I buy a $12 frozen item every time I visit Costco, but follow my cooking secret and no one will know it's from a packet

THANKS to a clever cooking hack, your dinner guests will never know that your succulent side dish is actually a bargain bag of vegetables from Costco.

A nutritionist revealed the go-to frozen veggie mix she buys every time she visits the warehouse store – and the sneaky strategy that tricks her dinner guests into thinking it's made from scratch.

Sharing her expert cooking hack at Kitchn, nutritionist Heather McClees revealed the bargain bag of frozen veggies isn't just delicious, but organic, too.

The Calabrian Roots Organic Balsamic Glazed Vegetable Blend includes 48 ounces of asparagus, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini.

Before they're bagged and frozen, the vegetables are tossed in a light, balsamic vinegar glaze that adds instant flavor to any dish.

An $11.99 bag contains a whopping 12 servings, so you spend just under a dollar for each portion.


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But the real secret to transforming the simple side into a culinary achievement is the cooking method, McClees divulged.

"The absolute best way to cook this frozen vegetable side is to roast the pieces in the oven," she explained.

"I spread the blend out on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast them until just browned on top, about 15 to 20 minutes," McClees wrote.

Spreading the veggies on tin foil also reduces any cleanup efforts to one easy step.

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That's a longer prep time than the package instructions indicate – heating them in a skillet, the brand's official recommendation, takes just eight minutes.

But despite the extra effort, McClees swears by her technique.

"I promise, it's worth it," she insisted.

Once the roasted vegetables are done, wow your guests by tossing them into a salad or serving with well-marinated chicken or fish.

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If you're anything like McClees, the veggies might not make it that far.

"Sometimes, I just eat them right off the baking sheet," the nutritionist confessed.

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