Shop Cheap

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

June 30, 2009
Independence Day deals: More bang for your buck

Shop Cheap is amazed at all the great Independence Day deals at our local supermarkets. Times are tough but there is reason to celebrate: freedom from high prices.

Take the water wars. You thought it was a North-South thing here in California. Turns out  we're having water wars - bottled water wars - right here in River City. Just in time for the holiday weekend, you can get a case of drinking water for $2.99 or less. If you'd rather go the soda route, that's a deal, too. How about 72 cans of soda for $12? (According to my calculator, that's less than 17-cents a can). Ball Park franks or Kraft Singles for less than $1?

We're not talking 1776 here, we're talking 2009! So get out your shopping list because we are going to tell you how to celebrate the Fourth - and get more bang for your buck! This week we're going for one-stop shopping.

Let's start at Raley's. Before you do anything else, clip the coupon for a case of water - Arrowhead, R Everyday or Nestle - for $2.48. As for that other liquid - soda - Raley's is the place where you buy 2-12 packs of Coke, and get 4 free. Can't beat 72 cans for $12. For the kids, Capri Sun or Kool-Aid Jammers are $1.77 for a 10-pack.

Since a Fourth party isn't just drinks, Raley's has boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.87lb; Johnsonville  brats or Italian sausage  is buy 2, get a free bag of buns and Ball Park franks are 2/$3. If you want pre-made burgers, 3lbs or more are $1.99lb. Watermelon is 27-cents a pound; white corn on the cob is 3/99-cents and blueberries are $1.77 for a 6oz container.

Lay's or Tostitos chips are BOGO; Nabisco snack crackers are $1.69 each. Sara Lee or Ball Park buns are $2.49 a pack. Buy a big bag of Kingsford charcoal for $6.99 and get a free bottle of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce.

I'm sure that the Founding Fathers really meant for dessert to be one of the reasons we celebrate the Fourth, and at Raley's you can get a 9-inch apple pie for $3.97; Dreyer's ice cream or yogurt is $2.79; a Patriotic cake in the bakery is $9.99 and a 12-pack of cupcakes is $4.99. And for the table, a Red, White and Blue bouquet is $8.99.

Save Mart has us clipping for deals again this week. A case of Sunny Select drinking water is $2.50; Minute Maid coolers are $1.69; Bull's Eye BBQ sauce is 99-cents; a jar of Vlasic dill pickles is $1.49 and a 3lb chub of Moran's ground beef is 99-cents a pound. A head of Iceberg lettuce is 49-cents and a 3lb container of Reser's salad is $3.99. (All coupons valid with $50 grocery purchase). You get a free pack of buns with purchase of Arrowhead Spring water for $3.99. 12 packs of Pepsi or Dr,.Pepper are 4/$10.

Untrimmed tri-tip roast is $2.47lb. in the max pak; corn on the cob is 5/$1; Foster Farms whole chickens are 77-cents a pound and fresh cooked shrimp meat is $2.99lb. Ball Park meat franks are 4/$5; beef or angus franks are 2/$5. Nathan's beef franks are 2/$7 and Hillshire Farm sausage is 2/$5. Sara Lee buns are $1.99; Sunny Select buns are 99-cents. Fresh ground beef patties are $2.99lb  when you buy 3lbs. or more. Tostitos or Doritos are BOGO; Nabisco snack crackers are $1.68 a box and Gallo Salame is $3.99  a package.

In produce, Bing cherries are $1.99lb; a personal size seedless watermelon is $2.99; large seedless watermelon is $4.99; avocados are 4/$5; green onions, radishes or cilantro are 3/99 cents.

A big tub of Red Vines is $6.49; cool whip is 99-cents and Breyers Ice cream is $3 each. In floral, a Fourth of July bouquet is $8.99.

Safeway is the last stop on the Fourth of July parade route. That's where you will find Ball Park meat franks for 99-cents; buns are 89-cents. Safeway's Refreshe water is $2.99 a case and Nabisco snack crackers are $1.69 here, too. If you're looking to BBQ, ribs are 99-cents a pound for pork shoulder country style. Foster Farms split breasts, thighs or drumsticks are 99-cents a pound and lean ground beef (93%) is $3.99lb.

Safeway's clip-worthy coupons are Kingsford charcoal for $5.99; Kraft singles for 99-cents; Best Foods mayo for $1.99 and Lay's chips 2/$3. Soda at Safeway is buy 2-12 packs, get 3 free (Coke, Pepsi or 7-UP).

General Mills cereals are $2 a box and Safeway Select cinnamon rolls are $1.99 for 6.

In produce, corn on the cob is 5/$2; an Eating Right veggie party platter is $9.99; organic strawberries are BOGO; Dulcinea Pureheart watermelon is $1.99 and sweet cherries are $1.99lb.

If you'd rather wing it on the Fourth, the 25-count Signature Cafe cooked wings are $7.99; Red, White and Blue potato salad is $3.70lb and salsa is $3.49 for 32-oz container.

The $5 Friday special is really special this week because it's available on Saturday, too. Want a really easy meal, pick up the Signature Cafe 8-piece chicken for $5 and pair it with deli counter salads 2/$4.

For dessert, the Fresh Fruit Tart in the bakery is $9.99 (that's $5 off regular price); 9-inch pies are $5.99; both Cool Whip and Lucerne whipped cream are BOGO. Firecracker Popsicles are 2/$4.

The Fourth of July bouquet is $8.99 at Safeway, too.

Happy, Happy Fourth of July. Be sure to come back Wednesday afternoon for Red, White and Blue recipes.


June 25, 2009
Cool recipes for a hot weekend

It's going to be a hot one this weekend. So instead of spending time in the Shop Cheap kitchen, recipe researcher Sheila Kern is offering meal ideas that will keep you cool.

 Lemony Hummus


Yield: 1 1/2 cups


2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pita breads, warmed and cut into wedges

Carrot and celery sticks


Process garlic in a food processor until minced. Add the chickpeas, lemon juice, water, tahini, cumin, salt and pepper; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Serve with pita wedges and vegetables.

Southwestern Slaw


2005, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved

Show: Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger Episode: Super Suppers

Yield 10 cups/12 servings


1 medium jicama, sliced into thin strips (about 3 cups)

1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)

1 red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk

1 tablespoon lime juice

Salt and pepper


In a large bowl, toss together the jicama, cabbage, onion, and cilantro. In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to combine.

Mango Pineapple Salad with Mint


Makes 6 servings


2 cups peeled, diced ripe mango

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup flaked coconut

1/4 sprig chopped fresh mint


In a medium bowl, toss together mango, pineapple, cranberries, and coconut. Garnish with mint. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Grilled London Broil

From (Texas Beef Council)


1-1/2 lbs. top round steak cut 1-1/2 inch thick

5 large cloves garlic

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. honey


Place all ingredients, except beef, in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

In a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag, combine the steak and the blended marinade. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place in a shallow dish and marinate in the refrigerator, turning the bag occasionally, for at least 4 or up to 24 hours.

To grill, remove steak from marinade allowing excess to drip off and place on an oiled grid set 5-6 inches over medium coals. Cook for 14-18 minutes for medium-rare (145°F internal temperature), turning once.

Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes.

Holding knife at a 45° angle, cut steak across the grain into thin slices to serve.

Tips from Our Cook

You can substitute flank steak or sirloin steak for the top round steak.

Spicy Grilled Chicken


Yield: 6 servings


3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 garlic clove, minced

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage

1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves


In a large resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container, combine the first 15 ingredients; mix well. Reserve 1/3 cup for basting and refrigerate. Add chicken to remaining marinade and turn to coat. Seal bag or cover the container; refrigerate overnight.

Drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken, uncovered, over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Baste with reserved marinade. Continue grilling for 6-8 minutes or until juices run clear, basting and turning several times.

Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream


Yield: 6 servings


2 pounds peaches - peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 pinch salt

1-1/3 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches, 7 tablespoons sugar, the lemon juice and salt. Cook over medium heat, mashing, until jam like, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the peach mixture and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Using an ice cream machine, process the peach mixture according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Gelato with Toffee Bits


Bon Appetit | June 2006

Yield: Makes about 3 cups


1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 cups whole milk, divided

5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup coarsely crushed toffee candy (such as Skor, Heath bar, or Almond Roca)


Whisk sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in heavy medium saucepan until blended. Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in remaining 1 3/4 cups milk. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and comes to boil, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute longer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth.

Transfer gelato base to medium bowl. Mix in cream. Place bowl over large bowl filled with ice and water and cool, stirring often, about 30 minutes.

Process gelato base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, adding toffee during last minute of churning. Transfer to container; cover. Freeze at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.


June 23, 2009
Ready, set, clip

Get clipping, shoppers. Each supermarket has a set of coupons this week that will save you money - and that's what it's all about. There's also a 99-cent sale at Safeway; a Customer Rewards page in the Save Mart ad and a Buy 5, Save $5 promotion at Raley's.

Here's the skinny:

Safeway has the deals to match the temperature - HOT! There's the coupon for Oroweat breads or Francisco Rolls ($1.49); and a 99-cent sale on everyday items. But with the weather heating up, you might want to stock up on drinks - Arizona Ice Tea; Gatorade, SoBe, Fuze, Propel - all are 80-cents each when you buy 10.  For 99-cents you can get a loaf of wheat bread; a can of chunk white Albacore tuna; Mission white corn tortillas; frozen lemonade or punch; and all the essential condiments (stock up early for the Fourth!).

Foster Farms whole chickens are 79-cents a pound; Rancher's Reserve boneless cross rib steak is $1.87lb and fresh pork spare ribs are $1.97lb.  Be sure to pick up a 99-cent bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce for the ribs. Fresh produce specials include corn on the cob 8/$2; BOGO strawberries and melons; leaf lettuce for 99-cents and sweet red or yellow bell pepper for $1.99lb.

Never heard of "Turkey Pot Roast" but that's the Friday only $5 special this week. You can pair the $5 special with some Safeway Select corn bread for $1.49. Milk is still 2 gallons for $4.28 and Arrowhead or Nestle spring water is $3.99 a case. 2-liter Coke is buy 3, get 3 free and for you Peet's coffee lovers, a 12-oz bag is $8.99. Safeway's "Buy 5, Save $5" deal includes Kellogg's Pop Tarts/99-cents (hey, it's summer and the kids like them); Froot Loops, Rice Krispies Treats and Keeber Crackers $1.49 and Kellogg's Special K; Frosted Mini Wheats or Keebler cookies $1.99.

The "other" Safeway coupons include: Northern bath tissue or Brawny towels for $5.99; Arm&Hammer detergent for $2.99 and in the fun category - Glade sented candles for $1.49.

Save Mart has a "Customer Rewards" focus this week - with prices to match. Country style ribs in the max pak are $1.49 lb; boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.99lb and Butcher's Block Sterling Silver London broil is $2.99lb.

The Save Mart coupons are definitely clip-worthy, especially one from Gallo for $2 off salami (when you buy two packs).Selected varities are $4.99 a package. And we've got that great salami pasta salad recipe in the Shop Cheap archives. Other coupons include Kleenex tissue for 99-cents; Crest toothpaste for 99-cents; Cheer or Gain detergent for $3.50; Bar S franks for 77-cents (buns are 99-cents); Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal 2/$4; and Sunny Select Mac & Cheese for 25-cents a box.

Crystal Geyser Spring water is $3.50 a case; Doritos are BOGO. Pillsbury brownie mix is BOGO, too.

In produce, peaches and nectarines are $1.49lb; limes are 10/$1; broccoli is 97-cents a bunch and berries are 2/$5.

Next stop, Raley's, where you will find a great deal on London broil at $1.97lb and a recipe, too. If you want to try a little Surf'n'Turf this week, add some Full Circle natural shrimp to your London broil meal. A bag of frozen, cooked shrimp is $6.99.

The Raley's Buy 5, Save $5 specials include Juicy Juice and Arrowhead Kid's water for $2.49; Dreyer's Fruit Bars, Raisinetes and Haagen-Dazs at $2.99 each and Buitoni Pasta, shredded cheese or pasta sauce for $2.99 also. Dairy deals include 18 large eggs for $1.49; a quart of Sunnyside Farms cottage cheese for $3.99 and Land O Lakes spread for 99-cents.

Pepsodent or Aim toothpaste is 88-cents a tube; Snapple drinks in the 6- or 12-pack are BOGO; Michelina's budget gourmet meals are 99-cents each; and Golden Grain pasta is 99-cents a box.

In produce, a personal size watermelon is $2.47; raspberries in the 12oz container are $3.99; cucumbers are 2/$1; Iceberg lettuce is 97-cents a head and red onions are 79-cents a pound. If you're in the mood for tropical, mangoes are 2/$1; papayas are 2/$5 and whole pineapple is $2.97 each.

The Raley's coupons worth clipping include Oroweat English muffins for $1.99; a 5lb. bag of C&H sugar for $1.99; Malt-O-Meal bagged cereal for $1.99; a gallon jug of Crystal Geyser Spring water for 78-cents; 2-liter Pepsi for 88-cents and a 12-pack of 7-UP for $2.99.

 And for all you Maybelline Great Lash Mascara fans, this one's for you. BOGO with the coupon.

Come back on Thursday for Summertime recipes and don't forget to check in next week as we Shop Cheap for  the Fourth of July weekend.

June 18, 2009
Recipes to treat Dad on his day

Let's give Dad the day off on Sunday and treat him to a day of leisure. If you need help with dinner, check out these recipes, courtesy of recipe researcher Sheila Kern. Enjoy!


Grilled Flank Steak with Ginger Marinade


Makes 3-4 servings


1 (5-inch) piece ginger, sliced thinly

1/4 cup sesame oil

8 medium garlic cloves, smashed

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of fat and sinew


In a nonreactive dish or large resealable plastic bag, combine all ingredients except steak and mix thoroughly. Add steak and turn to thoroughly coat. Cover dish or close bag and allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If you are making ahead, cover, and place in refrigerator. Can be marinated up to 24 hours in refrigerator.)

Once steak has marinated, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Heat a lightly oiled grill pan to medium-high heat. When pan is heated, remove steak from marinade, shake off excess, add to pan and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium rare.

Transfer to a cutting board, season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Chicken or Steak with Balsamic BBQ Sauce


Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Show: Everyday Italian Episode: Dressing Up BBQ

Yield: 4 servings


For the Balsamic BBQ sauce:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup ketchup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken or steak:

4 pieces chicken (any combination of breast or leg-and-thigh pieces) or 4 pieces of New York strip or Club strip steak

Salt and freshly ground pepper


For the BBQ sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the chicken or steak:

Place a grill pan over medium heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the meat on the grill. Place the remaining BBQ sauce, still in the small saucepan, over low heat or on the edge of a gas or charcoal grill and allow to gently simmer while the meat cooks.

Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Cook the steaks starting at about 4 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads the desired temperature, 120 degrees F for medium rare, 135 degrees F for medium (about 6 minutes per side), 155 degrees F for well done (about 9 minutes per side). Continually brush the meat with BBQ sauce every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the chicken skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the BBQ sauce all over the top of the chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Roasted Corn with Sweet Red Peppers



4 to 6 ears fresh corn

melted butter

1/3 cup diced sweet red bell pepper or roasted red bell peppers

ground black pepper, to taste


Remove husks and silk from ears of corn. Place each ear of corn on a piece of heavy duty foil then brush with melted butter. Sprinkle about 2 to 3 teaspoons of diced red pepper over each ear of corn. Sprinkle lightly with ground black pepper. Wrap foil around corn and twist each end. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes.

Chicken Taco Ring Recipe


Yield: 16 servings


2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated reduced-fat crescent rolls

2/3 cup finely crushed tortilla chips, divided

2 cups finely chopped cooked rotisserie chicken

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained

1/4 cup chopped pitted ripe olives

1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped

1 tablespoon taco seasoning

1 tablespoon lime juice


1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup salsa

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1 medium lime, halved and sliced


Grease a 12-in. pizza pan. Unroll crescent dough. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup tortilla chips; press down gently. Separate into 16 triangles.

Place wide end of one triangle, chip side down, 3 in. from edge of prepared pan, with point overhanging edge of pan. Repeat with remaining triangles, overlapping the wide ends (dough will look like a sun when complete). Lightly press wide ends together.

In a small bowl, combine the chicken, cheese, mayonnaise, chilies, olives, tomato, taco seasoning, lime juice and remaining tortilla chips. Spoon over wide ends of dough. Fold points of triangles over filling and tuck under wide ends (filling will be visible).

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with sour cream, salsa, tomatoes and lime.

Berry-Patch Brownie Pizza


Yield: 12-14 servings


1 package fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)

1/3 cup chopped unblanched almonds

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

2 cups whipped topping

Mixed fresh berries


Prepare brownie batter according to package directions for fudge-like brownies, adding almonds and extract. Spread into a greased 14-in. pizza pan.

Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon peel until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over crust to within 1/2 in. of edges.

Top with berries. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Very Vanilla Berry Dessert


Makes 8 servings


2 cups halved or sliced strawberries

2 cups blueberries

1 cup raspberries

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, divided

3 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, divided

1 1/2 cups heavy cream


1. Mix berries, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla in large bowl.

2. Beat cream, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.

3. Refrigerate both berry mixture and whipped cream until ready to serve. To serve, spoon whipped cream over berries in individual dessert dishes.

June 16, 2009
It's all about Dad's day deals

It's Father's Day weekend and if you go strictly by the grocery ads,  Dad just wants beef, beer and chocolate cake. But, fear not, Shop Cheap shoppers, we won't fall into that trap. There's lots of good, healthy food out there for dear old dad to feast on.

SAFEWAY: They do have New York strip steak for $4.69lb but that might not be in the budget. Why not throw dogs and sausage on the grill for Pops. Ball Park franks and Johnsonville smoked sausage are both BOGO. Buns are $1.19 a bag. And there's a "must clip" coupon for Kingsford charcoal - $5.99 for a large bag. Other stuff dad might enjoy: seedless grapes are 99-cents a pound; corn on the cob is 5/$2; Signature Cafe chicken wings (already cooked) are $7.99 for 25 and the Friday only $5 special is the All-American sub sandwich.

For dessert, you might treat dad to the Safeway Select double fudge cake for $5.99 or a dozen jumbo cookies for $3.99. Dad's favorite Planters Peanuts are BOGO this week.

Other cart-worthy groceries include: Safeway Refreshe water for $3.49 a case; a 6-pack of 7-UP in 16.9 oz bottles  for $2; Vitamin water for 99-cents and Jose Ole taquitos for $3.99.

In produce, personal-size watermelons are BOGO; fresh broccoli is 2lbs/$3; fresh green beans are 2lbs/$3 and red Italian onions are $1 a pound.

If you want to contribute to the United Way's toilet paper drive, clip the coupon for Cottonelle bath tissue -  $5.99 for 12 rolls.

And after the day is done, don't forget to open up the Renuzit Adjustables - sweet smelling and only $1 each.

RALEY'S has dad covered with an entire 6-person meal for $89.99 (save $5 if you order online). It includes: 6 Filet Mignon Steaks with Demi-Glace Sauce and Shallots
  Â·Shrimp Skewers with Scampi Butter
  Â·Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus
  Â·Fruit and Cheese Platter
  Â·Spring Salad
  Â·Nob Hill Trading Co. Pugliese Bread
  Â·Double Dutch Chocolate Cake.

If you want to plan your own Dad's Day celebration, tri-tip roast is $3.47lb; corn on the cob is 3/99-cents; a 5lb bag of Idaho potatoes is $2.49 and a one-layer fudge cake is $4.99 in the bakery. If dad is more of a ribs guy, pork loin back ribs are $3.99lb; St. Louis style pork spareribs are $2.99lb and pork country style strips are $1.99lb.

Raley's charcoal is $2.99 for a 9lb. bag and a 32-pack of Aquarius Spring! water is $3.99.

Over in produce, strawberries are $1.57lb; tomatoes on the vine are $1.47lb; seedless watermelon is 29-cents a pound and green onions, radishes or cilantro are 2/$1.

SAVE MART has fresh pork spareribs for $1.49lb. Tri-tip steaks in the Max Pax are $4.99lb. Yellow peaches are 99-cents a pound; jumbo cantaloupe is BOGO and corn on the cob is 2/$1. Broccoli is 99-cents a bunch; tomatoes on the vine are $1.69lb and whole pineapple is $2.97 each. General Mills cereals are $1.88 a box; and you can get a free dozen eggs when you buy any 2 Jimmy Dean skillets, rolls, links or patties.

Coupon specials - with any $10 purchase - include raspberries for $1.29; Land O'Frost lunchmeat for $2.99; Zone Perfect bars for 89-cents and gallon jugs of Crystal Geyser water for 49-cents each.

If you'd rather plan a picnic for dad, sliced roast beef, pastrami, ham  or corned beef is $5.99lb. Deli cole slaw is $1.99lb; bakery rolls are $1.99 a dozen and a dozen cupcakes are $6.99.

Come back on Thursday for special Dad's Day recipes..

June 11, 2009
Everything is just peachy!

The Shop Cheap kitchen is all about chicken and peaches this week, thanks to chef/researcher Sheila Kern. The "Peach Chicken Salad" is perfect for the $5 Friday special at Safeway this week - whole roasted chicken. And peaches - whether you get them at a Farmer's Market or Raley's for 97-cents a pound - make a great ingredient in the salad or a tasty dessert. We also have three canatloupe recipes, including one for sorbet. Enjoy!

Peach Chicken Salad


Makes 4 servings


3 medium fresh peaches, peeled and cubed

2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast

1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Mint Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup minced fresh mint

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

4 lettuce leaves


In a large bowl, combine the peaches, chicken, cucumber and onion; set aside. In a blender, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mint, salt and pepper; cover and process until smooth. Drizzle over chicken mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Use a slotted spoon to serve on lettuce-lined plates.

Grilled Peach Sundaes


Makes 2 servings


2 peaches, halved and pitted

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 scoops nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt or fruit sorbet

1 tablespoon toasted unsweetened coconut


Preheat grill to high. Brush peach halves with oil. Grill until tender. Place 2 peach halves in each bowl and top with a scoop of frozen yogurt (or sorbet) and coconut.

If you aren't a peach fan, how about cantaloupe?

Cantaloupe Sorbet


Bon Appetit | May 1997

Serves 6


2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

3 cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded cantaloupe (about 1/2 cantaloupe)


Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Transfer to 11x7x2-inch glass dish and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Puree cantaloupe in blender until smooth. Add to sugar syrup in dish and stir until well blended. Freeze until almost firm, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Transfer cantaloupe mixture to large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Return to freezer and freeze until firm (do not stir), at least 3 hours or overnight. (Sorbet can be prepared 3 days ahead.) Cover and keep frozen.

Cantaloupe and Prosciutto with Basil Oil


Gourmet | August 1999

Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cantaloupe

1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto

2 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta (about 1/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

On a baking sheet toast pine nuts until golden, about 5 minutes, and cool. In a blender purée basil with oil until basil is minced. Pour purée through a very fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids, and discard solids.

Halve and seed cantaloupe. Cut melon into 1/4-inch-thick wedges and discard rind.

Spoon basil oil onto 4 plates. Arrange melon decoratively over oil and top with prosciutto. Sprinkle melon and prosciutto with pine nuts and cheese.

Summer Fruit with Wine and Mint


Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Yield: 4 servings


1 1/4 cups dry white wine

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 ripe cantaloupe, halved, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups)

1 basket (8-ounce) fresh strawberries, quartered

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves


Bring the wine and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Chop and combine the cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes, and mint in a large bowl. Pour the warm wine mixture over; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until cold, stirring occasionally, at least 2 hours.

Transfer to the fruit mixture to a wide jar with a tight-fitting lid. Keep chilled.

June 9, 2009
Mix & Match promotion really does work

Let's jump right in this week and talk about Safeway's Mix & Match promotion. I was skeptical at first, but I followed their advice and let them do the math. (Afterall, we all know our math ability). You can take it from me, this promotion really does work - with one caveat: You've got to count your items because you must buy 10 to get the lowest price.

I went a little overboard last week and bought 20 of the Mix & Match items, but I ended up saving 43% on my grocery bill. In my (check)book, that's worth the effort. Here are this week's offerings that are worth Mixing & Matching:

Barilla pasta, 89-cents; Prego pasta sauce and Mission flour tortillas, $1.49; Johnsonville smoked sausage, $3; Post Raisin Bran, $1.99; Safeway Select fresh pasta and sauce, $2.50 each; 2-liter Pepsi, 75-cents; Betty Crocker brownie mix, 79-cents; 12-packs of 7-UP $2.50; Motts apple juice, $1.49 and Klondike ice cream bars for $2.49. That's like 12 items. So we either buy 8 more - maybe add in some Lysol wipes for $1.99; Right Guard or Soft & Dry deodorant for $1.99; Clorox bleach $1.49; Colgate toothpaste for $1.99 - or we subtract two. See how simple it is?

Other Safeway items that are cart-worthy: Corn on the cob 3/$1 (remember to remove those husks at the store); nectarines 99-cents a pound; BOGO cantaloupe and a loaf of butter top bread for 99-cents. Quaker Life cereal is $1.99 a box; Cheez-it crackers are BOGO and lean ground beef is $3.99lb. If Entenmann's is on your list of guilty pleasures, get the scissors and clip the coupon for $1.99. Also in the bakery area, Safeway sandwich bread is $1.49 a loaf.

In produce, Driscoll's berries are BOGO; cucumbers are 69-cents each and Iceberg lettuce is 99-cents a head.

The $5 Friday special is the Signature Cafe whole roasted chicken (32-ounces). Don't like it hot? Buy the chicken cold; cut it up and make chicken salad.

Moving over to Raley's, there's a tasty recipe and boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($1.97lb). The recipe says it feeds four for about $10. Lime Marinated Chicken with Peach Blueberry Salsa sure sounds good. And peaches are on sale for 97-cents a pound. Raley's large eggs are $1.29 a dozen; a case of their R Everyday water is $3.49; A couple of good deals in their "great dairy" ad: Yoplait for 50-cents a carton and Sunnyside Farms butter for $1.79.

If you're in a rush for dinner, there's a $14.99 Family Meal deal in the Sizzling Wok. It includes chow mein; fried rice, two entree choices; egg rolls or spring rolls and 4 pieces of chicken.

Raley's has a 5/$5 sale. The $1 items include Vitamin water, Crystal Geyser; Arizona Tea and varieties of Power Bars.

Save Mart has seedless grapes for 99-cents a pound; Driscoll's raspberries for $2.49 and cucumbers for 50-cents each. Leaf lettuce is 69-cents a head; and jumbo cantaloupe is 2/$4.

In the meat dept., cross rib steak or lean ground beef is $1.99 a pound in the max pak; beef backribs are 99-cents a pound. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound. Talapia fillets are $3.99lb; and Dover Sole fillets are $4.99lb.

 Lays chips are BOGO and Sunny Select drinking water is $2.50 a case. Whipped topping is 99-cents for an 8oz. container. If you want to stock up on cereal for the summer, Kellogg's is buy three; get three free. Works out to $1.83 a box..

In the deli, Foster Farms premier oven roasted turkey is $4.99lb; potato and egg salad is $2.99lb and the Save Mart rotisserie chicken is $5.99 for a 35-oz. bird. Top it off with a loaf of French or Italian bread for $1.69 and you've got your meal.  

Come back on Thursday for this week's recipes from the Shop Cheap kitchen.



June 4, 2009
Lightning strikes and the Shop Cheap kitchen

Earlier in the week, it felt like it was going to be a summery, fresh-fruit kind of weekend. But after Wednesday night's light show, maybe warm blueberry pancakes, muffins or a pasta salad would be more like it. Recipe researcher Sheila Kern combed the Shop Cheap recipe vault for suggestions that match the sales and the crazy weather. Enjoy!

The Best Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes


Yield: 12 pancakes


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (allowed to cool down)

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)


Please note that you'll also need additional unsalted butter to grease your skillet (you could also use nonstick cooking spray like Pam. Or, you can mix butter and some with Pam and all worked fine).

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.

After melted butter has cooled down, beat the eggs with the buttermilk in a separate bowl then whisk in the melted butter.

Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine just until you have a lumpy batter; do NOT overmix.

Over medium-high heat, heat some butter in a large skillet (you could use a griddle too, of course).

For each pancake, use a generous 1/4 cup of batter; after spooning batter into skillet, sprinkle top of each pancake with blueberries and press them in slightly.

I was quite generous with sprinkling the blueberries, then when I got to my last pancake I found I didn't have many left, so you may want to have some extra blueberries on hand.

Cook each pancake for approximately 2 minutes per side; the length of time will depend on how hot you have the heat, how well your skillet retains the heat, etc.

Keep pancakes warm in a low oven as you make them, then serve; best when served with real maple syrup.

The Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins



3 cups minus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

Heavy pinch of salt

Dash of Nutmeg

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 generous cup plain, unflavored yogurt (throw in extra if you want)

2 cups fresh blueberries

Vanilla Extract

Softened Butter, for muffin tins

Turbinado sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 385 degrees. (this is not a typo!)

In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, capful of vanilla, egg, and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of 10.

Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times.

Add mixture to well-buttered muffin pans. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. (Brown sugar can be used instead.)

Bake 20 to 25 minutes and allow to cool completely.

Blueberry Crisp with Cinnamon-Streusel Topping


Bon Appetit | August 1999

Yield: Serves 8-10


7 6-ounce baskets fresh blueberries (about 8 cups)

3/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

6 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Whipped cream


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 2 1/2 cups blueberries and 3/4 cup sugar in large saucepan. Cook over low heat until berries soften and release their juices, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Mix in remaining blueberries. Transfer mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

Mix flour, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl to blend. Gradually add cooled melted butter, mixing with fork until small moist clumps form. Sprinkle streusel over berries.

Bake until topping is crisp and golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve with whipped cream.

Strawberry and Spinach Salad


Makes 8 servings

This spring salad is teaming with Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The bright green of the spinach and contrasting red of the strawberries is beautiful and the flavors are excellent together.

1 pint fresh strawberries

2 bunches fresh spinach

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons minced green onion

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup balsamic or cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Wash strawberries under cool running water. Remove caps and set aside to drain.

2. Wash spinach and remove large tough stems. Tear large leaves into small pieces. Drain.

3. In a medium bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk together.

4. Slice strawberries into halves or quarters and place in a large bowl. Add dry spinach.

5. Pour dressing over all and toss.

Cucumber Mint Tea Sandwiches


Gourmet | July 1992

Yield: Makes 12 tea sandwiches


1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed, spun dry, and chopped fine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons cream cheese

6 slices of whole-wheat bread

a 3-inch length of seedless cucumber, cut into thin slices


In a small bowl combine the mint, the butter, and the cream cheese and stir the mixture until it is combined well. Spread the bread slices with the butter mixture, top 3 of them with the cucumber, distributing the cucumber evenly and seasoning it with salt, and top the cucumber with the remaining bread slices. Cut off and discard the crusts and cut each sandwich diagonally into quarters.


Feta, Cucumber and Spinach Pita Sandwiches


Bon Appetit | February 2000

Yield: 4 servings


1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup coarsely chopped English hothouse cucumber

1/4 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 6-ounce package baby spinach

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

4 pita breads, cut crosswise in half


Mix yogurt, garlic and cayenne in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Mix cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, green onion, mint, vinegar and oil in large bowl. Stir in spinach and feta cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand while preparing pita bread.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap pita breads in foil. Place in oven until heated through, about 10 minutes. Fill pita halves with cucumber mixture. Spoon some of yogurt dressing into each pita half. Serve, passing remaining yogurt dressing separately.

Cucumber Salad


Yield: 4 servings


2 English cucumbers (2 pounds)

1 small red onion

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh


Slice the cucumber lengthwise, remove the seeds, and slice thinly. Thinly slice the onion.

In a colander, toss the cucumber and onion with the salt and let it sit and drain for 20 minutes. Press the liquid out of the vegetables and rinse well with cold water.

In a medium bowl combine the vinegar and sugar and stir well. Add the cucumber mixture and toss to coat. Stir in the dill.


And one more time with that Salame pasta salad recipe because Gallo Salame is on sale at Raley's for $4.99 a package. I made this salad twice over the Memorial Day weekend and it's good!

Salame Pasta Salad

Yield: 6 servings

10 oz. Gemelli Pasta

1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, small dice

1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper, small dice

3-4 Tbsp. Minced Garlic

2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

8 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

1 1/2 cups Gallo  salame, julienne

1/4 cup Basil, thin sliced

Kosher Salt or Table Salt, to taste

Black Pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Drain and rinse in cold water. In large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly.

That's it. A perfect salad for a potluck or BBQ.




June 2, 2009
Another good week at the grocery store

It's another good week for fresh fruit, my shopping friends. And it continues to be a good shopping market in the Sacramento region where Raley's and Safeway are going at eachother, both boasting cheaper prices. Savemart has not yet entered the fray, instead, they consistently advertise prices that match the other two. Out in left field is Winco with the best dairy prices around; Nugget, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's with their speciality items and Walmart with everything under the sun.

But here at Shop Cheap we concentrate on the Big Three - Raley's, Safeway and Savemart. Here goes:

Check out the Savemart 72-hour sale this weekend. There's T-Bone or rib steaks for $5.99lb; jumbo strawberries for $3.49 in the 28 oz. container; hot dog or burger buns for 88-cents and Kingsford briquets for $6.99. 

Other stuff at Savemart includes snapper fillets for $3.99lb; tri-tip roast for $2.97lb and Alpine Giants stadium links for $3.99 to go with those 88-cent buns. Eggs continue to be a good deal at $1.39 for a dozen large. Dannon Light & Fit yogurt is 50-cents a container; and Dreyer's fruit bars are $3 each. There's a Kellogg's cereal deal - buy 3; get 3 free; Sunnyside farms white or wheat bread is $1.69 a loaf and Aquafina drinking water is $3.99 a case.

Spend $10 and cash in on coupons: 99-cents for Farmer John weiners; 99-cents for Fresh Express salads; 5lbs. of sugar for $1.99 and nearly 5lbs of Hills Bros. coffee for $5.99.

In produce, berries are BOGO; Kiwis are 4/$1; red seedless grapes are $1.47lb and avocados are $1 each. Large tomatoes are 99-cents a pound; broccoli is 97-cents a pound and a 10lb bag of potatoes is $2.99. In the bakery/deli, demi-baguettes are $1.49 each and chicken wings or tenders are $4.99lb.

In the Oops Dept., I did make one mistake last week. (Yes, only one Dear Husband). When I wrote about sales at Safeway, I was looking at the ad that was specifically for readers in the area of the Fair Oaks Safeway on Madison Avenue. You see, at that store and another in El Dorado Hills on Francisco Drive, the prices are different. Last week's example was the cantaloupe - 88-cents a pound at the Fair Oaks Safeway, BOGO everywhere else. This week at Fair Oaks and El Drorado Hills, it's Rancher's Reserve chuck roast for $1.29lb ($1.39lb elsewhere); Sockeye salmon fillets for $8.99lb  ($9.99 elsewhere); Tropicana OJ for $1.99 (2/$5 elsewhere) and Lucerne butter for $1.49. The price for peaches and strawberries is also cheaper at the Fair Oaks and El Dorado Hills stores.

The stuff that's the same at all stores includes a new flatbread pizza for $3.99 in the deli and the Friday only $5 special on pan-roasted turkey or Black Forest ham in the deli. Safeway Select sliced breads are $1.50 a loaf; Van de Kamp's seafood selections are BOGO and Lucerne milk is 2 gallons for $4.28.

Now for the Mix&Match sale. You know how confused I get with all the numbers, but the ad claims that if you buy 10 "participating" items, you get 50-cents off each one. That equals a savings of $5 instantly.  Here's one example (not the best combination of foods, however): Peter Pan peanut butter, Bertolli pasts sauce and Healthy Choice microbowls are $1.99 each when you buy 10. Other items that are featured in the Mix&Match: Nabisco snack crackers; General Mills cereals; Refreshe water and 7-Up products.

In produce, Safeway has apricots for $1.99lb; cherries for $2.88lb; and red or yellow bell peppers for $1.99lb.

If the teenager is home for summer, stock up on the Renuzit adjustables for $1 each. Hint: Vanilla seems to work best.

Raley's is doing the berry thing with blueberries for $1.47 a carton. They are also tempting us with Pepperidge Farm cookies (read Milanos for $1.77 and Kozy Shack pudding for $2.99. If you saved the dairy coupons from last Sunday's paper, you find one for 50-cents off the Kozy.

Boneless pork loin is $1.99lb; fresh cooked shrimpmeat is $2.99lb and Raley's large eggs are $1.79 for an 18-egg carton. A 24-pack of Arrowheadd water is $3.49; Dannon Light&Fit yogurt is 50-cents and a cute, little Sara Lee Simple Sweets pie is $2.49.

Kellogg's Special K cereal or cereal bars are $1.99 each if you buy 4. Clip-worthy coupons include 2-liter pepsi for 88-cents; Crystal Geyser spring water in the gallon jug is 78-cents; and a dozen donuts (Friday is National Donut Day) cost $4.99.

If you're looking for melon, Raley's has cantaloupes for 39-cents a pound; honeydew for 49-cents a pound and seedless watermelon for 29-cents a pound.

Gallo sliced salame is $4.99 a package (we will re-run that yummy pasta salad recipe on Thursday).

Come back tomorrow for recipes.



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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