The Easy Dinner Shortcut I Buy Every Time I’m at Costco (It’s Not a Rotisserie Chicken!)

published Aug 27, 2021
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Credit: a katz

Chances are, anytime you hear the words “dinner shortcut” and “Costco” in a sentence together, you automatically think of the rotisserie chicken. Why wouldn’t you? The precooked bird is inexpensive, incredibly convenient, and delicious. But the rotisserie chicken is not the only dinner shortcut at Costco; the warehouse offers loads of brilliant groceries that can help you get dinner on the table quickly. (Here are 10 from the freezer section, alone!) And today, I’d like to talk about my current go-to: Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice.

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

Find in stores: Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice, $10.79 for six pouches

It’s actually been a go-to of mine for years (I haven’t gotten tired of it!) and total game-changer for my meals. On nights when I’m feeling too lazy to make a full meal (but want something different than a frozen pizza), it’s a no-brainer to just grab a packet off the shelf of my cupboard. As a base, these bags are flexible enough to go with nearly everything. Yes, even with that subtle garlic flavoring. My favorite way to use these pouches? I’ll pair a pouch with a pre-made veggie stir-fry that I pull from the freezer. Or packet of Coconut Squash Dal or Punjab Eggplant (from Tasty Bite). The quinoa adds protein and texture to every bite, and makes a thrown-together meal feel a little more rounded-out.

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

The so-called “prep work” is simple: I just massage the pouch to break the grains up a bit and then I’ll either pop it into the microwave for a minute-and-a-half (after tearing open a slit in the corner for venting) or boil a packet in water for 10 minutes (without venting) — and that’s it. I’ve even got my mom into these pouches and she pours the contents directly into a small saucepan with a tad bit of water and heats it up that way. 

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

I usually stock up on these by buying them by the half-dozen at Costco, although I’ll buy a single pouch here and there at Safeway or Fred Meyer. Also, I like to bring these along on road trips or flights when I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find a vegan meal. It’s easy to just whip one out of my bag and soothe any potential hunger pangs in a minute flat. They’re even good to go through TSA screenings in my carry-on. Pre-pandemic, these have traveled to Havana, Tokyo, and Zurich with me, making each trip easier from the onset. Over the past year they’re been just as reliable — even as I’ve largely stayed in one place. Whether I’m pressed for time or hunger just snuck up on me, these rice packets are always there when I need them.

What’s your go-to dinner shortcut from Costco? Tell us in the comments below!