Shop Cheap

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

April 29, 2009
Lots of recipes to get the fiesta started

Recipe researcher Sheila Kern offers up everything you need to get your Cinco de Mayo party started with recipes for guacamole, mango salsa and enchilada casserole. Enjoy!

 Cinco de Mayo Guacamole

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 12


2 ripe Fresh California avocados, seeded and peeled

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/3 Cup diced tomato, seeded and well drained

1/4 Cup chopped green onion

2 serrano chiles, chopped

1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp salt


Cut avocados into 1/2 inch cubes.

Stir in lime juice.

Fold in remaining ingredients.

Guacamole is best made as close to serving as possible.

For short-term storage, seal in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the guacamole.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Cinco de Mayo Guacamole with a Southwestern Kick

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 12


4 California avocados

1 Cup roasted corn kernels

1 medium lime

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped, or to taste

1 tsp ground cumin, or to taste

1 tsp salt


Coarsely mash (do not puree) California avocados. Fold in remaining ingredients. Squeeze limejuice into mixture. Serve with blue corn chips or deep-fried flour tortilla chips.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with blue corn chips or deep-fried flour tortilla chips.

Classic Guacamole

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 8


4 ripe Fresh California avocados, seeded and peeled

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tomato, finely chopped

1/4 Cup finely chopped onion

1/4 tsp ground cumin

3 drops hot pepper sauce

Tortilla chips


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.

Mango Salsa



1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup)

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 Jalapeno chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)

1 small cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Also good with diced red bell pepper and jicama.


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.




1 large mango, peeled, diced

3 tablespoon red onion, minced

3 tablespoons diced green pepper

3 tablespoons diced red pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tsp. minced fresh chives

1/2 large avocado, diced


Mix all ingredients except avocado in large bowl.

Add avocado to salsa and stir gently to combine.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Layered Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole


Servings: 8


2 cups diced chicken breast meat

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained

1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce

8 (6 inch) corn tortillas

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and spray with vegetable cooking spray. Saute chicken with cumin and coriander until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro, black beans, and green chile peppers.

Spread half of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of an 11x7 inch baking dish. Place 4 tortillas over the sauce, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, and sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the sour cream. Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese, and make another layer of tortillas. Layer the remaining chicken mixture over the tortillas. Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the cover, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and dot with sour cream. Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enchilada Casserole



2 pounds lean ground beef

1 medium-size onion, peeled and chopped

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 small can chopped green chilies

Salt and pepper to taste

12 (5 to 6-inch) corn tortillas

1 (16-ounce) can black or red beans

One-and one-half cups grated cheddar cheese

2 (14-ounce) cans Mexican stewed tomatoes


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the beef and the onions in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add the chili powder, cumin, and chilies. Cook, stirring, for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

Grease a 13x9-inch dish and spread 6 tortillas on bottom. Pour the beef mixture, and then the beans over the tortillas. Cover with the remaining tortillas. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Pour the tomatoes over the cheese. Bake until the casserole begins to brown around the edges, about 1 hour.

Spinach Enchilada Casserole



1 16 oz. container sour cream

12 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 20 oz. can green enchilada sauce

18 6 inch corn tortillas

1 onion, chopped

1 2 oz. can chopped black olives


1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, spinach and 3/4 of the cheese.

2. Into a 9×13 inch pan, pour a small amount of enchilada sauce to coat bottom of pan. Layer 6 tortillas on bottom of pan.

3. Layer half of the spinach-sour cream mixture, half of onion and 1/3 of the olives over the tortillas. Repeat.

4. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the final layer of tortillas.

5. Sprinkle with remaining olives.

6. Bake for 20 minutes.

7. Cut into squares and serve.


They aren't authentic Mexican dishes, but Pillsbury has some tasty recipes that are easy and  family friendly.

Easy Crescent Taco Bake


Makes 6 servings


1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

3/4 cup Old El Paso Thick 'n Chunky salsa

2 tablespoons Old El Paso taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

Shredded lettuce, as desired

Diced tomato, as desired


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. Place in ungreased 9-inch square pan or 10-inch pie plate; press over bottom and up sides to form crust.

2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in salsa and taco seasoning mix; simmer 5 minutes. Spoon meat mixture in crust-lined pan; sprinkle with cheese.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. Served topped with lettuce and tomato.

A 4.5-oz can of Old El Paso chopped green chiles can be added to the meat mixture. Serve with additional salsa, sour cream and avocado slices.

Taco Pizza


Makes 6 servings


1 can (11 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated thin pizza crust

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso taco seasoning mix

1/4 cup water

1 can (4 oz) Old El Paso chopped green chiles, drained

1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, drained

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz)

1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup seeded chopped tomato (1 large)

Crushed corn chips, if desired

Old El Paso salsa, if desired


1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray or grease 15x10-inch or larger dark or nonstick cookie sheet. Unroll dough on cookie sheet; starting at center, press dough into 15x10-inch rectangle.

2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef, taco seasoning mix and water as directed on package. Spoon evenly on dough. Top with chiles, olives and cheese.

3. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with remaining ingredients.

Mexican Sloppy Joes


Makes 8 sandwiches


2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated flaky dough sheet

1/2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

2 tablespoons Old El Paso taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)

1 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa

1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack with jalapeno peppers cheese blend (4 oz)

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon cornmeal


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll both cans of dough on work surface; press into two 12x8-inch rectangles. Cut into total of 8 rectangles.

2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Stir in taco seasoning mix and salsa; simmer 5 minutes. Spoon about 1/4 cup meat mixture in center of 1 dough rectangle. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold rectangle over to form triangle; press edges with fork to seal. Place on cookie sheet. Brush with egg; sprinkle with cornmeal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Be careful when you seal the edges of these baked sandwiches. Make sure no filling is at the pastry edges, so you get a tight seal, and none of your tasty filling leaks out!

April 28, 2009
May savings are in the (reuseable) bag

The big three supermarkets - Raley's, Safeway and Save Mart - finally have some sales to shout about. In addition to tasty choices for Cinco de Mayo - let's get the Fiesta started - there are great deals for the smart shopper.

Finally, a reason to go back to Safeway! Whole Foster Farms chickens are 79-cents a pound; avocados are 99-cents each and Fresh Express salads are BOGO. The weekly ad also boasts "amazing $1 deals." And we agree. For just a buck you can get a bag of baby carrots, a loaf of Safeway bread, a can of solid white Albacore tuna; toothpaste or Dial liquid soap; Quaker Rice snacks; Rosarita refries and Keebler cookies.

If you have lots of soda in your future, check this out. Buy two-12 packs of Coke and get two  free - plus a case of Dasani drinking water free, too.

To go with your Cinco de Mayo fiesta, there's Lucerne shred cheese for $4.99, fresh pork shoulder blade roast at $1.29lb; Mission flour tortillas 4/$5; Tostitos chips for $1.99 a bag; deli salsa for $1.99 and sweet mangoes 3/99-cents.

If you want to ditch dinner duty, the Signature Cafe pizza is BOGO in the Deli and the Friday only $5 special is turkey pot roast, a new offering.

We go back to BOGO for: Oscar Mayer or Nathan's Famous franks; Smithfield premium bacon or sausage links; Lunchables; Plumrose baked ham lunch meat; and Foster Farms lean ground turkey.

Safeway also has coupons for Downey or Bounce ($8.99); bath tissue or paper towels ($4.99); Ziploc bags ($2.99) and Scrubbing Bubbles ($1.79).

Skinny Cow ice cream treats are $3.99 and Safeway Select ice cream is BOGO.

The bounty in produce includes large Fuji apples 99-cents a pound; green onion or radishes 3/$1 and fresh limes 5/$1.

The savings continue over at Raley's where the BOGOs are bountiful, including Tostitos or Kettle chips; Powerade; Crystal Geyser gallon jugs; small croissants in the bakery; Mann's bagged vegetables and Mt. Olive Pickles.

The Cinco specials include London broil (cook in a crock pot for shredded beef enchiladas or tacos); mangoes for 39-cents each; avocado for $1 and Tia Lupe's Grande Tamales in the Deli $3.99 for a package of two. Salsa is $1.99 a jar; Ortega taco shells are $1.59 and Rosarita refries are buy three, get a pack of Tia Rosa tortillas free. Fresh chilis are 99-cents a pound.

Sweet white corn is 39-cents each; a 3-lb bag of Fuji apples is $1.99. Fresh limes are 6/96-cents and Fresh Express salads are 2/$4.

Eggs are still a bargain at $1.99 for 18 and Sunnyside cottage cheese is $1.99. Gallo Salame is $4.99 and Raley's brand cereal is $1.88 a box. A 28-pack of Arrowhead water is $3.99.

Betty Crocker brownie mix is better than BOGO - buy one, get two free.

The Save Mart savings include pork shoulder roast for 69-cents a pound; fresh cooked shrimp meat for $2.99lb; and beef short ribs for $1.99lb. In produce, mangoes are 3/99-cents; avocado is 4/$5; the cilantro, radish or green onion trio is 3/99-cents. White corn is 2/$1 and fresh squash is 99-cents a pound. Fresh leaf lettuce is 79-cents a head.

In the Cinco category, Mission flour tortillas are $2.49 for 2-dozen; Tostitos are BOGO; Sunny Select salsa is 2/$5; Tabasco sauce is 2/$3 and Sunnyside Farms shred cheese is $3.99.

Clip-worthy coupons return for another week. With a single purchase of $10 or more, you can get Campbell's tomato or chicken noodle soup for 39-cents; Sunny Select soda for 49-cents; a cute veggie tray for $2.99; and Moran's regular ground beef for $1.49lb.

In the bakery, you'll find Bolillo or Telera rolls 6/$1.79 and strudel bars 2/$5. In the deli, John Morrell cooked ham is $2.99lb and Fiesta chicken salad is $4.99lb.

Come back manana for special Cinco de Mayo recipes.

April 22, 2009
We've got recipes for chuck roast, asparagus and strawberries

Lots of chuck roast, asparagus and strawberries. That's what's coming from recipe researcher Sheila Kern in the Shop Cheap kitchen. Enjoy!



Serves: 8


3- to 3-1/2- lb. boneless beef pot roast (rump, chuck or round)

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix

2-1/2 cups water

4 medium all-purpose potatoes (about 2 lbs.), cut into 1-inch pieces

4 carrots, sliced

2 to 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour


Brown roast in Dutch oven or 6-quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix blended with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered, turning roast occasionally, 2 hours.

Add vegetables and cook an additional 30 minutes or until vegetables and roast are tender; remove roast and vegetables.

For gravy, blend remaining 1/2 cup water with flour; stir into Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.

SLOW COOKER METHOD: Combine 2 ENVELOPES Soup Mix with 2 cups water. Arrange vegetables, then roast in slow cooker. Pour soup mixture over roast. Cook covered on LOW 8 to 10 hours or HIGH 4 to 6 hours or until roast is tender. Remove roast and vegetables to serving platter. Blend remaining 1/2 cup water with flour and stir into juices in slow cooker. Cook covered on HIGH 15 minutes or until thickened.

Works also with Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Mushroom Soup Mix or Lipton Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup Mix.


Pot Roast with Orange and Dates


Bon Appetit | April 2007

Yield: Makes 8 servings

This recipe calls for two small roasts instead of one big one. If you'd rather cook one big one, that's OK, too.


2 (2 1/2-pound) boneless beef chuck roasts, each about 7x4x2 inches

4 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound onions, thinly sliced

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 cups pitted dates

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle roasts on each side with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy wide ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add roasts. Cook until brown, about 8 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil and onions to pot. Sauté until dark brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Mix in vinegar and allspice; boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up browned bits. Add broth, orange juice, and tomato sauce; bring to boil. Return roasts and accumulated juices to pot. Scatter dates around roasts; sprinkle with parsley.

Cover pot; place in oven. Braise roasts 1 hour. Turn roasts over, cover, and braise until tender, about 1 hour. Tilt pot; spoon off fat from top of sauce. Cool uncovered 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold; cover and keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer roasts to board, scraping sauce into pot. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; overlap slices in baking dish. Spoon sauce over. Cover; rewarm about 25 minutes.


Herb-Marinated Chuck Steak


(A cooperative project between California State University, Chico College of Agriculture and University of California Cooperative Extension. Funded by Kellogg California Food and Fiber Future and Agriculture Research Initiative)

Servings: 4


1 boneless beef chuck shoulder steak, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound)


1/4 cup minced onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed


Combine marinade ingredients in small bowl. Place beef steak and marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight, turning occasionally.

Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Broil 16 to 21 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning once.

Carve steak into thin slices. Grilling Note: Place well-trimmed steak on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 16 to 20 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.


Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008


Yield: 4-6 servings


8 ounces penne pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes

1 cup shelled fresh peas

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus, season with the salt and pepper, and cook for 3 minutes until slightly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes and peas. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes start to burst and the stock is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the asparagus mixture to a large serving bowl. Add the cooked pasta and 1/2 of the Parmesan. Toss well, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and chopped basil.

Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Sauce



2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Steamed asparagus


In a bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.

Season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle over chilled steamed asparagus.


Strawberry Breakfast Pizza


California strawberry Commission

Yield: 5 servings


1 package (7 1/2 ounces) refrigerated biscuits (10 biscuits)

1 orange

2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

4 teaspoons honey, divided

1 pint basket fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved

Mint sprigs, for garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stack 2 biscuits; roll out to a circle about 6 inches in diameter, 1/8 inch thick. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Prick all over with fork. Repeat with remaining biscuits to make total of 5 circles. Bake until lightly browned for 6 to 8 minutes. Loosen biscuits and cool slightly. Meanwhile, finely grate peel from orange. In bowl beat cheese, peel and 2 teaspoons of the honey to blend thoroughly; set aside. Juice orange into another bowl. Add strawberries and the remaining 2 teaspoons of honey; toss. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spread biscuits with cheese mixture to within 1/2 inch of edges, dividing equally. Bake just until edges of cheese brown lightly. Top with drained strawberries. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serve immediately.

Frosty Strawberry Pops

From (California Strawberry Commission)

Makes 8 servings


1 pint basket strawberries, stemmed

1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk

3 tablespoons frozen orange, cranberry or pineapple juice concentrate


In blender container, blend all ingredients about 1 minute until smooth. Pour into eight 3-ounce, wax-coated paper cups. Place in shallow pan and insert a wooden craft stick; or plastic spoon into the center of each. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. After pops are frozen, they can be transferred to a resealable plastic bag for freezer storage. To release pops from cups, dip briefly into hot water up to rim of cup. Cups can be found in the paper goods or soap section of most supermarkets. Wooden craft sticks are available in craft stores and supermarkets, too.

April 21, 2009
Less than 2-buck chuck roast

So, what's the deal with chuck roast? For the first time in memory, all three of our major supermarkets are advertising this cut of beef this week. There's Rancher's Reserve ($1.49lb at Safeway); Black Angus ($1.76 at Raley's) and Master Cut ($1.49 at Save Mart).  But don't worry, we've got you covered. Recipe researcher Sheila Kern is at work in the Shop Cheap kitchen coming up with ways to cook the beef.

We are choosing to focus on Earth Day today and give you the skinny on all things green and on sale. There's asparagus - again - for $1.37 at Raley's and $1.27 at Save Mart. There's artichokes for $1 each this weekend at Safeway. Celery and Fresh Express salads are also $1 at Safeway. Raley's has Green Giant vegetables for 99-cents a can; zucchini for 89-cents a pound and broccoli for 99-cents a pound. Organically grown baby lettuce from Earthbound Farm is $2.99 at Raley's. Save Mart is going green with medium artichokes for 69-cents each; avocados for 99-cents each; fresh green beans for $1.29lb; celery is 79-cents and seedless grapes are $1.79lb.

Now, for the rest of the specials.

SAFEWAY: If you want strawberries, it's the place to go. A 4lb container is $4.99.  In probably the best deal of the week, buy two jars of Classico pasta sauce for $4 and two free packages of Safeway pasta. If you want to add meatballs to the sauce, shop on Saturday when lean ground beef is on sale for $1.69lb. If talapia is your fish, a 3lb bag is $9.99 on Saturday and Sunday. A case of Refreshe drinking water is $3.33; it's free when you purchase three Kellogg's Special K products.

If you need stuff like Comet, Dawn, Dial soap, Aquafresh toothpaste or other cleaners, they are $1 each if you buy 10. Dollar days continue in produce with mushrooms, oranges, onions, baby carrots and Del Monte fruit cups all coming in at $1. Kellogg's Rice Krispies or Froot Loops are $1.99 a box and Lay's potato chips are BOGO.

The $5 Friday special is homestyle or turkey meatloaf - not my fave. But they do have a coupon for a Signature Sandwich for $3.99. I suggest the flatbread wrap with chicken salad.. You also can get free chips and a drink when you use your Club Card. In the bakery, Angel Food cakes are $1.99 - and they even have chocolate! Safeway sliced sandwich bread is $1.99 a loaf and English muffins are $1.49.

Moving over to Raley's, fresh cooked salad shrimpmeat is $3.99lb; tomatoes on the vine are $1.27lb and strawberries are 2lbs/$5. Raley's has a 99-cent sale that includes everything from 7-Up and Gatorade to Bisquick, Golden Grain pasta, refried beans and Blue Ribbon rice.

If your family eats a lot of yogurt, Dannon is 45-cents a cup when you buy 20. Aquafina drinking water is $3.77 a case. If you need kitchen products, Sun dish soap, Dial bath soap and Airwick air freshener are all 99 cents each. Arm & Hammer Laundry detergent is $4.99 and Shout stain remover is $2.50

Save Mart is the place to go for boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1.99lb; cross rib roast $1.99lb and catfish fillets $2.99lb. Bayview Farms milk is $3.98 for two gallons and Bohemian Hearth bread is $1.99 a loaf (it's 2/$3 when you clip the coupon on Page 3 of the ad).

Driscoll's strawberries and blackberries are BOGO and so is Earthbound Farm organic salad. Fresh white corn is 2/$1 and large oranges are 69 cents a pound. It's Dollar Days for liters of 7-Up; large jugs of Arrowhead drinking water and Puffs facial tissue. Kellogg's cereal is buy 3, get 3 free and Purex Laundry detergent is $3 for 50 ounces. Arrowhead drinking water is $3.99 a case and Simply Juice singles are $1 each.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for all those chuck roast recipes, plus strawberries and asparagus, too. 

April 15, 2009
Recipes for grapes and weekend grilling

It was a little windy in the Shop Cheap kitchen this week but that didn't stop chief chef and recipe researcher Sheila Kern from coming up with ideas for the grapes, London broil and sweet corn that's on sale this week.

Walnut Grape Salad


Makes 4-1/2 cups


1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

2 Tablespoons Kraft Orange Marmalade

2 Cups seedless red grapes

1 Cup seedless green grapes

1 cup celery slices

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Combine salad dressing & marmalade, mixing until well blended.

Add grapes & celery; mix lightly. Cover; chill.

Stir in Walnuts just before serving.

Variations: For main-dish salad, add 2 cups chopped ham. Substitute Miracle Whip Light reduced calorie salad dressing for regular salad dressing.

Green Apple, Red Grape & Toasted Walnut



3 unpeeled green apples, cored & diced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups seedless red grapes, halved

1 cup walnut pieces, toasted

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 tbsp sweet-hot mustard

1/4 cup walnut oil

leaves from 1 head butter lettuce


Toss the apples with 1/8 cup of the lemon juice in a medium sized bowl.

Mix in the walnuts, grapes and cheese. Whisk the mustard, oil and the remaining lemon juice together in a small bowl. Toss this with the apple mixture.

Use the lettuce leaves to line your plates and spoon the fruit mixture into the center.

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts


Gourmet | June 2003

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings


4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 pound)

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (1 cup)

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

2 cups halved seedless red grapes

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well.


For London Broil, we have two recipes that have slightly different variations on the marinade.

Grilled Marinated London Broil


Gourmet | May 1994

Yield: Serves 6

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less but requires additional unattended time.


For marinade

4 large garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

2/3 cup olive oil

 2-to-2 1/2 pound London broil


Make marinade:

In a bowl whisk together marinade ingredients until combined well.

Put London broil in a large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and set in a shallow dish. Marinate meat, chilled, turning bag once or twice, overnight.

Grill meat, marinade discarded, on an oiled rack set about 4 inches over glowing coals, turning each once, 9 to 10 minutes on each side, or until it registers 135°F. to 140°F., on a meat thermometer for medium-rare meat. (Alternatively, meat may be broiled.) Transfer meat to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. Cut meat diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

Grilled Marinated London Broil



For marinade:

5 large garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

A 1 1/2 pound top-round London broil (about 1 1/4 inches thick)

Accompaniment: Sliced vine-ripened tomatoes


Make marinade: Mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt and in a blender blend with remaining marinade ingredients.

In a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag combine London broil with marinade. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and put in a shallow baking dish. Marinate steak, chilled, turning occasionally, at least 4 hours and up to 24.

Prepare grill.

Bring steak to room temperature (which should take about 1 hour) before grilling. Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off, and grill on an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 7 to 9 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

Holding a knife at 45 degrees angle, cut steak across grain into thin slices and serve with tomatoes.


Basil Lime Butter for Corn on the Cob


Serves 8


1/4 cup basil leaves, lightly packed

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pinch sugar


Pulse basil and garlic in a food processor until chopped.

Add butter, lime juice, salt and sugar; process until smooth.

Transfer to a container and refrigerate.

Enough for 8 ears of corn.

Grilled Corn on the Cob


Servings: 8


8 medium ears sweet corn

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt


Soak corn in cold water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, parsley and salt. Carefully peel back corn husks to within 1 in. of bottoms; remove silk. Spread butter mixture over corn.

Rewrap corn in husks and secure with kitchen string. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Cut strings and peel back husks.

Fresh Corn Salad


Show: Barefoot Contessa Episode: All American


5 ears of corn, shucked

1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

April 14, 2009
Lots of ways to save on Tax Day

Yep, it's Tax Day. You need to file that one for another year and move on - to the grocery store.Stop sulking and start shopping because bargains await. Here goes!

We're starting at Save Mart because they beat Safeway by a penny on the price of red seedless grapes. At 87 cents a pound, you can grab a healthy snack and save some money, too. Save Mart also has a 72-hour sale that runs Friday-Sunday. Items include country style pork ribs for 99-cents a pound; iceberg lettuce 49-cents a head; fresh salad shrimp $2.99lb and Bayview Farms OJ for $1.50 a jug. London broil is a good deal at $1.88lb and lean ground beef is $1.69lb in the max pax. Save Mart has a cereal deal that's hard to pass up: Buy three boxes for $10.98 and get three boxes free. That's $1.83 each on popular boxes of Kellog's cereals.

Save Mart is offering more coupons with purchase of $10 in groceries. Ocean Spray juice cocktail is $2; Hillshire Farm deli lunch meat is 99-cents and a 3-pound bag of Fuji apples is less than $1. In produce, jumbo artichokes are 2/$4; Driscoll's strawberries or blackberries are $3.99 each and tomatoes are $1.99lb.

Raley's has tri tip roast for $2.75lb with a recipe for Tomato Avocado Salsa grilled tri tip, too. Avocado is $1 each and tomatoes are $1.99lb to complete the recipe. Add some sweet white corn at 3/99-cents and you have a great weekend meal.  A dozen large eggs at $1.39 and the BOGO muffins will take care of breakfast. If you spend $15 on advertised Healthy Choice products - including Fleishmann's margarine, egg beaters and Orville Redenbacher's popcorn - you'll save $5 at checkout.

Raley's also has a good coupon thing going on the back page with 2-liter Coca Cola for 97-cents; Famous Amos cookies for $1.69; Evergood sausages or franks for $2.99 and a yummy ice cream cake for $8.50. In the non-grocery category, there's Old Spice anti-perspirant for $1.99; Hefty trash bags for $4.99 and Gain or Cheer detergent for $3.99.

Safeway has the red seedless grapes for 88-cents a pound along with fresh pineapple for $2.99 and mangos for $1. In the meat department, Rancher's Reserve london broil is $1.99lb and whole boneless pork loin is $1.99lb. Foster Farms split chicken breasts are 99-cents a pound and frozen cornish hens in the twin pack are 99-cents a pound, too.

Safeway has an Earth Day (April 22) promotion that includes a coupon for a free reusable shopping bag with the purchase of $50 in groceries. And for every $30 you spend in the "Living Well, Feeling Great" category, you will get a coupon for $10 off your next visit. Some of the items include: Eating Right lunch meat; baby peeled carrots; Progresso and Campbell's Select Harvest soups; and Skinny Cow ice cream treats. Arrowhead water is $3.99 a case and General Mills' Trix or Golden Grahams are $1.99 a box.

The Friday $5 special is barbecue pork loin with BBQ sauce. Other deals in the deli include all-natural roasted chicken - 8 pieces - for $5.99 and Signature Cafe pizza for $5.49.

If you want to surprise someone with a bouquet of roses, it will only cost you $4.99 in floral.

Come back tomorrow for recipes from the Shop Cheap kitchen.

April 8, 2009
Easy Easter recipes

With ham, sweet potatoes and strawberries all available and on sale this week, recipe researcher Sheila Kern ventured into the Shop Cheap kitchen and came up with wonderful suggestions for your holiday dinner - or anytime. Enjoy!

Honey-Dijon Ham

Put your slow cooker to work making a moist, irresistible ham. Serve some now, and if you like, freeze the rest for another day.


Makes: 12 servings


1 bone-in cooked ham (5 lb)

1/3 cup apple juice

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


In 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, place ham. Add apple juice. In small bowl, mix brown sugar, honey and mustard. Spread mixture over ham.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.

Remove ham from slow cooker. Cut ham into slices; place on serving platter.


Cherry & Port Glazed Ham


Serves: 24

An exceptional sweet and savory glaze adds layers of flavor to a cooked spiral ham, resulting in a simple yet sophisticated dish.


1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 1/2 cups Swanson Chicken Stock

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chopped shallot

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup port or other sweet red wine

1 package (5 ounces) dried cherries (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 turkey size oven bag

7 to 10-pound unglazed fully-cooked bone-in spiral-sliced ham


Stir the cornstarch and stock in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.

Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they're tender. Add the allspice and cook for 30 seconds.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir the wine, cherries and brown sugar in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir the cornstarch mixture in the skillet. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens.

Place the oven bag into a 3-quart shallow baking pan. Place the ham into the oven bag. Pour the cherry glaze over the ham. Close the bag with the nylon tie. Cut 6 (1/2-inch) slits in the top of the bag.

Bake at 250°F. for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the ham is heated through. Remove the ham from the oven bag to a serving platter. Spoon some of the cherry glaze over the ham. Serve the remaining cherry glaze with the ham.

Tip: The cherry glaze can be prepared as directed above through Step 4, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat the glaze in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat until it's heated through. Serve with the ham as directed above.


Emeril's Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Casserole Recipe


Makes 8 to 10 servings

3 1/2 to 4 pounds fresh sweet potatoes, scrubbed well

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup evaporated milk or heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Pinch ground mace

Pinch ground cloves

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

3 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

Bake the sweet potatoes on the foil-lined baking sheet until a thin, pointy knife inserted in the center meets no resistance, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Once cooled, remove the skins and mash until smooth. (If you have a potato ricer, this works well in helping to remove any stringy fibers, as does a food mill.) In a large bowl combine the potatoes (you should have about 4 cups), sugar, evaporated milk, butter, orange juice, vanilla, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cloves and beat until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Arrange the marshmallows in an even layer over the top and bake until the marshmallows are lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. This can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated, then returned to room temperature and baked 35 to 45 minutes before serving.


Sweet Potato Gratin


Yield 8 servings


1 tablespoon butter, plus 6 tablespoons, chilled and cut into small cubes

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and white pepper

1 (12-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use one tablespoon of butter to grease a 9 by 13-inch baking or gratin dish. Mix together orange juice, brown sugar, and spices, then add pineapple. Layer slices of sweet potatoes in the dish, then dot with butter. Top with pineapple mixture. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Repeat this process until all sweet potatoes are used up, ending with pineapple mixture.

Bake in oven for 40 to 45 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender when a pairing knife is inserted. Baste gratin with excess juices every 10 minutes. The top should be bubbly and brown. If the top gets too brown or starts to burn, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking until sweet potatoes are done.


Classic Strawberry Shortcakes

This recipe features a traditional biscuit-style shortcake. When properly mixed, shortcake dough should be rough, even shaggy. You might be tempted to mix it more, but resist, or you will not end up with a flaky biscuit. Work the dough on a lightly floured work surface, gently pressing and patting it into a thick rectangle. Incorporating too much flour will make the dough tough. Cutting the dough into squares is preferable to rounds, which leave scraps that must be patted back together to form more cakes. The result is overworked dough and a few tough shortcakes. Squares will all turn out equally tender and delicious.

Serves 6


For the shortcakes:

1 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

3⁄4 tsp. salt

8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3⁄4 cup buttermilk

1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the strawberries:

4 cups strawberries, hulled and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick

1⁄4 cup sugar

For the whipped cream:

3/4 cup heavy cream, well chilled

2 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the shortcakes, preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt until well blended. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the pieces are no larger than peas. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and gently toss with a fork or rubber spatula until the flour is just moistened and the ingredients are blended.

Turn the shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently press the dough into a thick rectangle about 6 by 4 inches. Using a large sharp knife, trim the edges even, then cut the dough into 6 equal squares.

Place the squares on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them well apart. Bake until they are puffed and golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly or completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries: In a bowl, toss together the strawberries and sugar with a fork, lightly crushing some of the berries. Cover the berries and refrigerate until well chilled or until ready to serve.

To make the whipped cream, in a deep bowl, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form and the cream is billowy, about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve or for up to 2 hours.

To serve, split the warm or cooled shortcakes in half horizontally and place the bottom halves, cut side up, on serving plates. Spoon some of the strawberries, including the juices, over each half and top with a dollop of the whipped cream. Top with the remaining shortcake halves, cut side down. Serve immediately.


Frozen Strawberry Margarita Pie


Makes 8 servings

This mildly spiked dessert is so easy to put together, it will quickly become one of your summer-entertaining standbys.


For crust

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs from 9 (2 1/4- by 4 3/4-inch) crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For filling

1 lb strawberries, halved (3 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lime zest (from 3 limes)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons tequila

2 tablespoons triple sec, Cointreau, or other orange-flavored liqueur

1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream

Garnish: small strawberries


Make crust:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a buttered 9-inch metal or glass pie plate (4-cup capacity).

Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pie plate on a rack, about 30 minutes.

Make filling:

Puree strawberries, zest, lime juice, condensed milk, tequila, and liqueur in a blender until just smooth, then transfer to a large bowl.

Beat cream in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold one third of cream into strawberry mixture gently but thoroughly to lighten, then fold in remainder in 2 batches.

Pour filling into crust, mounding it slightly, and freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 4 hours. Remove from freezer and let soften in refrigerator, about 40 minutes, before serving (pie should be semisoft).

Cooks' notes: Pie can be frozen up to 3 days, covered with plastic wrap after 4 hours and then wrapped in heavy-duty foil.

Pie can also be made in a 9-inch (24-cm) springform pan. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 inch up side of pan.


April 7, 2009
It's all about the Easter specials

Finally, the area supermarkets are offering items that will make Easter special. This year, it's all about the holiday ham.

We're starting with Save Mart this week because in addition to the ham they remembered to advertise eggs. What's Easter without coloring eggs then watching the kids scramble to find them? Save Mart's ham deal is a Cook's smoked shank for 88-cents a pound. If you want to get fancy, the spiral sliced or boneless is $1.99lb. And Sunnyside eggs are BOGO!

The produce is noteworthy because strawberries are $2.99 for a 2lb. container. Fresh green beans are 88 cents a pound; asparagus is $1.97lb; fresh broccoli is 99-cents a pound and russet or Sierra gold potatoes are 69-cents a pound. Veggie trays are $4.99-$7.99. For a tasty, low cal treat, try spritzing the veggies with low cal dressing rather than dipping in the Ranch dressing. Avocados are 97 cents each and the radish, green onion and cilantro trio is 3/99 cents.

Save Mart coupons include buns, charcoal briquets and mayo.

If you are going to start the day with snacks, Lay's chips are BOGO and Nabisco crackers are $1.68 a box. Knudsen Sour cream is $1.89 and Green Giant steamers are $1 per package. Cool whip topping is 99-cents and Sara Lee pies are $3.99. Martinelli's sparkling cider is $2 a bottle and most varities of 2-liter sodas are 99-cents each.

You can still get the "Mr. Hopsalot' bunny for free if you purchase three greeting cards and they still have a good supply of Easter candy.

If you have room for dessert, the Strawberry Boston is $7.99 in the bakery.

Raley's has the spiral sliced ham for $1.57lb. Their breakfast special includes Johnsonville sausages 2/$6 and a  dozen eggs for free. A large jug of Minute Maid OJ is $3.99.

A 4-lb. pack of strawberries is $5.99 and sweet pineapple is $2.47 each. Asparagus is $1.99lb; yams are 99-cents a pound. Navel oranges are 79-cents a pound and the veggie trays are $3.99 and $7.99.

Shrimp salad would be a nice addition to Easter dinner. Cooked shrimpmeat is $2.99lb and fresh bagged salads are $2.50 each. Vine ripe tomatoes are $1.88-lb and large stalks of celery are 69-cents each.

Raley's has the same BOGO chip and Nabisco cracker ($1.69 a box) deal. And their bottled spring water is only $2.99 a case. General Mills cereals or Betty Crocker fruit snacks are buy 4, save $4. Total cost of each item is $1.50. You can get the same deal on Keebler cookies and graham crackers. If Powerade is your energy drink, Raley's has a buy 10, get 5 free offer. Works out to 67-cents a bottle.

Some of the Easter goodies are 25% off. Desserts include strawberry shortcake or coconut cake for $8.99; fruit tart for $14.99; cupcakes for $3.99 a dozen ane the Sara Lee oven fresh pies for $2.99.

And there's still time to bag the shopping and order your whole meal at Raley's for $64.99 - $5 off if you order online.

Safeway's whole or shank hams are 99-cents a pound. The spiral sliced is $1.79-lb. Jumbo artichokes are BOGO and bagged salads are $2 each. The Eating Right veggie trays are $4.99 and $9.99. Strawberries are a bargain at $4.99 for a 4-lb. container. Breakfast meats - Oscar Mayer bacon or Jimmy Dean sausage selections are BOGO and Safeway breakfast breads are $2 a loaf. Milk is still a bargain at 2 gallons for $3.98 and Lucerne yogurt is 50-cents for a container.

The Nabisco snack cracker price is the same here, too. $1.69 per box but the Lay's  chips are $1.88. Arrowhead drinking water is $3.99 a case and 12-pack sodas are buy 2, get 2 free. If you are planning to order a party tray from Safeway, be sure to clip the $5 off coupon on page 5 of the ad. They have a good selection of Easter basket essentials with 40% off stuffed animals. Safeway's Boston cream cakes are $5.99 in the bakery.

The $5 Friday only special is oven roasted turkey breast. If you're not eating meat on Good Friday, get the turkey breast anyway and slice it up for sandwiches on Saturday. Deli counter salads in a 3-lb container are $3.99 and the Signature soups are still just $3.99.

There's also a Walmart insert in the Wednesday paper. It's filled with everything you'll need to make your Easter baskets extra sweet. Snickers and Milky Way eggs and bunnies are $2.50 per pack. Starburst, Jolly Rancher jelly beans and SweeTarts are $1.77 a bag and every other variety of Easter candy is $2.96 a bag.

Just so you know, you can buy candy in your kids' favorite color. Kisses, M&M's, Reese's Miniatures and Whoppers are now available by color. Pink Kisses and M&M's; green Reese's; blueberry Whoppers. What will they think of next? Hopefully, no calorie candy!

Come back tomorrow for special Easter recipes from the Shop Cheap kitchen.

April 2, 2009
Free stuff

Looking for something to do that won't cost much? Here are three ideas that are free or close to it.

1. According to the Ad Age Daily News online report, Denny's is at it again. Friends who bring  a friend to the restaurant between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 8 can treat their pals to a free Grand Slamwich when they spring for a Grand Slam. Only thing better than cheap is free!

2. In Wednesday's Bee there was an insert from Sam's Club that's good for a free one-day  pass. It's good April 3 (Friday) through April 5 (Sunday) only. During that time, Sam's is hosting a "Taste of Spring Open House" where they will be promoting everything from Easter ham to fresh fruit and veggies to great looking desserts. To locate a Sam's Club in your area, to to

3. And from our friend Heather Atherton this news about Stage Nine entertainment store in Old Sacramento: Owner Troy Carlson is inviting the public to celebrate Stage Nine's 10th anniversary from April 1-5. During that time the store will offer a buy one item, get one for just 10 cents promotion. Stage Nine is known for its one-of-a-kind entertainment-related items plus original autographed celebrity photos.





April 1, 2009
Don't worry, these recipes will make you hoppy!

Things were hoppin' this week in the Shop Cheap kitchen. Researcher Sheila Kern starts us out with three recipes for tasty treats to serve the family, then gets serious with the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and artichokes (all on sale this week). Enjoy! 

 Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests


Yield - 30 nests


Wax paper

1 2/3 to 2 cups (11- to 12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Butterscotch or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cans (5 ounces each) chow mein noodles

30 to 60 NESTLE foil wrapped small chocolate eggs, any flavor


Line trays with wax paper.

Microwave morsels in large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir in peanut butter until well blended.

Add chow mein noodles to morsel mixture; toss until coated. Using ice cream scoop that measures about 2 rounded tablespoons, scoop and drop onto prepared trays then immediately shape into nests. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, place one or two foil-wrapped in each nest. Store prepared nests in covered container for up to 1 day.

NestEgg Macaroons


Yield - 25


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 medium orange, peel grated

5 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided

25 to 30 NESTLE; CRUNCH or BUTTERFINGER small foil eggs, unwrapped


Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

Beat sugar, butter and cream cheese in medium mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, orange juice and grated orange peel; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat until well combined. Stir in 4 cups coconut. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll balls in remaining coconut. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; immediately press 1 Nestle unwrapped egg on top of each macaroon. Cool for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Mini Fruit Pizzas


Makes 20 fruit pizzas


1 (18-oz.) pkg. (20 cookies) Pillsbury Ready to Bake Refrigerated Sugar Cookies

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons frozen limeade concentrate, thawed

1/2 cup powdered sugar

10 fresh strawberries, quartered

1 kiwi fruit, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 10 slices

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup fresh raspberries


Bake cookies as directed on package. Cool 10 minutes or until completely cooled.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine cream cheese, limeade concentrate and powdered sugar; beat until smooth.

Spread each cooled cookie with 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture. Arrange fruit on top of each. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Cajun Grilled Chicken


Yield: 4 servings


2 whole chicken breasts, boned and split (or boneless, skinless breasts)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine remaining ingredients; brush evenly over chicken. Grill or broil 4 to 5 inches from heat source until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Fajita Chicken


Makes 4 servings


4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Vegetable oil

1 tsp. each: chili powder, seasoned salt,

garlic powder and oregano

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Grilled peppers and onions (optional)


Brush chicken lightly on both sides with vegetable oil. Combine dry seasonings and sprinkle on both sides of chicken. Place on a grill over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from grill and drizzle with lime juice. Serve with grilled peppers and onions, if desired.

Raspberry-Balsamic Chicken with Shallots


Makes 4 servings


3/4 cup seedless all-fruit raspberry jam

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 4- to 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chopped shallots (2-3 large)

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme


Combine jam and vinegar in a small pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the jam is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in salt and pepper and let cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce. Place chicken breasts and the rest of the sauce in a large sealable plastic bag. Seal and shake gently to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard marinade). Add the chicken to the pan and cook until just beginning to brown, 2 minutes on each side. Add the reserved raspberry sauce; stir to melt the jam and coat the chicken. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 6 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


From (California Artichoke Advisory Board)

(Recipe for 4 artichokes, 8 servings 1/2 artichoke each)


4 large artichokes

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup water 1/4 cup soy sauce

1 T minced ginger

1/4 cup olive oil


1. Slice artichoke tops off, crosswise. Trim stems.

2. Boil or steam artichokes until bottoms pierce easily, or a petal pulls off easily.

3. Drain artichokes. Cool. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and scrape out fuzzy center and any purple tipped petals.

4. Mix remaining ingredients in a large plastic bag. Place artichokes in the bag and coat all sides of the artichokes. For best flavor marinate in the mixture overnight in the refrigerator but should marinate at least one hour.

5. Drain artichokes. Place cut side down on a grill over a solid bed of medium coals or gas grill on medium. Grill until lightly browned on the cut side, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn artichokes over and drizzle some of the remaining marinade over the artichokes. Grill until petal tips are lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes more.

6. Serve hot or room temperature.


From (California Artichoke Advisory Board)

4 Large California Artichokes

Selection of Dips (recipes follow)

Wash artichokes under cold running water. Cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Stand artichokes upright in deep saucepan large enough to hold snugly. Add 1 teaspoon salt and two to three inches boiling water. (Lemon juice, herbs, garlic powder or onion powder may be added, if desired.) Cover and boil gently 35 to 45 minutes or until base can be pierced easily with fork. (Add a little more boiling water, if needed.) Turn artichokes upside down to drain. Cool completely; cover and refrigerate to chill. Makes 4 artichokes.



1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger


Combine all ingredients; mix well. Makes 3/4 cup.


1/4 cup prepared mustard

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey


Combine all ingredients; mix well. Makes about 3/4 cup.


1 can (6-1/2 ounces) minced clams

2 tablespoons reserved clam juice

3 ounces cream cheese softened

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt


Drain clams, reserving 2 tablespoons clam juice. Blend cream cheese with lemon juice and garlic salt. Stir in clams and reserved clam juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes about 3/4 cup.


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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