Shop Cheap

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

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.




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About Shop Cheap

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

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