It’s no secret that several of us at Omaha Mom are Costco fans. Fanatics, addicts, there’s a thin line there. In keeping with our theme of helping you battle the meal planning burden, we’re stepping up our game and aiming big. Costco big.
Be sure to check out the other two parts of this Meal Plan Like a Mother series: Tips to Ease the Burden and 7-Day Meal Plan [Plus free Grocery List and Menu Printable!]
Things to keep in mind about Costco:
- Not all locations have the same items.
- Items are very subjective to availability, even non-COVID times.
- Prices are not always the cheapest. (If I bargain shop elsewhere, I can sometimes snag items for less.)
- Costco = bulk and excessive quantity. Only buy if you know you’ll use it all or can freeze the excess.
Like Target, it’s easy to step into Costco, fill the cart, and blow the budget. Go in knowing what you need, want, and will use in the relative future.
What to Buy
Everyone has their list of favorites and must-haves. Drop your recommendations in the comments below as we’re always on the hunt for new must-buys. In our household, uncooked Panko breaded chicken breast tenderloins hit close to #1.
They make for a hassle-free meal. So easy my 13-year-old can do it. Bake chicken according to package directions, sprinkling a bit of mozzarella cheese on top of the tenderloins during the last two minutes of baking. Meanwhile, cook a package of your on-hand noodles al dente, heat a jar of pasta sauce in the microwave, and voila! Easy chicken parmesan.
To reiterate from previous posts, my household consumes copious amounts of fresh produce. Because of this, I prefer to buy it at Costco. Five pounds of fresh broccoli? Yep. Six pounds of apples. Gone in days. Twelve pounds of oranges? Should tide us over to next week.
Know your family and what you eat. NOTHING pictured above spoiled before consumption. That said, in the summer months, fruit and bread tend to ripen (and spoil) faster. Refrigerate or freeze as necessary.
We utilize a small chest freezer and like to purchase meat in quantity for quick meal prep. For example, a 2-pack of pot roast (one for now, one for the freezer), four pounds of bacon (bake and freeze), and eight to ten pounds of ground hamburger (brown and freeze).
Dairy and Eggs
Costco milk, for all its unusual packaging, is still on the lowest spectrum price-wise. In addition, butter and shredded cheese in bulk make my life easier. For all the fresh produce we eat, we offset it by putting cheese on everything else. Costco eggs are great, too. But since we have access to farm-fresh eggs, we opt to spend a little more to support our mini-provider. She’s seven. (The chicken owner, not the chicken!)
Bread and Baked Goods
In Omaha, we’re lucky to have Rotella’s Bakery right here in the metro. Costco doesn’t carry Rotella’s bread. I usually pick up our bread elsewhere to support local but, if we’re hosting an outdoor grill out, Costco’s large packages of buns are a hit. In the summer months, they tend to spoil quickly. An alternative use: top with butter, garlic seasoning, shredded mozzarella cheese (See? Cheese!) and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes for instant cheesy bread. Not only that, but Costco also carries large packages of English muffins (18-count), Hawaiian rolls, pita bread, and Naan.
Without further ado, let’s get to what you want: a menu. As always, modify for your family’s needs and dietary restrictions. We are a family of five with a teen boy who eats non-stop.
14-day Supper Costco menu:
Day 1: Rotisserie Chicken, macaroni and cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 2: Hamburgers, French fries, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 3: Chicken tacos (using leftover rotisserie chicken), rice, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 4: Hawaiian roll sliders, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 5: Chicken parmesan, cheesy bread, fresh fruits and salad
Day 6: Beef fajitas, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 7: Gyros, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 8: Smoked Salmon with naan, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 9: Egg English muffin sandwiches, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 10: Naan pizza, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 11: Beef tacos, rice, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 12: Gyros, fresh fruits and vegetables
Day 13: Chicken parmesan, cheesy bread, fresh fruits and salad
Day 14: French Dip, French fries, fresh fruits and vegetables
Don’t be afraid to cheat a little. Buy the premade meals, like macaroni and cheese, rotisserie chicken, and gyro meat kits. Not all meals need to be glamorous. Smoked salmon served on mini naan is a kid-favorite hit in our house. All I have to do is open the packages. Sprinkle cheese like pixie dust and watch your meal go from normal to magical in an instant.