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ground chicken

It's incredibly versatile, has a mild flavor, is about half the price of ground beef and tends to not be as dry as ground turkey. We're featuring it in this week's recipe, and you can click on the link for more ground chicken recipes!

dried black-eyed peas

Dried black-eyed peas are economical, versatile and don't take as long to cook as other dried beans. They have a wonderfully creamy and dense texture and are available in most grocery stores.

dark chocolate sea salt quinoa bites

These little bits of yumminess are perfect for when you want a sweet bite. Available in several flavors at various large retailers.


Fall is apple season and we are here for it! Not only are apples delicious, they also pack a nutritional punch with loads of fiber and vitamins C. But nowadays, with all the apple varieties available, it can feel overwhelming to select the right one for your needs. Check out this guide for some help!

Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar

This aged cheddar is crumbly with hints of Parmesan and is perfect for this week's recipe or other main dish salads. I also like to use it as an accent in creamy soups or mac and cheese, or just on a cheeseboard with some crackers. A little goes a long way!

Minute brown rice

No need to wait 30 minutes while your brown rice cooks on the stovetop - you can have it ready in 5 minutes by using instant brown rice! This rice is partly cooked then dried, so all you have to do is add water and heat it up in the microwave. The nutrition is very similar to regular brown rice and you can find it at any grocery store.


Tahini, sometimes called sesame tahini, is a super versatile sesame paste - think peanut butter, but with sesame seeds. It's most often used as a component of non-dairy creamy dressings and as an accent in hummus and similar dips, but it can also be a delicious element in desserts, sauces and oatmeal. 

NOW whey protein powder

Whey is a high-quality and digestible form of protein. This powder has no added flavors or sweeteners, and easily mixes into shakes, smoothies, energy balls, etc. With third-party testing, low grit and nearly undetectable taste, consider this if you are in the market for a protein powder! 


Freekeh is a toasted green wheat similar to bulgur or cracked wheat that is used in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. The toasting gives it a little smoky flavor, and at 5 grams of protein and almost 5 grams of fiber per 1 ounce serving, it is a nutritional powerhouse in any dish where you would otherwise use rice, bulgur or cracked wheat. You can find it at the several Middle Eastern groceries here in Lexington.

sungold tomatoes

Sungolds are the sweetest little pops of sunshine in the tomato world. Available at Kentucky farmers markets from July(ish)-September(ish), they make the perfect salad topper or snack, or you can use them in a recipe if you have more self-control than I do. Grab them while they're in season and thank me later. 

avocado oil

Avocado oil is chock full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, with a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it a truly versatile oil! 

jasmine rice

Jasmine rice is most often used in Southeast Asian cooking and smells like popcorn while you cook it! Try it if you're looking for a little something new.

rice cakes

No, not THOSE rice cakes. Chewy rice cakes, made from rice flour and tapioca starch, are most famously used in the Korean dish tteokbokki: a popular street food made with gochujang. You can find them at Asian grocery stores in vacuum-sealed packs or frozen, and they also often have them at other well-stocked supermarkets. If you're looking for a gluten-free pasta alternative, or just simply like to try new foods, give them a try!

hard cooked eggs

If you need a super-duper shortcut, check out these hard cooked eggs that you can buy ready-to-eat! We'll admit, it does weird people out, but we think they pass the test. Look for ones that only have added ingredients of water and/or citric acid. 

Aroy-D coconut milk

Consistently ranked one of the higher-quality available coconut milks, Aroy-D has a great texture and no unexpected ingredients. It's available here in Lexington at larger and Asian-import groceries.

100% whole wheat English muffin

I like to balance my whole grains with a little bit of nostalgia, and 100% whole wheat English muffins fit the bill! Perfect with nut butter, as the base of a mini pizza, or in this week's copycat "McMuffin" recipe.

white whole wheat flour

White whole wheat flour is lighter and milder than regular whole wheat, but with all the same nutrition! With this flour, you don't need to seek out special whole wheat recipes, since white whole wheat flour can be substituted for all-purpose flour in many of your favorite "white flour" recipes.

shelf-stable gnocchi

A hearty pasta alternative, these potato dumplings can be boiled like pasta (done in three minutes!), but we think they really shine when cooked over direct heat like in the almost-no-cleanup, sheet-pan dish featured in this week's recipe. They get crispy and browned while remaining chewy and tender on the inside. They will stay good in the pantry for six months, so consider adding them to your list of staples!

chia seeds

Good things come in small packages. These tiny seeds are packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein. And they are more versatile than you might think! 

cinnamon sugar

Cinnamon sugar is a simple way to add a dash of flavor and sweetness to all kinds of things. Try it with toast, cereal, oatmeal, popcorn, sweet potatoes, yogurt and even coffee!

shrimp cocktail ring

Not just for appetizers! Buying a shrimp cocktail ring gives you instant access to a lean and delicious protein source that can be used in a variety of ways. 

freeze-dried herbs

Freeze-dried herbs offer the flavor, color and aroma of fresh herbs, but with less of the hassle, cost or waste you may experience with fresh herbs. You can use these as a direct substitute for fresh herbs in any recipe! 

Kozy Shack rice pudding

One of Vanessa's favorite desserts or snacks, Kozy Shack makes a product that is pretty darn close to homemade.

ponzu sauce

Ponzu is a refreshing, citrus-based Japanese condiment that can add a boost of flavor to your meals. It has many uses, including a dipping sauce, dressing or marinade. You can usually find it at major grocers, or make your own! 

McCormick ONE seasoning mixes

These packets of magic can help you create one-pot and one-pan meals with ease. They will help you save some time and effort in the kitchen. 

Mike's Hot Honey

This blend of honey, chiles and vinegar will add a little kick to just about anything!

bagged and precut veggies

Bagged and precut vegetables can be an incredibly convenient option. They are often trimmed and washed, and many can be steamed right in the bag. 

tomato paste

Tubes of tomato paste can keep for months in the fridge, and you can squeeze out just the amount you want. Look for a product that only has the ingredients you want, as some may contain garlic or vinegar. This article has a great tip for when to add it during your cooking process.

soy glaze

A staple in many Asian-inspired dishes, this condiment can also be easily made at home!

Polar Seltzer Ginger Lime Mule

A nice break from the more fruity seltzers that dominate the market. A refreshing blend of lime and ginger, with the just the right amount of bubbles!

Fairlife Lactose-Free yogurt

This yogurt is lactose-free, high in protein, low in added sugar and has a smooth, non-tangy flavor. A yummy range of flavors are available!

Kroger No Sugar Added pasta sauce

For jarred pasta sauces, this is a solid option. No added sugar and significantly less sodium than most others. 

peri peri sauce

Peri peri sauce is a little tangy and sour, a little salty, a little spicy and a tad sweet. It's delish on just about everything!

Mad Minis ice cream cookie sandwiches

These frozen treats are just the right size to satisfy your ice cream craving!


These young seedling vegetables are packed with nutrition. Use in salads, sandwiches, poke bowls or edible garnish. Find at the farmers market or grow your own. 

Persian cucumbers

Thin-skinned, crisp and sweeter than regular cucumbers, these are refreshing additions to salad or just to snack on.

Veggies Made Great muffins

These frozen muffins have vegetables as their first ingredient, and are fairly low in fat and sugar. Not bad for an easy breakfast or snack! 

medjool dates

These are the chewiest, carameliest dates out there! They aren't hard to find year round. 

fresh spinach

Spinach is so versatile! It has a mild flavor, is easy to use and can be slipped into a variety of dishes. Make Popeye proud! 

Sumo mandarin

It's a giant mandarin that is seedless, easy to peel, sweet and juicy!

Tea Drops

This twist on tea makes it fun, easy and tasty!

rotisserie chicken

A total dinner-saver on those crazy nights. 


These nuts are underrated (in our humble opinions). They come in flavors too!

freeze dried fruit

You can find these at many grocery stores - just look for 100% fruit with no added sugar or oil. 

Perdue Fresh Cuts diced chicken

Get a jumpstart on dinner with this already-diced fresh chicken.

Thrive kombucha

This local probiotic brew is available at the Lexington Farmers Market and other locations.

Simple Truth whole wheat pasta

Not a fan of whole wheat pastas? This brand may change your mind! 

Trader Joe's crispbread

Super seedy and satisfying, these are a great addition to snack time or any time.

lettuce boats

These come ready to use and are a fun and healthy alternative to grain-based wraps.

Kimchi Kooks

This tangy, spicy Korean condiment can be added to nearly anything for some umami loaded flavor. 

Saffron Road simmer sauces

Pull a meal together in minutes with these tasty, whole-food based sauces.


A North African spice paste that's sweetly smoky and sometimes spicy. 

Aidell's chicken products

These ready-to-use chicken products are incredibly convenient and tasty.

gomasio seasoning

Use less salt and still get the satisfaction of shaking something over your food.

Wholly Guacamole

This line of products makes it easy and tasty to eat those healthy fats.

Starkist pouches

A variety of easy and tasty products that help you eat more lean protein.

Spice World squeeze garlic and ginger

Many recipes call for the fresh versions, which makes these a must-have product.

Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea

Full of warming spices and subtle sweetness. It's decaffeinated too!

Taylor Farms meal kits

Ready to cook veggies and sauce. Just add protein for a meal in minutes.

Bada Bean Bada Boom

A crunchy, salty snack packed with plant protein and fiber.

Healthy Choice power bowls

A tasty and whole-food based frozen meal option.

Siggi's yogurt

Simple ingredients, not much sugar and lots of protein. What else does a yogurt need?


Egg whites, nuts and fruits are the basis for these whole-food high-protein bars.

bare fruit chips

Just real fruit baked to a crunch - a sweet treat of fruity goodness.


Popcorn is a whole grain, and SkinnyPop serves it up in a variety of health-conscious and tasty ways.

riced cauliflower

An easy, tasty, low-carb alternative to rice. Plus it helps you with your veggie goals!

SkinnyDipped almonds

Flavored almonds with minimal sugar and no artificial sweeteners.

Crunchmaster crackers

Whole grain, gluten-free crackers packed with crunch and umami.

Spindrift sparkling water

A low calorie frizzy beverage flavored with real fruit juice.

EatingWell frozen entrees

Whole food based frozen meals that taste fresh.

the GOOD bean crunchy chickpeas

A crunchy snack with a dose of plant-based protein.

Beanitos chips

A chip that actually satisfies hunger because it's packed with fiber and protein.

Peanut Butter & Co dark chocolate peanut butter

Dark chocolate peanut butter - we call it "healthier Nutella!"

jasmine brown rice

The aromatic flavor of jasmine rice, but with a whole grain punch.

90-second lentils

The fiber and protein of lentils without the time or effort.