Shop Cheap

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

May 20, 2010
Cooking outside the box

Hi Shoppers. Going deep in the Shop Cheap recipe book, researcher Sheila Kern has come up with ideas that will make your meals way more interesting this week. And if you need ideas for your Memorial Day weekend, these will work, too. As always, lots of the ingredients are on sale this week. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Tenders with Cilantro Pesto


EatingWell: May/June 2008

4 servings


1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 pound chicken tenders

2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, (1-2 bunches)

2 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, (see Ingredient Note)


Whisk lime juice, soy sauce, oil and chili powder in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade in a small bowl. Add chicken to the remaining marinade; toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Meanwhile, place cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds and the reserved marinade in a food processor and process until fairly smooth.

Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard marinade) and grill until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, about 2 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with the cilantro-sesame pesto.

Tips & Notes

Ingredient Note: Sesame seeds can be purchased already toasted. Look for them near other Asian ingredients. Or toast your own in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Tip: To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.

Creamed Spinach


Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2001

Show: Emeril Live Episode: I Love New York


2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and tough stems removed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup heavy cream


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.

Melt the butter in medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


Servings: 4


3 whole Red Bell Peppers

2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (optional)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced

2 cloves Garlic, Minced

1/2 cups Heavy Cream

Flat Leaf Parsley, Finely Minced

Fresh Parmesan, Shaved or Grated

1/2 pounds (to 1 Pound) Pasta: Orecchiette, Penne, Fusilli, Etc.


Roast red peppers, and then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside.

Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.

Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a skillet or pot over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add plenty of salt.

Pour in cream and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Add cooked pasta, and then stir together.

Place pasta into a bowl, top with chopped parsley and plenty of shaved Parmesan.

Spicy Yellow Bell Pepper Soup


Servings: 4


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 large yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

1 large Yukon Gold potato (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves


In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil until just shimmering. Add the chopped onion, yellow bell peppers and jalapenos and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potato and a pinch each of salt and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender to puree the soup.) Return the soup to the saucepan and reheat gently. Stir in the sherry vinegar and season with salt. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls, top with the chopped cilantro and serve.

Easy Grilled Tri Tip


Servings: 8


1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons water

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

ground black pepper to taste

4 pounds beef tri tip, cut into 1/2 inch slices


In a large, non-reactive bowl, blend the soy sauce, olive oil, water, garlic, and pepper. Place the beef tri tip in the marinade. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil grate.

Grill the beef slices 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Discard remaining marinade.

Sweet and Spicy London Broil


Yield 3 to 4 servings


1 flank steak (about 1 3/4 pound)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 lime, zested


Preheat a broiler to high. Bring the steaks to room temperature about 20 minutes before cooking.

Mix the olive oil, paprika, sugar, chili powder, salt, chili powder, and zest in a bowl to make a paste. Rub the spice mixture all over the steak. Broil until just charred and crispy on top, about 6 minutes on 1 side. Flip the steak and cook until beginning to char, about 6 minutes more or until rare and temperature registers 115 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Place the steak on a cutting board and let rest, tented with foil for about 10 minutes. Slice across the grain and serve.

Classic Cheeseburger


Serves 4


2 pounds ground beef, preferably chuck

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 ounces cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick

4 hamburger buns

2 tomatoes (12 ounces), sliced

8 leaves Bibb lettuce (1 small head)

1 small red onion, sliced


Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Season meat with salt and pepper, mix very lightly, and shape into four patties. Grill hamburgers 4 to 6 minutes per side for rare and 9 to 11 minutes for well done. If making cheeseburgers, lay cheese slices on top of the hamburgers after they have been flipped.

Serve immediately on buns (toasted, if desired), topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion slices.

Sweet Pepper Meat Loaf



1 1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork, or use more ground beef

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup chili sauce or ketchup

1/4 cup beef broth

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium sweet yellow or orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon herb and garlic seasoning or other salt-free seasoning blend



3/4 cup chili sauce or ketchup

1/2 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

few drops Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

dash Cajun seasoning


Heat oven to 350°.

Combine meat loaf ingredients; blend well. Pack into a large lightly greased loaf pan or shape into a loaf and put in a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Pour off excess fat and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan; whisk to blend ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil, stirring, for 2 minutes. Spoon over sliced meat loaf.

Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta, and Green Onions


Makes 8 servings


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup olive oil

6 cups chicken broth

1 pound orzo (or riso)

2 cups red and yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved

1 7-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted


Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring broth to boil in large heavy saucepan. Stir in orzo, reduce heat to medium, cover partially, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer to large wide bowl, tossing frequently until cool.

Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, and green onions into orzo. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Add pine nuts; toss. Serve at room temperature.

Radish Dip


Yields: 2 cups


4 cloves garlic peeled

6 radishes, quartered

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese softened


Place garlic in the container of a food processor, and pulse until finely minced. Add radishes, and mince. Add cream cheese, and mix until well blended. Transfer to a serving dish, and chill until serving.

Strawberry French Toast


Servings: 10


2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/3 cup Domino® or C&H® Pure Cane Powdered Sugar

1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, cut into 1-inch slices

10 eggs

2/3 cup half-and-half cream or heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup Domino® or C&H® Granulated Pure Cane Sugar

2 tablespoons water

Maple syrup, optional


In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, strawberries and confectioners' sugar until blended. Spread about 2 tablespoons on one side of half the bread slices; top with remaining bread.

Place sandwiches in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, cream and vanilla. Pour over bread. Turn each sandwich. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

With a slotted spatula, transfer sandwiches to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Discard any remaining egg mixture. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes; turn and bake 10 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine the strawberries, sugar and water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve French toast with strawberry sauce and maple syrup if desired.

Strawberry and Brie Bruschetta

From (California Strawberry Commission)

Makes 6 servings


12 slices French bread, cut 1/2 inch thick

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

12 slices (about 12 ounces) Brie cheese

1 1/2 pounds (about 4 to 5 cups) sliced stemmed California strawberries

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted


Heat oven to 375ºF. Spread 1 side of each bread slice with butter; arrange, butter side up, on large baking sheet. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle 1 teaspoon over each slice of bread. Reserve remaining sugar mixture. Toast bread in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Top each with 1 slice cheese; return to oven. Bake an additional 4 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine strawberries, vanilla and remaining sugar mixture; toss lightly. Place two bruschetta on each serving plate. Spoon 1/3 cup strawberry mixture over each; sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately. Tip: To toast almonds, spread in even layer on baking sheet. Bake in 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring once or twice for even browning.

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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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