I’m a former TV chef who spends about $150 a week at Costco. Here are 11 things I always get.

I’m a former TV chef who spends about $150 a week at Costco. Here are 11 things I always get.

A hand holds a large piece of Kirkland Signature Pecorino Romano cheese, which has a circular green label on it

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I’m a former TV chef who loves shopping at Costco.

Leslie Antonoff



  • I’m a former TV chef who spends $150 on tasty ingredients and cooking shortcuts at Costco each week.
  • The Minsley cooked rice and Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauce can effortlessly upgrade meals.
  • I also grab ingredients like Kerrygold butter and Kirkland Signature Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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Before the first season of my aspireTV series, “Butter + Brown,” I trained with a chef whose husband was a corporate executive at Costco.

In my mind, Costco was for folks who loved pre-seasoned meat, Kirkland Signature-branded alcohol, and birthday cakes. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This chef gave me the inside scoop on the best items from the store, and since then, I’ve joined the nearly 35 million customers who have an executive Costco membership. I use my membership to stock up on ingredients for family dinners and quick meals.

Here are 11 items I always get on a $150 budget at my Los Angeles Costco.

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The Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is perfect for baking and making excellent sauces.

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The Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter has a delicious, rich flavor.

Leslie Antonoff



European-made butter in bulk is an instant “yes” for me. The quality of butter I use in baked goods or sauces can change the dish’s outcome, so I always pick up two boxes of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter to keep in my fridge.

European butter is also typically higher in butterfat than its American counterparts, which can make food taste richer and more flavorful.

Costco carries a salted version, which is my favorite. A pack of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter costs $14.50 at my Costco.

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My kids eat the I Heart Hydros hydroponic strawberries at every meal.

Clear plastic containers filled with dark-red strawberries in cardboard box at Costco

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The I Heart Hydros hydroponic strawberries taste super sweet.

Leslie Antonoff



I can’t speak for everyone else’s children, but mine eat fruit like it’s going out of style. These hydroponic strawberries, which are grown without soil, have been a mainstay in my cart lately.

One major plus of these berries is their taste, which is sweeter and juicier than many other options I’ve tried. I can’t say if they’re better for your health, but they’re full of flavor and are a big hit at my house.

The hydroponic strawberries cost $6 per case at my store.

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The Sun Fresh green seedless grapes are perfect for lunches and freezing. 

A hand holds a clear plastic container filled with green grapes in front of a purple cardboard boxes

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I keep cartons of Sun Fresh green grapes in the fridge and freezer.

Leslie Antonoff



My pantry is stocked with snacks, ranging from veggie chips to cookies and Doritos. However, I also require my daughters to take fruit in their school lunches.

At Costco, I can find a variety of grapes, from black seedless and cotton candy to table varieties. I typically buy one container for the fridge and another for the freezer.

A 3-pound package of grapes costs $8.50 at my location.

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I grab precooked rice for when I need a quick meal at home.

Tan and yellow boxes of cooked brown rice with an image of a package of cooked brown rice on the box

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I use the Minsley organic cooked brown rice in my lunches.

Leslie Antonoff



Like most people, chefs try to find ways to save time in the kitchen. I focus on figuring out what to feed my family for dinner, and for myself, I keep it simple.

The Minsley organic cooked brown rice is great alongside quickly seared salmon or grilled chicken. For $9, I bought a box containing six bowls of rice.

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I like to satisfy my soda cravings with Poppi.

Several orange, pink, and red boxes of Poppi soda stacked on top of each other at Costco

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I buy variety packs of Poppi prebiotic soda at Costco.

Leslie Antonoff



Before Poppi drinks, I hadn’t had an orange soda in about five or six years. I was intrigued when I heard about the brand “bringing soda back.” And they did, with a vengeance.

Now, I pick up a variety pack with cherry-limeade, orange, and strawberry-lemon flavors. With only 4 to 5 grams of sugar per serving, these sodas pair perfectly with lunch.

I bought a case containing 15 cans of Poppi for $20.

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My husband drinks at least four cups of coffee daily, so Horizon Organic half-and-half is necessary.

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The Horizon Organic half-and-half is a staple for our coffee.

Leslie Antonoff



Years ago, my husband slung espresso cups behind the counter at Peet’s Coffee. Though he’s moved on from that job, he hasn’t left his coffee obsession behind.

This half-gallon carton of Horizon Organic half-and-half ensures we have enough for the coffee enthusiast (and me, the tea girl). At my location, a carton costs $6.90.

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We need to have a lot of Peet’s Coffee on hand as well.

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Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend dark-roast coffee has a great flavor.

Leslie Antonoff



I also get a bag of Peet’s Coffee when I’m at Costco — I choose the Major Dickason’s Blend, a dark-roast coffee with a rich flavor. This brew is full-bodied, bold, and not at all bitter.

Though big in flavor, it maintains its smoothness as it goes down. We love Peet’s, so it’s perfect that Costco sells a giant bag we can grind up ourselves. A 32-ounce package of coffee costs $16.90 at my Costco.

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Breakfast with three kids can sometimes be chaotic, but ready-to-go bagels make it easy for everyone. 

Bags of golden-brown plain and everything bagels in clear plastic bags at Costco

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I buy packs of Kirkland Signature everything, plain, and cinnamon-raisin bagels at Costco.

Leslie Antonoff



My girls love bagels. I’m convinced it’s the New Yorker in them, and Costco allows them to get their fix.

My kids have different tastes and preferences, so Costco’s two-for-$7 deal on Kirkland Signature bagels is the best way to ensure they each have what they like. I usually pick up everything and plain for the kids, and sometimes, I’ll grab a cinnamon-raisin pack for myself.

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Simply Orange pulp-free orange juice gets a thumbs up from my daughter.

Packages of Simpley Orange juice on shelf at Costco. Each 12-pack has bottles filled with a yellow-orange juice and green caps

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My daughter is a big fan of the Simply Orange pulp-free orange juice.

Leslie Antonoff



We’re big fans of the Simply juices. I usually opt for either the brand’s Simply Lemonade, Simply Limeade, or Simply Peach flavors, but at Costco, we get the Simply Orange juice.

Though I’m not a huge orange-juice drinker, my teenager loves to take a small bottle with her to school. A case of Simply Orange juice is $16 at my location.

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Serving pasta once a week means there has to be cheese available. 

A hand holds a large piece of Kirkland Signature Parmesan cheese with a black label and an image of a cheese wheel on the packaging

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I usually grab Kirkland Signature Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.

Leslie Antonoff



There isn’t a week that goes by without my kids asking for one of my pasta dishes. Whether it’s pesto, a simple Bolognese, or a kale-and-sausage dish, each requires a heaping pile of Kirkland Signature Pecorino Romano or the brand’s Parmigiano-Reggiano to make it sing.

In my opinion, Costco has excellent wedges that taste just as good as something from a fancy cheesemonger. I bought a block of Pecorino Romano for $16.90 and Parmigiano-Reggiano for $17.10.

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I like to stock up on my favorite condiments at Costco.

A hand holds a large bottle with a white label with a Bachan's label and illustration of an octopus; A hand holds a two-pack of cilantro lime crema, which has glass bottles filled with a light-green sauce

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I stock up on delicious condiments like Bachan’s original Japanese barbecue sauce and the Don Pancho cilantro-lime-crema everything sauce.

Leslie Antonoff



I’m a self-proclaimed condiment queen. I love a good hot sauce, an aioli, and a great dressing. Though I prefer to make my own, there are moments when I simply don’t have the bandwidth to do so.

Bachan’s Japanese barbecue sauce is handy for salmon-teriyaki cravings, and the Don Pancho cilantro-lime-crema everything sauce is great on tacos.

The Japanese barbecue sauce costs $6.80, and the cilantro-lime-crema sauce is $8 at my location.

Click to keep reading Costco diaries like this one.

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This post was originally published on Insider

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