My Favorite Things

Over the years I’ve found food items that have become a staple in our home because they taste, to put it simply, amazeballs.  I thought I would make a little list of my favorite things to share with you all…I mean, how many times have we all stood in the pasta sauce aisle wondering which sauces are good and which ones taste like utter crap (because we all know that both ends of the spectrum are on that shelf).  

I imagine that this list will be a living thing…and I’ll add to it when I find the next amazing food item.  Just a side note, everything on this list is made with all natural ingredients and nothing gross (i.e. chemicals, hydrogenated fat, etc.)…foods containing those types of ingredients are not worthy of the list.  I also list where you can find each item, and link to some of my recipes where these foods are used…Okay, here we go.


Herdez Salsa

If you’re looking for an authentic “straight out of Mexico” salsa, Herdez is the stuff for you.  Some salsas taste like tomato paste, to which I say no bueno.  Herdez contains five ingredients: tomatoes, onions, serrano peppers, salt, and cilantro…and let me tell you, that’s all it takes to make the most kick ass salsa you’ve ever had.  It comes in mild, medium, and hot.

Where to buy: target, whole foods, local supermarket, online
What to make: vegetarian taco dip

Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Who loves lowfat ranch dressing?  Absolutely no one, that’s who…until now. (cue dramatic music).  This is the stuff dreams are made of, and with 45 calories and 3 grams of fat per serving, you can enjoy those dreams without the guilt.  

Bolthouse has a whole line of amazing yogurt based dressings, find them in the refrigerated section of a store near you (a dressing that must be refrigerated is a good sign, trust me).  It’s usually in an open refrigerated space near the produce.

And if you really want to have your mind blown, mix equal parts of this ranch with the Herdez salsa…

angels…will…sing.  Put it on tacos, use it for dip, eat it with a spoon…

Where to buy: target, whole foods, local supermarket, online

Bonne Maman Jams and Preserves

This stuff looks like it was made and packaged in your French Grandmother’s kitchen, but I buy it at Target.  This shit is made in France, YO!  Pictured here is the Orange Marmalade but my absolute favorite are the raspberry preserves, I put it on vanilla ice cream and off to heaven I go.

Where to buy: whole foods, target, online
What to make: peach olive oil cake 


Mid’s Pasta Sauces

Mid’s is my go-to pasta sauce brand.  I usually buy the meatless variety but all of their sauces are great.  I am very picky when it comes to tomato sauces, obviously you can’t beat the homemade stuff but sometimes you just don’t have the patience to cut up 30 tomatoes.  Some store bought sauces can be bitter and lack flavor but not this one!  This also has a touch of sweetness which I like…and so does everyone else I feed it to.

Where to buy: local supermarket, online (they used to sell this at my target but they’ve stopped, probably because the target brand sauces couldn’t compete with it)

What to make: spinach and broccoli stuffed shells, pizza casserole 

Soy Vay Island Teriyaki

This is the only prepared teriyaki sauce worth buying, in my humble opinion.  I mostly use it for marinating salmon but it has a million uses.  Soy Vay has other great marinades a sauces, and they don’t use anything weird to make it.  You can’t say that for many store bought marinades out there…trust me, I’ve done my research.

Where to buy: whole foods, target, local supermarket, online
What to make: teriyaki salmon 

Canned Goods 

 Amy’s Organic Refried Black Beans

That Amy is one smart lady…and she knows what refried beans should taste like.  Now sometimes I make refried beans from scratch in my crockpot but that is typically a once a year thing.  I love refried beans all day long and Amy makes the best there is, period.  There’s the regular variety and then there’s the black bean variety, both are superb.

Where to buy: target, whole foods, local supermarket, online             
What to make: vegetarian taco dip 

Randall’s Great Northern Beans  

You’ve never had northern beans until you’ve had Randall’s Northern Beans.  Randall knows how to make some beans if you know what I mean (that rhymes).  These beans are a great base for soup and chili and equaling amazing in salads or out of the jar.  I have several recipes on the blog that utilize Randall’s beans to take it to the next level…don’t you want to take it to the next level?  Of course you do.
Where to buy: target, local grocery store
What to make: turkey sausage soup, white chicken chili, white bean tuna salad

Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce 

Okay, technically this is a sauce but it comes in a can so I put it under canned goods, whatever.  This isn’t the fanciest presentation of an enchilada sauce I’ve ever seen but it’s definitely the most authentic and the best tasting I’ve ever had…like ever.  I am not ashamed to say that I’ve eaten spoonfuls of this stuff, all goods need to thoroughly vet their ingredients before putting them to use.                                                                                 

Where to buy: whole foods, local supermarket
What to make: chicken enchiladas

Prepared Foods

Kalona Super Natural Cottage Cheese Organic Reduced Fat 2% Cottage Cheese

Wow, that’s a mouthful.  I love cottage cheese, I cook with it often and I also eat it out of the tub often.  Most cottage cheese brands found in your regular grocery store are totally gross, and they contain weird crap which we’ve already established I’m not a fan of.  This cottage cheese is different.  They sell it at Whole Foods and I will never forget the first time I tried it.  I didn’t have high hopes because I had been burned so many times before.  But to my surprise, it was outta this world good.  I had an immediate flash back to my childhood when cottage cheese was a glorious thing…and the glory had returned.  I buy a tub of this every week, it is packed with protein and fills me up when I need a snack.  You should buy some.

Where to buy: whole foods, online
What to make: pizza casserole, lasagna

Tres Pupusas (Vegan)

I just recently found these…things.  All I know is that a pupusas is a Latin food, and I only know that because I can read a label on a box.  These come in a variety of flavors, they are either vegetarian or vegan, and they’re gluten free…oh, and they are crap free.  I tried them at whole foods one day and I ended up buying a box of each flavor, I can’t pick which one I love the most.  I love to have the black bean one (shown above) in the morning, I top it with a fried egg and some salsa…SO freaking good.  They come frozen and there’s a variety of ways to heat them up, they are low in fat and around 130 calories per pupusas (don’t even ask me how to pronounce that, I can only spell it because it’s on the box).

Where to buy: whole foods, online

That is all I have…for now.  Perhaps I will do any update to this page weekly or whenever I find the next best food.


The Good Cooker