Stock Up: 3 things to pick up at the grocery store

Credit: Shaun Pitts

Credit: Shaun Pitts

We enjoy featuring local and regional food entrepreneurs, but sometimes you just need something you can pick up quickly at the grocery store. Here are three such items.

Credit: Andrew Cebulka

Credit: Andrew Cebulka

Spicy crab dip

Tony Blanchard grew up on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, enjoying crab dip made from a recipe passed down through generations of his family. In 2012, he and his wife, Tracy, opened Big T’s Coastal Provisions in Mount Pleasant, to share that dip with the rest of us. The original dip now is accompanied by a spicy version. We bought the spicy one and appreciated that the first ingredient is crab and the second is cream cheese. There are some seasonings, of course, and a bit of fresh jalapeno for the spice. The result is a creamy dip, with just a bit of heat at the end. The company website has dozens of ideas for how to go beyond just dipping a cracker (or a spoon) into the container. We’re looking forward to using one of the dips in place of the traditional mayonnaise and shredded cheese combination in our summer tomato pies.

$8.99 per 8-ounce container. Available at Publix and Whole Foods. Information:

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Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Broth bases

Broth concentrates are among our must-have pantry items. With a jar of a concentrated base in the refrigerator, you always can have delicious broth, and you’re not taking up lots of shelf space. Add a teaspoon of the base to a cup of water, and you have instant broth for cooking or sipping. We’ve long admired Zoup for its high-quality broths, and now the company is making culinary concentrates in three flavors — chicken bone, beef bone and savory vegan. One 8-ounce jar can make up to 10 quarts of broth, or you can use a spoonful to kick up the flavor in your gravy, soups and stews. These concentrates from Zoup have no mystery ingredients, and we love the convenience of the little jars. Zoup packs a lot of flavor into a small package.

$9.99 per 8-ounce jar. Available at Fresh Market, Amazon and

Ground beef crumbles

Ground beef is a staple for many of our favorite meals, but sometimes we forget to thaw it properly before preparing to cook dinner. We were so glad to be introduced to Pound of Ground’s frozen ground beef crumbles (they look like small pebbles). The crumbles come in regular, regular with onions and hearty-sized versions. We tried the one with onions and really enjoyed the convenience. You take the package from the freezer, put the beef into a skillet, cover it and cook for less than 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it’s done all the way through. There’s no big block to defrost and, because the beef is in crumbles, it breaks apart easily and evenly as it cooks. We added some salsa to our cooked crumbles and had nearly instant taco filling. The regular crumbles would be perfect for pasta sauce, and the hearty-sized pieces would be exactly right in chili.

$4.99-$6.49 per 1-pound package. Available at Kroger and Sam’s Club. Information:

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