Posts Tagged ‘ Kroger ’

Kroger Private Selection Upside Down Cakes

Instant gratification – it’s so American. When I joined the Private Selection Upside Down Cakes campaign through BzzAgent.com, I didn’t have to wait for a BzzKit to arrive – I was able to load a coupon for a free PS Upside Down Cake onto my Kroger card instantly! And speaking of instant gratification, these cakes are the next best thing to homemade desserts – 12 minutes in the oven (or 3 in the microwave!) and you have a warm, melty confection fit to serve company!

I had a hard time choosing a flavor when I went to pick up my free cake. There are three available: German Chocolate Fudge, Double Chocolate Molten, and Amber Honey Apple Spice. Part of my decision was made for me when there were none of the Apple variety in stock.  I decided to try the German Chocolate since that’s not something I have very often (or ever.) As a side note, these cakes are available in the bakery section, not the frozen foods like I expected.

My husband was actually more excited to try the cake than I was, which is pretty crazy because I have the sweet tooth in this house. He preheated the oven and took the cake out of the wrapper. All he had to do was put the cake on a baking sheet, warm it for a bit, and then flip it onto a plate. It all came out in one fell swoop, thanks to a sheet of parchment on the bottom of the “pan.” So easy!

There was a good amount of the coconut/nut frosting although it didn’t drip down the sides much like in the pictures. The cake was very dense and moist (thanks to a a number of delicious-but-terrible-for-you ingredients like real butter, cream, and sugar) and a small slice goes a long way. Seriously though, do yourself a favor and skip reading the nutritional values. You are better off in denial. That said, the ingredient list only includes things you would use in your own kitchen, so I can appreciate that.

The cake isn’t as good leftover as it is the first night, but that’s to be expected. It also isn’t as good cold, obviously. The only real problem I had with this product was the price. $10 seems a little steep – for $10 I want something I couldn’t do myself, like a well-decorated bakery cake or ice cream cake, not something that is “like homemade.” If this cake were closer to the $7-8 range, I might purchase it for a special occasion.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these Private Selection Upside Down Cakes, they are available at your local Kroger store. You might be able to find a digital coupon online, as I have been told they exist, but at the time of writing this I don’t see them available.

Kroger “Good for You”

I’ve blogged before about Kroger products, so you guys know that I am usually a big fan of the high-quality, low-cost foods they offer. This time, the BzzAgent campaign I’m in is about their Greek yogurts and CARBmaster line. I was generously sent a $10 Kroger gift card as well as some coupons to try these products. Now, I don’t eat artificial sweeteners or buy them for my family, so the only product in the line I was interested in trying was the Greek yogurt.

We go through a lot of yogurt in my house, as it’s my son’s go-to breakfast of choice (for the first course, anyway.) My husband also eats a lot of yogurt as a snack, and prefers one with less sugar than most national brands contain. I only started eating yogurt a few years ago, but I use it a lot in cooking and occasionally eat it straight from the container.

Kroger’s Greek yogurt line has an impressive number of flavor options. I always choose Greek yogurt for cooking, so I like to have a few containers of the unflavored and unsweetened kind for making tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce, great on Mediterranean food or just about anything else!), roasted garlic cream sauce, or peanut butter fruit dip (just peanut butter and yogurt with a bit of honey – although flavored yogurts are good for that too.) I also like to have a few vanilla Greek yogurts on hand for making “ice cream” with bananas. (Blend frozen ripe bananas with yogurt – it’s just like soft serve!) The Kroger Greek yogurts work fine for all these purposes, but the yogurt  isn’t usually the star of these recipes anyway.

As far as straight eating goes, I think we’ve tried all the flavors by now. My favorite is the Lemon Creme, but the Black Cherry and Blackberry Yumberry have been favorites too. I do have one complaint about the yogurt, though – it has a very chalky texture and aftertaste. I’m not sure if that’s the Stevia (these yogurts are sweetened with both sugar and Stevia) or something else, but my husband really dislikes it, and my son doesn’t care at all.

Family Night With Kroger®

This is kind of a strange name for a campaign, but it’s all about bringing your family together for a fun and inexpensive evening at home. My family consists of myself, my husband, and a two-year-old toddler, so late nights and crazy parties don’t happen so much anymore. I actually enjoy snuggling up on the couch with a DVD on these days anyway.

That considered, we didn’t make a “family night” with these Kroger products, but we enjoyed them anyway. The BzzKit came packed with a bag of Tortilla Cupz (cup-shaped tortilla chips, Kroger’s version of  Tostito’s Scoops) and a bottle of orange starfruit Vitamin Enhanced Water, along with coupons (including two for free frozen pizza and frozen fruit bars.) I drank the vitamin water right away, because I’m the only one in the house that will drink it. My husband thinks they taste like chewing up vitamins. I don’t normally drink artificially sweetened drinks, so I wasn’t crazy about the zero-calorie vitamin enhanced water, but I do think they have a good flavor variety (peach and blackberry and black and blueberry are also available), and didn’t expect that from a generic beverage. I’ll probably stick with my name brand Vitamin Water though, unless Kroger comes out with a non-diet variety.

We all enjoyed the Tortilla Cupz. We ate most of them with some really garlicky hummus. My son devoured them! The pros: they stand up well to dipping and are great for scooping up lots of salsa or dips. The cons: I thought they were overly salty  (but I”m a little sensitive to salt), and they are sort of an awkward size – too big to eat in one bite, but kind of difficult to bite in half.

The pizza was your standard rising crust frozen pizza – we got pepperoni, and added lots of veggies and some feta cheese on the top. The pepperoni was well distributed (I hate when you take a frozen pizza out of the box and the toppings are all frozen together in a clump on one side.) It baked up fine in our oven. Not much to say about it, but nothing bad!

The fruit bars  have a nice flavor variety to choose from. We picked the pomegranate kind, and they had a great mouthfeel (not super soft, like pudding pops, but not hard ice like popsicles). They were also not too sweet or too tart, and of course, they’re way easier to eat than an actual pomegranate! The size was spot-on too, and left my sweet tooth satisfied without feeling like I ate too much sugar.

Private Selection Taste of Summer

Food campaign! My favorite kind! I do about half my grocery shopping at Kroger, so I’m no stranger to the Private Selection label. This campaign centers around picnic fare – ground beef, chips, ice cream, pie, yum! What came in the kit? A bag of kettle-cooked Sea Salt and Black Pepper potato chips, and coupons, coupons, coupons!

Of course, kettle-cooked chips are vastly superior to all other kinds. I’ve been a fan since my first taste of Cape Cod Potato Chips during a stay on Cape Cod twenty years ago, but I love that they’ve become so popular. Shelling out $4 or more for a small bag of chips is not really worth it for me. The Private Selection brand has everything I’m looking for – huge crunch, tasty seasonings, and at a price I think is reasonable.

The coupons granted me a free pound of ground beef, 6″ pie, and a discount on ice cream (which ended up costing only about a quarter, since it was on sale!) I haven’t been eating much ground meat lately (though I occasionally grind my own) so the beef was a bit of a treat. I made a super tasty taco salad with my Angus ground beef sirloin. (I would have made burgers if I’d bought a fattier cut – but the sirloin is perfect for taco salad!)

The pie was fine, but not as good as homemade. A little more cinnamon in my Northern Spy Struesel Apple Pie would have been better, but I do love the crumb topping. We ate our pie heated up, but I should have served it with ice cream!

Speaking of ice cream, YES YES YES. I’ve been buying Private Selection ice cream since it’s been available, and it is thick, creamy, and delicious, with great flavor options. My favorite is the Mint Moose Tracks, but I guess that doesn’t come in pint size, so I opted for the Black Raspberry Dark Chocolate Chunk. You had me at dark chocolate, but the raspberry really comes through too – it’s not a fake, cloying berry flavor either, but a yummy fresh fruit flavor. I am blessed with living in a city known for ice cream – Graeter’s and Jeni’s are just two amazing options – but for the price, you can’t beat Private Selection.

Pork – Be Inspired

This cracks me up – I love advertising for (seemingly) generic products – Drink Refreshing Milk! Eat Eggs! Pork – Be Inspired! I joined this bzzCampaign for pork and got a nifty digital meat thermometer (my second, but a backup is always nice!), basting brush, a $5 coupon for pork chops at the Kroger family of stores, a bunch of other coupons, and waaaay more information that I previously had about pork and the many ways you can prepare it.

I’ve never been a huge fan of pork chops but I do prepare them for my family when they’re on sale. Despite my best efforts, they usually end up dry and we have to puree them for my poor two-year-old and his limited set of teeth. As it turns out, I’ve been cooking them to a very outdated 170 degrees – apparently, and I didn’t get the memo until starting this campaign, pork only needs to be cooked to 145 degrees (with a 3 minute rest!) This makes a huge difference!

So I went to Kroger today with a song in my heart and a recipe in my pocket, determined to make the best damn pork chops my kitchen has ever seen. There were only two cuts of pork chops available in the pre-packaged section, so I purchased the center cut loin chops. My handy-dandy pocket pork guide compares this to the “Porterhouse” of pork. The guide came with loads of recipe ideas, and I tried a simple Smoky Rub, as follows:

Smoky Rub for Pork Chops

Combine:

  • 2 t smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t coarse salt
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t black pepper

I preheated my grill, and here is where everything went to hell.

I took my plate of seasoned meat outside, and noticed copious amounts of smoke on the side of my house, and an acrid burning smell. Somehow, my grill had started spewing flames out the bottom, melting the temperature control knob. I turned off the gas and tried not to panic – all I had to do was consult my little guide for an alternate cooking method! I decided to just pan-fry them (and the summer squash I was preparing on the side.)

I am pleased to say that these chops turned out GREAT, despite the change in plans. They were moist, juicy, and even my son chewed them up without incident. He’s not a big meat eater, but he ate the entire serving! The seasoning was nice – I think it would have tasted even better on the grill, but I’ll just try that another time. I think I will be buying pork chops more often now!

If you’re interested in more pork recipes or general information, check out http://www.porkbeinspired.com for probably anything you ever wanted to know!