up, on cooking sheets. Don’t crowd them too much.

Baste them with BBQ sauce. Stick them in the oven for 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

After two hours, flip the racks over, baste them and repeat the process for another 2 hours, again basting them every 30 minutes.

That’s it!

After gently cooking for over 4 hours, your ribs will be delicious and almost fall-off-the-bone done.

The picture above is of one half of one of the four racks I had. We easily fed 5 adults with appetites, and two curious kids, with plenty left over for lunches and whatnot.

Contrary to many other rib recipes, this one does not require you to marinate or boil the ribs ahead of time, although in retrospect maybe I would boil them next time, just a bit to take away some fat. This recipe is done in a single step, albeit a long one, but the result was more than satisfactory!

Bon appetit and let me know what you think if you try it!