Shop Cheap

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

July 8, 2009
It's summertime and we're cookin' veggies

Shop Cheap enlisted the queen of fruit and veggies, recipe researcher Sheila Kern, and asked her to come up with some tasty, summertime offerings that includes items that are on sale this week. You won't be disappointed.

Grilled Eggplant with Caramelized Onion and Fennel


Yield: 8 servings


1 (1 1/4-pound) eggplant (about 4-inch diameter), peeled

Cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 3/4 cups chopped fennel bulb (about 1 large bulb)

2 cups finely chopped yellow onion

2 cups trimmed arugula

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme


Prepare grill to medium heat.

Cut eggplant crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Lightly coat both sides of eggplant slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 7 minutes on each side or until browned. Set eggplant slices aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fennel and onion; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned.

Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, arugula, vinegar, and oil in a medium bowl; toss gently to coat. Divide arugula mixture evenly among 8 appetizer plates; top each serving with 1 eggplant slice. Arrange about 1/3 cup fennel mixture on each eggplant slice; top with 2 tablespoons tomatoes and 1 tablespoon cheese. Sprinkle the chopped basil and thyme evenly over cheese.

Red and Green Bell Pepper Bites


Serves 8; 3 pieces per serving


1 medium green bell pepper

1 medium red bell pepper

1/4 cup sliced almonds

4 ounces fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon no-salt lemon pepper seasoning blend

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Cut each half into six pieces. Arrange the pieces with the skin side down on a decorative serving platter. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, dry-roast the almonds over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the almonds to a small plate and reserve for garnishing. Process the remaining almonds in a food processor or blender for 15 to 20 seconds, or until finely ground.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, lemon pepper seasoning blend, and lemon juice with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes, or until creamy. Add the ground almonds and beat for 10 seconds, or until combined.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a wide star or round tip. Or snip the corner off a resealable plastic bag (a plastic freezer bag works well) and spoon in the mixture. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the mixture onto each bell pepper piece. Garnish with the sliced almonds.

Bell Peppers Stuffed With Rice Italian Style


Serves 4


2 lg. bell peppers

1 1/2 c. tomato sauce

2 c. cooked brown rice

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning


Cut peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds and membranes. Steam pepper halves until cooked crisp-tender; set aside. Combine 1/2 cup tomato sauce with cooked brown rice, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning. Heat over moderate heat, stirring gently until well blended. Add a little water if need to prevent sticking. Spoon remaining tomato sauce into bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Place pepper halves on top of sauce, then fill with rice mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until hot. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Warm Green Bell Pepper and Tomato Salad


Servings: 8


1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound small green bell peppers, stems trimmed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 pounds tomatoes peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar


1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves


Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Poke a hole or make a small slit in the side of each pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, turning frequently, until browned and softened all over, about 20 minutes. Drain the peppers on paper towels and let cool. Peel, core and seed the peppers, then cut them into 1/2-inch strips.

In another large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cumin and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, pepper strips and vinegar, season with salt and cook, tossing, just until heated through. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the parsley, and serve warm or at room temperature.

The salad can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Fresh Green Beans



1 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed and washed

3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed (optional)

2 tablespoons parsley, minced (optional)


To Prepare:

Snap the tip of one end of a bean with your fingers and draw it down the length of one side of the bean to remove any possible string. Do the same thing with the other end, pulling it down the other side of the bean.

Beans of not much more than 1/4 inch in diameter are cooked whole, and retain their maximum flavor. If they are large in circumference, you may slice them on the bias to make several 2 1/2-inch lengths per bean (this or machine slicing is usually called Frenched beans though it is rarely done in France as it is seldom necessary). Sliced beans never have the flavor of whole beans.

Wash the beans rapidly in very hot water the moment before cooking.

To Blanch:

Have ready a large bowl of ice water.

Bring 6 to 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water, and drop in the prepared beans. Cover briefly, to bring the water quickly back to the boil, then immediately remove the cover. Boil uncovered until beans are just tender 2 to 3 minutes for smaller or Frenched beans; 4 to 5 minutes for whole round beans. Taste test for doneness. They are done when they are just cooked through but still have the slightest crunch of texture.

Drain immediately, return the beans to the kettle and gently run cold water over them. When pot is half full, drain again. Transfer beans to the ice-water bath. The faster you chill the beans the greener and fresher they will remain. When thoroughly chilled, in 4 to 5 minutes, drain again. Set aside, or, if making in advance, dry them thoroughly and wrap in a clean dry towel and refrigerate in an airtight container or plastic bag (thoroughly chilled cooked green beans keep well for several hours).

To Finish or Reheat:

About 3 minutes before serving, in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat, toss the beans to evaporate excess moisture. Add a piece of butter, salt and pepper to taste, tossing to combine. Add the rest of the butter gradually while tossing the beans; alternate with drops of lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Turn into a vegetable serving dish, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

Fresh Peach Cobbler


Serves 6


2 large fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 dash nutmeg

3/4 cup milk


Mix peach slices with 3/4 cup sugar, set aside.

Pour butter in 8 inch square baking dish.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and remaining sugar.

Stir in milk, until just combined.

Pour over butter.

Top with peaches.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Fresh Peach Muffins with a Pecan Crumb Topping


Yield 2 dozen

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse

Show: Emeril Live Episode: Continental Breakfast


2 cups finely chopped fresh or frozen peaches

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ground pecans

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly Grease 24 (2 3/4-inch by 1 3/8-inch) muffin cups.

Place the peaches in a bowl and cover with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Mix thoroughly. Allow the peaches to sit for 1 hour.

Using an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt. Remove the bowl from the mixer and alternately fold in the milk and flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the peaches. Spoon 1/4 cup of the filling into each prepared muffin cup. In a small bowl, combine the remaining flour, brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the butter. Using your hands, mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumb like mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture over each muffin cup. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

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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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