Supermarket Survey with Janice Lieberman
The pros and cons of a few of our favorite ingredients.
Let's start with chicken. We compared pre-grilled chicken to rotisserie.
You can find this one packaged in the refrigerator or freezer section of the grocery store. One of the good things about this product is that there is little to no prep. You can find it pre-chopped or in strips, which can save you even more time. This option is also great if you like all white meat.
The drawback is that the quality of the chicken can vary, and it sometimes doesn't have a very good texture. Also, the pre-grilled chicken will cost more per pound. Compare $4.64 per pound for chicken strips to that of rotisserie chicken, which comes in at around $3 per pound.
We at The Kitchen can't get enough of this convenient option. We love it because it's usually juicy, freshly prepared and easy to find at most grocery stores. Rotisserie chicken is also less expensive per pound than the packaged pre-cooked chicken sold in the grocery cooler.
The only drawbacks we found with this option are that it can take a little time to carve and shred the meat, and it can sometimes be overcooked. So be choosy when selecting your bird. It should appear plump and well browned.
Next we looked at two types of prepared guacamole.
There are a lot of new brands coming into stores each day, so you have many options to choose from. Look for brands that contain real chunks of avocado with minimal ingredients and fillers. These are great because unopened, they will keep fresh in the fridge for weeks. (Just be sure to pay attention to the printed expiration date.) The downside of this type of guac is that some brands contain additives, preservatives and fillers that dull the fresh flavor that we love in guacamole.
Produce Department-Made Guacamole
We love this one because, of the two, it's the freshest and most flavorful store-bought option. It typically contains no additives and preservatives. The downside of this one is that it can be more expensive, and will expire much more quickly.
Finally, we compared two pre-made pestos.
Jarred Shelf-Stable Pesto
This is great as a pantry staple. It has a long shelf life and can be pulled out and used when you need it. The con to this style of pesto is that it may contain more preservatives than the fresh variety, and have a more muted flavor, to boot. If you're going for this one, look for the brands with the fewest preservatives. Pro Tip: The better brands use olive oil, not canola.
Fresh, Refrigerated Pesto
If we've said it once, we'll say it three times. The fresher, the better! That's why we much prefer this option. It has a brighter flavor and more vibrant color, and often uses higher quality ingredients. The downside is that it can be twice the price of jarred pesto and has to be used more quickly.
You can take these buying tips and pick your favorites. We used them, along with a few other simple ingredients, to make a delicious Guacamole Chicken Salad.