Friday, July 12, 2013

Exploring Aldi

Although I did enjoy exploring Aldi yesterday, I'm not sure how often I will go back. I wasn't able to go to four different stores all in one trip because I couldn't keep the cold stuff in my trunk for that long, even in a cooler. I maxed out my cooler's capacity just going to Aldi because I bought a gallon of milk and that took up most of the space. Although they do have some very good prices on select items, I can sometimes get about the same prices at Kroger when those things are on sale there or at least close enough if I factor in the extra gas to drive to Aldi.
My impression of Aldi is that it's very similar to Trader Joe's, just not as fancy. I think it's sort of a family version of Trader Joe's with TJ's being a more "gourmet" type store with more of an emphasis on "healthy" foods than Aldi. Aldi seems to focus on packaged processed foods with a few fresh items thrown in. It was interesting that you have to go down the aisle of cookies and candies on first entering the store. How evil is that??? Is that standard for all Aldi stores?

Having said that, I did manage to spend over $20 there and got some good deals. I'm not familiar with the store enough yet to know if those were every day low prices or special weekly sales. If I can get fresh mushrooms for only 69-cents and grape tomatoes for 59-cents all the time, the occasional trip down there might be worthwhile. Here is what I got (I'll spare you the details on any high carb items that I bought):
  • 1 dozen large eggs - .79
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes - .59
  • 3 8-ounce containers fresh mushrooms - .69 each (I got 2 white and 1 crimini)
  • 16 ounce bag frozen thin green beads - $1.49 (not quite as good a deal as Trader Joe's 24 ounces for $1.99)
  • 2 kinds of 8-ounce sliced smoked cheeses - $2.69 each
  • 8 ounces Roasted Garlic with Tomato & Basil cheese - $2.99
  • Fancy lettuce - .99
  • 1 pound unsalted butter - $1.39 (cheaper than the salted for some reason)
  • 12.5 ounce can chicken breast - $1.79
I don't normally buy canned chicken but the price seemed reasonable and I thought it might be a nice change from canned tuna. The price was about what I'd pay for a couple of cans of cheap tuna at Kroger. Unfortunately, the chicken does have carbs from added modified food starch. There are 6 carbs per can, which they claim contains 6 servings. Yeah, right. I'm thinking there might be 3 servings at most so that's 2 carbs per serving.  I made Chile Chicken Monterey for supper last night and I doubled the amount of mushrooms for the topping because I got them so cheap. Yum. I thought about using some of the smoked pepper-jack cheese to top the chicken but decided against it after tasting it. I used regular pepper-jack instead and will keep the smoked cheese for snacking. I plan to use the container of crimini mushrooms in the Burger Scramble Florentine that I'm making today.  Here's a list of some other items that seemed reasonably priced at Aldi:

  • 30 ounce mayonnaise - $1.99 (reg. $2.69 @ Kroger)
  • 15 ounce canned pumpkin - $.99 (same price at Kroger)
  • Assorted basic spices (large jars) - $1.00
  • Canned diced tomatoes, 14.5 ounce - .59 (.68 @ Kroger)
  • Iceberg lettuce - .99
  • 5 ounce canned tuna - .62 (.76 @ Kroger)
  • 7 ounces sliced pepperoni - $1.99 (6 ounces $1.98 @ Walmart)
  • 8 ounce blocks cheese - $1.79 (sometimes cheaper than that at Kroger on sale and Aldi charges more for pre-shredded cheese, $1.99, I think)
  • 16 ounces Deluxe American cheese - $2.99 ($3.99 @ Kroger)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese - $1.19 (I can often buy on sale elsewhere for .99)
  • 16 ounce roll pork sausage - $2.49 (usually at least $3.00 elsewhere unless on sale)
  • 16 ounces natural sour cream - $1.29 (usually .99 at Kroger for 8 ounces)
  • 24 ounces full fat cottage cheese - $2.29 (cheaper at Kroger on sale - it was $1.67 this week there)
  • 1 pound salted butter - $1.89 (good price - usually about $2.99 elsewhere)
  • 16 ounces heavy cream - $1.99 (cheaper at Walmart and HEB @ 3.57 per quart but Aldi's doesn't have milk added)
I haven't tried the other two cheeses that I bought and I will let you know what I think of them later in another post.


  1. Re: the aisle of cookies and candies upon entering the store - I've been to 3 different Aldi's so far and they've all had that feature (although the cookie/candies aisle does have nuts and processed meat snacks hidden in it).

  2. Yep, my Aldi does the exact same thing with the cookies/chips. Right there as you enter! It's easy to bypass it, though. I just look straight ahead where the eggs and milk are!

    I go to Aldi every week. Their prices on produce are cheaper than anywhere else, and they regularly put stuff on sale, too. Their dairy and eggs are cheaper, as well, but I never buy meat there because I can get it cheaper at Wegmans. Their cottage cheese tastes better than any other, and their cream is 100% cream and not diluted with milk like some brands can be. So it certainly has its pluses. But then, we have one quite close to our house, so we don't have to factor in extra gas like you would.

    1. The dairy section was on the other side of the store at this one. They had the coffee at the very end of that first aisle. Has anyone tried their coffee? I bought some canned coffee there for my husband and it was cheaper than Walmart's Great Value brand. I don't drink coffee every day but when I do I prefer a little better quality coffee such as Community brand. I only buy it when it goes on sale for $3.99 and that's what Aldi charges for their brand. I almost bought some to try but I've got two bags of Community coffee in my pantry right now. I like light to medium roast and Aldi has some in light roast.

      Maybe I'll try Aldi's heavy cream sometime. I just prefer to buy my cream in quarts because I go through a lot of it. Were they perhaps just out of the larger size or do they only sell it in pints?

  3. Aldi only carries the pint size cream and they (here) just recently started carrying it all year long. Before it was only seasonal. It is funny how you can get such better deals at Kroger there in TX. Here in OH Kroger runs an occasional better sale than Aldi, but they (Aldi) are hard to beat. I get my canned chicken at Meijer - their store brand is the only one that doesn't have the food starch in it. I think Meijer is a MI/OH area store. I have not tried their coffee, because like you, I have some in stock at the house already and am waiting until the stash gets low. Also, their dairy products don't have the extra food starch added in like the Kroger brands do (sour cream comes to mind) I don't shop at Aldi every week, I go there for fill in/pantry items. As far as the normal price on the produce - here, it varies. They do often have great deals on the fresh produce, but not every week. You can check their ads online and see if they feature things that you'd want to buy. -Dawn

    1. In general, Kroger's prices are higher than Aldi's but I try not to buy too many things there when they're not on sale. It seems that some of Kroger's sale prices beat Aldi's on certain things and I often get "loyalty" coupons in the mail from Kroger for things that I buy often. I buy Kroger's natural sour cream and that kind doesn't have added starch and gum but Aldi's price is a lot better. However, sour cream isn't something that I buy often and I don't often need a large container of it. I mainly buy it when I'm making tacos or fajitas, which is about once a month, and an 8-ounce container is usually plenty for my family. One thing I have been doing with leftover sour cream now and then is making dip for pork rinds. I either make French onion or ranch dip using my homemade mixes. I try not to do that too often though because I tend to eat too much of it because it tastes so good. I don't tend to over eat pork rinds but when there's dip on them that's another story.

      I am familiar with Meijer from when we lived in Michigan. They're like a super Walmart in that they sell groceries on one side of the store and clothing and other non-food stuff on the other.

  4. I understand that completely! Kroger does frequently have cottage cheese on sale at a great price and it is one thing my husband asks for whenever he sees the sale. We eat Mexican at least once a week- also we are a family of 4 so that makes a difference, too. I had forgotten about you being in MI, but I remember that now. I should have said earlier, too - I am really enjoying this blog from you. You've helped me so much over the past years with your recipes and tips. Thank you! I hope your husband is continuing to do well. -Dawn

    1. Thanks, Dawn. My husband is having cataract surgery on Monday but he's doing well health-wise. His eyesight went down the tubes during his liver illness and now he has cataracts and also some macular degeneration. That's still in the early stages though. Thankfully his Medicare insurance covers a free new pair of glasses after the surgery, or at least the lenses are free. They give him an allowance on the frames.

    2. Cataracts and macular degeneration suck, my 89-year old father-in-law has that, thankfully medical science has gotten a lot better since he was first diagnosed with it, and some of the best specialists in the field are here in Houston.

  5. "I either make French onion or ranch dip using my homemade mixes. I try not to do that too often though because I tend to eat too much of it because it tastes so good. I don't tend to over eat pork rinds but when there's dip on them that's another story."

    Couldn't find those in your recipe section, could you provide a link?


    1. I basically use this recipe: but I don't always use the toasted dried onions/powder. It's just as good with the regular kind. Here's the onion soup mix recipe:

      And, this is my Ranch dressing mix recipe:

      I just mix it with sour cream to taste and let it sit in the fridge for a while to blend the flavors.

    2. This stuff would also be yummy but I haven't tried it on pork rinds - YET:

    3. I'm going to have to try some of these dip ideas on pork rinds, here's my current favorite sauce to dip pork rinds in:

      2 parts Walden Farms Ketchup
      1 part Cholula Hot Sauce Original

      Then mix it up well (I usually just use 2 tbsp of ketchup and 1 tbsp of hot sauce).

    4. I have dipped pork rinds in low carb ketchup and that's tasty too. I've never tried Walden Farms ketchup and it's much cheaper to make my own. I do use Walden Farms pancake syrup and like it pretty well (on pancakes, of course; not on pork rinds) but I wasn't keen on the other products I've tried.

  6. So glad to hear your husband is doing well. You hadn't mentioned his situation in quite awhile and I didn't want to pry into personal stuff. I am happy that Dawn went ahead and asked. You and your hubby certainly went through some hellish months.

    Tell him that I had cataract surgery many years ago, I was actually just a kid, doctors had no idea why I had the condition in the 1st place. The surgery now is SO much more advanced than it was back then. I have since worn contact lenses, ever since, with 20/20 vision. I would love to have implants and skip the daily removal and insertion, but, unfortunately, back when my surgery was done, they actually removed the lenses in my eyes so therefore I cannot have an implant inserted.
    Please give him my best!

  7. So far I've tried the Roasted Garlic with Tomato & Basil cheese and the Smoked Pepper-Jack cheeses from Aldi. Both are very good. The pepper-jack is VERY smoky flavored with a hot kick from the peppers. I like the Roasted Garlic with Tomato & Basil cheese best melted. Heating it seems to bring out the flavors more than when it's cold from the fridge. The label didn't say what type of cheese it was but it's apparently mozzarella, or at least it has that stringy, chewy consistency of mozzarella when melted. The flavor is rather pizza-like.

  8. I think Aldi's quite awesome! It's been the best staple for my low carb lifestyle, as I 'm a student who doesn't have the kind of money that shopping in the larger supermarkets will require. I like that I can often find artisan cheeses there for cheap and they don't charge an arm and a leg for items like salads, spinach, fruits and dairy. I do the bulk of my shopping there, with occasional in-between trips to the ShopRite down the street from me. Glad you found it helpful!

  9. Also, YES the cookies/candies/chips being on the entering aisle is the same where I live. Horrible, right?

  10. Your blog is so helpful. Thank you

  11. I live in California and I haven't seen prices like you are listing in ages. I buy Organic eggs for $3 something a dozen. Bread is close to $5. a loaf, the last grape tomatoes that I found on sale for over $2. a package. Thank you so much for your sites and now this blog. You have made my diet so much easier. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks. I think that organic eggs might be that much here too but I can't afford to buy them. Grape tomatoes anywhere else are usually in the $3.00 range or more at other stores here too. My strategy is to shop all of the stores nearby and get whatever is on sale at each one. For me that means shopping twice a week so that I can get the bargains in two different parts of town.