Shop Cheap

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

September 3, 2009
Recipes for your Labor Day picnic

As promised, the Shop Cheap Kitchen has come through with delicious recipes for the upcoming 3-day weekend. Recipes from researcher Sheila Kern include some of the best items on sale this week - avocado, watermelon, and pork ribs. Enjoy! 

Tomato and Watermelon Salad


Epicurious | March 2009

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


3 or 4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh

1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, tarragon, chives, and cilantro

1/4 teaspoon coriander seed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. In a spice grinder, grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder. Add the ground coriander to the tomato mixture and toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Watermelon and Peaches Dessert


Serves 6-8


4 cups small watermelon cubes

2 peaches

Juice from 2 fresh lemons

1/8 cup raw or organic white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup slivered almonds


In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the almonds to the pan. Stir the almonds until they are toasted and golden. Remove the almonds from the pan to aluminum foil or heatproof plate to cool. Thinly slice the peaches and toss in a bowl with lemon juice. Add the watermelon cubes to the bowl with the peaches and toss together. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and yogurt and pour over the watermelon and peaches. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Banana Split


Makes 4 servings


2 bananas

1 medium watermelon

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/4 cup caramel fruit dip

1/4 cup honey roasted almonds


Peel bananas and cut in half lengthwise then cut each piece in half. For each serving, lay 2 banana pieces against sides of shallow dish. Using an ice cream scooper, place three watermelon "scoops" in between each banana in each dish. Remove seeds if necessary. Top each watermelon "scoop" with a different fruit topping. Drizzle caramel fruit dip over all. Sprinkle with almonds.

Avocado Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

From (California Avocado Commission)


4 small or 2 large portobello mushrooms

1T butter

1 leek, cleaned and sliced

1/2 garlic clove, pressed

1 large, ripe avocado, peeled and chopped

1/2 t. chopped fresh or dried rosemary

1/2 T lime juice

1/8 t. salt

2 oz. goat cheese

1 1/2 T chopped walnuts

1 T olive oil

Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs


Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushrooms using a spoon; discard gills. Remove stems, if necessary, and reserve for another use, if desired.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add leek and garlic, and sauté, until tender. Remove from heat, and cool.

Stir together avocado and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in leek mixture.

Press goat cheese evenly into mushroom caps; top each with avocado mixture. Sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle with olive oil. Place on rack in a broiler pan.

Bake at 400° for 5 minutes; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.

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

Artichoke, Avocado & Chicken Salad

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 8


Terttu's Special Dressing (see make-ahead recipe below)

1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

10 oz cooked chicken, shredded

1 (10-oz.) bag chopped romaine lettuce

2 ripe, avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped

Terttu's Special Dressing

1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. light Caesar dressing


Gently toss a small amount of the dressing with each of the artichoke hearts, olives, chicken. Reserve remaining dressing.

Place lettuce in a large flat serving bowl. Toss with half of the reserved dressing.

Top lettuce with the artichoke hearts, olives, chicken and avocados.

Serve immediately and pass remaining dressing on the side.

Terttu's Special Dressing

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, mix all dressing ingredients.

Shake well before using.

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

Classic Guacamole

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 8


4 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tomato, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/8 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.

Serving Suggestions:

Garnish as desired and serve with tortilla chips.

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

Barbecued Ribs


Serves 4-6


4 to 5 pounds pork ribs, cut in serving-size pieces

salt and pepper

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

dash Tabasco sauce


Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan, meaty side down; season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425° for 35 minutes. Drain off excess fat; turn meaty side up. Top ribs with sliced lemon and onion. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to roast ribs for 30 minutes longer. Meanwhile, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and Tabasco in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and pour over ribs. Continue roasting ribs, basting occasionally, for 1 hour longer. Add more water if sauce gets too thick.

Mom's 'Sweet 'n' Sours' Pork Ribs


Makes 4 servings


1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 cups water

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup vinegar

2 pounds pork spareribs, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped


In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir in the water, soy sauce, and vinegar.

Place the ribs in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes, and drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown the ribs on all sides. Mix in the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Mix in the garlic, and continue cooking 15 minutes, or to desired doneness.

Sweet BBQ Crockpot Ribs


Serves 6


3 lbs. pork loin back ribs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup cola beverage

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves


Cut ribs into 2 or 3 rib portions and place in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour cola over. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours until the ribs are tender. Drain liquid and discard. Pour barbecue sauce and thyme into crockpot and mix so ribs are coated. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 1-2 hours until ribs are glazed.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

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

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31