Shop Cheap

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

March 27, 2009
Tasty recipes for the weekend

Finally, the recipes arrive. Although the Shop Cheap kitchen was closed for a couple of days, recipe researcher Sheila Kern didn't take any time off from finding tasty items for you to prepare this weekend.

If you like asparagus, you will want to cook one and save the rest.

Asparagus Risotto


Adapted from Mario Batali

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes


1 pound asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut into one-inch-long pieces, tips reserved

4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 medium red onion, diced

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add half the asparagus stalks and cook until quite soft, at least 5 minutes. Rinse quickly under cold water. Put cooked asparagus in a blender or food processor and add just enough water to allow machine to puree until smooth; set aside.

2. Put stock in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add onion, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add white wine, stir, and let liquid bubble away. Add a large pinch of salt. Add warmed stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time stock has just about evaporated, add more.

4. After about 15 minutes, add remaining asparagus pieces and tips, continuing to add stock when necessary. In 5 minutes, begin tasting rice. You want it to be tender but with a bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes total to reach this stage. When it does, stir in 1/2 cup asparagus puree. Remove skillet from heat, add remaining butter and stir briskly. Add Parmesan and stir briskly, then taste and adjust seasoning. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Serve immediately.

Asparagus Recipe


Preparation time: 10 minutes.


1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb

2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon lemon zest - freshly grated lemon rind

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.

2 Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water. While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it's important to make sure they are of the highest quality.

Asparagus and Citrus Salad


Serves 4


1 1/2 lbs. Fresh California asparagus trimmed

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or dry sherry

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt freshly ground pepper to taste

4 oranges (preferably blood oranges)

4 tablespoons coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts


In a small bowl combine shallots with the vinegar and sherry; let stand at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, zest 1 of the oranges, avoiding the white pith. Finely chop zest and add to the shallots.

Squeeze 1/3 cup juice from zested orange and add to the bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Cut asparagus spears in half or in fourths and cook in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender; drain well and remove from pan to cool. Toss the vinaigrette with the cooled asparagus.

Cut the ends of the remaining oranges and peel them by cutting down the fruit vertically, following the contours of the fruit.

Slice the peeled orange horizontally into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Arrange the orange slices and asparagus spears on salad plates and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon toasted walnuts.

Sesame Asparagus Salad


2 lb. California fresh asparagus cut into 1-1/2" pieces.

Cover in salted boiling water. Cook until tender.

Rinse immediately in cold water to stop cooking process. Pat dry.

Mix 4 tsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. honey, 2 tsp. sesame seed oil, 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds and pour over asparagus.

Chill 30 minutes and serve.

And for all you Cross Rib Roast lovers....

Cross Rib Roast


Serves 4 -6


2 lbs cross-rib roasts

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil


Brush roast with balsamic vinegar.

Make a paste with remaining ingredients and apply to meat.

Roast meat at 450 for 15 minutes Reduce heat to 350 and cook for 40 o 60 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 125.

Remove from oven; cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 to 25 minutes.

Cross Rib Roast



3-5 pound Humboldt Grassfed Beef cross rib roast


2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil



2 teaspoons of dried herbs


Preheat oven to 450. Make several slits in top of meat. Put a piece of garlic in each. Drizzle meat with oil. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and herbs (we use rosemary and thyme). Place in a heavy bottomed pan and put in oven.

After 15 minutes TURN THE TEMPERATURE DOWN to 350. Roast approximately 20 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer to be sure things are on target. . Remove from oven, tent and let stand about 25 minutes.

Rosemary Garlic Cross Rib Roast


Servings: 6-8


1 (3- to 4-lb.) cross rib roast

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Salt to taste

2 to 3 tbsp. red wine


Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes

Cook time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place meat in a shallow roasting pan and rub garlic and

rosemary over all surfaces. Sprinkle with pepper, then salt. Insert meat

thermometer into center of roast. Bake uncovered until internal temperature

reaches 140°F for rare or 145°F for medium rare, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Let

stand for 10 minutes before carving. Remove meat from pan and place pan

juices in a small saucepan. Add wine and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Serve wine sauce over sliced meat.

Dijon Herb Cross Rib Roast


Servings: 8-10


1 (6-lb.) USDA Choice Beef cross rib roast

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. butter, softened

1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

1/2 tbsp. each: basil, rosemary, sage and thyme


Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 2 to 3 hours

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place roast, fat side up, in a large shallow baking pan. Stir together the remaining ingredients and spread over the top and sides of roast. Insert an oven-proof meat thermometer so the tip is in the center of the roast. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until meat thermometer reaches 135°F for medium-rare or 150°F for medium. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

And, finally, the avocado recipes.

Grilled Shrimp and California Avocado with Basil and Prosciutto

Serves 6


2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 ripe Fresh California Avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced into 2 strips per serving

12 thin slices of prosciutto

12 small fresh basil leaves

12 (25-30 size) medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut in half lengthwise

1 Tbsp olive oil


Dip each avocado slice in lemon juice; set aside.

To prepare, lay a piece of prosciutto flat on cutting board. Top with 1 basil leaf, 1 slice of avocado and 2 shrimp halves. Roll until compact and brush with olive oil. Repeat for each roll.

Grill over coals covered with grey ash. Cook each side for 3 minutes.

 Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this recipe many ways. Serve two rolls per person as suggested for a large appetizer or first course, or serve just one roll per person for a small appetizer. Or place on serving on top of a bed of baby lettuce or greens topped with your favorite vinaigrette.

Avocado-Cilantro Bagel Spread


Serves 8


1 ripe Fresh California Avocado

1 oz goat cheese

1/4 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

1/8 tsp black pepper

dash of cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice


Combine avocado with goat cheese and mix until well blended.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Adjust salt to taste.

Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature to let flavors blend.

Garnish with fresh lime slices and a sprig of cilantro.

California Avocado Wrap Up


Serves 4


4 fajita size fat-free flour tortillas

2 slices ripe California avocado, mashed

4 deli slices of sodium-free turkey breast

2 tsp prepared barbecue sauce, divided

4 thin slices of low-fat cheese, divided

1 cup carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded


Place two tsp. mashed avocado on tortilla, spreading to within 1 inch of tortilla edge.

Place 1 slice of turkey breast over mashed avocado.

Top with cheese and spread on 1/2 teaspoon barbecue sauce.

Sprinkle one-quarter of the carrots over the sauce.

Roll up tightly. Place seam side down on plate. Using serrated knife, slice in half.

Enjoy the recipes and the weekend.

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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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