Should I apologize for my extreme obsession with Aldi? My first trip to an Aldi was at the store in Pittsburg, KS after Chad started to school there. Joplin also has an Aldi and it was about the same distance to Pittsburg as it was to Joplin but if I went to Pittsburg, I didn’t have to deal with the traffic in Joplin and, if I timed it right, I could meet Chad for lunch since he was in college there. I didn’t go often – maybe once a month. The funny thing was that the first few times I went, I didn’t even like it and really only went back because of Vince insisting I shop there because of the prices. At some point, the love affair with Aldi began and blossomed.
Then, when we moved here, I missed Aldi terribly! When I’d come back from my trips to MO, I’d stop at the Aldi in Lawton, OK and stock up on as much as I could fit in the car.
It wasn’t until the store opened here and we would go often . . yes, mostly every day or every other day, that it became almost a mission to find the most amazing bargains and the best foods.
There’s an “Aldi Nerd” Facebook group and if you think I’m addicted to Aldi, you should see some of those people. They’re way worse (that’s my story!).
On that group, they’ve been talking about the “red bag chicken”. Most of them say if you use those chicken breasts, and the brioche buns, it tastes just like a chicken sandwich from . . I probably shouldn’t say the name but they’re not open on Sunday and Vince and I go there often. OK . . got it?
I am really picky about my chicken and had no intention of trying it. When Vince and I go to the restaurant, he gets the sandwich and I get the strips, which I carefully cut apart and make sure there are no gross veins or weird rubbery pieces that I’m going to bite into. When I buy raw chicken, I really give it the once over and I cut out anything that doesn’t look completely right – bruises, veins, fat, rubbery looking parts. So, no . . buying a pre-breaded, pre-cooked chicken breast was not going to work for me. Except . . those people on the Facebook group were relentless . . they cannot live without their red bag chicken and brioche buns.
The last time we were out, there it was at our store – red bag chicken! I told Vince about how everyone raves about it. He got the bag out, looked at it, shook it a bit and said “No, I don’t think we’d like this.” I said “Fine, eat out and pay more!” He got the red bag chicken.
And another bag of brioche buns.
I wasn’t sure how long to cook it. I knew the Aldi Nerd folks were mostly cooking it in the air fryer so I googled it and found this page. Not only does it have complete instructions, which really . . cook in air fryer for 10 minutes on one side, flip and cook on the other side for 10 minutes, but she also had the recipe for the sauce that I love! The sauce that I can actually eat with a spoon. She said to use the Aldi brand (of course!) Carolina BBQ sauce and mayo, equal parts. I can do that!
Just that morning I had worked on cleaning out the pantry, came across that bottle of Carolina BBQ sauce that is about to expire; thought to myself that we never use a different BBQ sauce but kept it anyway. So I grabbed it, grabbed the mayo and mixed it up.
There it is . . right next to a container of the real thing . . looking almost exactly like it and tasting exactly like it! Vince was working on a computer and I went in there with a spoon I’d dipped in the sauce and said “Taste this!” Honest to goodness . . he said “Why are you wasting the sauce?” because he thought it was the sauce we’d brought home from the restaurant!
Put the sauce on the bread, made the sandwiches. Oh, my . . those sandwiches were so good. The chicken was tender and there was nothing weird in it – I didn’t see any veins or any rubbery pieces. Perfect!
We both sat there saying . . WOW! This is so good. I was so good. I’m so happy I tried the red bag chicken.