As a chef and recipe developer, I test a constant rotation of products in my professional life. Plus my husband is a professional chef, so our kitchen is always filled with new, interesting ingredients to play with. For instance, right now there are 12 different types of mushrooms in my fridge that I’m creating recipes with, plus an assortment of new jackfruit-based meat alternatives that their makers sent me to try.
But when it comes to our weekly grocery list, it’s nice to have familiarity and consistency. I live in lower Manhattan, and there are three Targets within a mile of my house. Target is the most convenient place for me to shop for basics, though when I’m used to getting all my other food from specialty purveyors and small farmers, I feel a bit sheepish wandering through its grocery aisles. Nevertheless, shopping at Target for essentials anchors our diets amid the chaos of the new and unknown. Here are the 15 things that are always on our Target grocery list.
1. Good & Gather Sea Salt Roasted Mixed Nuts
The first time I tasted these, I felt like I’d struck nut gold. These are the good nuts, most delicious and startlingly large nuts, the ones you shove the inferior nuts aside for, with a mix of cashews, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds—and no peanuts for filler. Plus at $18.99 for a 30-ounce container, they’re a mind-bogglingly good deal. Walk into any other grocery store and you’ll get a fraction of inferior nuts for the same price.
2. Special K Red Berries Cereal
Almost every other grocery store in Manhattan right now is selling regular-size boxes of Special K (and other basic cereals) for $7.99. In contrast, I can get a family-size box at Target for a steal at $4.99. Is this cereal gourmet or indicative of the composed dishes I pride myself in building? No. Is it comforting? Absolutely.
3. Spindrift Sparkling Waters
My husband and I have a policy of generally not drinking alcohol on work nights. This is not easy in an industry that involves endless alcohol-tasting events and requires that we know spirits well enough to pair and sell them with our food. My husband has the sort of chef job that requires long hours in a restaurant, so cracking a drink open at the end of a busy service is really, really satisfying. Popping open a can of Spindrift scratches that itch, without the adverse effects of alcohol. Mango is our favorite flavor!
At 29 cents each, the bananas at Target are very reasonably priced. I always think the greener, the better, so that I have more time to consume them before they fully ripen. Plus green bananas are my secret ingredient for kalua pig, a Hawaiian-style smoky pulled pork that I make in the oven here on the mainland instead of in an ‘imu (the underground oven used in Hawai’i, where I grew up). Pop a banana in with a pork shoulder, seasoned with coarse sea salt, and you’ll have juicy, fragrant kalua pig five hours later.
5. Good & Gather Organic Baby-Cut Carrots
In our house, baby carrots are called “orange treats” when we share them with our chihuahua, Coconut. Coconut gets an orange treat after every walk, and hearing her crunch on them is one of the most satisfying noises ever—for her and for me. I love digging into a bag of orange treats with Coconut, as they’re good for both of us. Plus at $1.99 for a 1-pound bag, they’re also so much cheaper and contain no additives, in contrast with other packaged dog treats.
6. Good & Gather Organic Baby Spinach
We consume a ridiculous quantity of leafy greens at home. We adore fluffy salads and green smoothies, and these also balance out how we eat professionally, when we aren’t always ordering (or being sent) the healthiest foods. I can’t leave Target without these.
7. Oatly Oat Milk
I don’t know what to tell you. I am a dairy-based organism. There is not a single whisper of lactose intolerance lurking within my gut of steel. But I adore the creaminess of Oatly oat milk in my requisite two cups of coffee in the morning, consumed before I’m expected to be nice to people.
8. Good & Gather Organic 1% Milk
Like I said, I am a dairy-based organism. While Oatly goes in my morning coffee, I use this for everything else that calls for milk, especially my Target-purchased Special K Red Berries cereal. At $3.99 for a half-gallon, it’s a great deal in Manhattan, one of the most expensive places in the universe!
9. Good & Gather Riced Cauliflower
Another treat I share with Coconut! This riced cauliflower sneaks its way into her dog food and into my nightly bowl of rice. I’m always trying to amp up our vegetable intake!
10. Good & Gather Low-Sodium Cannellini Beans
My American-Israeli chef-husband makes proper, traditional chickpea hummus that is so delicious it will make you weep. I, on the other hand, will make you a garlic and cannellini bean dip that you will love almost as much as ranch dressing on your orange treats.