Families who buy groceries in bulk can save money, but it helps to have a plan before shopping.
Costco — which opened in Lexington in October — offers an online meal planning service, eMeals, that helps busy cooks prepare family dinners. You can receive 14 Costco-focused menus to your smart phone or computer inbox every two weeks. It's designed to take advantage of Costco promotions and volume packaging. The two-week plan provides a grocery list that consists of specific items shoppers will need for their meals for 14 days, and it's organized by aisles for easy shopping. Go to Emeals.com to find the various plans and other stores that offer the service. A three-month subscription is $30.
April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is having a grilled cheese recipe showdown and offering a $10,000 grand prize.
The contest runs April 1 through May 12. To enter, contestants must submit an original grilled cheese recipe and photo featuring Wisconsin cheese. GrilledCheeseAcademy.com will launch on April 1 with contest rules.
Until then, you can practice making a prize-winning recipe. Here are some inspirations from one of the judges, food blogger McKenzie Smith of Grilled Cheese Social: Ricotta and Parmesan; turkey and provolone; Cheddar cheese, tomato jam, bacon and fried egg on brioche; pineapple-cilantro salsa, Fontina cheese and chorizo; and banana and mascarpone cheese on French toast brioche.
New fruit and veggie bars
The Edy's Outshine fruit bars brand is adding some vegetables to its line of frozen fruit bars.
Fruit and Veggie bars contain at least 25 percent vegetables from purees and juices. Flavors are: Blueberry medley, which contains puree or juice from beets, blueberries, pears, apples, and sweet potatoes; tangerine carrot contains puree or juice from apples, carrots, pears, tangerines, and pumpkins; apple and greens is made from pumpkins, mangoes, pineapples, apples, bananas and kiwis, and kale and spinach; peach mango medley contains puree or juice from peaches, pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes and butternut squash; strawberry rhubarb is made with puree or juice from pears, apples, strawberries, pumpkins, rhubarb, cranberries, carrots, and beets.
Cost is $4.39 for a box of six 2.5-ounce bars. Go to Outshinesnacks.com.
All you need is a little bottle of green food color to jazz up your St. Patrick's Day menu.
In this recipe, contrasting layers of green, white, and chocolate brown are flavored with peppermint extract.
Green with envy cheesecake bars
1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 30 cookies)
1⁄3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon green food color
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 9-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and peppermint extract; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour 1/2 of the batter over crust. Tint remaining batter green with food color. Pour over batter in pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Drizzle bars with melted chocolate. Store leftover bars in refrigerator. Makes 24 servings.
Source: McCormick & Company