Shop Cheap

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

December 2, 2010
We're cooking crab and quick meals

The first two recipes this week are for crab-lovers who have been waiting for the price of fresh Dungeness to drop. (It's $2.99 a pound at Safeway and Save Mart). The other recipes are for all of the harried shoppers who want to serve good meals but without the fuss. You can thank recipe researcher Sheila Kern for making your life a little easier this time of year. Enjoy!

Oven-Roasted Dungeness Crab


Yield: makes 2 servings


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper

2 large Dungeness crabs, cooked, cleaned, and cracked (about 4 1/4 pounds)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

1/2 cup blood orange juice or regular orange juice

1 teaspoon finely grated blood orange peel or regular orange peel


Preheat oven to 500°F. Melt butter with oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, shallot, and dried crushed red pepper. Add crabs; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped thyme and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley over crabs. Stir to combine. Place skillet in oven and roast crabs until heated through, stirring once, about 12 minutes.

Using tongs, transfer crabs to platter. Add orange juice and peel to same skillet; boil until sauce is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over crabs. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon parsley and serve.

Confetti Crab Salad with Lime Dressing


Makes 4 servings


For The Salad

1 pound Dungeness crab meat

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup diced Roma tomatoes

1/4 cup thinly sliced (white & green portions) green onion

1/4 cup diced radishes

1/2 cup peeled, seeded & diced cucumber

2 Tablespoons, chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup finely shredded hearts of Romaine lettuce

For The Dressing

3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon or to taste coarse sea salt


Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, tossing well. Pour the dressing over the salad tossing well, and mound the salad onto chilled plates.

Chicken Fajita Tostadas


Yield: 4 servings


8 tostada shells

2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast

1 cup refried beans

1 medium green pepper - thinly sliced

1 medium onion - thinly sliced

1 packet (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup water

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Shredded lettuce, diced tomato, salsa, sour cream and guacamole for garnish - optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine taco seasoning, water and lime juice and stir well.

Pour half of the taco seasoning mixture over the shredded chicken and the other half over the pepper and onion.

Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the sauce starts to thicken slightly -- 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken and keep warm. Add peppers and onions and cook until the sauce starts to thicken and veggies start to wilt -- about 3-4 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Lay tostada shells on an ungreased baking sheet.

Top each shell with 2 tablespoons refried beans, 1/4 cup shredded chicken, peppers and onions and cheddar cheese to taste.

Bake until the cheese just starts to melt -- about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with optional garnishes.

Rio Grande Pot Roast


From Woman's Day | Sept. 1, 2007

Servings: 8


1 1/2 cups thick-and-chunky salsa

1 cup beer or water

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 pkt (1.25 oz) taco seasoning

1 3-lb boneless beef bottom round roast

1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

2 Tbsp peanut butter

1/3 cup chopped cilantro


Mix first 4 ingredients in a 5-qt or larger slow-cooker. Rub beef with salt and pepper; add to cooker. Spoon some sauce mixture over top.

Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours until beef is very tender. Remove to a cutting board. Stir peanut butter and cilantro into sauce. Slice meat against the grain; serve with the sauce.

Broccoli & Garlic Penne Pasta


Makes 4 servings


1 cup Swanson Chicken Broth

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups broccoli florets

4 1/2 cups penne pasta, cooked and drained

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Heat the broth, basil, black pepper, garlic and broccoli in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the broccoli is tender-crisp.

Add the pasta and lemon juice and toss to coat. Sprinkle the pasta mixture with the cheese.

Quick Dinner Nachos


Makes 3 servings


1 (15.5-oz.) can pinto beans, drained

8 oz. Mexican pepper jack cheese cubed (2 cups)

6 cups tortilla chips

1/4 cup sliced ripe olives

3/4 cup chopped seeded tomato

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


In medium saucepan, combine beans and cheese; cook over medium heat until cheese is melted, stirring frequently.

Place 2 cups chips on each individual serving plate. Spoon about 2/3 cup bean mixture over chips. Top each with olives, tomato, sour cream and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Black beans can be used in place of pinto beans.

For Quick Beef Nachos or Quick Chicken Nachos, add 1 cup of crumbled cooked ground beef or shredded cooked chicken to these nachos.

Hot Barley and Chicken Salad


Makes 2 servings



1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Dash pepper


1 cup water

1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Fresh spinach leaves


In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; mix well. Set aside.

In medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add barley; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until barley is tender and only about 1/4 of liquid remains.

Add chicken and garlic; mix well. Cover; cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in vegetables. Cover; cook over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Add dressing; cook until thoroughly heated.

Arrange spinach leaves on 2 individual plates. Spoon salad onto spinach leaves.

Green Beans with Browned Butter


Makes 6 servings


3/4 lb fresh green beans, cut in half

2 tablespoons butter (do not use margarine or vegetable oil spreads)

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel


In 2-quart saucepan, place beans in 1 inch of water. Heat to boiling. Boil uncovered 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender (they shouldn't be "squeaky" when you bite into one); drain. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Be careful not to let butter burn or it will taste bitter. Stir in pecans. Heat, stirring constantly, until butter is golden brown. (If bottom of saucepan is dark, it may be difficult to see the difference between brown butter and burnt butter. Try spooning a little of the butter onto a white plate to see the color more clearly.) Immediately remove from heat. Pour butter mixture over beans; toss to coat. Sprinkle with lemon peel.

Orange-Avocado Salad


Makes 6 servings


Orange Vinaigrette

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt


Salad greens

3 oranges, peeled, sliced

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced

6 thin slices red onion, separated into rings


In tightly covered container, shake all vinaigrette ingredients until well blended.

On each of 6 salad plates, arrange salad greens. Top with oranges, avocados and onion. Serve with vinaigrette.

Quick Fall Minestrone


Cooking Light, October 2003

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup and 1 tablespoon cheese)


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups vegetable broth

2 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash

2 1/2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled baking potato

1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/4 pound)

1/2 cup diced carrot

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups chopped kale

1/2 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 2 1/2 minutes or until tender. Add broth and the next 7 ingredients (broth through salt); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Add kale, orzo, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until orzo is done and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with cheese

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter


EatingWell: June/July 2006

Makes 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each


1 pound fresh or frozen gnocchi

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium shallots, chopped

1 pound zucchini, (about 3 small), very thinly sliced lengthwise (see Tip)

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they float, 3 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add shallots and zucchini and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, nutmeg and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the tomatoes are just starting to break down, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and parsley. Add the gnocchi and toss to coat. Serve immediately.


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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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