Shop Cheap

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

November 28, 2008
Breakfast from Raley's

I know. I know. You're still full from Thanksgiving dinner. And you don't have time for groceries because you are out shopping the "Black Friday" sales. But Raley's has an offer that's hard to refuse - free breakfast. Friday, Saturday and Sunday all you have to do is spend $50 at the checkout and you will get the following:

Spend $10 - 6 bulk bagels

Spend $20 - Jimmy Dean Roll Sausage

Spend $30 - Minute Maid orange juice

Spend $40 - Bar-S Bacon

Spend $50 - 1 dozen Raley's large eggs

The coupons are available by clicking the red Raley's ad on the homepage and printing the coupons. Here's the best part of the deal: Spend $50 and you can use all 5 coupons. That's a great Sunday breakfast. And by Sunday, we're bound to be hungry again!

November 26, 2008
What to do with all that turkey?

What's the best thing about the day after Thanksgiving - besides the shopping! The leftovers, of course. The Bee's Sheila Kern gets a kudo for compiling these recipes. Enjoy! 


White Wild Rice Turkey Chili


The addition of wild rice makes this version of White Chili really special.

Serving: 6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 minced cloves garlic

3 cups cubed cooked turkey

2 cups cooked wild rice

1 can Great Northern white beans

1 can white corn

2 cans diced chilies

15 ounces chicken broth

1 teaspoon cumin powder

dash of Tabasco sauce to taste

6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese


1. Saute the onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil until soft.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cheese and cook until piping hot. Place in individual bowls and garnish with cheese.



Preparation time: 5 min Cooking time: 20 min

Yield: 4 (1 3/4-cup) servings


2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth

1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn

2 cups cubed turkey

1 (10 ounce package) frozen cut broccoli*

1 (2 ounce) jar diced pimento, drained

Salt and pepper, if desired


Combine all ingredients in 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a full boil, breaking up frozen broccoli occasionally, over high heat (15 to 18 minutes).

Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook until broccoli is tender (5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

* Or substitute your favorite frozen mixed vegetables.

Nutrition Facts (1 serving): Calories: 240, Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 930mg, Carbohydrates: 23g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Protein: 26g

This recipe was reprinted from


Italian Turkey Soup


Bon Appetit | January 2005

Yield: Makes 4 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 small onion, chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon dried basil

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 9-ounce package fresh cheese ravioli

1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey

Grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover pot and simmer 10 minutes. Add zucchini and carrot. Cover and simmer until carrot is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to boil. Add ravioli and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.

November 25, 2008
Help for last-minute shoppers

Surprise, surprise. There isn't a grocery insert in Wednesday's Bee. In a tradition dating back to forever, supermarkets place their Thanksgiving inserts in the newspaper the Sunday before the holiday. Or, they keep sale prices for two weeks, including Thanksgiving week.

To make life easier, we'll recap what's on sale, including the Sunday inserts and items from last week. Warning! If you are buying a frozen turkey, do it by Wednesday. Otherwise, the bird won't thaw in time for dinner.

There was something new in Wednesday's paper: An ad from 99-cents Only. They have nine stores in our area and will be open on Thanksgiving from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you are a last-minute maven or forgot that one ingredient, check it out. They have gravy for 99-cents (duh) a jar; Reynolds Wrap; mashed potatoes; cooking tools like a baster, brush or lancers to close up that bird. Also - for 99-cents - fresh broccoli; celery and bananas. And the one thing I always forget: large aluminum roasting pans. To find a store nearby, go to their website

A new addition on Sunday was Smart & Final. You can purchase items for your entire meal at S&F - and save money, too. Their frozen turkey is 49-cents per pound (with $25 purchase). Mrs Cubbison's stufing mix is $1.50 a  box; Campbell's turkey gravy is $2.59 a can and Sara Lee dinner rolls are $1.99 for a dozen.  Russet potatoes are $2.50 for a 10lb. bag and yams are 69-cents a pound. For dessert, there's pumpkin or apple pie for $4.99 and Breyer's ice cream for $2.99. You will also find a $1 off coupon for Martinelli's sparkling cider.

SAFEWAY: Most stores open on Thanksgiving until 6 p.m.

Safeway's frozen turkeys are priced from $5.99 to $9,99. To get those prices, you must use your Club Card and spend at least $25. For your sides, yams are 69-cents a pound; brown and serve rolls are 4/$5; frozen veggies are $2.34 a bag; Stove Top stuffing and Sara Lee pies are BOGO. Cool Whip topping is 4/$5 and Martinelli's sparkling cider is $1.79 a bottle.

RALEY'S/BELAIR: Stores open until 11 p.m. on Wednesday; closed Thanksgiving Day.

Raley's has a fresh turkey for 97-cents a pound and frozen birds for $7.87 or $9.87 each. Green beans are 97-cents a pound; sliced mushrooms are $2 per container; Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes are 2/$7 and C&W frozen veggies are 2/$3. Canned Del Monte veggies are 88-cents; Swanson broth is 5/$3 and bakery rolls are $1.49 a dozen. Sara Lee pies are 2/$5. In the bakery, pumpkin and apple pies are $4.99 each. Knudsen sparkling cider is $1.50 a bottle.

SAVEMART: Most stores open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Savemart still has the "spend $99 or more at the checkout and get a free turkey" deal. If you are just buying the bird, you will pay from $1.49 to $2.19 a pound. Green Giant canned veggies are 2/$1; Stove Top stuffing is 99-cents a box; brown and serve rolls are $1.99 a dozen; yams are 69-cents a pound; fresh cranberries are 2 bags/$4 and pumpkin pies are $6.99 in the bakery and $5 in the freezer.

Come back Wednesday afternoon for some great recipes for leftovers. Happy Thanksgiving!



November 24, 2008
Black Friday tips

We are skipping groceries for the moment because Shop Cheap is getting so many tips from so many readers about BLACK FRIDAY.

 Here at The Bee, we will be blogging live for all of you who want to experience BLACK FRIDAY without the hassle of actually going. Or, you can read our blog and take advantage of the fun.  We will have a team of shoppers (some from The Bee, others just regular bargain hunters) who will keep us updated to all that's going on at the malls and the outlets.

 Until then, here are a couple of links to sites that have been recommended to Shop Cheap. If you know of others, send them along.

M.E. Boutique and The Pink House

Here's one from Trish Moratto, one of our Black Friday bloggers:

In preparation for Black Friday I thought your readers may be interested in this Black Friday deal Web site:


November 19, 2008
Last-minute recipe ideas

Thanks to Sheila Kern we have some delicious last-minute recipe ideas for Thanksgiving.

 If you only have sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and need a new recipe, try this one.

Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Epicurious | November 2005

Makes 6 to 8 servings

This slightly spicy, moist side dish is both satisfying and nutritious. Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, giving them a low glycemic index (this means that they slow the body's absorption of sugar and help regulate blood-sugar levels). A bonus for weight watchers: All those complex carbs will make you feel fuller longer than white potatoes do.


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 thyme sprigs for garnish

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 450°F. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Arrange potato slices in single layer on heavyweight rimmed baking sheet or in 13x9-inch baking dish. Place on top rack of oven and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.

If you're craving cauliflower this Thanksgiving, give this one a try.

Cauliflower with Mustard-Lemon Butter


Makes 6 servings


1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 3/4 pounds)

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter rimmed baking sheet. Cut cauliflower in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in single layer on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Roast until cauliflower is slightly softened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in lemon juice, mustard, and lemon peel.

Spoon mustard-lemon butter evenly over cauliflower and roast until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes longer.

DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. If desired, rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Transfer cauliflower to platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.


And, lastly, a tasty recipe for wild rice salad.

Wild Rice Salad With Celery and Walnuts


For the salad:

1 quart water, chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

Salt to taste

1/3 cup lightly toasted broken walnut pieces

3 celery stalks, preferably from the heart, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage (2 good-size leaves) (optional)

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar

1 small garlic clove, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons walnut oil

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt

1. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a large saucepan, add salt to taste and the wild rice. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the rice is tender and splayed. Drain and toss in a large bowl with the remaining salad ingredients.

2. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk in the walnut oil, olive oil, and buttermilk or yogurt. Toss with the wild rice mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Advance preparation: You can assemble the salad several hours before serving. If you wish to toss it with the dressing so that the rice marinates for a while, do not add the parsley. Add just before serving, or the color will fade.


November 19, 2008
Join our "Black Friday" force
 Attention Shoppers! Are you planning to be out before dawn on "Black Friday"? Want to share the great deals - or duds - with others? The Sacramento Bee is putting together a group of shoppers (some of them Sac Bee staffers)  to provide live updates from the field. Just respond to the Shop Cheap blog if you are interested.
November 19, 2008
What Walmart has to offer

Surprise, surprise! There was a Walmart insert in the Wednesday Bee. Here's what the retail giant has to offer for Thanksgiving dinner.

Fresh turkey at $1.18 a pound; frozen Butterball is $1.97 a pound. Stove Top stuffing and Betty Crocker potatoes are 98-cents a box; Green Giant canned veggies are 50-cents each and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce is 88-cents a can. Fresh cranberries are $1.67 a bag and sweet potatoes are 38-cents a pound. Sara Lee dinner rolls are $1.78 a dozen and pumpkin pie in the bakery is $5.

Other items worth noting: Campbell's cream soups 60-cents each; Swanson's broth 48-cents a can and Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies are $1 a bag. Simply Orange juice is $2.98 a jug and Pillsbury cresent or cinnamon rolls are $1.50. Land O Lakes butter is $2 a pound and Nestle Toll House ready-to-bake cookies are $2.35.


November 18, 2008
Thanksgiving on a budget

You don't have to ask Congress for a federal bailout to afford Thanksgiving dinner this year - and Shop Cheap is going to tell you how. There are plenty of reasonably priced items that will make for a delicious Turkey Day. Best of all, every market has items on sale so you can do all your shopping at one store and still save money.

The store-by-store highlights:

SAFEWAY: Most stores open on Thanksgiving until 6 p.m.

Turkey prices vary and most of the advertised specials are frozen. But there is a price to fit every budget from $5.99 to $9.99. The only requirements: use your Club Card and spend at least $25. More for your Thanksgiving table: yams at 69-cents a pound; bakery dinner rolls 2 bags/$4; BOGO Stove Top stuffing; crisp celery 49-cents; Safeway gravy 2/$3; frozen veggies $2.34 a bag and pumpkin pies - BOGO Sarah Lee, and $4.99 in the bakery.

You will need other items to fill out the weekly menu, so here's what else is cartworthy.12 packs of Coca-Cola buy 2-get 2 free; Tropicana orange juice and Dreyer's and Safeway Select  ice cream are BOGO and Nabisco snack crackers are 2/$4. Swanson chicken broth is 2/$3; Hunts diced tomatoes are $1 a can; Arrowhead water $3.99 a case; milk remains 2 gallons/$5.19; Navel oranges are 99-cents a pound and 5-lb bag of Clementine oranges $5.88. There are two Friday only specials this week. In the deli, sliced pan roasted turkey and Black Forest Ham is $5 a pound and Van de Kamp's seafood selections and Signature Cafe Mac & Cheese are $5 for both.

RALEY'S/BELAIR: Closed on Thanksgiving Day

Raley's fresh/natural turkey is 97-cents a pound and the Nob Hill Trading Co. brand is $1.69lb. Frozen turkey up to 16 pounds - $7.87 each; more than 16 pounds -  $9.87 each. If you want to splurge on turkey, Raley's premium Diestel is $2.19 a pound. Fresh green beans are 97-cents a pound; C&W frozen veggies are 2/$3; rolls from the deli are $1.49 a dozen; Campbell's gravy 4 cans/$2; Stove Top stuffing $2/$3; and pumpkin pies - Sara Lee 2/$5 and $4.99 in the bakery.

Other items: Salad size shrimp meat $3.99lb; Fresh Express salad blends 2/$5; sliced mushrooms 2/$4; Martinelli's sparkling cider $1.79 a bottle; Knudsen sparkling cider 2/$3; 12 pack Coca-Cola - buy 2, get 2 free; Pillsbury Grands! biscuits 2/$5; Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes 2/$7; Del Monte canned veggies 88-cents; Campbell's cream of mushroom, chicken or celery soup 69-cents a can; Nabisco snack crackers $1.88; Raley's large eggs $1.50 a dozen and Fuji apples $1.49 a pound.

SAVEMART: Most stores open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

First, if you spend $99 or more during a shopping visit, your turkey issues have been solved.  SaveMart is giving a free turkey to customers who spend $99 at checkout. If  you buy the bird at SaveMart, you will pay  from $1.49 to $2.19 a pound. To go with the turkey dinner, Green Giant canned veggies are 2/$1; Stove Top stuffing is 99-cents a box; brown and serve rolls are $1.99 a dozen; yams are 69-cents a pound; fresh cranberries are 2 bags/$4 and pumpkin pies are $6.99 in the bakery and $5 in the freezer.

Other items: Lindsay pitted olives $1 per can; Nabisco snack crakers $1.87 a box; seedless grapes 99-cents a pound; fresh celery 2/$1; Large eggs $2.50 for 18; Minute Maid drinks $1 per container; Sunnyside Farms cracked wheat bread $1.99 a loaf; English muffins $1.50 a pack; Geisha Mandarin oranges 4/$3; Martinelli's sparkling cider $2 a bottle; Aquafina drinking water $3.99 a case; avocado $1 each; Fuji apples $1.29 a pound; Fresh Express salad blends $2 per bag and large Navel oranges 69-cents a pound.

VIC'S MARKETS/FOLSOM: Open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thanksgiving

Fresh Norbest turkey is $1.29 a pound; Foster Farms is $1.49lb; fresh green beans $1.49lb; yams 69-cents a pound; dinner rolls $1.99 a dozen; and pumpkin pie in the bakery is $3.99 Mrs Smith's frozen 2/$5.

Other stuff: Pound of butter $1.99; Martinelli's sparkling cider $1.79 bottle; Campbell's cream soups 99-cents a can; fresh green beans $1.29lb; Del Monte canned veggies 79-cents; Cool Whip 99-cents a tub; Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash potatoes $2.99 a bag; Gallo Salame $4.99 a package; and fresh pineapple is $1.99 each.

FOODS Co. Open Thanksgiving Day

Fresh Zacky Farms turkey 87-cents a pound; fresh broccoli 98-cents a pound; 10-pound bag of potatoes $2.48; 2-dozen fresh baked rolls $2.98; yams 47-cents a pound; fresh pumpkin pies 2/$5; Mrs. Smith's in the freezer 2/$5.

Other stuff: Fresh apples 68-cents a pound; avocado 98-cents each; fresh cranberries $1.98 a bag; fresh oranges 2lbs/98 cents; canned Green Giant veggies 2/$1; Kellogg's cereals $2 a box; fresh celery 47-cents each; Western Hearth loaf bread 3/$5; Arrowhead drinking water $3.98 a case; Cool Whip 97-cents a tub and fresh pineapple $1.98 each.

RAINBOW FOODS: Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Foster Farms or Norbest turkey $1.19lb; Western Family gravy 79-cents; Stove Top stuffing 4/$5; 2 dozen dinner rolls $2.50 a bag; yams 3lbs/$1; 10 pounds Russet potatoes $3 a bag; Del Monte canned veggies 89-cents a can; bakery pumpkin pie $3.50; Sara Lee frozen pies 2/$7.

Come back tomorrow for some post-holiday recipes.





November 18, 2008
The Whole Foods experience

Whole Foods in Roseville is like the Nordstrom of grocery stores. High-end quality, excellent customer service and great attention to detail. There isn't anything you can't find - except, maybe, cheap stuff. But that's not why you go to Whole Foods. You go for the experience and the quality. Would I recommend a trip to the new store? Absolutely. If you've never been, it will open your eyes to a totally different way to shop.

On the other hand, if you need sandwich bread, stop at your neighborhood Grocery Outlet. Sara Lee sliced whole wheat (other varities, too) is $1.79 a loaf. That's a great price, given that bread can cost as much as $4 these days. Also, you can still buy a 4 pack of Martinelli's Sparkling Cider (apple/cranberry) for $5.99. That's $1.49 a bottle. And it's perfect for making your Thanksgiving toast.

November 16, 2008
She shops, she scores!

Just so that you know, Shop Cheap does practice what she preaches. Example: I saved 44% at Raley's on Saturday and 40% at Safeway. That's a better percentage than the Kings' Brad Miller! I used the $20 off coupon at Raley's (there's still time today) on purchases of bread, produce, cereal, milk, BOGO muffins, turkey breast (I'm going to try the lemon basil recipe tonight), Michelina's frozen entrees and other items that totaled $104. But with the $20 off coupon and two others I had, the final total was $82.28

At Safeway, it was BOGO blueberries and Sara Lee pies; bananas, raisins, yogurt, and the 48-Hour specials on Progresso soups, Nabisco crackers and the pudding cake from the bakery.

Now, I'm off to Whole Foods in Roseville to check out the new store .

November 14, 2008
Get $20 off your groceries

It's definitely shoppers advantage at Raley's/Belair and Safeway this weekend. 

Before you do anything else, go to and click on the red Raley's ad (top of right corner of the home page) and print out that $20 off (when you spend $100) coupon. And here's an idea. Take that $20  coupon  to to the deli counter this weekend and pre-order your Thanksgiving dinner (details below). Raley's is offering a "premium" dinner for $99.99, which becomes an $80 meal when you use the coupon. Or, you can pre-order the "Butterball" turkey dinner for $49.99 and spend another $50 to get your $20 off. Any way you slice it, the deal is a good one. 

 RALEY'S/BELAIR: Premium Holiday Dinner $99.99 (serves 10-12) 

What you get: Free range Diestel turkey 12-14 pounds (2.5 hours of prep time)

Ciabatta stuffing; mashed potatoes; gravy; green beans almondine; maple orange glazed sweet potatoes; whole berry orange cranberry sauce; dinner rolls; pumpkin pie.

Butterball Turkey dinner $49.99 (serves 8-10)

What you get: 10-12 pound Butterball turkey (prep time 2.5 hours)

Cranberry herb stuffing (2 pounds); mashed potatoes (3 pounds); gravy (24 oz.); broccoli cheese and rice casserole (28 oz.); cranapple sauce; 1 dozen dinner rolls; 9" pumpkin pie.

If that's not in the carts, head over to Safeway where you can cash in on their 48-hour sale:

Starbucks coffee for $5.99 a pound; Nabisco snack crackers $1.88 a box; Progresso soups 97-cents a can and Pudding rings in the bakery for $1.99.

November 12, 2008
Thanksgiving recipes


Thanksgiving is all about tradition. But sometimes it's good to mix it up. When it comes to preparing your meal, there are lots of choices. You can buy the whole dinner at the grocery store, prepare the entire meal yourself or ask friends and family to help out with a dish or two. If you who fall into the mix-it-up everyone bring something category, here are a few recipes to get the party started. You can either cook them yourself or tell your guests to go to Shop Cheap and prepare one of the recipes recommended by researcher Sheila Kern.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving.

If you are having a small group and can't deal with the whole turkey thing, try this recipe which uses turkey breasts instead of a big bird.

 Lemon-Basil Turkey with Roasted Vegetables


Prep/Cook Time:

Prep Time: 20 min.

Cook Time: 1 hr. 30 min.


2 medium lemons

whole turkey breasts

1 tbsp. butter, melted

24 baby Yukon gold potatoes

1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

8 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

12 frozen small whole onions OR 1 cup small white onion, peeled

1 tbsp. dried basil leaves, crushed

1 cup Swanson Chicken Stock


Spray a 17 x 11-inch roasting pan with cooking spray.

Cut 1 lemon into thin slices. Squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from the remaining

lemon. Loosen the skin on the turkey breast and place the lemon slices under the

skin. Brush the turkey with the butter. Place the turkey and vegetables into the

pan. Sprinkle with the basil. Stir the stock and lemon juice in a small bowl.

Pour half the stock mixture over the turkey and vegetables.

Roast at 375 degrees F. for 1 hour.

Stir the vegetables. Add the remaining stock mixture to the pan. Roast for 30

minutes or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 170 degrees

and the vegetables are tender.

Tip : To quickly peel the onions, place the onions in a medium bowl. Pour

boiling water over the onions to cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and

slip the skins off of the onions.

And for the sides....

Broccoli Rice Casserole


1 cup chopped onion

1 stick butter

1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen broccoli

1/3 cup milk

1 can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

1 small jar Cheez Whiz

1 1/2 cups cooked regular long-grain white rice


Saute onion in butter. Add broccoli and cook until thawed. Stir in milk, soup, Cheez Whiz and rice. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 350°F. for 30 min.

Green Rice (Broccoli, Cheese, and Rice Casserole)


2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2-2 cups cooked brown rice

2 cups chopped broccoli

2/3 cup grated cheese

1/2 cup low-fat milk


Saute onion in melted butter.

Meanwhile, steam broccoli until tender; drain.

Combine all ingredients and bake in covered casserole at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Green Beans with Toasted Almonds


1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

1 tablespoon (1 turn around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter


Toasted slivered or sliced almonds, for garnish.

Cook green beans 5 minutes in 1-inch boiling water, covered. Drain beans and return pan to heat.

Add oil and butter pat to the pan. Toss beans in oil and melted butter. Season beans with a little salt and transfer to a serving plate.

Garnish green beans with toasted slivered or sliced almonds

Garlic Mashed Potatoes


4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

5 garlic cloves, peeled

Coarse salt

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup heavy cream


In a large pot of cold water, bring the potatoes and garlic to a boil. Salt the water and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, return the potatoes to the pot and mash over low heat with the butter, cream and 2 teaspoons salt.

Cranberry Sauce with Raspberry Vinegar (from Bon Appetit)


1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup raspberry vinegar

1/4 cup water

12 ounces cranberries

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon orange peel, cut into strips


Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Mix in cranberries, cinnamon stick and orange peel.

Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until berries burst, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Cool completely (sauce will thicken as it cools).

Discard cinnamon stick.

Can be prepared up to 1 week ahead; cover and chill.

LIBBY'S Famous Pumpkin Pie


3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 can (12 fl. oz.) CARNATION Evaporated Milk

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Whipped cream (optional)


Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

November 11, 2008
Comparing Thanksgiving meals; the weekly specials

With two weeks to go, it's time to start planning Thanksgiving. To help the stressed cook, we have compared prices on  pre-made Thanksgiving dinners from the local grocery stores.

SAFEWAY: Complete turkey dinner $39.99 (club price, serves 6-8)

What you get: Fully cooked turkey 10-12 pounds (heat and serve).

Two pounds of stuffing. 3 pounds mashed potatoes; 24-oz gravy; cranberry sauce; 1 dozen dinner rolls; 8" pumpkin pie.

RALEY'S/BELAIR: Premium Holiday Dinner $99.99 (serves 10-12) Order online, save $5

What you get: Free range Diestel turkey 12-14 pounds (2.5 hours of prep time)

Ciabatta stuffing; mashed potatoes; gravy; green beans almondine; maple orange glazed sweet potatoes; whole berry orange cranberry sauce; dinner rolls; pumpkin pie.

Butterball Turkey dinner $49.99 (serves 8-10) Order online, save $5

What you get: 10-12 pound Butterball turkey (prep time 2.5 hours)

Cranberry herb stuffing (2 pounds); mashed potatoes (3 pounds); gravy (24 oz.); broccoli cheese and rice casserole (28 oz.); cranapple sauce; 1 dozen dinner rolls; 9" pumpkin pie.

WHOLE FOODS: Traditional pre-roasted turkey dinner $129.99

What you get: Fully cooked Diestel turkey (10-12 pounds) serves up to 8

Fresh green beans with shallots; stuffing; garlic mashed potatoes; gravy; cranberry relish; 1 dozen dinner rolls; pumpkin pie.

SAVEMART: Complete turkey dinner $49.99 (heat and serve)

What you get: Fully cooked 10-12 pound turkey

Stuffing (22 oz); mashed potatoes (32 oz.); gravy (24 oz.); broccoli and cheese casserole (22 oz.); spiced apples (23 oz.); 1 dozen dinner rolls; 9" pumpkin pie.

For Savemart shoppers, spend $99 or more at the checkout and get a free turkey (up to 15 pounds).

Now, for the week's sales.

Let's start at Raley's/Belair because they have Michelina's frozen entrees for 88-cents; General Mills cereal 2/$4; store brand stone ground wheat bread $1.99; raw, shell-on shrimp $3.99 lb.; 3lb bag of Clementine tangerines $3; tri tip roast $2.97 lb (with a recipe for tri tip tortilla soup with avocado - $1 each) and a coupon for 2-liter Coca Cola 88-cents.

 In the bakery, you will find soft iced cookies for $3.99; dream cake for $4.99 and bread for two $1.29 each. Minute Maid Lemonade or Punch is $1 a carton; Raley's whipped topping is $1.19; Keebler, Cheeze-It or All-Bran crackers are $1.99 a box; Raley's spring water is $3.88 a case and Ramen is 8 packs for $2. In produce, York apples are $1.47 a pound; large hot house tomatoes are $1.99 a pound and whole or sliced mushrooms are $2 a container.

Safeway's 48-hour specials get top billing this week. On Saturday and Sunday, you can get Progresso soups for 97-cents a can; Nabisco snack crackers for $1.88 a box; pudding cake  for $1.99 and a pound of Starbucks coffee for $5.99. BOGOs are also big. Choose from Foster Farms whole chicken; pomegranates; blueberries; Safeway wheat breads; orange juice; stuffing mix (Safeway brand and Stove Top); Heinz homestyle gravy; Sara Lee frozen pies; Pop-Secret popcorn; Chex Mix; Ritz and Saltine crackers; Bigelow tea and Nature Made vitamins or Osteo Bi Flex.

If you can't wait until Thanksgiving, the Friday $5 special is oven roasted turkey breast, Add Safeway cranberry sauce at $1 a can, the BOGO stuffing and Sara Lee pie and you've got a quick meal. Get a head start on the holiday baking with coupons for raisins ($1 off); chocolate baking chips (2/$3) and paper plates and napkins. Safeway brown or powdered sugar is 79-cents a bag; navel oranges are 99-cents a pound; Ocean Spray cranberries are $1.99 a bag; Fuji or Granny Smith apples are 88-cents a pound; Arrowhead or Refreshe water is $3.77 a case and best of all General Mills cereal is $1.99 a box.

Remember if you shop Savemart, spending $99 at the checkout will get you a free bird. Here are a few items to get you going. Yoplait yogurt 10/$5; avocado 69-cents each; Del Monte veggies $1 a can; whole Foster Farms chicken 99-cents a pound; boneless roast $2.99lb; Sargento shredded cheese $3 a bag; a dozen large eggs $2; Sunny Select drinking water $3.50 a case; Quaker cereals $2.50 a box; cranberry sauce or olives $1 a can; bakery french bread $1.49 a loaf; and chicken tenders from the deli $4.99lb. In produce 12 oz. blackberries or blueberries are $3.99 a carton; apples are $1.29lb.; hothouse tomatoes $1.69lb and Fresh Express salads are 2/$5. Swanson broth and Campbell's cream soups are $1 a can; Sunny Select whipped topping is $1 per container; Pillsbury Grands! biscuits are 3/$5 and bags of Marie Callendar's croutons are $1 a bag.

Foods Co. has a great price on eggs- $2.38 for 18 Grade AA large; Van de Kamp's sliced bread is 99-cents a loaf; Donald Duck orange juice is $2 a carton; Fuji or Braeburn apples are 67-cents a pound and Maruchan lunch cups are 25-cents each. Limes are 10/$1; grapefruit is 68-cents each; Ocean Spray cranberries are $1.98 a bag and Yoplait yogurt is 10/$5.

Vics in Folsom has boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.77 a pound; Swanson broth for 75-cents a can; Newman's Own brands are on sale with salad dressing $2.99 a bottle; salsa and pasta sauce $2.50 a jar and popcorn $2 a box. Fuji apples are 99-cents a pound and grapefruit is 2/$1. Blueberries from Argentina are $2.99 for a 4.4oz. package and be sure to clip the coupon on page 2 to save $3 when you buy 3 boxes of Chex cereals.

Come back tomorrow for recipes to help with Thanksgiving dinner.






November 9, 2008
Weekend update

Finally got the hang of that new Safeway gasoline promotion and guess what? I got change back when I filled up the tank on Saturday. Since I had spent more than $150 on groceries, I "earned"  30-cents off each gallon of gas, which translated into $2.21 a gallon.That calls for a Woo-Hoo in my book.

If your are already thinking about the holidays - it's hard not to since we went right from Halloween to holiday sales - and ways to save money, here's one: The Grocery Outlet has a 4-pack of Martinelli's sparkling cider (apple-cranberry) for $5.99. The very same sparkling cider is at Safeway for $2.89 a bottle. Here's a link to find an outlet in your neighborhood: (Thanks to WaltnJulie for correcting this one!)

How about all those ads in the Sunday Bee. If you have young children on your list, be sure to  set aside the thick Target toy insert. Inside you will find a coupon book that offers $5, $10 and $20 off Playskool, Fisher-Price, Leapfrog and Lego items. There's also a $10 off coupon on a Tony Hawk, Mongoose or Schwinn bike. The coupons expire on Nov. 26.

If you are grocery shopping on Monday or Tuesday and Safeway is your destination, be sure to clip the $10 off coupon (on the purchase of $50 or more) on page A13 of Sunday's paper.

Walmart has an insert that focuses on holiday entertaining. It includes lots of party trays at reasonable prices and a great recipe for Sparkling fruit punch.

Longs Drugs has a great price on Campbell's cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soups - 69-cents a can. If you need eggs, a dozen large are $1.50. BOGOS include Progresso and Campbell's Select Soups; Max Factor makeup; Longs brand of Radiance vitamins and Mitchum or Almay deodorant.  

Over at Walgreens, you can get a 12-pack of Lipton Green Tea with citrus for $4.99. If you take the time to clip the coupons, you will save even more. Check out these coupon offerings: Progresso soup 4/$5; 5lb. bag of Domino sugar $1.99; Nabisco pie crust BOGO; Coffee mate creamer and Quaker oats are also BOGO coupons.

November 5, 2008
Recipes that stretch your dollars

What's for dinner? How about pork chops, blueberry muffins and fruit crumble for dessert? Reliable recipe researcher Sheila Kern has come up with tasty alternatives to "dinner as usual." And the best part - many of the ingredients are on sale this week.

Pork chops are on sale at Safeway for $1.99 a pound. And most of the other ingredients are either in the refrigerator or  the pantry.

Apple Pork Chops





2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 (1/2-inch thick) pork chops

1/2 teaspoon salt

ground black pepper to taste

2 apples - peeled, cored and sliced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup hot water


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Heat oil in large skillet. Saute onion in oil for 1 minute, or until tender. Remove onion and set aside. Brown pork chops on both sides in oil.

Place chops in an 8x12 inch baking dish and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cover the chops with the apples and cooked onion.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, mustard, cloves and water. Pour over chops. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Enjoy!


Easy Baked Pork Chops 

 4-6 boneless pork loin chops

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 soup can water

1 pkg. onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chops in baking dish. In bowl, combine soups with water. Pour mixture over chops.

Cover with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on thickness of chops.

This dish creates its own gravy and is great served with rice!


You can get blueberries at SaveMart for $2.50 a carton.


1 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter

2 eggs

2 c. flour

1/2 c. milk

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 c. blueberries

Sugar for top

With mixer at low speed, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, one at a time. Add 3 dry ingredients alternating with milk. Mash 1/2 cup blueberries and stir in remaining berries by hand. Pile high in cupcake tins (lined or greased). Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.


Here's a dessert that's quick and easy. Cranberries are plentiful and apples and pears are available at less that $1 a pound.

Fall Fruit Crumble /

Gourmet | November 2008

yield: Makes 6 servings

active time: 15 min

total time: 50 min


2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries

2 firm-ripe pears such as Bartlett, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 apples such as Gala, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup sugar, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened


Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Stir together fruits, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla and place in a buttered shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Stir together oats, flour, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms small clumps. Scatter over fruit and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

November 4, 2008
We tell you what's on sale

Wow! Tuesday was one busy night at The Bee. We all witnessed history together in the newsroom and shared the news with our readers.

Now, how about the items to buy at the grocery store this week. When you  look at the Wednesday inserts, you will notice that Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and the stores will make sure that we are prepared. For Shop Cheap, though, it's still too early to think about Thanksgiving so we are going to focus on the best buys. Maybe next week we will be ready to talk Turkey.

Let's start with Safeway because that's where we are finding some great items. Fresh boneless pork chops are $1.99 a pound; avocados are 99-cents each and raspberries are BOGO. Navel oranges are 69-cents a pound and two varities of orange juice are 2/$4 (Saturday and Sunday only.) Jimmy Dean sliced bacon is BOGO. If you like Hormel marinated pork tenderloins, they are BOGO, too. Other BOGO items include: Safeway butter top breads; Orville Redenbacher's popcorn; Tropicana premium orange juice and Progresso natural broth. The Saturday/Sunday 48-hour sale includes Quaker instant oatmeal for $1.67 and Safeway Select ice cream for $2.49. 2-liter Coca-Cola products are buy 3; get 3 free. And Lucerne milk remains 2 gallons for $5.19. If you like to buy Fresh Express complete salads, beware. The price of a bag is now $3.49. The $5 Friday Meal is Homestyle Meatloaf - not a favorite around my house.

Over at Raley's/BelAir, you'll want to stock up on boneless, skinless chicken breasts at $1.88 a pound (if you didn't buy them last week). Bakery Dutch crust or San Francisco sourdough breads are 99-cents a loaf and 2 pounds of Russet potatoes are only $1. Rice-A-Roni or Pasta Roni is 88-cents a box and Minute Maid orange juice is $2.50 a carton. Raley's has a nice assortment of organic products, including kidney beans and refried beans at $1 a can. If you like Kozy Shack pudding, it's on sale for $2.50 a carton. Buitoni Fresh Pasta is $2 for a 9-oz package. In produce, Fuji apples are $1.19 a pound; tomatoes on the vine are $1.99 a pound and Texas grapefruit is 79-cents each. At Raley's, Fresh Express salad blends are 2/$4. And if you like the smell of Lavender, a 6-inch potted plant is $8.99.

SaveMart has a great deal on New York steak and baked potatoes. The steak value pack is $2.99 a pound and a 5-pound bag of Russet or Sierra gold potatoes is only $1.99. Sunnyside Farms boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $2.99 in the value pack. Lean ground beef (85%) is $2.99 a pound. If you like Weight Watchers "Smart Ones," 2/$4 is a good price. Sunnyside Farms large eggs in the 18-count carton are $2.50. Good buys on soups: Campbell's cream soup and Swanson broth is $1 a can. A case of Crystal Geyser Spring water is $3.98. In produce, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries are 2/$5. Grape tomatoes are $2.99 for a 2-pound carton. And to complete the salad, leaf lettuce is 69-cents a bunch.

Vic's in Folsom has a trio of coupons: Dubuque Ham for $7.99 (a 5-pound can); a dozen IGA large eggs at 2 cartons for $3 and Crystal butter at 2 pounds for $5. Also in Folsom, navel oranges for 79-cents a pound; avocados for 89-cents each and Italian squash at 99-cents a pound. And lastly, Best Yet drinking water is $2.99 for a case.

Vic's on Fulton Avenue has boneless beef roast for $2.99 a pound and a 3-pound bag of yellow onions for $1.50. At Vic's, a 10-pound bag of Russet potatoes is $3.99. Fresh apples are $1.19 a pound and jumbo Mandarins are $1.49 a pound. Fresh Express salads are 2/$5.

Foods Co. has the best price on Gala apples - 57-cents a pound. Navel oranges are 2 pounds for 98-cents; pears are 78-cents a pound; fresh green beans are $1.48 a pound and cilantro is 3 bunches for 99-cents. Family size boxes of Kellogg's cereals are 2/$3. A case of Spring water is $3.50.

We have a Rainbow Foods ad this week. Whole Foster Farms Chickens are 99-cents a pound and boneless Cross Rib Roast is $2.59 a pound. Salad shrimp meat is $4.29 a pound and boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.69 a pound. Stouffer's frozen mac&heese is $1 for a 12-ounce serving and Prego spaghetti sauce is $1.69 a jar.In produce, red delicious apples are 89-cents a pound; whole pineapple is $1.99 each; fresh green beans are $1.29 a pound; Zucchini squash is 79-cents a pound and yellow onions are 4 pounds for $1. Crystal Geyser spring water is $3.99 a case and martinelli's sparkling cider is 2/$4.


Come back tomorrow for some tasty recipes.



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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