Shop Cheap

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

May 31, 2011
It's June and we're still chillin'

It's June 1 and we should be shopping for big floppy hats and ice cream. Instead, we've got chili in the crockpot and blankets on the bed. Where are you, Mr. Sun? The food in the stores screams summer - berries, melon, BBQ and cool drinks - but we are having a heck of a time believing it's going to heat up anytime soon. Guess we are just going to have to pretend.

That said, here's what we like this week, shoppers.

Safeway has a Mix & Match sale that includes 3,000 items. You get 50-cents off each item  when you buy 8 or more. The list includes: Mott's or Hansen's apple juice for $1.99; Doritos for $1.79; paper towels or bath tissue for $2.49; Folger's coffee for $3.99; Nestle water for $3.29 a case and Bumble Bee albacore tuna for 99-cents.

They also have a 4-day sale (Friday-Monday) with Strawberry Boston cream cakes for $5; fresh salad shrimpmeal for $4.49lb and 16-piece chicken for $9.99.

In produce, cherries have come down in price to $2.77lb; cantaloupe is BOGO; peaches are $1.49lb and strawberries are $2.50 a pound. Driscoll's raspberries are BOGO; bell peppers are $1 each and the Friday only $5 special includes 2-pounds of blueberries.

Bar S jumbo meat franks are $1 a package and gourmet hamburger patties are $3.99lb.

The rest of the Friday only $5 special: All American sub sandwich; 20-pack of Coke; and 3lbs of Jennie-O lean ground turkey.

Over at Raley's there's plenty to BBQ - if you dare. Foster Farms split chicken breasts are 99-cents  a pound. Sutter sirloin steak is $3.97lb. If you have a graduation to celebrate, their cakes are still on sale at $14.99 for 1/2 a sheet. You can get a free cake if you order 2 or more deli trays.

In produce, cantaloupe is $2; mangoes are 37-cents each  and oranges are 97-cents a pound. Cucumber is 2/$1. Breakfast is a bargain because Kellogg's Special K cereal and bars are $1.99 when you buy 4 (that includes Special K crackers, too). A dozen eggs is $1.98 and Minute Maid OJ is $2.50. A case of Arrowhead water is $3.99 and Sunnyside Farms ice cream is $3.48.

Save Mart has our favorite summertime fruit - watermelon - for $2.97. Jumbo cantaloupe is 97-cents  Friday-Sunday and locally grown cherries are $3.97lb. Driscoll's berries are BOGO.

For the "Q," chicken breasts or party wings are $1.77lb; boneless, skinless thighs are $2.99lb. Sunny Select vegetables are 69-cents a can; peanut butter is $1.79 a jar and instant oatmeal is $1.99 a box.

Sunny Select eggs are $2.29 for an 18-pack; Monterey pasta is BOGO and Michelina's lean gourmet meals are 88-cents each. If you're looking for coupons, check out Aunt Sue's honey for $1.99; Oscar Mayer shaved lunchmeat for $2.99 and BOGO sausage links from Farmer John.


May 24, 2011
A trip to Schat's and other shopping adventures

Before we start loading up the cart for the Memorial Weekend, Shop Cheap wanted to share a little find from a road trip to Bishop, CA.

The Erick Schat's Bakerry (they're Dutch and that's how they spell it) is a little slice of heaven along the 395 in the Eastern Sierra. Lots of SoCal folks are familiar with the place because it's on the way to Mammoth. It's definitely not a household name in these parts.

Schat's is an old-fashioned bakery with aisles and aisles of fresh breads, cookies, pies and all things that we're told not to eat. They make sandwiches and serve gelato, too. And, yes, it's filled with tourists. But that didn't bother Shop Cheap because she went directly to the "Day Old" aisle and scored big time.

A loaf of "day old" olive bread was 35-cents (take that, extreme coupon people). The best part -  there was nothing really "day old" about it. Rolls, cookies, churros and other stuff that didn't sell on Day 1 are either 50% off or 35-cents each. We stocked up on the sale stuff, but we also indulged in some regular priced items like blueberry pie - the best ever - and peach pull-apart cinnamon bread.

Don't think there is a bad item in the house. So if you ever plan a trip to the Eastern Sierra - Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Mammoth Mountain - stop at Schat's. Or just check out their website at They also have 3 outlets in Ukiah.

Back to shopping and the upcoming 3-day weekend. The weather is still problematic so you'll need to plan accordingly. To BBQ or not to BBQ. Either way, it will be nice to spend time relaxing with family and friends.

Let's start the cart at Save Mart because they are still giving you gas money to shop - 5-cents off a gallon for every $50 you spend. If you do "Q," Save Mart has tri tip for $2.97lb and Kraft BBQ sauce for $1. Bush's Baked Beans are 3/$5. Ball Park franks are  BOGO.

In produce, a 2-pound container of strawberries is $2.47; tomatoes on the vine are $1.97lb and radishes/green onions/cilantro or parsley is 50-cents a bunch. Baby lemons or limes are 6/96-cents; large red cherries are $3.97lb. Asparagus is 97-cents a pound Friday-Monday.

S&W beans are 79-cents a can; Heinz ketchup is $2; French's mustard is $1.50 and Sunnyside Farms buns are 4/$5. A case of Crystal Geyser Spring water is $3.33; Minute Maid punch or lemonade is 99-cents and Pepsi 12-packs are buy 2, get 3 free.

Golden Grain pasta is $1; Mission tortillas are $1.99.

Over at Raley's, tri-tip is $2.97lb; pork spareribs are $1.97lb and ground beef patties are $2.47lb. Ball Park franks are $1.50; 16-piece fried chicken is $9.99 and a picnic pack with all the fixins' - chicken, salad, cookies, rolls, plates & forks - is only $19.99.

In produce,  corn on the cob is 4/$1; strawberries are BOGO; seedless watermelon is $3.77 each; cantaloupe is $2.50 and red onions are 77-cents a pound.

Crystal Geyser Spring water is $3.49 a case; Ocean Spray and V8 juices are $2; 2-liter Pepsi is 99-cents; and Gatorade is 78-cents with coupon.

Holiday treats include apple pie, buy 2 - get 1 free; decorated cakes and cupcakes from $4.99 to $12.99; and a Memorial Day bouquet for $10.99.

Tostitos are $1.69 with coupon; Cool Whip is 89-cents with coupon. Barilla pasts is $1 and Nabisco snack crackers are $2 a box.

From Wednesday through Monday, Safeway has a different combo deal-of-the-day. From chips ($1.67) and soda (69 cents) on Wednesday to Signature Cafe chicken ($8.99) and salad ($2.99) on Monday, there's something for everyone. Their 4-day (Friday-Monday) sale includes 12-packs of soda, buy 2 - get 3 free; corn on the cob 10/$2 and Nabisco crackers for $1.99.

Other stuff we like: boneless, skinless chicken for $2.29lb; ribeye steak for $5.99lb and BOGO sausage and dogs. Arrowhead water is $3.34 a case. Coupons are plentiful, so get clippin.' For example: 18-pack of eggs for $2.49; Powerade for 60-cents; refreshe water $2.99 a case; Lucerne sliced cheese for $2.49; Mission tortilla chips for $1.99; Oscar Mayer franks for 99-cents and Safeway buns for 99-cents.

Vlasic pickles are BOGO; and Jack Daniel's or Bull's Eye BBQ sauce is $1.

In produce seedless watermelon is $3.48; green onions or radishes are 50-cents a bunch and jumbo tomatoes are $1.99lb. For dessert, the All-American apple and cherry pie is $2.99; a 4-quart tub of ice cream is $4.99 and Lucerne whipped cream in the aerosol can is BOGO.

The $5 Friday only specials are Signature Cafe chicken wings; Sugar Bowl petite brownies or Madeleines and a 3-lb pack of Oscar Mayer franks.

Normally, this is the time when I would encourage you to come back on Thursday for recipes from the Shop Cheap Kitchen. But recipe researcher Sheila Kern has closed up the kitchen and is leaving The Bee along with eight other colleagues in the newsroom. We wish her well and know that she has the ingredients to succeed where ever her career takes her. Good luck, Sheila, and thanks for the recipes!.

May 17, 2011
In a word - BOGO

Before we get going on this week's BOGO bonanza, a few words about Sunflower Farmers Market, the newest arrival on the grocery scene.

Sunflower opened last Wednesday in Roseville Square, home to Trader Joes and Wise Buys. Shop Cheap visited on Saturday, along with many other shoppers. Yep, the store was crowded and very, very similar to Sprouts, which opened last month a couple of miles away on the Roseville/Rocklin border. These two stores could be sisters - they are so much alike. Both call themselves Farmers Markets and both have lots of fresh produce, meat and deli counters and a good supply of organic and specialty items. As far as location goes, we give the nod to Sunflower. But for size and ease of shopping, we like Sprouts better. After that, there's not much difference between the two stores.

Now for the skinny on this week's savings. To be honest, it depends on where you like to shop because each store has items to buy for.

Let's take Safeway, for example. They are going BOGO...but you have to be careful. Lots of times they inflate the single-item price so that you think you're getting a great deal. Just be sure you check before you check out. For example, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes are BOGO. A single box of flakes is $4.49, which means you are paying $2.25 a box for the BOGO.

That said, here's the BOGOs we'd buy: Berries, Ball Park franks, Ruffles chips, grape tomatoes; Kraft cheese and A&H laundry detergent. Safeway's also advertising items for 99-cents or less . They include: Eating Right baby carrots, Bush's black beans, Clif bars, Knorr rice sides and Lucerne Greek yogurt.

The Friday-Monday sale items include Signature Cafe chicken tenders for $4.99; a case of refreshe water for $2.88; Safeway salsa for $1.79 and hickory smoked bacon for $2.99lb.

If you like Milton's bread, its $2.99 a loaf; English muffins are $1.50 a pack and cinnamon rolls in the bakery are $1.99.

In produce, 'chokes are $1 each; navel oranges are 99-cents a pound and cherries have arrived but they are a bit pricey at $3.99lb.

The $5 Friday only specials include: Signature Cafe whole roasted chicken; a 24-pack of Pepsi; a 10-pack of StarKist chunk light tuna and for the first time - a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Grabbing the cart and heading into Raley's, we like their 10 items or more for $1.50 special. All we have to do for this one is count to 10 and there's plenty to choose from: General Mills cereal, Chex Mix, Betty Crocker cake mix and Bisquick. Old El Paso taco shells and Progresso bread crumbs.

Raley's natural boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are $1.97lb; red potatoes are 77-cents a pound; bell peppers are 2/$1 and a 2lb bag of onions is $1.77. Raley's also has fresh cherries aor $3.97lb. Our favorite deal is the case of Crystal Geyser spring water for $2.98.

There's lots to like in produce. Blueberries are $3.97; Sonya aookes are $1.27lb; corn on the cob is 5/$2 and apricots are $1.97lb.

Driving to Save Mart just got a little easier because of their fuel promotion. Last week, the fine print was a little too fine. But this week, we have more of the details. Here's what the ad says: "Save Mart Rewards is a free program that rewards you with savings on fuel when you buy qualified products at participating stores." Shoppers can earn 5-cents off per gallon of fuel for every $50 spent. Here's the important part: "You don't need to spend $50 in one visit - we'll keep track of the spending for you." The fuel rewards can be redeemed at participating Shell locations.

Now, let's start spending so that we can save on fuel! Here's what we like: Aquafina drinking water for $3.50 a case; Dannon yogurt 10/$5; Jet Dry for $3.99 and Lysol cleaners for $2. Girard's salad dressing is $2.99 and Hunts tomatoes are $1 a can. The weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) sale includes ground beef patties for $2.49lb; strawberries for 97-cents a pound and Tropicana OJ - in the 89oz. jug for $2.99.

In produce, Iceberg lettuce is 37-cents a head; berries are 2/$5; 'chokes are 2/$1; Italian squash is 67-cents a pound and radishes, cilantro or green onions are 33-cents each

Smart Ones frozen entrees or desserts are $1.88 each; chunk chicken in the can is $2.69 and Don Francisco's coffee is $4.99. It had to happen - Bohemian Hearth bread, which had been under $2 a loaf since Shop Cheap started nearly 2 years ago, is now $2.19. But Sunnyside Farms eggs are only $1.50 a dozen and Minute Maid OJ is buy 2, get 1 free.

Coupons worth clipping include Top Ramen 10/$1; Aidells chicken sausage for $3.99 and Hinode long grain rice for $1.99.




May 12, 2011
Check out "The Cheese Lady" and Chef Sheila's recipes

Before we get started on the weekly recipes, here's an event you foodies might find fun.

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sarah Kaufmann (The Cheese Lady) will be carving 300-pound block of cheddar at Sprouts Farmers Market in Roseville. If you've yet to visit the store, (6760 Stanford Ranch Road next to Costco) this would be a great opportunity to check it out and see "The Cheese Lady" at the same time. According to Kim Rockley from Sprouts, Kaufmann (AKA The Cheese Lady) travels the country creating art out of cheese. Plus she gives free samples!

And before you hit the grocery story, be sure to check out Chef Sheila's recipes from the Shop Cheap Kitchen. Strawberries are in season so she's put together some sweet recipes for you. Be sure to pick up some corn on the cob because it is ridiculously cheap. Enjoy!


Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries


Serves 12


25 large strawberries

1 (12 ounce) bag dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Clean and dry strawberries, leaving stems and leaves intact.

In double boiler, over low heat, melt chocolate and oil; stir to combine.

Lay waxed paper on flat surface. Dip strawberries one by one into chocolate mixture, allowing extra chocolate to drip off, lay onto waxed paper to set.

If your kitchen is warm, strawberries may be refrigerated for 10 minutes to set chocolate.

Strawberry Cannoli


From Woman's Day | May 30, 2006

Makes 12 Cannolis


1 pt (12 oz) strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 tub (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese

4 oz cream cheese

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1⁄4 tsp almond extract

1 box (4 or 51⁄4 oz) sugar cones (12 cones)

Garnish: chocolate mini chips and sliced strawberries


1. At least 1 day before serving, proceed through Step 3. Line a colander and a medium-size strainer with a sturdy paper towel; set each in a bowl.

2. Pulse strawberries and granulated sugar in food processor until coarsely chopped. Scrape into colander, top with a paper towel and refrigerate overnight to drain well (this is important). Clean processor.

3. Put ricotta, cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in processor; pulse until smooth. Transfer to strainer, cover with a paper towel and refrigerate overnight.

4. Just before serving: Prop cones upright in tall glasses partially filled with granulated sugar to support cones. Fold drained berries and almond extract into ricotta mixture. Spoon into a gallon-size ziptop bag. Cut 1⁄2 in. off a corner; pipe filling into cones and garnish. The sugar cones replace the usual pastry shells, which can be hard to make or find in stores.

Planning Tip: Prepare through Step 3 at least 24 hours, or up to 2 days, ahead. Fill cones just before serving.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad


Serves 4


1/2 shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound baby spinach

1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled


In a large bowl, whisk together shallot and vinegar. While whisking constantly, drizzle in oil to make a vinaigrette. Add spinach, strawberries, almonds and goat cheese and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream


Makes 10 servings


2 cups Fresh Strawberries, Hulled

3/4 cups Whole Milk

â…” cups Granulated Sugar

1 pinch Salt

1- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream

1- 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Finely Chopped Chocolate Chips (optional)


Clean and wash the strawberries removing hulls and stems. Add the strawberries to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk the milk, sugar and salt until sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and whisk until combined. Stir in the strawberries and all juices. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight in a covered bowl.

Follow the directions for your ice cream maker and enjoy fresh homemade ice cream in about 20 minutes!

Add finely chopped chocolate chips to send it over the top.

(Adapted from a recipe in the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet.)

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Mozzarella and Basil


Gourmet | September 2006

Makes 8 - 10 servings

Allow this salad to sit a few minutes after tossing; the mozzarella milk and tomato juices emerge and add flavor to the dressing.


2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 lb mixed heirloom tomatoes, quartered if small or cut into 1/4-inch-wide wedges if larger

1 lb cherry tomatoes

1 lb very small mozzarella balls (1/4 inch; sometimes called perlini) or 1 lb lightly salted mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups loosely packed small basil leaves or torn large leaves


Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, sugar, and pepper in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until dressing is emulsified. Add tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

Cooks' notes:

Salad, without vinaigrette, can be assembled 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Salad can be dressed 1 hour ahead and kept at room temperature, covered.

Vinaigrette keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

Tomato & Fennel Salad


EatingWell: July/August 2007

Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, or white-wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 pound tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, (see Tip)


Whisk oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add tomatoes, fennel, parsley and pine nuts; toss to coat.

Tips & Notes

Tip: Toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

Charred Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs


Bon Appetit | August 2008

Makes 8 servings


4 large firm heirloom tomatoes (about 10 ounces each), cored, cut horizontally in half

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, divided

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided

5 tablespoons (about) extra-virgin olive oil, divided


Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 1 1/2 tablespoons each oregano and thyme leaves. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons oil. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush grill rack with oil. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on rack. Cook until bottoms are charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn tomatoes over and grill just to sear, about 1 minute. Turn cut side up onto platter. Sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon each oregano and thyme, then drizzle with more oil, if desired. Serve warm.

Tasty BBQ Corn on the Cob


Serves 6


1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pinch onion powder

cayenne pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup butter, softened

6 ears corn, husked and cleaned


1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the chili powder, oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend in the softened butter. Apply this mixture to each ear of corn, and place each ear onto a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap the corn. Wrap like a burrito, and twist the ends to close.

3. Place wrapped corn on the preheated grill, and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork. Turn corn occasionally during cooking.

Corn, tomato, black bean, and avocado salad


Serves 4


2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed from cob

1/4 red onion, cut into thin strips

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice

Juice of 2 limes

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt, to taste


1. In a bowl combine the tomatoes, corn, onion, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and salt.

2. Stir gently but thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt, if you like.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and for up to half a day.

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company

Lemon-Garlic Glazed Corn on the Cob


EatingWell: July/August 2010

Makes 4 servings


1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 ears corn, husked

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add corn, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, gently shaking the pan occasionally to turn the cobs, for 5 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, turning the cobs occasionally, until all but a few tablespoons of liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes more. Serve the corn drizzled with the lemon-garlic pan sauce.

Broccoli and Parmesan Casserole


Cooking Light, August 2006

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)


8 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 2 pounds)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons diced pimientos, drained

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

12 garlic Melba toast rounds


Cook broccoli in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Place flour, salt, and dry mustard in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat; gradually add the fat-free milk and chicken broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook for 8 minutes or until it is thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add shredded cheddar cheese and 6 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in pimientos and pepper. Add broccoli, tossing to coat.

Spoon the broccoli mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place garlic Melba toast rounds in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Combine toast crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle evenly over broccoli mixture. Spray top of casserole lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Springy Shells


Makes 6 servings


16 ounces, weight pasta shells (medium) or other short pasta

1 pound asparagus (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces) discard tough pieces

1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into small florets

1/2 pounds zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini) diced

1/2 cups frozen peas

3 whole green onions sliced (white & light green parts)

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

20 ounces, weight ricotta cheese (20 - 22 ozs.)

1/2 teaspoons salt

2 whole eggs

1- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

black pepper, freshly ground

extra olive oil for drizzling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta until extremely al dente--with still quite a bit of bite.

Melt butter with the olive oil over medium-low to medium heat, then add in the garlic. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for five minutes. Sprinkle in a little salt.

Add the broccoli and cook for one minute, then add the zucchini and cook for one or two more minutes. Add the frozen peas, still together then turn off the heat. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined.


Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add half the pasta, then spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over the surface. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan over the ricotta, then 1/2 of the vegetables. Repeat with the rest of the pasta, the rest of the ricotta, and another 1/3 of the Parmesan. End with the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the Parmesan.

Drizzle with a couple of tablespoons olive oil, then bake for 25 minutes on 350 degrees or until nice and hot.

Serve with extra Parmesan, crusty French bread, and chilled white wine. Yummy!

Five-Spice Mushroom and Broccoli Stir-Fry


Makes 4 servings


1 (7-oz.) pkg. uncooked vermicelli

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons honey

8 large mushrooms (12 oz.), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 cup fresh baby carrots, quartered lengthwise

1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups small broccoli florets (about 6 oz.)


Cook vermicelli to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine orange juice, cornstarch, five-spice powder, red pepper flakes, soy sauce and honey; stir until well blended. Set aside.

Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion and garlic; cook and stir 4 minutes.

Add broccoli; cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add orange juice mixture; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and thickened. Serve over cooked vermicelli.

Neely's BBQ Pork Spare Ribs


Yield: 4 servings (with 1 quart sauce)


1 slab pork spare ribs (about 4 pounds)

4-ounces Neely's BBQ Seasoning, recipe follows

1 quart Neely's BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

Neely's BBQ Seasoning:

4 ounces paprika

2 ounces white sugar

1 teaspoon onion powder

Mix all the ingredients and set aside.

Neely's BBQ Sauce:

16 ounces ketchup

8 ounces water

3 ounces brown sugar

3 ounces white sugar

1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon dry mustard powder

1-ounce lemon juice

1-ounce Worcestershire sauce

4 ounces apple cider vinegar

1-ounce light corn syrup

2 ounces Neely's BBQ Seasoning

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a stockpot or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce temperature to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.


Place pork rib slab flat on a clean chopping board. Pull off membrane. Cut off the excess fat and meat. Season both sides of the slab with Neely's BBQ Seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat your grill at 275 degrees F, using hickory wood and charcoal.

Place the slab on the grill away from the flame, using indirect heat. Cook the slab for approximately 2 1/2 hours with the curl side up. Flip the slab over to finish cooking for approximately 1 hour or until you get full "bend" in the slab.

For dry ribs: Pull ribs off grill, sprinkle Neely's BBQ Seasoning over entire slab. Cut between the bones and serve.

For wet ribs: Pull ribs off grill, pour Neely's BBQ Sauce over slab. Cut between the bones and serve.

Slow Cooker Pork Spare Ribs


Makes 4 servings


4 pounds pork spare ribs, back membranes removed and cut into individual ribs

Kosher salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/4 cup orange marmalade

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

2 cloves of garlic, crushed


Liberally season ribs with salt and pepper and place in a slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients; pour sauce over ribs. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

May 10, 2011
Here's what's hot at the grocery store this week

The headlines this week:




First, the gas cards. Looks like Save Mart has struck a deal with Shell to save you $$$ at the pump. For every $50 you spend on groceries, you can earn 5-cents off per gallon of gas. So let's help you spend that $50!

Driscoll's strawberries are $2.49 for a 2lb. container. You can add to that with some pretty good BOGO offerings: Bagged salads in produce; Thomas' English muffins or a 1lb container of blackberries. Minute Maid OJ is buy 2, get 1 free.

The 3-day weekend sale includes white corn on the cob: 5/$1; and a super sub sandwich for $7.99. Pork spareribs are $1.69lb and New York steak is $4.97lb.

Nestle or Arrowhead water is $3.50 a case; Pepperidge Farm cookies are $2 a bag and Sunnyside Farms bread is $1.99 a loaf. Sunnyside Farms butter is $2.99; sourdough rounds in the bakery are $2.99. 12-packs of Coke products are 3/$9.99; 2-liter jugs of 7-UP are 89 cents and Dole juices are $2. Johnsonville ground Italian sausage is $1.99.

Safeway is advertising its "Open Nature" brand of 100% natural products. Breads - with no high fructose corn syrup and only whole grains - are $2.79 a loaf. Refrigerated pasta is $3.79; sausage is $3.99 and boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $4.99lb. Lunch-size containers of Greek yogurt are 99-cents (Fage or Oikos brand are $1 each) and pure peanut butter is $2.99.

Their 4-day weekend sale includes an incredible price for corn on the cob - 10/$2. Large eggs in the 18-pack are $2.50 and Lays chips are $1.99. You can get a 2.5lb bag of frozen hamburger patties for $4.99.

In produce, Fuji apples are 59-cents a pound; broccoli is 39-cents a pound; cucumbers are 50-cents each and large bell peppers are $1 each. Roma tomatoes are $1.49lb.

Petit sirloin steak is $2.69lb; Foster Farms chicken breasts are $1.29lb. If you want a quick, easy and CHEAP dinner, check out the bakery french bread for $1.79; Johnsonville Italian sausage for $3.49 a package; and free pasta when you buy 2 jars of Classico sauce (2/$4). You're talking dinner for under $10.

Refreshe water is $3.33 for a case; and Tropicana OJ is 2/$6. The $5 Friday Only specials include: a pound of sliced turkey breast or black forest ham; Stouffer's family size meals; and Lemon Meringue Pie.

Over at Raley's you can plan your entire graduation celebration. Buy 2 or more deli trays and get a free 1/2 sheet cake for your grad. Get 2 sizzling wok or sushi trys and get a third one free. And you can even get a fresh orchid lei for $19.99.

Raley's also has strawberries - $4.97 for 4lbs. Heirloom tomaotes are $2.97lb and broccoli is 77-cents a pound. Corn on the cob is 3/99-cents and organic asparagus is $2.97lb.

Arrowhead or Nestle water is $3.50 a case. For $1 you can get Green Giant veggies or Totino's party pizza. For $2, there's Eggo waffles or Lean Cuisine and for $3, grab some Ben&Jerry's or Starbucks ice cream.

Sutter Sirloin steak is $3.97lb and Raley's natural thighs, drumsticks or leg quarters are 97-cents a pound.

The competition is heating up in Roseville as Sunflower Farmers Market opens today. Just last month, Sprouts Farmers Market opened just a couple of miles away. "Sunflower" is located in Roseville Square off Douglas near Trader Joes.

The grand opening prices are pretty impressive. Asparagus for 97-cents a pound; bell pepper and cucumbers are 2/$1; lemons are 3/$1 and raw almonds are $2.99lb.

Cage-free large eggs are $1.77; Simply Orange juices are 2/$5; large containers of Cascade fresh yogurt are 2/$3 and 64oz juices are 2/$4. They advertise a large selection of bulk items including raisins for $1.99lb and granola for $1.99lb. 

Shop Cheap will make a trip to "Sunflower" this weekend to check out the place. Watch for a report back on Monday....And be sure to come back on Thursday for seasonal recipes from the Shop Cheap Kitchen. 



May 5, 2011
Moms want brunch

Yep, our day is coming up on Sunday. And unlike Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton) on Wednesday night's episode of "The Middle," we don't want to be alone. We want someone to cook for us - preferably brunch. If that's your wish, too, check out Chef Sheila's recipes and pick out the ones you like. Then, buy all the ingredients and leave them and the recipe on the counter. Call a family meeting and state your case. Good luck and Happy Mother's Day.

Chilled Asparagus Soup



Makes 4 servings


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, well rinsed and coarsely chopped

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour



In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter, then add the leeks and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium. Add the asparagus and 3/4 cup of the chicken broth and cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring for 1 minute more. Gradually whisk in 1 cup more of the chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat.

In a food processor or blender, combine the cooked vegetables with the thickened stock and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1-1/4 cups of the broth and puree 30 seconds more. Season to taste with salt, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Citrus Salad with Honey and Mint



Serves 2


1 grapefruit

1 navel orange

2 teaspoons honey

4 small sprigs fresh mint


With a knife, cut away the peel and white pith of the grapefruit and orange and slice the fruit into rounds.

Arrange the slices on individual plates. Drizzle with the honey and top with the mint.

Caramelized French Toast with Cinnamon and Berries





Makes 4 servings


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

6 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

8 1-inch-thick slices French bread

Powdered sugar

Fresh blueberries and raspberries

Pure maple syrup


Mix butter and brown sugar in small bowl to blend. Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla, and spices in large bowl to blend.

Melt 2 tablespoons brown sugar-butter mixture in each of 2 large nonstick skillets over medium-high heat. Dip bread slices 1 at a time in egg mixture to coat. Add 4 slices to each skillet. Cook until bottoms are deep brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Spread remaining butter mixture over bread in skillets. Turn slices over. Cook until bottoms are deep brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide French toast among 4 plates. Sift powdered sugar over. Top with blueberries and raspberries; drizzle with maple syrup.

Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche




Servings: 6


5 slices bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup Portobello mushrooms, stem and ribs removed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup chopped fresh asparagus

1 (8 inch) unbaked pie shell

1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional)

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until evenly brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook and stir until translucent. Reduce the heat to medium and add the Portobello mushrooms. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender. Set aside.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook asparagus in boiling water until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately drain and run under cold water to cool.

Brush the pie shell with the beaten egg white, if using. Place the onion and mushroom mixture, asparagus, and bacon into the bottom of the pie shell. Sprinkle the Cheddar and feta cheeses over the vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour this mixture over the vegetable and cheese filling.

Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned on top. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Breakfast Pizza




Southern Living | December 2006

Makes 8 servings


1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls

1 pound hot ground pork sausage

1 (32-oz.) package frozen hash browns with onions and peppers

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

4 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


1. Unroll crescent roll dough, and press on bottom and partially up sides of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish; press perforations to seal. Bake at 375° for 5 minutes.

2. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain well, and sprinkle evenly over crust.

3. Prepare frozen hash browns according to package directions, and spoon evenly over sausage. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over hash browns. (Cover and chill up to 24 hours, if desired.) Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients; pour evenly over cheese.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes




Sunset Magazine | May 2002

Crest Cafe, San Diego, California

Makes about 8 pancakes; 4 servings


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

Salad oil


In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg yolks, and lemon peel to blend. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Gently stir in ricotta cheese.

In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With a flexible spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter just until they are incorporated.

Place a nonstick griddle or a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat (350°); when hot, coat lightly with oil and adjust heat to maintain temperature. Drop batter in 1/2-cup portions onto the griddle and cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and edges begin to look dry, about 2 minutes; turn cakes with a wide spatula and brown other sides, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Coat pan with more oil as necessary to cook remaining pancakes.

Serve pancakes as cooked, or keep warm in a single layer on baking sheets in a 200° oven for up to 15 minutes.

Cardamom-Crumb Coffee Cake



EatingWell: May/June 2008

Makes 12 servings


Oatmeal Crumb

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided

1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, or cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped walnuts


2 cups white whole-wheat flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cardamom, or cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To prepare oatmeal crumb: Combine butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (or cinnamon) in a food processor. Process until the mixture is crumbly. Turn out into a bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup oats and walnuts. Combine with fingertips or a fork until blended.

To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.

Sift 2 cups flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cardamom (or cinnamon), baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a medium bowl until well blended, gradually whisk in buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring each time to thoroughly blend the ingredients together.

Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the oatmeal crumb evenly on top. Spoon the remaining batter over the crumbs and gently spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining oatmeal crumb.

Bake the coffee cake until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; add about 10 minutes to the baking time.

Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make "sour milk": mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake



Serves 12



3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup poppy seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

juice from 1 lemon

1 cup plain yogurt

zest from 2 lemons


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups confectioners' sugar

juice and zest from 1 lemon


Heat oven to 325º F. Coat a 10-cup fluted cake or Bundt pan with cooking spray. Combine the flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Beat in the lemon juice. On slow, beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/3 of the yogurt, mixing until just blended. Repeat, alternating the dry ingredients and yogurt. Blend in the zest. Spoon into the baking pan.

Bake 50 to 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert the pan to remove the cake.

To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Blend in the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Spoon the glaze over the cake while the cake is still warm.

Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead.


May 3, 2011
It's all about Mom

Think if we do the shopping, they'll do the cooking? Or maybe the cleaning? Or maybe they just won't leave their stuff all over the house! I'll be happy with 1-out-of-3.

That said, let's shop like someone else is cooking for us this week.

With Moms in mind, we're stopping first at Safeway. Our "For Her" list includes: A bouquet of roses for $9.99; fresh strawberries for $2.97; Angel food cake for $1.99; boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $2.29lb; a 35-pack of Crystal Geyser water for $3.99; and a 12oz package of Seattle's Best coffee for $6.99.

For the rest of the family: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes or Fruity Pebbles for $1.88; Doritos or Lays chips, buy 2, get 2 free; 2-liter Pepsi or 7-UP for 88-cents and - DUH - Mother's cookies for $2.49.

In produce, jumbo 'chokes are 2/$5; fresh pineapple is $2.99; and large tomatoes are $1.99lb. Ruby Red grapefruit is 3/$1; white corn on the cob is 3/$1, too.

If you're ordering a deli tray for Mother's Day or your favorite graduate, check out the coupon for $5 off. If you want to make things really simple - and cheap - buy the $5 Friday only specials and save them until Sunday. There's nothing like cold fried chicken and strawberry cheese cake!

And if you're still considering a Cinco Celebration, Safeway has pork shoulder for $1.49lb; La Tortilla Factory tortillas for $1.49; Rosarita refries for 88-cents a can; Daisy sour cream and Lucerne shredded cheese for $1.88 and mangos for 3/$1. The Cinco specials are Wednesday and Thursday only.

Raley's is taking care of Mom, too. Here, you can pick up dinner and a gift at the same store . A dozen roses are $9.98; a simple bouquet is $9.99 and a box (4 total) of chocolate dipped strawberries is $10. Raley's is also advertising "Hand Dipped Chocolate Caramel Apples." (Note to Dads and kids...don't get Mom the apples. She will much prefer the strawberries!)

Raley's is also advertising a "Treat Mom to a Movie" deal. It says you can "get a free Movie Voucher when you buy 4 boxes of Kellogg's cereal, pop tarts or bars." Can't tell from the ad if it's one voucher or two. You could just send mom to the movies alone or buy 8 boxes of cereal and get dinner and a movie!

Other stuff we like at Raley's: tri tip for $2.97lb; rotisserie chicken - $4.98 each when you buy 2 or more; and baby back ribs for $3.47lb.

Yoplait yogurt is 50-cents a cup; cantaloupe is 2/$4; berries are 2/$5 and asparagus is $1.97lb. In the bakery, strawberry shortcake - regular or chocolate - is $10.99. And, finally, if you just want to relax, order the Mom's meals at Raley's. Brunch - ham and omelets - for $49.99 or Dinner - chicken ravioli - for $59.99. Place your order online and save $5.

Save Mart is the place to go for Driscoll's strawberries - buy 1 pound, get 2 pounds free. And head on over on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and get a personal size seedless watermelon for $1.66; and an 8-piece fried chicken meal for $5.99 Minute Maid OJ is $2.99 for an 89oz. jug.

Get free Santitas chips when you buy a 24-pack of Pepsi. Tostitos chips are BOGO and Sun Chips are $2.50 a bag.

In produce, sweet yellow Sunburst tomatoes are BOGO; leaf lettuce is 79-cents a head; Earthbound Farm organic salad is BOGO and bell peppers or cucumbers are 69-cents each. Blackberries are BOGO and fresh pineapple is $2.97. A 5lb-bag of Fuji apples is $2.99.

Martinelli's sparkling cider is $2 a bottle; Sunnyside Farms large eggs are $2.50 for 18; and a large box of Eggo waffles is $3.99.

Back page coupons worth clippin' include: Ore-Ida potatoes for $2.50; a family pack of El Monterey burritos for $2.49; Kern's nectar for $1.99 and a free pack of Tree Top apple sauce when you buy 2 jugs of Tree Top apple juice.

Be sure to come back on Thursday. Shop Cheap will help you create the perfect Mother's Day brunch.



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