Budget-friendly meals that are delicious can be made with your favorite ALDI® products! Discover one of my favorite new cookbooks!
Do you love budget-friendly meals? Fans of ALDI®, it’s time to celebrate your love of the best-ever grocery store with a cookbook dedicated entirely to your favorite products. You’ll find creative and mouth watering ideas that take simple, budget-friendly ALDI-brand ingredients and turn them into fantastic dishes. From healthy appetizers to restaurant-worthy comfort food classics and everything in between, you’ll be surprised at the amazing breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and budget-friendly meals you can make after a shopping trip to your local ALDI®, including:
• Baked French Toast with Berries
• Breaded Chicken Parmigiana
• Shrimp Scampi
• Everything Bagel Dip
• Easy-Peasy Frozen Yogurt
• And much more!
With 75 recipes and full-color photographs, you’ll be cooking like a pro with your favorite grocery store staples and creating budget-friendly meals in no time!
ALDI® is a registered trademark of ALDI® Company and is used here for informational purposes only. This book is independently authored and published and is not affiliated or associated with ALDI® Company in any way. ALDI® Company does not authorize, sponsor, or endorse this book or any of the information about budget-friendly meals contained herein.
- 1 cup Special Emporium whole milk ricotta cheese or other ricotta cheese of your choice
- 1 (8-ounce) package Happy Farms cream cheese or other cream cheese of your choice
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (10-ounce) package chocolate mini-chips
- graham crackers, cookies, or fresh fruit, to serve
Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a food processor fitted with a standard blade. Blend on low for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Stir in the chocolate mini-chips. Serve with graham crackers, cookies, or fresh fruit.
If you have some sweet brandy, chocolate liqueur, or Tuaca (a vanilla-and-spice-flavored sweet Italian brandy), add 1 tablespoon for extra flavor.
If you’re looking to make a slightly healthier version, you can sub low-fat cottage cheese for the ricotta, and you can sub Neufchâtel cheese for the cream cheese. It’s still scrumptious!
This also makes a toothsome filling for a layer cake.
CREDIT: Excerpted from The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook by Jeanette Hurt. Copyright © 2021 Ulysses Press. Reprinted with permission from Ulysses Press. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Interview with Jeanette Hurt – Budget-Friendly Meals and more!
Q. How did you find yourself in the world of food/drink/recipe development?
A. I’ve always been interested in food and drink. When I was 7-years-old, I told my mom I was going to write a doggie cookbook called Doggie Delights. My mom let me cook canned dog food on the stove with seasonings…I’m told, it smelled awful, but cooking for the dog was good practice because it didn’t matter what I made her, Sandy would snarf it all up.
Later, I discovered journalism, and I began my career as a police reporter in Chicago, and I ended up going to the morgue at 5 a.m., and my editor told me to bring them donuts so they would like me. I, instead, made them turtle brownies, and they were my best sources. Later, when I moved on and became a police and local government reporter in Milwaukee, I continued to bake for my sources, and I also tested recipes and wrote for the food desk every chance I got. I also created budget-friendly meals.
When I decided to become a freelance writer, most of my story ideas revolved around food. If you get into food, you then often get into wine, and then I got into spirits when Guy Rehorst opened up the very first distillery in the state of Wisconsin after Prohibition, I started writing about spirits, and then when I got into spirits, I got into cocktail making, and that led to my first cocktail book, Drink Like a Woman.
A lot of times, I find something interesting so I want to learn more about it…and that leads to a book.
Q. What types of culinary classes do you enjoy teaching the most?
A. I love teaching food and drink history – most of my books have a historical component to them, but I also love teaching culinary and cocktail tricks – things that make it easier for home cooks and bartending enthusiasts. I like teaching them things so that it’s easier for them to cook everyday and create budget-friendly meals.
Q. What are your top 3 tips for new ALDI shoppers?
A. First of all, you need a quarter, and you need to bring your own bags (or even laundry baskets). You need a quarter to get a cart (ALDI has this ingenious system of quarter-locking the carts so you have to bring them back), and you bag your own groceries. If you forget your bags, you have to buy your own, or you can just grab some boxes from the shelves.
Second, plan on stocking up on basics for budget-friendly meals- tomato paste, eggs, yogurt, bread, fresh veggies, etc. – you’ll be hard pressed to find cheaper deals at other local stores – no matter where you live.
Third, plan on browsing the AOS or aisle of specials or, as ALDI nerds call it, Aisle of Shame – which has everything from bathing suits to air fryers. Right now, the AOS is selling lined leggings, which is trending on social media right now, and I’ve seen some espresso machines lately at my local store.
Also, if there’s a tag that says here today, gone tomorrow – that’s a special item, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. So, if you like whatever it is – fresh crabmeat, seaweed snacks, poptarts, etc. – get a few because it won’t be there the next time you’re shopping.
I also recommend that if you like wine, try some of the ALDI brands for budget-friendly meals – I’ve found some amazing deals here, and I love one of their red blends, Intermingle, I think it’s called.
Q. What are your favorite kitchen small appliances and/or tools?
A. I love my knife sharpener – sharp knives are important. But I also love my microplane for grating lemon zest, chocolate and even cheese – my cousin (an ALDI nerd) bought me that for Christmas, and she said it would change my life, and she was right. I also love my food processor and my high speed blender–I use them all the time to create budget-friendly meals.
Q. What is your favorite cuisine to cook for budget-friendly meals?
A. This is such a tough one…it’s like asking who your favorite child is. I cook a lot of Italian food because it’s my husband’s favorite, and when I was growing up, I was always going to my next-door-neighbor’s house, Mrs. Silvestri, because she made the absolute best food. But I also love French cuisine (I took a lot of French, classical cooking classes, both here and in France), and I enjoy cooking Mexican, Indian and Japanese cuisines, and I love making Bohemian kolaches at Christmas using my Granny Hurt’s recipe. I also enjoy making Thai, Polish and Spanish dishes, too. (I lived in Spain for six months so I love, love, love making tapas!) On a day-to-day basis, I make a lot of healthy dishes and budget-friendly meals. I cook a lot of fish and seafood, and I love roasting vegetables. I also love making salads and homemade salad dressings – salads are one of my comfort foods. And I’m a big fan of cheese and cheese plates, too.
Q. What is your favorite dessert?
A. Absolutely anything with chocolate! I have a chocolate drawer in my pantry, and lately, I’ve been experimenting with making chocolate souffles. I also tend to bake a lot of chocolate chip cookies because my hubby loves them.
Buy The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook for Budget-Friendly Meals!
About the Author
Jeanette Hurt is an award-winning author of 15 books on food, drink, budget-friendly meals, and she is a recipe developer for both publications and agencies. She regularly contributes to numerous magazines, including Forbes, Huffington Post, Eating Well, and Chicago Health. When she’s not writing or developing recipes, you can find her walking along the lakefront with her family and their dog in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Find her online at jeanettehurt.com, on Twitter, and Facebook.