Tag Archives: Soup

Berthelet Chicken Soup Base at Costco: Product Review

Whatever the level of cooking expertise you assign yourself, you know that having chicken soup base is an absolute requirement for cooking, from the simplest, easiest meal to the fanciest of feasts. This is why it’s important to never run out, or as rarely as possible, and thanks to Costco, this happens very rarely in my household. I buy the Berthelet Chicken Soup Base at Costco, in a 2.25 kilogram container, for $10.99. Needless to say, that’s a lot of chicken soup base, but then again, you can put that stuff in nearly everything.

Berthelet Chicken Soup Base

Berthelet Chicken Soup Base

I use chicken soup base not only for chicken soup, but also to make rice – an absolute must – and for my go-to pasta recipe, the one and only oil and garlic pasta, which interestingly is bland as heck without chicken soup base.

I really love the Berthelet chicken soup base for several reasons. The first, obviously, is the taste. While it is very salty, as it should, it also has a rich, almost sweet aftertaste that I haven’t found it other, lesser brands. Second is the price. At the rate I go through this stuff, it can’t be very expensive.  Fortunately, the size of the Costco bucket means that I’m not buying it every week. Thank god.

In any case, the last container I bought, before the one on my counter right now, I bought for $10.89, and opened it on November 26th, 2014. This means that my container lasted for 273 days, or a mere 3.98 pennies a day, for all the chicken soup base I needed, and I’m never stingy with it.

As far as ingredients go, it’s about what you’d expect. Here are, in order of appearance, the ingredients you’ll find in the Berthelet Chicken Soup base:

  • Salt
  • Dextrose
  • Glucose Solids
  • Corn Starch
  • Chicken Fat
  • Onion Powder
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Spice Extractives
  • Ground Turmeric (I assume for color)
  • Dehydrated Parsley
  • Disodium Inosinate
  • Disodium Guanylate

I’m happy to say that there isn’t really anything weird here. Of course, there are some chemicals, but nothing you wouldn’t expect, and nothing too far up the ingredients list. Moreover, the Berthelet Chicken Soup Base is made right here in Canada, in Laval (Québec). I’m not sure if it is available in Costcos everywhere in Canada, but if your Costco doesn’t carry it, make sure you ask for it. It it very affordable, delicious, mostly wholesome (for what it is) and it’s an unavoidable element of any self-respecting kitchen. This one is also low in calories, and gluten-free, if that’s something that you look for.

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!

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup at Costco

I’ll be the first to admit it: I love Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom. I think it is their best product, by far. Not only is it a delicious, creamy soup when made according to the instructions, but you can use it to make a really excellent sauce for meats, or dump it, undiluted in a pot of pasta for a truly exceptional eating experience. Basically, make an ordinary dish, and add Cream of Mushroom; it will become awesome. Just like with Sriracha. But I digress.

Campbell's Cream of Mushroom 12-pack

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom 12-pack

I found this gem of a buy at my local Costco, as an unadvertised special. I paid a ridiculously low $5.19, Canadian, no taxes, for 12 cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom. This comes down to 43 cents a can. It may be possible to get it cheaper somewhere else, when it’s on special, but I won’t be looking. I bought two 12-packs, and I’m thinking about buying a few more.

Cream of Mushroom is surprisingly healthy, except for the outrageous salt content, considering that it is a canned soup; here are the ingredients, in decreasing order:

  • Water
  • Mushrooms
  • Canola or Soybean Oil
  • Wheat Flour
  • Cream
  • Corn Starch
  • Salt
  • Modified Milk Ingredients

The following also appear, in smaller quantities: Soy Protein Isolate, Monosodium Glutamate, Tomato Paste, Yeast Extract, Dehydrated Garlic

Except for the MSG, there is nothing too freaky here, and even then, I don’t think MSG is nearly as bad as some would have us believe. Like I said before, it’s really the 35% Sodium per 125 ml (prepared!) that’s the kicker. But it does taste good.

For easy, tasty and quickly prepared meals on a real budget, don’t miss out on this incredible Costco special, only $5.19 for a 12-pack of the real, original Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom. Not some cheap generic knock-off. The real thing.