Shop Cheap

Sharing the best prices on groceries and other stuff in the Sacramento region.

January 30, 2009
Last minute "super" savings

Smart & Final had a shiny insert in The Bee on Friday. It was filled with savings designed especially for "Super Sunday." There's Johnsonville brats for $3.49; Hillshire Farm Lit'l smokies 2lbs/$5.99; Hass avocado 5/$1 and Mission tortilla chips 2/$5. A couple of coupons are worth mentioning: Tyson chicken wings $2 off a 5lb bag and Stouffer's lasagne $2 off a 96oz tray.

SAFEWAY is using a Free Pizza coupon to get you into the store on Sunday. In The Bee on Sunday you will find a coupon for a free Signature Cafe pizza when you spend $25 on groceries. If you are heading there to stock up for the game, remember avocados are 67-cents each; Lay's chips and Nabisco crackers are $1.69; General Mills Raisin Bran and Cheerios are $1.99 a box; Lucerne large eggs are BOGO for the 18-count container and there's the coupon for 4-12 packs of soda for $7.99.

Inside the Sunday ad, you will find coupons for a deli sandwich ($3.99); Signature Cafe soup ($3.99) and Signature Cafe salad ($3.99). Also, you can get a free side dish when you purchase a roasted chicken. But the best coupons/savings are on the back page where there's a coupon to save $10 off your next purchase (spend $50 this time). The other clip-worthy coupon is for Orowheat Variety Breads at $1.99 a loaf. Also worth mentioning: Campbell's Chunky soup for 99-cents a can; asparagus for $1.48 a pound and Mott's apple juice for 99-cents.

January 28, 2009
Super recipes

This week we have Super Recipes to go with the Super Bowl. Recipe researcher Sheila Kern has something for everyone at your party. Plus, we heard from the folks at Pace Picante and they sent along a recipe, too. Have fun and enjoy the game.

Just in case you misplaced your guacamole recipe, here's one we wrote about before from the California Avocado Commission:

Classic Guacamole

Serves 8



4 ripe Fresh California avocados, seeded and peeled

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tomato, finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ tsp ground cumin

3 drops hot pepper sauce



Using a fork, coarsely mash avocado with lemon juice and garlic.

Stir in remaining ingredients to blend.

Garnish as desired and serve with tortilla chips.

Maple-Mustard Country-Style Spareribs


Serves 6


6 large country spareribs (about 4-1/2 pounds)

3/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup coarse grained mustard

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons Tabasco

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Salt and coarse ground black pepper


Mix maple syrup, mustard, brown sugar, hot sauce, and soy sauce. Set glaze aside. Create indirect fire with foil drip pan half-filled with water. Lay ribs on rack over drip pan and brush with glaze. Cover and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, turning and basting every 15 minutes. Move ribs to hot side of grill. Brush with glaze, cover, and grill for 5 minutes. Repeat, turning and basting, until ribs are tender and brown (about 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Hidden Valley Potato Skins


Makes 8 to 10 servings


4 Baked potatoes, quartered

1/4 cup Sour cream

1 packet/1 oz. Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

1 cup Shredded Cheddar cheese

Sliced green onions and/or crumbled bacon (optional)


Scoop the potato out of the skins; combine with sour cream and seasoning & salad dressing mix. Fill skins with mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375°F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with green onions and/or bacon bits, if desired.

California Avocado Tacos

Source: California Avocado Commission

Serves 12


1 ripe California avocado, peeled and seeded

1 medium onion, julienned

2 large green peppers, julienned

2 large red peppers, julienned

1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh tomato salsa (see below)

12 flour tortillas

non-stick cooking spray

Fresh Tomato Salsa


1 cup tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup onions, diced

1/2 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp cilantro

1/3 tsp jalapeno peppers, chopped

1/2 tsp lime, juiced

pinch of cumin


Spray skillet with cooking spray. Lightly saute onion and green and red peppers.

Cut avocado into 12 slices. Warm tortillas in oven and fill with peppers, onions, avocado slices and salsa. Fold tortillas and serve.

Salsa Preparation: Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate in advance.

Sunset dip

From: Campbell's Kitchen

Prep: 5 minutes

Serves: 12


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

1 cup Pace Picante Sauce or Pace Chunky Salsa

Tortilla chips


Spread the cream cheese in a 9-inch microwaveable pie plate.

Sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese.

Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until the Cheddar cheese is

melted. Top with the picante sauce. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Lime Squares with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust


Makes 16 squares



4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan

2/3 cup shelled pistachios

1 cup (4 ounces) graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoons grated lime zest


2 large egg yolks

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh lime juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with melted butter. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

In a food processor, finely grind pistachios with graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, and zest. Blend in butter. Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool crust, 30 minutes.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice; whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges.

Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan on rack; then chill at least 1 hour before serving. Using parchment paper overhang, lift out of pan, and transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut. To store in refrigerator, cover with plastic wrap.

January 27, 2009
"Super Sunday" sales

Here's a thought. We rename Sunday's game the "Hass Avocado Super Bowl." The winner  (a professional team) plays the winner of the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl" (a college team) and we  have the first ever Chip & Dip Bowl. Yep, it's silly, but so is all the food hype over "The Game." So much for the healthy-eating resolution. This is Super Snack Sunday and it's reflected in all of the grocery ads.

We are prepared to name avocado the official fruit (yes, it's a fruit) of the Super Bowl since it's estimated that we will consume nearly 50 million pounds on Sunday - without the chips. If you want more info, here's a great website:

Now, for the specials (most include avocado - the Super Fruit):

 Let's start with Safeway this week where you can find avocado for 67-cents each during the 72-hour "Game Day" sale. To go with that, there's a coupon for 4-12 packs of soda for $7.99; Johnsonville brats 2/$5 and California Pizza Kitchen pizza for $3.99.

The $5 Friday special is Signature Cafe Pizza. Stock up on Friday for Sunday's game. Pork spareribs are $1.99lb (Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce is BOGO); 93% lean ground beef is $3.99lb; Tyson chicken strips and Foster Farms boneless/skinless tenders are BOGO.

In the nothing-but-snacks category, Lays potato chips are $1.69; Nabisco crackers are $1.69 a box; Hillshire Farm Lit'l smokies or sausages are 2/$5; Dennison's chili with beans is $1 a can and Tostitos chips are 2/$6. Pace picante or salsa is 2/$5;  Orville Redenbacher's popcorn is BOGO; and Safeway or Manor House chicken wings are $6.99 for a 4lb bag. Two-liter sodas are 99-cents and the All-American foot-long sub in the deli is $5.99.

Because we need fruit & veggies in our diet, there's seedless grapes for  88-cents a pound; vine ripeded tomatoes for 98-cents a pound; O Organics baby salads for $1.99 each and fresh berries 2/$5.

Other stuff: Campbell's Chunky soups are 99-cents a can; Arrowhead drinking water is $3.50 a case; bakery bagels are 25-cents each and Quaker oatmeal is $2.50 for a 42-oz. box.

Over at Raley's the Chip & Dip Bowl is featured with avocado at $1 each and BOGO Tostitos. Other items for the Sunday menu include: spareribs for $1.99lb (Kraft BBQ sauce is 99-cents); Russet potatoes 2lbs/$1; Nabisco crackers $2 a box; Rojo's salsa is $2.29; and Sunnyside sour cream is 99-cents for 8oz. Ortega taco shells are 3/$5; Tabasco is 99-cents; Rosarita refries are $1 a can; Pace picante is $2.50 and Nob Hill fresh pico de gallo is $2.50 in the deli.

It's a good week to be thirsty; all kinds of drinks are on sale. Buy two-12 packs of 7-Up, get two free; buy three 8-packs of Pepsi, get two free; Gatorade is $1 a bottle; a case of Arrowhead - $3.99 each - or buy two, get one kids pack free. 2-Liter 7-Up is $1 and Pepsi is $1.50.

In produce, limes are 5/$1; Jalapeno peppers are 99-cents a pound; and fresh cilantro is 50-cents a bunch. Berries are 2/$5 and tangelos are 99-cents a pound. Green beans are $1.49 a pound.

Raley's large eggs are $2.50 in the 18-pack; Sunnyside Farms cottage cheese is $1.99 and a pound of butter is $2.50. If you buy 5 Quaker Oats products (oatmeal, cereal, granola bars or breakfast squares) you get $3 off at the checkout. 

Save Mart is also promoting its "Big Game" values with country-style ribs for 99-cents a pound  (Kraft BBQ sauce is $1.25); medium avocados are 2/$1 (large are 4/$5); Roma tomatoes are 79-cents a pound; Nabisco crackers are $2 a box and Doritos are BOGO. A foot-long "Super" sub is $7.99 and Reser's salads are $4.99 for 3lbs. Jose Ole mini tacos or taquitos are $4 a box; Bobby Salazar's salsa is $1.99; Gallo salame is $4.99 a pack; Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies are $3.50 a pack and 12-packs of Coke or Dasani water are 4/$13 (with the coupon on page 5).

In produce, Fresh Express salads are BOGO as are Blue Diamond almonds in a 6-oz. can. Driscoll's berries are $2.49 and extra large lemons are 3/99-cents.

Vic's in Folsom is doing the game thing with avocado 2/$1 and Tostitos 2/$5. Dennison's chili is 99-cents a can; Pace salsa is $2 a jar; Ortega salsa is $1.79 and pork spareribs are $1.99 a pound (Kraft BBQ sauce is 99-cents).  Frozen tacos or taquitos are $3.99; Lawry's seasoning mix is 79-cents; Kraft cheeses are $2.99 a pack; Lit'l Smokies are $2.99 a pack. Roma tomatoes are 99-cents a pound; Fuji apples are 99-cents a pound; and Texas red grapefruit is 59-cents each. Crystal cottage cheese is $1.99; yogurt is 50-cents a carton; and Arrowhead water is $3.99 a case.

Foods Co. has a great deal on snack items. Buy 10, save $5. They include Kraft singles; Knudsen sour cream; Philly cream cheese; Fritos or Cheetos; SoBe water; Pepsi 8-packs; Pace salsa; Ritz Crackers and Aquafina water. Boneless/skinless chicken breasts are $1.87lb; Hillshire Farm sausages are $1.98  a pack; and a 4lb bag of Kroger chicken wings is $6.98. In produce, Braeburn apples are 2lbs/98-cents; seedless grapes 97-cents a pound; fresh cilantro is 33-cents a bunch; broccoli is 98-cents each and large pears are 68-cents a pound. Beef backribs are 78-cents a pound (Kraft BBQ sauce is 88-cents); Doritos are $2 a bag; Mission tortilla chips are $2.50 a bag and a twin pack of Western Hearth bread is $2.98.

The specials at Rainbow Foods include beef backribs for 99-cents a pound (Kraft BBQ sauce is 99-cents); Prego spaghetti sauce is $1.99; Golden Grain pasta is 99-cents a pack; Dennisons chili and Rosarita refries are 99-cents a can; and Campbell's tomato or chicken noodle soups are $1 a can. In produce, avocados are 2/$1; limes are (seriously) 10 pounds/$1; Russett potatoes are 2lbs/$1; roma tomatoes are 59-cents a pound; and fresh cilantro is 34-cents a bunch.

Come back tomorrow. To make your party planning easier, we'll have recipes for ribs, potato skins, avocado tacos, a lime dessert, and, of course, guac.


January 21, 2009
Tamale pie, Tilapia and zucchini bread

Winter has returned and recipe researcher Sheila Kern has come up with the perfect meals to match the weather outside. Who doesn't like Tamale Pie, a good white fish like Tilapia or zucchini bread? Thought so. Many of the Tamale Pie ingredients, Tilapia and zucchini are all on sale. Enjoy!

Tamale Pie


1 large onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 T olive or canola oil

1 pound lean ground beef (ground turkey works, too)

14.5-ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes (drained) or 3 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup cornmeal

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon chili powder

Sliced ripe olives

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic in the oil until just tender. Crumble the ground beef into the skillet and brown. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and chili powder. Cook over low-to-medium heat for about 20 minutes.

While the meat mixture is simmering, bring 3 cups of the water to a boil. Slowly pour the corn meal into the remaining 1 cup of cold water, stirring until smooth. Add the salt and chile powder to the boiling water, and then, stirring constantly, add the cold corn meal mixture to the boiling water. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover.

Spray a casserole or baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Using half of the cornmeal mixture, line the dish. Fill with the meat mixture. Sprinkle sliced ripe olives over the top. Using the remaining half of the cornmeal mixture, cover the top of the pie.

Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes about 6 servings.

Note: You can jazz this up with chopped green chiles, grated cheese, etc., but it's not necessary. This is classic tamale pie.


 Pecan-crusted Tilapia



1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

2 tablespoon pecans finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

3 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 ounces tilapia or snapper fillets

1 tablespoon vegetable oil divided

4 lemon wedges


Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a medium bowl; place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge 1fillet in flour. Dip in buttermilk mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Repeat procedure with remaining fillets, flour, buttermilk mixture, and breadcrumb mixture. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 fillets; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets. Serve with lemon wedges.


Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia


Every Day with Rachael Ray October 2006


3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons paprika

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

4 tilapia fillets (about 1 pound total)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 400º. In a shallow dish, combine the cheese with the paprika and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and dredge in the cheese mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish with the lemon wedges.

Zucchini Bread


Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Show: Paula's Home Cooking Episode: Weekend House Guest

Yield 2 loaves


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup water

2 cups grated zucchini

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

January 20, 2009
Hail to the coupon

We didn't find any post-inauguration sales, but there are plenty of coupons from Raley's, 48-hour budget-stretchers from Safeway and Save Mart celebrating its 57th anniversary with prices to match.

Here are the highlights:

It took me a minute to figure it out, but check the SAVE MART ad because it is so creative. Every price on the front - except for the fresh pork spareribs (at $1.37 a pound) end in .57. So you have London broil for $2.57lb; a case of Crystal Geyser spring water for $3.57; an 18oz. carton of blueberries for $3.57 and peanut butter for $1.57.  Other items worth note (inside the circular) include: fresh ground round for $2.99lb; petite Argentine scallops $3.99lb and Foster Farms ground turkey breast $3.99lb. More on that ".57 theme:" Sunny Select cereal for $1.57; a 12-pack of Dad's root beer  or Pepsi products for $2.57 and Sunshine Krispy crackers for $1.57. S&W beans are $1 a can and C&W veggies are 2/$5. In produce, there's apples and pears for 99-cents a pound; packages of hearts of Romaine 2/$4 and leaf lettuce for 79-cents a head.

RALEY'S will have you clipping again with coupons for Post cereal ($1.57 a box); Tide detergent ($4.99); Pugliese bread in the bakery ($2.59) and BOGO Jeannie-O Turkey Store bacon or sausage. They are also having a mix and match 10 for $10 sale. Items include: Golden Grain pasta; Fresh Express bagged salads; broccoli; Raley's ketchup or mustard. Renuzit air freshener and Scotch-Brite sponges are also $1 each,

The sale also includes many items in produce, where it's 10 pounds for $10. Check out the apples, navel oranges, Roma tomatoes, green bell pepper and zucchini.

A large container of Sunnyside Farms cottage cheese is $3.99 and Danish Creamery butter is $3.99 a pound. The Raley's brands sale continues with an 18-pack of large eggs for $2.50; instant oatmeal for $1.99; fruit or vegetable juices 2/$5 and canned fruit for 99-cents.

SAFEWAY'S 48-hour Saturday/Sunday sale includes bags of frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts for $1.79lb; BOGO fresh strawberries and Hunt's canned tomatoes for 77 cents. I get dissed for recommending sales on bottled water, but at Safeway you can get a case of Dasani, Aquafina, Arrowhead or Refreshe for $3.33. The Safeway 10 for $10 sale includes Fresh Express bagged salads; fresh yellow peaches; Fuji apples; oranges; zucchini; roma tomatoes, Iceberg lettuce and Cara Mia Marinated artichoke hearts. Also, Rosarita refried beans.

They have a great price ($1.79lb) on Rancher's Reserve boneless cross-rib roast; and fresh Tilapia fillets at $4.99 a pound (at the Madison Ave. store; $5.99 everywhere else).

In the BOGO category, there's Breyer's ice cream; Ritz crackers and Chips Ahoy!; Smithfield smoked sausage; Foster Farms variety pack lunchmeats; Progresso canned soups or Healthy Choice Microbowls and Lysol cleaning products.

In the bakery, fresh donuts are 25-cents each and in the deli Homestyle Meatloaf is the $5 Friday special.

If you have Super Bowl Sunday plans, Ruffles or Tostitos chips are buy 2, get 2 free. It's the same for 12 packs of 7-UP and A&W root beer.

FOODS CO. has fresh white corn 3/99-cents; Fuji apples 2lbs/99-cents and large avocados for 67 cents each. Campbell's chicken noodle or Tomato soup is 58-cents a can; Western Hearth bread is $1.58 a loaf and Layton Farms English muffins are 98-cents a pack. In the meat dept., fresh whole chicken is 97-cents a pound. Dairy deals include a 16oz mozzarella ball for $2.98; Sunnyside farms yogurt for 50-cents a carton and Kroger OJ for $3.98 a gallon.

At VIC'S in FOLSOM, they have a recipe for "Easy, Classic, Chicken Stir Fry" along with a sale on boneless/skinless chicken breasts $1.79lb; long grain rice for $1.69 a bag; C&W bagged veggies 3/$5 and Kikkoman sauce for $1.29. Sirloin roast is $2.99lb; London broil steak is $2.99lb and fresh Bay scallops are $3.99lb. American Beauty or Ronzoni pasta  is 99-cents a box; Del Monte ketchup is 99-cents in the squeeze bottle; Bush's Best beans are 79-cents a can and Del Monte spaghetti sauce is $1.09 a can. In produce, Tangelos are 89-cents a pound; strawberries are $2.99 a pound and fresh yellow onions are 39-cents a pound.

And if you need a haircut, check out the Great Clips coupons for $5.99 and $7.99.

Come back Thursday (after your haircut) for more recipes.

January 16, 2009
Clip (or print ) coupon, save $20

Raley's is back with the big, red coupon. From today until Sunday, you can save $20 when you spend $100 on groceries by clipping the coupon on page A9 of today's Bee or by going online at and printing the coupon.

Check out Shop Cheap at to see what's on sale at the store, then make your list. $20 off is definitely worth the effort.

January 14, 2009
Recipes go with what's on sale

We have some delicious recipes - thanks to our expert researcher Sheila Kern. Many of the ingredients  - mushrooms, London broil and blueberries - are on sale this week at local supermarkets. Enjoy!

 Garlic, Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Yield 4 to 6 servings


16-20 large white mushrooms

3-4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced garlic

1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs (or 1/2 cup fresh)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

1 egg



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Remove stems from mushrooms.

3. If you've got a melon baller, scoop out some of the mushroom's insides.

4. Chop all mushroom bits finely.

5. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients and blend well.

6. Add more oil if mixture looks dry.

7. Should look shiny.

8. Lightly oil an oven proof-serving dish

9. Use a spoon to stuff mushroom caps and place in oiled baking dish

10. Bake for 30 minutes or until tops are browned and mushrooms are soft

11. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Sweet and Spicy London Broil: We featured this recipe in October, but it's worth repeating.



1 flank steak (about 1 3/4 pound)

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil

2 T. sweet paprika

2 T. light brown sugar

1 T. kosher salt

2 t. chili powder

1 lime, zested


Preheat a broiler to high. Bring the steaks to room temperature about 20 minutes before cooking.

Mix the olive oil, paprika, sugar, chili powder, salt, chili powder, and zest in a bowl to make a paste. Rub the spice mixture all over the steak. Broil until just charred and crispy on top, about 6 minutes on 1 side. Flip the steak and cook until beginning to char, about 6 minutes more or until rare and temperature registers 115 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Place the steak on a cutting board and let rest, tented with foil for about 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and serve.


The next two recipes make use of the berries that are on sale this week.

Blueberry-Lemon Bundt Cake


Prep time: 20 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

2 cups blueberries

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

Nonstick cooking spray, for pan

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

For best results, coat the inside of the Bundt pan with cooking spray just before filling it with the batter to prevent it from pooling in the bottom.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.

In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving, if desired.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins


Yield 12 muffins


1 stick of butter

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups blueberries, frozen or fresh


1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and milk. Add 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Carefully stir in 2 cups blueberries. Divide batter among muffin tins. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, zest and butter and sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes

January 13, 2009
Read this, save money

The "Year of the Coupon" continues at Raley's this week. And if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, berries are ripe and on sale this week. Here are the highlights:

RALEY'S: We'll start with the coupons for bath tissue ($5.49 for 12 double rolls); Kleenex (89-cents a box) and Suave shampoo or contitioner for 88-cents. In the food aisle, there's a family pack of dinner rolls for 99-cents; BOGO on Kern's nectar and a meal deal on Tri Tip (buy the beef and get mashed potatoes and gravy free).

Raley's also has a Kellogg's sale. Buy 4 boxes of cereal and save $6 (final price per box is $1.50). Eggo waffles ($1.99) and syrup ($2.49) are also on sale. Boneless beef chuck roast is $1.98lb and Raley's has a  BBQ beef recipe,too. Fresh Express salads in the bag are 2/$4 and Cameo apples are 99-cents a pound. Raley's makes a pretty tasty pico de gallo and it's on sale for $2.49/7 oz size. Stores are gearing up for the biggest snack day of the year - Super Bowl Sunday. There's everything from salsa ($2 a jar); to chips ($2 a bag); to a 24-pack of Aquafina water ($3.99); to green chilis (89-cents a can).

Large eggs are $2 a dozen; Sunnyside cottage cheese is $1.99 and sourdough rounds in the bakery are 99-cents each.

SAVE MART has the berries for 99-cents for a 6oz. container and Fuji apples for 89-cents a pound. Bohemian Hearth bread is $1.99 a loaf; Campbell's chicken noodle or tomato soups are 49-cents a can. Foster Farms chicken breasts are $1.49lb and Sunny Select drinking water is $3.34 a case. Sunnyside farms large eggs are $3 for the 18-count container; shredded cheese is $1.99 a package; Kashi dinners or pocket bread is BOGO. Eggo Waffles are $2.79 a carton.

In produce, there's tomatoes for $1.49lb; avocado for $1 each; Romaine hearts for $1.99 a bag and apples are 99-cents a pound.

Over at SAFEWAY, they are having a 48-hour "Game Day Sale." (Conference Championships Sale just doesn't have a good ring to it). Either way, on Saturday and Sunday you can stock up on Tyson Hot & Spicy cooked chicken wings for $2.99; avocado for 88-cents each or DiGiorno pizza for $3.99.

The berries at Safeway are 2/$3; apples are $1.50 a pound; Navel oranges are $3.99 for a 10-pound bag and whole or sliced white mushrooms are $1 a pound. You can put those mushrooms to good use on Rancher's Reserve London broil ($2.29 a pound) or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs or combo pack ($1.99lb); or boneless pork loin ($1.99 lb).

If you do Ragu, it's buy 2 get 3 free and Barilla pasta is $1 a package. Safeway Italian sausages are $3 a pack; and 93% lean ground beef is $3.99lb. A bakery baguette is $1.79. Foster Farms ground turkey breast is BOGO and Jeannie-O Turkey Italian sausage is BOGO, too.

Post cereals are $1.88 a box; Pillsbury cake mix is $1 a box and pineapple is $1 a can.

In the beverage category, a case of Refreshe water is $3.77; 6-packs of Coke in the bottle are $2; Lucerne Milk is 2 gallons for $4.59 and Florida's Natural OJ is BOGO.

The Friday special is a good one - a pound of sliced Primo Taglio pan roasted turkey for $5.

Vic's in Folsom has jumped on the berry bandwagon with blueberries and blackberries for $1.50 per container. Kellogg's cornflakes are $1.66 per box and Crystal orange juice is $4.99 for a gallon jug. Navel oranges are 59-cents a pound; artichokes are 99-cents each and Iceberg lettuce is 99-cents a head. Progresso soups are 3/$5 and Pillsbury rolls are 3/$6.

FOODS CO. has a Mix'n'Match 10 for $10 sale. Items for $1 include Creamette pasta; Kroger oats; Van de Kamp's bread; paper towels; Colgate toothpaste and Suave deodorant.

Other good buys at Foods Co. include fresh oranges for 37-cents a pound; fresh broccoli for 98-cents each; chicken breasts for 98-cents a pound and Mission corn tortillas for $1.98. 

Come back tomorrow for some tasty recipes. 



January 9, 2009
Tips from Shop Cheap readers

Shop Cheap was featured in The Bee's Food & Wine section on Wednesday where she served up 15 ways to save at the grocery store. Readers readers responded immediately with tips of their own. The suggestions are too good not to share. Here goes:

 From Tom in Davis:

 Thanks for the tips. I thought I'd share a few ideas.

1--Buy generic drugs and supplements at Costco or Sam's club.

Acetaminophen 500mg, Ibuprofen 200mg and Naproxen Sodium 250mg are much cheaper than the brand name or even the generic at local drug stores.

1000 tabs of Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen are less than $10

300 tabs of Naproxen sodium is less than $9

Generic Centrum Silver is around $12 for 400 tabs.

240 tabs of glucosamine 1500mg is less than $15.

Buy spices in bulk and Winco. You can get as much or as little as you like much cheaper than the prepackaged.

They also have good prices on bulk nuts, cereal, rice, & popcorn also house brand laundry detergent.

Wal-Mart sells 24oz cottage cheese for $2.00.

It really pays to shop around and compare prices.


From Allen in Sacramento

Your column is a great idea to help people save money -- very baffling

trying to calculate true pricing, with all tricks the stores play on

you! On the other hand, a little common sense will help a lot --- for

instance, if you want a drink, why not just go back home and turn on

the faucet instead of paying $3.99 and then having a bunch of plastic

bottles to throw away? I know people who have been drinking Sacramento

water for 60 or 80 years and are still going strong. Several

scientific tests have shown that bottled water is no better than most

faucet water, sometimes it's even polluted by unwanted additives.

(Have you seen Dr. Strangelove?)

Bravo for your #15 item! There is no one sillier than a person

wandering down the aisles, babbling into a cell phone. If you didn't

make a shopping list before you left home, why make everyone in the

store a victim of your carelessness? Or are you too weak-minded to

make up your mind on what highly-advertised brand to buy when you

known down deep inside that there is really not much difference in

brands or even in house brand vs. expensive brand?


 From Dorothy

I was surprised when reading your tips on saving money when grocery shopping in today's Bee that you mentioned buying water. If anyone is having trouble making ends meet this is the first thing they should give up. Neither my husband nor I can understand why the young people need to buy water - it is more expensive than gasoline.

Another thing, you didn't mention it would help if week's menu is planned before going shopping - will prevent buying things you do not need. I find this really helps.

You mentioned Winco. I used to always shop at Safeway. Very seldom shop there anymore since I discovered Winco. Their vegetables and fruit are so much cheaper than Safeway and others items, too. For instance Crisco shortening. At Safeway over $7. At Winco less than $4 (at least the last time I bought it). Costco beats both on some items.


From Norm

Another great source for internet coupons is: They provide local coupons for local merchants.


From Evelyn in Sacramento

My suggestions below may seem a little drastic, but let me tell you, grocery shopping is a challenge at best and when a shopper can accomplish the task successfully, it feels really good!


1. Shop the ads............

Good suggestion, but you should have added a couple more things: NEVER shop without a list and ONLY BUY what's on that list. By using the ads, make a week's worth of menus and include EVERYTHING you'll need to make those meals on your list.

2. Clip coupons .........

I never have because the coupons are usually for items I never buy and for expensive brand names - can purchase store brand items probably for the same price or less which you suggest further down into your article. Unless a person uses the coupon items on a regular basis, they are useless.

3. Make a list ..........

I addressed this issue earlier but one thing I would caution. Be firm with yourself and DO NOT BUY anything that isn't on your list - whether it's on sale or not. That area is usually where most of the extra money gets spent - just had to buy it because it was on sale!

Stores that use club cards: It may be a beneficial exercise to compare that store's prices with and without the club card.

WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BUY BOTTLED WATER! It has been proven that the water in those plastic bottles is tap water and really not any better/worse than what comes out of your faucet. If you must carry bottled water, refill from your faucet and refrigerate - think of the money you'd save.

BUY WHAT YOU NEED - NOT WHAT'S A GOOD DEAL that may sit in your kitchen cabinet for a month or so until you use it.

AGAIN I'LL SAY = DO NOT GO FROM STORE TO STORE: I found that by not going go other stores for my non-edible merchandise, I saved a few dollars not buying things I just couldn't live without and were not at the grocery store.

ONE LAST THING: ANY processed food - soup, stews, frozen foods, chilies, etc should be a NO-NO - a slow cooker would be a better purchase!


From Bill

Great article about shopping for food. I have been a loyal customer of WinCo for quite some time now and won't go anywhere else unless its for one or two items only. They have the best bulk area there that we use all the time. But I still compare the bulk prices to the package prices and for the most part the bulk is cheaper.

During Christmas they had a sale on Prime Rib Roasts for $2.78 a lb. I bought 2 ten pounders. What a deal.


From Elizabeth

Enjoyed your article in today's Bee. Good to see someone encouraging

us to use coupons and buy weekly specials. I have a record of saving

50% or more on a regular basis at Safeway, though our family of 2

(seniors) really doesn't require a lot. Also, living within 5 miles of

4 major supermarkets and 2 big box stores ( WinCo and Walmart ) makes

it easy to pick up the specials at each store as well as finding the

lowest prices on items other than specials in one trip!

I would add just 2 things for your readers:

Every Fall and again in January there are "school" day specials

on baggies, freezer zip-lock bags, and all sizes of freezer

containers. I stock up on those at that time.Then when I shop, I buy

"value" packages of meats and poultry, especially those that are on

sale. I break them down into portions for 2 and freeze them, so I can

make a 5 pound package of ground beef last for about 10 meals a month.

Every Spring and Summer, prices of frozen and canned vegetables

and fruit go on sale at many markets, in anticipation of incoming

crops. Even meats, poultry, eggs and dairy products follow a cycle

based on the availability of the product. When possible it pays to

anticipate how many cans of tomatoes you might need from one tomato

season to the next. If you buy ahead, always check the expiration



January 8, 2009
Tasty recipes that you must try

We have some delicious recipes this week - thanks to researcher Sheila Kern.

Grapefruit Avocado salad, pasta sauce, turkey-spinach meatloaf and lemon risotto. Many of the ingredients - grapefruit, avocado, lemon, ground beef and ground turkey are on sale at our local supermarkets. 

 Grapefruit Avocado Salad


From Country Woman

Country Woman's Test Kitchen developed this pretty, refreshing salad, which pairs well with roasted meats and poultry. The avocado, red onion and garlic-mustard dressing complement the tart fruit beautifully.

Servings: 4


1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Lettuce leaves

2 large red grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced


In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the first seven ingredients; shake well. On four salad plates, arrange the lettuce, grapefruit, onion, and avocado. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.


Pasta with Meat Sauce


Serves 6


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon paprika

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup dry red wine

16 ounces fusilli or other short pasta, freshly cooked

1 cup grated Parmesan


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up with fork, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to plate. Add onion and garlic to skillet and sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, basil, oregano and paprika and continue cooking 1 minute. Return beef to skillet; add tomatoes, tomato sauce and wine. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until sauce is thick, about 30 minutes. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Toss pasta with sauce and 3/4 cup grated Parmesan in large bowl. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over pasta.


Spinach-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf



1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped onion

One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound 99% lean ground turkey breast

3/4 cup Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray medium skillet with cooking spray. Cook mushrooms and onion in skillet over medium-low heat 4 minutes or until onion is tender; remove from heat. Add spinach, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; mix well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine turkey, oats, milk, egg white, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; mixing lightly but thoroughly. Spoon 2/3 of turkey mixture lengthwise down center of 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish. Form a deep indentation down middle of turkey; fill indentation with reserved spinach mixture. Top with remaining turkey, forming a loaf. Seal edges to completely enclose spinach filling.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thermometer registers 170°F and juices show no pink color. Remove from oven; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Return to oven 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Lemon Risotto with Peas


Servings: 8


4 to 4-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1-1/2 cups uncooked arborio rice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup white wine or additional reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel


In a small saucepan, heat broth and keep warm. In a large nonstick skillet, saute shallots in butter for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add the rice, thyme and pepper; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine or additional broth and lemon juice. Cook and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in heated broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow liquid to absorb between additions. Cook just until risotto is creamy and rice is almost tender. Total cooking time is about 20 minutes. Add the peas, Parmesan cheese and lemon peel; cook and stir until heated through. Serve immediately.

January 6, 2009
2009: The year of the coupon

Shop Cheap is BOGO this week. But you don't have to buy one to get one free because there's one online and one in The Bee's Food&Wine section. In the paper we are sharing 15 way to save at the supermarket and here we are doing what we do every week - telling you how to Shop Cheap.

After scanning this week's ads we are declaring 2009 the "Year of the Coupon." Both Raley's and Safeway have enough coupons to keep clipping. BOGOs are also back in a big way, too.

Here's the rundown:

RALEY'S wants you to get a jump on the Super Bowl party by advertising avocado for 89-cents and Mission Tortilla chips for $1.79 a bag. Two-liter jugs of Coca-Cola are 88-cents and a 24-pack of the soda is $5.99. There's a great deal on Folger's Coffee (up to 34.5 oz) for $5.99. Other coupons are BOGO, too. Tia Rosa flour tortillas, Volpi lunch meat and Melitta coffee filters are buy one, get one free. Kraft sliced cheese, Nob Hill gourmet soups and bakery cake squares are buy two, get one free.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.88 in the value pack; family size boxes of Nabisco crackers are $3.50 and a case of Crystal Geyser water is $3.50.

Raley's is still promoting its own brands. This week the focus is "Full Circle," natural and organic products, including boneless chuck roast or steak for $2.99lb; ground beef for $3.99lb; refried beans for $1 a can; broth for $2.29 a package and soups for $1.99 a can. Not the Raley brands, but located in the natural food aisle are Lunberg rice chips 2/$4 and gallon jugs of Crystal Geyser for $1.

There's also a sale on General Mills products: buy four advertised items and get $3 off produce. Items include Cheerios, Fiber One or Whole Grain Total cereal 2/$4; and Fiber One granola bars 2/$5; muffin mix $2.89; toaster pastry $1.69 or pancake mix $2.99.

In produce, there's a sale on citrus, including oranges for 69-cents a pound; Texas grapefruit (a Fiesta Bowl favorite) for 69-cents each and fresh limes at 5/$1. Blueberries are a good buy at $2.50-$5.99, depending on the size of the container. Pinata apples - a cross of three varities, they say - are 99-cents a pound. Hot-house tomatoes are $1.77lb.

Over at SAFEWAY, coupons (and your Club Card) will get you Cheerios for $1.50; a package of lean ground turkey for $2.49; and a 3lb bag of Fuji apples for $1.49. Whole Foster Farms chickens are 79-cents a pound and lean ground beef is $3.99lb. BOGOs in the meat and deli departments include Foster Farms marinated turkey tenderloins; Ball Park franks; Tyson sliced bacon; Foster Farms thin sliced lunchmeat; and Tyson grilled chicken strips - perfect for a quick and easy chicken Caesar salad!).

Safeway is advertising 2 gallons of Lucerne milk for $4.59; a case of Arrowhead water for $3.99 and Yoplait yogurt for 50-cents a carton. It's the middle of winter, but this soda sale is hard to pass up. If you want to stockpile, 12-packs of Coca-Cola fridge packs are buy two get one free and 2-liter jugs of Pepsi are buy 2 get 3 free.

The Friday meal deal is back with whole roasted chicken. Add a signature soup at $3.50 a container and you have dinner for less than $10.

SAVE MART hasn't discovered the "Year of the Coupon," but they have sale items worth sharing. Fresh chicken in the max pack is 99-cents a pound; an 18-ounce pack of blueberries is $3.99; Kraft cheeses are $3 and Sunny Select drinking water is $3.33 per case. Sunnyside large eggs (18-count) are 2/$6; frozen veggies are $1.50 a bag and a 5lb bag of apples is $2.99.

Other items in produce include Ruby Red grapefruit for 50-cents each; fresh lemons or limes 6/$1 and oranges are 69-cents a pound. Mangos and avocados are $1 each; bell peppers are 3/$1; for 49-cents you can get a bunch of radishes, green onion or cilantro and eggplant is 99-cents each.

In the deli, oven roasted turkey breast is $5.99 a pound; artisan breads are $2.99 a loaf and rotisserie chicken salad is $4.99 a pound.

FOODS CO. is having a seafood sale, but perhaps their best deal is 4 boxes (you must buy 4) of General Mills cereal for $6. Nabisco saltines are 3/$5; Progresso soups are 4/$5; avocados are 67-cents each and fresh white corn is 3/99-cents. The seafood sale includes red snapper, Dover sole and pollock for $8.99 a bag - frozen. Fresh Bay scallops are $3.98 a pound. Boneless beef stew meat is $3.28 a pound and Hillshire Farms rope or link sausage is 2/$5. In produce, green onions are 3/99-cents; iceberg lettuce is 2/99-cents and fresh Jalapeno chiles are 88-cents a pound.

VIC'S in Folson has Golden Grain pasta for 99-cents a box; IGA large eggs (18 count) are $2.99 a carton and Crystal butter is $2.99 for 2lbs. Asparagus is $1.99lb; a three pound bag of apples is  $1.99; celery is 99-cents; and iceberg lettuce is $1.29. Foster Farms chicken breasts in the value pack are $1.49lb; rump or bottom round roast is $2.99lb and Talapia fillets are $4.99lb. Hills Bros. or MJB coffee is $6.99 for at 24-39oz container.

Come back on Thursday for recipes to match what's on sale.


About Shop Cheap

Pam Dinsmore is The Bee's Community Affairs Director. When she's not working, she's shopping. The goal of this blog is to help you save time and money at the grocery store. She's pretty good at it but she can't do it alone. That's where you come in, sharing your tips and secret methods for saving money. You can either respond to the blog or email her at

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