By Heather Mills
Let’s face it: By now, we are all starting to feel a little stir-crazy after more than a month of the stayat-home order. Supporting local restaurants is important, but not always an option for hungry families. Instead, we find ourselves cooking more meals at home, which often don’t measure up to the quality of a restaurant-made meal. But what if you can make a restaurant-quality sandwich in your own kitchen? I am here to tell you that you can.
I live in Del Ray with my husband and 3-year-old son and spend my time making meals composed entirely of ingredients from the Aldi on East Monroe Avenue. I document my endeavors on an Instagram account called “All I Need is Aldi.” My goal is to prove that you don’t necessarily need fancy stores or expensive ingredients to create heathy, fun and delicious meals.
Aldi has a massive following, often called Aldi Nerds, and I am one of them. Us Aldi Nerds have been talking nonstop lately about Aldi’s “red bag chicken,” formally known as Kirkwood Breaded Chicken Filets. These fully cooked and lightly breaded filets are found in the frozen meat section for $5.99.
I don’t typically buy frozen meat, and I was dubious at first, but let me tell you, the hype is real. These frozen filets are good, flavorful and toddler-approved. Paired with another Aldi fan favorite, the brioche buns, you have yourself a restaurant-worthy spicy chicken sandwich that barely stayed on the plate long enough for me to grab a picture.
The writer is a Del Ray resident who runs the Instagram account @allineedisaldi, which features quick, easy and healthy family meals made with ingredients from Aldi.
Recipe: Aldi’s red bag chicken sandwich
• Kirkwood Breaded Chicken Breast Filets
• Kicked-up aioli: 3 tbsp. mayonnaise, juice from ½ lemon, 2 tsp. spicy seasoning (I use “Kicked Up Chicken Seasoning” from Aldi.)
• Brioche buns
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
• Place chicken filets on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for about another 5-10 minutes.
• Turn the broiler on high for 1-2 minutes. Remove once the breading starts to crisp up.
• In the meantime, mix together aioli ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as desired.
• Butter the brioche buns and grill until heated through.
• Assemble your sandwich: Spread aioli on a warm buttered bun, add spinach, sliced tomatoes, pickles and chicken.
Notes: Many Aldi Nerds recommend making the chicken in an air fryer. Air fryer cooking times vary. Young kiddos may not like the spicy aioli and some of the toppings. I gave my 3-year-old a sandwich that was topped with just chicken, tomatoes and plain mayo.