Shop Cheap

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

January 6, 2011
Recipes help you get a healthy start to 2011

Before we share this week's recipes, here's a tip from a new reader - Joe M. "I want to mention Trader Joe's (no relation) because I have consistently been getting the best prices on soy milk and rice milk at Trader Joe's for years now. I buy the house brand label."

Thanks, Joe. Keep those tips coming!

Now, for our promise to be more health conscious  - but not blah - in 2011. We shared our goal with recipe researcher Sheila Kern and she came through with lots of recipes that will fit the budget and the desire to be more healthy. If you want to try the greek yogurt recipes, Chobani brand is on sale at Safeway for $1 a carton. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Spread


Serves: 1


3 jarred roasted whole red peppers, drained and well dried

1/2 C (4oz) Plain non-fat Chobani Greek Yogurt

4 ounces low-fat feta, crumbled

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt


Put the peppers in food processor or blender. Blend until coarsely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and blend until combined, but not completely smooth. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before using.

Souped Up Carrot Soup


Serves: 4


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 lbs carrots, scraped, and coined

1 Tbsp brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

4 C vegetable stock

1 C Plain non-fat Chobani Greek Yogurt

Salt to taste


Heat large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil to pot. Once hot, add onions, and saute; for 2 minutes. Add white pepper, cumin and cayenne and allow to cook for 3 more minutes.

Add carrots and to pot, and reduce heat to low. Add brown sugar then stir and cover pot. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, add garlic and ginger and increase heat to medium high. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add stock, and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until carrots are soft.

Turn off heat, and puree using an immersion blender or food processor. Return to pot, add 1 cup Chobani. Mix well and season with salt to taste.

If serving soup cold, allow to cool for one hour. Then cover pot, and transfer to refrigerator to cool over night. To serve, ladle into bowl, and garnish with Chobani.

Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie


Makes 4 servings


1 quart (4 cups) ripe strawberries

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

Garnish (optional)

4 small strawberries with leaves

4 thin round slices of unpeeled orange


Rinse and drain the strawberries and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the yogurt, orange juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Process on the highest speed until a well-blended puree forms, about 15 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container once or twice. Taste the mixture and sweeten with a little more sugar, if you wish.

For a very smooth beverage, strain the mixture, using a wooden spoon to push the drink through. Discard the strawberry seeds.

Pour into 4 tall glasses and serve immediately. If you wish to decorate the drinks, slit the strawberries and the orange slices halfway through the centers. Attach one berry and one orange slice to the rim of each glass.



Banana-berry smoothie: Add 1 small banana, cut into quarters (Step 1). Because bananas tend to thicken drinks, increase the orange juice to 3/4 cup. Taste the smoothie before adding the tablespoon of sugar (you may not need it).

Apricot-berry smoothie: For the fruits, use 2 cups peeled apricot slices and only 2 cups of ripe strawberries.

Inside-Out Lasagna


From EatingWell: January/February 2010

Makes 4 servings


8 ounces whole-wheat rotini or fusilli

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves cloves garlic, sliced

8 ounces sliced white mushrooms (about 3 1/2 cups)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs

8 cups baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add tomatoes, spinach and crushed red pepper (if using). Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring once halfway through, until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.

Toss the sauce with the pasta and divide among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 3 tablespoons of ricotta.

Lemon Turkey Soup with Fresh Spinach and Farfalle


Bon Appetit | January 2005

Makes 4-6 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, diced

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

8 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth

2 cups dried farfalle (bow-tie) pasta

2 cups diced cooked turkey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 10-ounce package ready-to-use spinach leaves (about 6 cups)

Grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and stir 1 minute. Add celery, carrots and red bell pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add 8 cups broth and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes. Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Mix turkey, lemon juice and lemon peel into soup. Add spinach. Simmer until spinach wilts but is still bright green, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Thin soup with additional chicken broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Chicken "Saltimbocca" with Beans & Spinach


From Woman's Day | September 14, 2004

Yield: 4 servings


1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp each salt and pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (5 oz each), tender removed (see Note), trimmed of visible fat

1 Tbsp oil

1 tsp dried or chopped fresh sage

4 thin slices prosciutto (about 1/2 oz each)

1/2 cup canned fat-free chicken broth

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp stick butter


1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed

1/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red peppers

1 Tbsp oil

1/8 tsp each salt and pepper

1 bag (9 oz) microwaveable baby spinach

Garnish: fresh sage leaves


1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a plastic food bag. Add chicken, close bag and shake to coat. Remove chicken; shake off excess flour.

2. Meanwhile heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cover and cook, turning once, 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove to plates, sprinkle with sage and top each with prosciutto.

3. Add broth and lemon juice to pan. Increase heat to high and boil until reduced by half. Whisk in butter until melted. Drizzle over chicken.

4. Meanwhile combine Bean ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave until hot, then microwave spinach as bag directs. Serve with the chicken.

Note: So breasts cook evenly, place halves smooth side down and gently pull off the tenders. Save tenders for another use.

Spinach with Garlic and Yogurt


Serves 4


1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach

2 tablespoons finely chopped or grated sweet onion

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup plain yogurt

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 teaspoons minced fresh basil


Wash the spinach well, trim, and chop or tear it into pieces; place in a large saucepan. Add the sweet onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, covered, for about 5 minutes. Shake the pan frequently to keep vegetables from scorching.

Drain the vegetables well, then add the olive oil and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, stir in the yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in basil and serve hot.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pecans


Serves 4 to 6


8 ounces fresh torn spinach or baby spinach

1 1/2 to 2 cups cleaned and sliced strawberries

1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces, lightly toasted

2 to 3 ounces goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled, optional


1/4 cup Canola oil or other salad oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/8 teaspoon each onion and garlic powder

dash dry mustard


Toss spinach with sliced strawberries, pecans, and cheese, if using.

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar; shake until well blended. When ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and toss lightly.

Almond- Crusted Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Drizzle


Serves 4


1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped

1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 (5-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Whisk the egg with the water in a shallow bowl. Combine the almonds, bread crumbs, and salt in another shallow bowl. Dip the chicken into the egg and then the nut mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet and coat chicken with cooking spray.

Bake, turning once, for 15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring the orange juice, vinegar, and honey to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Boil 9 to 10 minutes, until reduced by half. Serve over chicken.

Lemon Chicken


Yield: 4 servings


For the chicken:

2 large chicken breast fillets (approx. 3/4 pound total weight), cut into bite-sized chunks

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2-3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, for frying

4 thinly sliced scallions, to serve

For the sauce:

Zest and juice (1/4 cup) 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the chicken in a bowl and toss with the soy sauce. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, whisk together the lemon zest and juice with the sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened, then keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Whisk together the egg yolk and cornstarch in a small bowl to make a batter. Toss the chicken in the batter and fry for three to four minutes on each side until golden and cooked through.

Transfer to a plate and spoon the warm lemon sauce over the chicken. Scatter the scallions over the dish before serving.

Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup


6 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large stalk celery, diced

1 large carrot, diced

9 cups water

4 cups (32-ounce carton) reduced-sodium chicken broth, "no-chicken" broth or vegetable broth

1/2 cup pearl barley

1/3 cup dried black beans

1/3 cup dried great northern beans

1/3 cup dried kidney beans

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon salt


Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, barley, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours (adding more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if necessary or desired). Season with salt.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Slow-Cooker Variation: Use 2 cups water (instead of 9 cups) and combine all ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup Recipe


Yield: 8 servings


1 pound ground sirloin (around 6%-9% fat), or ground turkey with around 6% fat

1 cup chopped onions

1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

8 ounces canned tomato sauce

2 cups water

2 14.5-ounce cans peeled and diced tomatoes

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies (buy mild, if you prefer)

1 ounce packet taco seasoning mix

1 cup shredded, reduced-fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream


1. In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef or turkey over medium heat until browned. Drain, and set aside.

2. Place the ground meat, onion, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers, and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours.

3. Ladle into individual serving bowls, and top each with 1/8 cup shredded cheese and a tablespoon of fat-free sour cream. Serve with homemade flour tortillas.

Minestrone in Minutes


Makes 8 servings, 1-1/4 cups each


1 lb. frozen vegetable blend (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)

1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

2 cans (14-1/2 oz. each) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed

1 cup rotini pasta, uncooked

1 pkg. (7 oz.) KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


Combine all ingredients except cheese in saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally.

Simmer on medium heat 10 min. or until chicken is done and pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve topped with cheese.

Kraft Kitchens Tips


Prepare using Mexican-style diced tomatoes and canned black beans.

Strawberry-Orange Muffins


Cooking Light, May 1999

Yield: 1 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)


1 1/4 cups halved strawberries

3 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray

2 teaspoons sugar


Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender, and process just until blended. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pan 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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