“Supermarket Score!” is all about taking a look at the great deals and delicious meals that are hidden in lesser-known yet commonly found supermarket items.
With Labor Day weekend and an early kick-off to football season coming just down the pike, I think it’s important to take a little time to celebrate where we are. To reflect on the memories of a great summer. To pop open a few beers and kick back with some friends. To thank the sweet merciful heavens for sending the children back to school (c’mon, I know you all are thinking it…).
But let’s go back to that beer part for a second. The great thing about beer – well, one of the many great things about beer – is how universal it is beyond just the backyard cookout cooler. Check out these Supermarket Score! ideas that’ll turn a 12-pack of PBR cans from an afterthought to the star of the show.
BEER-ARITAS AND SHANDIES
We’ve all enjoyed a lovely Prosecco cocktail before, yes? A glass of sparkling wine mixed with some orange juice or even a little Campari? Well then why not do the same with beer? When you’re planning drinks for this weekend’s Labor Day BBQ, stretch your beer a bit further with a pitcher of one of my two favorites. The half beer-half margarita combo (known affectionately at our house as the “Beer-arita”) is always a winner or, for those looking for something a bit lighter, make up a Shandy with half beer and half lemonade (a shandy is a general term used to describe drinks made with equal parts beer and something non-alcoholic like ginger ale, lemonade, or citrus soda). Both of these are super flexible as you can just eyeball the amounts and they’re delicious with whatever variety of beer you like to enjoy.
This is an essential to file away for football season! Nothing feeds a crowd of hungry guys like a taco bar, and nothing says “man food” like calling it “beer-braised”. Bust out your slow cooker and leave a pot of your favorite pulled pork on (or pull some inspiration from one of Rach’s recipes), swapping out the juice or stock for beer (I’d recommend going with something lighter here, like an ale or lager). Put that down on the table and it’s “Game On!” for beer-braised ribs, beer-braised chicken, beer-braised brisket… You get my drift?
THE BEST BEER & CHEESE DIP EVER
Now I have to admit, I totally understand beer & cheese dip, but I was never overly “wow’d” by it. That is until I made it for myself at home. And served it with the largest platter of Rachael’s pretzel chicken known to mankind. This is a dinner I’ve often repeated and recommend that you do the same. Start by making up a béchamel, which is the cheese sauce that is the base for macaroni & cheese (if you don’t have a family favorite, do a search in Rachael’s archives, she’s got a bunch of them). Make the sauce with half milk and half light beer as the liquid and stir in a mix of Gruyere & sharp cheddar cheeses along with a big dollop of spicy mustard. Taste. Devour. Repeat (often).
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has. Probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team on Rachael’s daytime talk show, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest twEATs on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.