My sister has been telling me for years “You have to go to ALDI.” I always knew that she got very high quality ingredients at such great prices, but it wasn’t until I experienced an ALDI shopping trip myself that I truly understood what a gem of a grocery store it really is! I recently partnered with ALDI and Bon Appetit magazine for a blogger challenge. #1 I was ENORMOUSLY excited to get an email from this magazine that I have loyally read for years and #2 to see that they fully stand behind the ALDI stores and their products. This made the perfect opportunity to get a firsthand look at what they are really all about and challenge my culinary creativity.
The blogger challenge was to create a meal under $10 for my family of four using ALDI’s high quality ingredients. Initially I thought the real challenge would be the $10 factor, because organic items aren’t cheap until I set foot in the store and realized how affordable their Simply Nature Organic and Fit & Active brands are. I am not going to knock the other grocers that I have frequented for years, but I must say that ALDI really does deliver excellent products that are healthy for you at a fraction of the price of the other stores. They have some savvy ways to help keep the cost down that are important to know before you shop there. On your trip to ALDI, you should be armed with your own bags (or you can buy re-usable bags when you get there), a quarter in hand for the carts, and cash, debit or EBT cards. All of these overhead expense cuts allow ALDI to help their shoppers “save money without sacrificing quality.”
I was so thrilled with all of the options to choose from, that the biggest challenge for me was coming up with just one recipe to submit. When Hunter was a baby he would eat anything and then went through that picky toddler phase. Luckily, now he is a little older and willing to try more foods (with a little coercion) and Baker is in that baby phase where he will eat anything and Drew will always eat anything, so I had a great panel of taste testers and they certainly didn’t mind all the food coming at them all day. I came up with this “sauceless” linguine and it was a family hit. Based on Baker’s consumption, I think it won out over the others and clean-up was minimal without a messy sauce. It is a Fall-ish dish, but not too heavy. With just a few ingredients, they all work together to create a complex flavor profile. To keep the linguine from drying out, I added a little coconut oil. Since the oil wasn’t heated, it didn’t overpower the dish with the coconut flavor, just a subtle addition to help moisten the dish. The turkey Italian sausage added that “man meal” factor, while the roasted butternut added a soft and sweet texture. Finally the goat cheese came in with the tangy, creamy factor and because I really, really like goat cheese and think it’s always a great pair with butternut squash.
- Simply Nature Organic Linguine – $1.29 (only used about $0.75 worth)
- 2 boxes Simply Nature Organic Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth – $3.58
- Simply Nature Organic Coconut Oil – $4.99 (only used about $0.25 worth)
- Specially Selected Plain Goat Cheese – $1.99 (only used about $1.00 worth)
- Butternut Squash – $0.99
- Fit & Active Turkey Italian Sausage – $3.69 (only used about $1.85 worth)
Total meal cost = approximately $9.03 including sales tax of 7.25%
- 1/2 package Simply Nature Organic Linguine
- 2 - 32 oz boxes Simply Nature Organic Chicken Broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Coconut Oil
- 2-3 links Fit & Active Turkey Italian Sausage
- 1 butternut squash, roasted, click for recipe (you can eliminate the shallots)
- 2 oz Specially Selected Plain Goat Cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- Roast butternut squash according to directions in recipe or see below.
- In a saute pan over medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and cook Italian sausage until done and inside of sausage is no longer pink. Cut into slices and set aside.
- Bring 2 quarts of chicken broth to a rapid boil. Add pasta and cook 8-10 minutes until al dente. Strain pasta and return to pot. Add coconut oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper.
- Plate the noodles and top with sausage, butternut squash and goat cheese and serve warm.
- Peel squash and cut lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut squash into 1/2" pieces. Toss with olive oil and shallots and season with salt and pepper.
- In an oven preheated to 400 degrees, roast squash on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Roast 25 to 30 minutes or until browned, tossing occasionally through cooking process.
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