3 tasty things to pick up at the grocery store

We like sending readers to local farmers markets and retail shops, but sometimes you just need to pick up something from the grocery store. Here are three things we’re enjoying now.

Mexican-style cotija cheese

The cheeses we enjoy are produced in many countries. In fact, cheese might be the most internationally diverse food most households serve. Gayo Azul has been producing Dutch cheeses, such as edam and gouda, for Caribbean customers since the 1950s. The distinctive label with a blue rooster also can be found on packages of Hispanic cheeses, such as queso blanco and queso para freir. Lately, we’ve been enjoying Gayo Azul’s cotija, a Mexican-style cow’s milk cheese. Its crumbly texture traditionally makes it easy to sprinkle on grilled Mexican street corn and tacos. We enjoyed the cotija on chicken enchiladas, where it made the perfect, tangy topping to the saucy, smoky chicken filling. It also was good on huevos rancheros, made using the recipe we found on the company’s website.

$6.87 per 8-ounce package. Available at Publix and at Walmart Supercenters. gayoazul.com

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Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Easy snacks

St. Simons Island-based Farm Rich was the first company to make mozzarella sticks available in grocery stores, and, 40 years later, the company still is producing snack items you’ll find on the frozen-food aisle. We tried the mozzarella sticks, of course, as well as the loaded potato skins, but Farm Rich also is making mozzarella bites, four different styles of meatballs, barbecue boneless chicken bites, cheddar cheese curds and more. They are perfect for quick snacks, or as the basis of a meal, using the recipes on the company’s website. Our young neighbors loved turning the mozzarella sticks into “cars,” following one of those recipes. And, we’re looking forward to trying Farm Rich’s plant-based line, Garden Inspirations, including barbecue sliders and breaded cauliflower bites.

$6.99-$7.99 per 15- to 20-ounce package. Available at Publix, Kroger, or check the “Where to Buy” tab at farmrich.com.

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Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Beef and Polish sausages

Kiolbassa Smoked Meats of San Antonio, Texas, was founded in 1949 by Rufus and Juanita Kiolbassa, who produced sausages smoked in small batches over a hardwood fire. The business remains family-owned, but the product line has expanded to include breakfast links in two flavors, dry-cured bacon in two flavors, Mexican-style chorizo and smoked beef, Polish and jalapeno sausages. We are big fans using sausage to add flavor to a meal, and smoked sausage holds a special appeal for the big meat lover in our household. We grilled the two varieties we found at the grocery store, beef and Polish, then added the beef sausage to zucchini noodles and added the Polish sausage to a pasta salad, following recipes we found on the Kiolbassa website. Both were delicious, flavorful meals.

$6.89-$6.99 per 13-ounce package of smoked sausage. Available at Publix, Kroger or check the “Where to Buy” tab at kiolbassa.com.

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