Grocery Shopping Guide
If you have stumbled upon this page, I want you to know that this list is not meant to promote or denigrate foods, but merely meant to remind us what we have tried and liked and what we have tried and ...not liked.

Marinades and Sauces
Cold Cuts
Frozen Entrees


  • TGI Fridays Hot Wings - Not nearly yum. Both of us ran into something yucky and had to stop eating.  They looked nothing like their picture on the box.
  • TGI Fridays Southwest Eggrolls - Odd taste. Not as appetizing as the name might suggest.
  • Those mushroom pastries from the appetizer aisle at either Stater or Ralphs are wonderful and can be taken to events.
  • Little quiches from Costco (or Sams) are great! (Nancy's)
  • Nancy's appetizer assortment - Mushroom puffs are tasty but not as good as the ones from Ralphs and the crabcakes are tasty, but not much like crabcakes.  These are both very spiced (as in herbed, not as in hot).  Haven't tried the others yet.
  • Bacon Wrapped Scallops - Sams sometimes has these, they are fantastic for a little while.  Occasional grit.
  • Bacon Wrapped Chicken (Manchester farms) It's okay.  It's better than beef, but it's no scallop/
  • Trader Joes Shrimp Har Gao and Shrimp Shu Mai - Just a tetch fishier than you would find in a Dim Sum Restaurant, but quite tasty.
  • Trader Mings Chicken Shu Mai - Like Potstickers, A. loves these.
  • Ajinomoto Potstickers - Wow, less doughy, less ginger.  Yum.

  • Campbell's
    • Regular Condensed
      • Roasted Garlic Mushroom - ick (tastes burnt)
      • Bean and Bacon - Yum
      • Beef and barley - herby but good, cubey beef
      • Chicken noodle - totally classic
      • Double noodle, works well for kids
      • Shaped chicken noodle - firmer noodles, A&R don't like as well, but are interested in the shapes.
      • Anything Alphabety is a hit
    • Preprepared (ready made)
      • Creamy tomato - Yuck
      • Tomato - star
      • Bean and bacon - Not entirely yum, condensed is better
    • Chunky
      • Sirloin Burger  - Hocky pucks of goodness, the best "stew" on the market
      • Salisbury Steak - Tastes of rosemary
      • Grilled Chicken with Veggies - Odd, curryish
      • Potato chowder with ham - Inedible
      • Beef and Barley - Whatever, sagey
      • Fajita Steak - A cross between tortilla soup and chili with rice in it.  Aaron likes.
      • Chicken & Dumplings - a bit rosemaryish, hearty.  Aaron is facinated (and slightly repelled) by the realish dumplings.
      • Smoked Chicken with roasted corn chowder - kindof like a cross between clam chowder and pea soup. Pretty good. Pretty hearty.
  • Progresso
    • Rich and hearty steak and potato - herby...no
    • Lentil - bland and herby at the same time, yuck.
  • Ramen
    • Maruchan
      • Oriental - too 5 spicy and gingery for M
      • Beef - M's current Favorite
  • Store "Fresh Soups"
    • Dining In - Stater Brothers
      • Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup - without  a doubt the oddest interpretation of chicken noodle soup in history. It has broccoli.  Not intriguing.
      • Chicken Tortilla Soup  - Yummy, we enjoyed it.
  • Cup o' soups (add boiling water to little cardboard cup)
    • Fantastic World Foods  - We tried the green onion miso and the spicy thai and both were bland bordering on yucky.
  • McCormicks Chili mix - Yum
  • Hormel - not yum
  • Dennison's - Yum
  • Campbell's Chunky Roadhouse - not yum
  • Stag - not yum
  • Oh Boy Garlic Bread  - Great, soft, 1 buck, don't get lowfat version
  • Pepperidge Farm Texas Toast - Yummy but avoid 5 cheese
  • Mama Bella - Just fine
  • Coffee Drinks
    • Vita Specialty foods cuppacino concentrate (mix with milk, hot or cold)
      • Drambuie - Yuck, tastes like licorice medicine
      • Kahlua - Very yummy
      • Courvoisier - Tastes like a stiff drink.  Somewhere between the two on the yum factor.
  • Soft Drinks
    • C2 - I will never drink regular Coke again, this is just as good (if not better)
    • Diet Dr. Pepper - I can tell it's diet, but I really don't care
    • Diet A&W - Ditto
    • Minute Maid Cherry Limeade Light - Oh my god this is gross
  • Iced Tea Mix
    • Nestea Lemonade Tea - This is the one to beat
  • Tea
    • Tea Forte - Earl Grey (the other flavors are not worth it
    • Don't bother with white tea, it's like weak green tea
    • Lipton Yellow Label - good for 99% of what tea needs to be
  • Shelf Milk - Universally bad
    • Milky Way Slammers
    • Yoo-hoo
  • Juice
    • Orange Kool-aid - strange aftertaste, not quite pleasant.

Marinades and sauces

  • Soy Sauce
    • Pearl river - The finest in the world (sweet, warm, not too salty)
    • Tamari Premium - Inedibly salty, to salty for cooking, to salty on rice, yuck.
  • Acadia Thai - Sweet and Sour, excellent
  • Satay Sauces
    • Lee Lum Kee Peanut flavored sauce - yum, but I would love more garlic or something
    • Shaw's Signature Chinese Satay - We did not care for this.
  • Acadia Lemon Garlic - Not so good
  • Lawry's 30 minute Tequila Lime - No taste of tequila or lime, no taste of anything.
  • Terra Carmalized Onion Tapas - Sweet, okay on salmon and rice, too much for crackers.  Better warm?
  • Dulcet Madras Curry - Yum!!!! Chicken/Pork Chops.  A little nutty and curryish; a teeny bit sataylike
  • Olde Cape Cod BBQ & Grilling Sauce Honey Orange - nope
  • Con Sorzio Roasted Garlic Balsamic 10 minute marinade - Tastes a bit like peanut sauce, no balsamic or garlic.
  • Karams Garlic Sauce - Yummy on Rice (not to be cooked so much as put on afterwards)
  • Hot Sauces
    • Sriracha (Rooster Sauce) -
    • Tapatio, mexipep,  Lou's Louisiana - These are all the same, essentially tabasco on steroids.
    • Inner Beauty - Mustardy heat- Excellent on burgers
    • Taste of Thai - Garlic Chili Pepper Sauce - Sharp, excellent on seafood
  • F&E

    • Ranch Chipotle - Good

    • Black Olive Tepanade - Yuck

Spaghetti Sauce
  • Rinaldi Mushroom - Yuck, tastes like plain tomato sauce
  • Ragu Meat- Yuck, greasy
  • Prego Mushroom - Yum
  • Prego meat- Yum


  • La Victoria - Inedible, watery with a nasty, fishy taste.
  • Pace Mild Salsa - Good
  • Pace Picante - Not really a salsa
  • Rojo's (fridge at Stater) - Very yummy
  • Rosa's (Fridge at Ralphs) - Disgusting
  • Ortega - Great standard (Aaron doesn't love the texture though)
  • Mila's - We got what we paid for at the 99 cents store, except maybe we should have gotten some actual salsa out of our 99 cent investment. Smell - Dill, cilantro; Taste - Tasteless, yuck.

Cold Cuts
  • Hillshire Farms
    • Brown sugar ham is yummy
  • Butterball Rotisserie Turkey -  People who like sage and rosemary would like this
  • Smoked Turkey tastes like ham
  • Hormel naturals turkey is wonderful
  • We like shaved turkey breast at the deli

Frozen Entrees
  • Pot Pies
    • Marie Calenders Pot Pies:
      • Beef - M's fave
      • Chicken - Aaron Likes
      • Turkey - Nope
      • Chicken Mushroom - It is okay.  Freshness really counts on this one.
  • Hot Pockets
    • Pot Pie Express Chicken - Yum
    • Philly Cheese Steak - Yuck
    • Pepperoni Pizza - Fine, but salty
  • TV Dinners (Never, ever buy anything banquet)
    • Marie Calenders
      • Meatloaf = Salisbury Steak (good)
      • Turky - Delish
      • Slow Roasted Beef - Good, but strange Potato Texture
      • Southern Fried Chicken Tenderloins - Bland with weird potatos and carrots
      • Sweet and Sour Chicken - Pretty tasty for microwave chinese food, nothing chinese about the side veggies.  20g fat, should split and have with rice.
    • Swanson
      •  (White) Chicken Nuggets- Has brownie, yummy chicken - 25g fat.
    • Michelinas
      • Lasagna - would eat it, but never seek it out, rubbery noodles, filling but dull, anisy
      • Macaroni and Cheese - Almost Delicious. Not quite kraft, but cheap and fast
      • Meatloaf- Yummy and cheap
      • Pizza snacks - Only Aiden likes these. High dough to filling ration, boring dough
      • Pepper Steak - Too tomatoish, not tangy enough
      • Wild Rice Pilaf with vegetables - Awful clotted yellow sauce - inedible.
      • Burgundy Beaf - Tasty with smooth taters
      • Shrimp Alfredo - not again
      • Salisbury Steak - Also Bland (new unattractive mushroom herb flavor)
      • 4-cheese Manicoti  - Surprisingly Tasty, bright attractive tomato taste.
      • Angel Hair pasta in meat sauce - More orange than red, bland.
    • Hungry man
    • Boston Market
      • Meatloaf = Also more like salisbury steak, but good.
  • F&E Frozen Entrees
    •  Butternut Squash Raviolo - Sweet, Weird
    • Healthy Basil Chicken - Aiden Liked
    • Pad Thai Chicken and Shrimp - Healthy, decent, chicken has to be cut up into tiny pieces and the shrimp is yucky.
  • Pizzas
    • Tombstone Pepperoni  - Greasy Pepp., nice, crunchy crust.  Rather shallow tasting.
    • Digiorno Rising Crust - Michele's Fave, better than takeout.
    • Digiorno Garlic Bread Rising Crust Pepp - student recommend. ex. crust. garlic smell, not too much garlic taste. Low on cheese (for m), low on sauce (for A), great pepp, excellent overall.
    • Red Baron Rising Crust - Excellent! Puffy Crust.
    • Red Baron Supreme - Nice if a bit flat and greasy, particularly the pepperonis
    • Celeste Pizza for one - Michele likes, Aaron finds thin tasting.  Cheese like plastic, dry dusty crust.
    • Tony's/Totinos/Jenos - Indistinguisable, cheap pizzas, good for less than a buck.  Like a thick cracker sprayed with pizza ingredients.
    • Red Baron Thin Crust (3-meat) - Yummy, deep taste, great sausage.
  • Burritos
    • Reser's Red Hot Beef  - The Gold Standard.  This is the finest of all microwaveable burritos.  Fresh, doughy, highly spiced....mmmmm.  Unfortunately not available here in Southern California, that we know of.
    • Primero (bridgeford) Red Hot Beef - Very similar to Resers Red Hot Beef - We found this at a convenience store somewhere south of here and can't find it again.
    • Oberto - Vaguely sucky
    • Jose's - Cheap, gassy
    • Tina's - Dull, but edible, particularly for 25 cents. (for 25 cents, Aaron would eat a sweat sock spread with black beans)
    • El Monterey Bean and cheese - Originally thought yuck, but maybe inoffensive now.
    • Posada Chimichanga - nope, we threw away the majority of these.
    • Reynaldos - Beef and Potato - very weird
    • Reynaldos - Red - Aaron liked.  Very spicy, smoky flavor.

  • Taquitos
    • Jose Ole
      • Pepperoni and sausage - WTF? It might be okay, but why. Ai says he likes it.
      • Chicken - Pretty good when slightly cooled
    • Delimex
      • Chicken - xlnt - I bet we could come up with some great recipes.
  • Corner Bistro Panini
    • Cheesesteak - This was okay after I took off nearly all of the meat.  Before that it was pretty gross looking.
  • Teton Valley Quick sides (from Costso) bacon cheddar ranch potatoes - YUM!
  • Sadlers Smokehouse Boneless Country Style ribs - Very yum, especially w/ above.
Shelf Entrees
  • Hormel Lemon Pepper Pasta (with chicken) - This is VERY salty, but not nearly as yucky as it could be.  It would have been better without the noodles and chicken.  It might be a little cheesy.
  • Simply Asia Pad Thai - Wow!  This is great, I hope we can get back to the big lots in time to buy some more.
  • Copper River Salmon - Nice Color, but a bit too sweet for us.  We don't even own a cedar plank or anything.
  • Tuna Pouches
    • Plain is good
    • Hickory Smoked - This is really good stuff
    • Sweet and spicy - Odd and fishy
  • Starkist Crab Pouch - Disgusting
  • Chicken of the Sea Salmon Pouch - Yuck
  • Tilapia - Can be yuck (dirt/metallic)
  • Sole (tasteless and textureless, prebioled)
  • Mahi Mahi - Frozen filets variable quality, but generally good
  • Gortons Lemon Pepper battered Fish Filets - Yum but a little overbattered.  A little extra lemon juice and taking off half the batter works well.
  • Fisher Boy fish sticks - Not very good, lumpy, too dark, moistish
  • Van de Kamps Crispy Fish Fillets - surprisingly low in fat and fairly tasty.  Aid "just can't get enough of them." - Alaska Pollock
  • Red Snapper - Okay, but metallic.  Watch the bones, a little fall-aparty.
  • Catfish - This can be so yuck.  Overfry with strong breading for best results.
  • Swordfish, shark, tuna steaks - All wonderful, like eating steak

Shelf Starches
  • Potato
    • Seasoned Skillets - The family liked them, but I had this feeling I should have been just using actual ingredients like potatos and milk and cheese rather than powdered and dried potatos.  The middle ground might be using the dried potatos, but improvising one's own seasonings.
      • Traditional Recipe - Heavy rosemary, not my fave


  • Magic Shell
    • Regular - funderful
    • Cookies and Cream - Weird (Didn't freeze properly)
    • Heath Bar Magic - Weird
  • Jello - Makes some fun
  • Pie
    • Mrs. Smith's Dutch Apple Crumb Pie - Super Extra Yum
    • Stater Brother's Pies - Not Excellent
    • Sara Lee Key Lime - Yummy
    • Marie Callenders Berry Cobbler - Runny, tasteless, oversweet and overtart.  Crust was like parchment.
    • Betty Crocker Dessert Bakes
      • Chocolate Silk Pie - Fast and Yummy! (and we got them for $2.00)
  • Smuckers Hot Fudge - Fabulous for ice cream and fondue
  • Sugar Free Fudgecicles - Barely taste sugar free - Totally satisfying.
  • Flan - By Carousel Foods of America (CFA) We got this at the dollar store.  It is not great.
  • Ice Cream
    • Tofuti Cuties (chocolate) - delicious, slight coffee flavor, indistinguishable from ice cream.
  • Potato Chips
    • Pringles
      • Smoky Bacon - If you like the salt on Planters Peanuts, you will love these.
    • Lays - At last count, I can eat 13
      • KC Masterpiece BBQ - Wow
      • Original - You have to dip these in something to eat more than 10 without getting bored.
    • Picadilly
      •  Salt and Vinegar - Original and best of Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips
  • Popcorn
    • Pop Secret 94% fat free - Good
    • Butterlicious - Good
    • Act II
      • Roasted Corn on the Cob  - More "corny" than popcorn usually is
      • Standard Butter - Boring
    • Tabasco bagged Popcorn - If you ever see this, buy it
    • Orville Redden...
      • Kettle Corn - Some will love this, some will not
  • Crackers
    • Keebler
      • Snax Stix - Like plain crackers covered with mac and cheese powder - No art
      • Original Club  - Buttery, Flakey, almost sweet.
    • Milton's French Onion with Poppyseed - Very Oniony, complex, yummy but not for everyday
    • Roasted Garlic Triscuit - These are amazing! 4.5g f, 140mg s.
    • Cheese Nips
      • Four Cheese -  Maybe too cheesy, even for Michele
  • Pretzels
    • Snyders Pretzel Bites
      • Original - Lower fat and yummy
      • Ranch - A-maze-ing
      • Jalepeno - Classic yum-ow dichotomy.  It hurts, but you can't stop eating them.
    • Rold Gold
      • Cheese - Are these really healthy - they are fabulous
  • Jerky
    • Bridgeford Tender Steak Bites - Nice texture, good peppery, sweet flavor, yum.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Pizzarias Mozzerella Snack Sticks - Like a puffy cheeto, only less compelling
  • Fruits
    • Dole Peaches and creme parfait - could have been worse, actually did taste like peaches
    • Kars Yogurt Raisins from minimus - yuck, very odd taste

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