Shop Cheap

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

September 30, 2009
Gone shopping!

Hi Shoppers. I'm in Southern California checking out grocery prices and doing a little comparative shopping. I will let you know what I find out. In the meantime, recipe researcher Sheila Kern offered up some recipes that are great for fall. Enjoy!


Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies



1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

1 cup raisins


Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time Time: 08 min


Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 24 BARS. VARIATIONS: Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate pieces for raisins; omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit. HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.

Old-Time Beef Stew


Yield: 6 servings


2 pounds stew beef

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 or 2 bay leaves

1 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Dash ground allspice or ground cloves

3 large carrots, sliced

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 tablespoons cornstarch


Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

Black Bean Vegetable Soup


Yield: 8 servings


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 carrots, chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 cups vegetable stock

2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes


In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock, 1 can of the beans, corn, and pepper; bring to boil.

Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining can of beans; add to pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Hearty Minestrone Soup


Serves 6 to 8


2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup thinly sliced Savoy cabbage

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped basil

2 large stalks of celery, sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 dried bay leaf

1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with their liquid

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 cup dried fusilli pasta

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or white beans

Salt and pepper to taste

3/4 to 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Add broth, cabbage, tomato paste, parsley, basil, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and tomatoes with their juice and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add chickpeas, pasta, and beans and simmer for another 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

September 23, 2009
Recipes match what's on sale

We ordered up recipes for chicken, bananas and apples because they are such bargains this week. And chief recipe researcher in the Shop Cheap kitchen, Sheila Kern, came through. Enjoy!

Herbed Roasted Chicken



1 roasting chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme

2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley

4 tablespoons melted butter


Preheat oven to 350°.

Rub inside of chicken with lemon juice; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the onion quarters, dried herbs, and parsley to chicken cavity. Place chicken in a shallow roasting pan and roast at 350° for about 20 minutes per pound. Baste with melted butter several times. Internal temperature should register about 165° on a meat thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh.

Banana Bread



2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups PLUS 2 tablespoons sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe (overripe is good, too) bananas

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour bundt pan.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating for a few seconds after each addition. Add mashed bananas and beat.

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Add dry ingredients and sour cream alternately to the mixing bowl. Beat well until all combined.

Pour into bundt pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Invert on a cooling rack and allow cake to cool slightly before slicing and serving with softened butter.

Apple-Berry Crisp


Serves 8


5 Golden Delicious or Rome Beauty apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, blueberries, cranberries or raspberries

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup quick rolled oats


Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish. In large bowl, combine apples, berries, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; toss to blend. Place apple-berry mixture in prepared dish.

In medium-sized bowl, combine flour, salt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; stir in oats. Sprinkle mixture over apples and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is crisp and golden.


If using cranberries here, add two tablespoons more brown sugar to apple-berry mixture, since cranberries are especially tart.

September 23, 2009
Attention, Sacramento shoppers

Need to update a Raley's item in today's Shop Cheap. Those Fuji apples that seemed so cheap at 99-cents a pound are even more of a bargain. Because if you live in the Sacramento region, they are only 77-cents a pound. Found that out this morning when I checked out the ad on the cover of The Bee's Food & Wine section. Wondering what's what, I called Amy Johnston Davis over at Raley's and she explained that the price in the insert is correct if you live outside of Sacramento. But head to your neighborhood store and you'll pay just 77-cents per pound.

Another way to save this week comes from CVS - the pharmacy that bought out the Longs chain. From Sept. 24-27, at consumers can save 40 percent off CVS-brand products. Items include batteries, lotion, vitamins, cleaning products and snacks. There's also paper towels, trash bags and ibuprofen. If you want to shop from your computer, just order $49 or more and shipping is free!


September 22, 2009
Read this, save money

Fall is taking its time this year! Thankfully, we are used to a sizzling September. And this week, the supermarket prices match the weather - HOT!

How about 48-cents a pound for bananas at Safeway?

Iceberg lettuce for 48-cents a head at Save Mart.

And Fuji apples for 99-cents a pound at Raley's.

We're starting our shopping at Safeway this week for the bananas alone. But that's not all! Raspberries are 99-cents a container; whole Foster Farms chickens are 79-cents a pound, Rancher's Reserve London broil is $1.79lb and fresh Coho salmon fillets are $5.99lb.

The 72-hour sale includes those raspberries, Tyson fuly cooked chicken wings for $2.99lb; Oreo cookies for $1.99 and a giant jug of Tropicana OJ for $2.98.

A 35-pack of Crystal Geyser Spring water is $3.99 and milk has dropped in price a bit - $2.29 a gallon when you buy two.

 Mix & Match items are cart-worthy this week. The 10 for $10 deals include Starkist tuna; Kraft Mac&Cheese; 2-liter Pepsi products; Safeway rice cakes and Gatorade. Buy 10 bottles of Gatorade and get 5 bottles of Propel free. Buy 4 cartons of Lucerne yogurt, get 4 more free. 

Mix&Match extends to produce, where apples, Bartlett pears, eggplant, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, yellow onion, Fresh Express salads  and Iceberg lettuce are all either $1 a pound or $1 each.

In the deli, the $5 Friday special is Roasted Turkey Breast; soups are $3.99 and Signature Cafe Pizza is $5.49. In the bakery, Home Pride or Nature's pride bread is $2 a loaf; brownies are $3.99 and Safeway Select cinnamon rolls are 6 for $1.99. 

Aquafresh toothpaste and Suave hair products are 88-cents each; and Safeway bath tissue or paper towels are $4.88 with coupon.

Save Mart is advertising "Crazy 8 Dayz," with many of their items ending in an "8"!!!

For example, that Iceberg at 48-cents a head; tomatoes on the vine for 88-cents a pound; boneless crossrib roast for $1.88lb and shark fillets for $3.98lb. Their idea for "Under $10 meal solutions" is a good one. Buy one 5lb. chub of ground beef and divide it into 5- 1lb. packages.

With that ground beef you can make cheeseburgers, tacos, spaghetti, chili and hamburger helper - all for less than $10 per meal.

A case of Arrowhead Spring water is $3.98; Oroweat, Thomas', Cinnabon or Entemanns' breakfast foods are $1.98 and Krusteaz pancake or waffle mix is $2.68. Pillsbury Grands! biscuits are $1.25 each; garlic bread in the bakery is $1.98 a loaf and a 5lb. bag of Hinode rice is $2.48.

Over in produce, you can still get strawberries - 2lbs. for $3.99; seedless grapes for $1.69lb and pears for 99-cents a pound. Large green bell peppers are 2/$1 and green onions, cilantro or radishes are 50-cents each.

You could mistake Raley's for the 99-cent store this week. Among the 99-cent items, you'll find Yoplait smoothies and Haagen-Dazs ice cream cups; 7-Up, Gatorade or Propel; S&W tomatoes or Farmhouse pasta and rice products. There's a 2-lb bag of Blue Ribbon rice; Ranch Style Beans and lots of cleaning products including Softsoap, Dial Basic soap and Glade air freshener.

Chicken drumsticks, thighs or leg quarters are 87-cents a pound; Sutter sirloin steak is $3.99lb and fresh cod fillets are $5.99lb. Kellogg's Special K breakfast items are $1.99 each when you buy 4; Sunnyside Farms yogurt is 49-cents a carton and Sunnyside Farms ice cream is $2.79

The back page of the Raley's ad has lots of interesting deals, including fresh Atlantic salmon fillets for $6.99lb and a whole Black Angus bottom round for $1.97lb. If you are having a dinner party or family over, Raley's dinner rolls are $2.99 for 36. Bakery cookies are $6.99 for more than 3 dozen.

In produce, seedless grapes are $1.99lb; zucchini is 99-cents a pound; white corn on the cob is 5/$2 and bell pepper is 99-cents a pound.

If you're in a hurry, Raley's take-and-bake pizza is 2/$10. A case of Crystal Geyser Spring water is $3.33.

And, finally, a few BOGOs. Calistoga sparkling mineral water in the 6-pack; sparkling mineral juice in the 4-pack; 8-pack Arrowhead in the mini-bottles and Nestle candy bars.

Come back on Thursday for some tasty recipes. 

September 17, 2009
Recipes have a fall flavor

Yes, it's going to be warm this weekend, but the Shop Cheap kitchen has already switched seasons. Recipe researcher Sheila Kern has provided some exceptional dishes that all have ingredients that are on sale this week. Enjoy!

Chicken with Lemon, Oregano, and Feta Cheese


Servings: 4


1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter, cut into 4 pieces

1 1/2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)


Heat the oven to 375º. Coat the chicken with the oil; arrange the pieces, skin-side up, in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle the chicken with the oregano, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Top each piece of chicken with a piece of the butter.

Cook the chicken until the breasts are just done, about 30 minutes. Remove the breasts and continue to cook the legs until done, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the roasting pan from the oven; return the breasts to the pan. Top the chicken pieces with the feta cheese. Press any cheese that rolls off into the pan back onto the chicken. Baste the chicken with the pan juices.

Heat the broiler. Broil the chicken until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Serve with the pan juices.

Penne with Eggplant, Olives and Feta Cheese


Bon Appétit | February 2000

Yield: 8-10 servings


8 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 pound red bell peppers, diced

6 large garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 1-1/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

12 ounces penne pasta

14 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


Brush 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil. Heat remaining 6 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, garlic and crushed pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add eggplant and oregano. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook until eggplant softens, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Mix in tomatoes with juices, 1/2 cup basil, olives, tomato paste and vinegar. Cover; simmer until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite; drain well. Stir pasta into vegetable mixture. Transfer to prepared dish. Cover dish with foil. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pasta covered until heated through, about 20 minutes (40 minutes if refrigerated). Sprinkle with feta, then 1/2 cup basil.

Zucchini Slaw


Servings: 4


1 teaspoon olive oil

2 medium zucchini, finely chopped

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons Italian salad dressing

1 bunch chopped fresh parsley


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and cook the zucchini and onion until onion is very tender. Mix in the Italian salad dressing and parsley, and continue cooking until heated through. Serve warm.

Zucchini Muffins


Makes 12 muffins


2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups finely shredded unpeeled zucchini

1/2 cup finely shredded carrot


Grease and flour 12 muffin cups. Heat oven to 375°.

In a mixing bowl, beat the oil with eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; add to the wet ingredients; stirring until blended. Fold in the shredded zucchini and carrots.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or granulated sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes.

Marinated Baked Pork Chops


Servings: 6


1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

6 pork chops, trimmed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a small bowl, thoroughly blend soy sauce, vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup.

Place pork chops in a medium baking dish, and spread with 1/2 the sauce.

Bake pork chops 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Turn, and spread with remaining sauce. Continue baking 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of the chops has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Apple-Cherry Pork Chops


Servings: 2


2 boneless pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick and 5 ounces each)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

2/3 cup apple juice

1 small apple, sliced

2 tablespoons dried cherries or cranberries

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon cold water


Sprinkle pork chops with thyme and salt. In a large skillet, cook pork in oil for 3-4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

In the same skillet, combine the apple juice, apple, cherries and onion. Bring to a boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into skillet. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Spoon over pork chops.

Apricot-Glazed Pork Loin Chops


Servings: 4


4 bone-in pork chops, 3/4-thick each

1/4 cup apricot preserves

2 teaspoons curry powder

Chunky Apricot Sauce:

4 fresh apricots, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons apricot preserves

2 teaspoons stemmed and chopped fresh cilantro leaves


In small bowl, combine 1/4 cup apricot preserves and curry powder. Brush over both sides of pork chops. Place on pre-heated medium-hot grill. Cook on both sides for 8 to 10 minutes or until internal temperature as measured with an instant-read thermometer reaches 160 degrees F. Meanwhile, combine apricots, preserves and cilantro. When ready to serve, spoon Chunky Apricot Sauce over pork chops.

September 15, 2009
It's time to focus on fall, foodies

The cool morning air is ushering in a new season. The leaves are just beginning to change and football is now the sport to watch on TV. With that, comes heartier fare at the supermarket and tailgate parties instead of picnics.

For all you football foodies out there, Save Mart is the place to shop this week. Why: Avocado at 3 for 99-cents; vine-ripened tomatoes for 67-cents a pound and whole rotisserie chicken for $5.99 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And there's no better way to jump-start fall than pumpkin pie, $2.99 in the bakery.

Assorted pork chops are $1.49lb; fresh whole salmon is $1.99lb and chuck steak or roast is $1.97lb in the max pak. A 10lb. sack of potatoes is only 97 cents.

Fresh container salads are 2/$4; jumbo cantaloupe is $2 each and zucchini is 79-cents a pound. Iceberg lettuce is 97-cents a head; cauliflower is $1.29 each and apples are 97-cents a pound.

Barilla pasta is 99 cents; Oroweat Dutch Country bread is $2 a loaf and Thomas' English muffins or bagles are $2 a pack. .

Sunnyside Farms large eggs are $2.50 for 18; yogurt is 49-cents a container and a gallon of chocolate milk is $2.99.

Over at Raley's, check out the salad blends and crumbled cheeses - both 2/$5. A 5lb. bag of Sierra Gold potatoes is $2.99 and boneless chuck steak or roast is $1.97lb. It's time to stock the freezer with Michelina's entrees at 99-cents each; Healthy Choice fudge bars for $3.99 and Marie Calendar's meals for $2.89 each.

In coupon country, you'll find Red Baron pizza for $2.50; 12-packs of Coke for $3.33 and a case of R Everyday drinking water for $2.99. If you are a Gatorade family, an 8-pack is $3.99 with coupon. Also, Cheer or Gain Laundry detergent is $3.99.

Buy 10 Lipton sides at 99-cents each and get $5 off a rotisserie chicken. Buy two 89-oz. jugs of Tropicana OJ and get an 18-pack of large eggs for free. (That 18-pack of eggs would cost you $1.99 otherwise.) A pound of Sunnyside butter is $2.49 and Dannon yogurt is 50-cents each.

In the Natural Foods aisle, Lundberg risotto or rice chips are $1.69

For "Cook's Night Off" or a Football Funday, there's Raley's take & bake pizza - but two, get one free. Chicken strips are $5.99lb and a 12' Mega-Sub Sandwich is $6.99 with a free soda. For dessert, fresh fruit or strawberry cheesecake is $9.99 in the bakery.

Safeway is promoting a 72-hour weekend sale with Oscar Mayer dogs for 99-cents a pack; avocado for 88-cents each and 8-piece Signature Cafe chicken for $4.99. Thirsty? Gatorade or Lipton tea is $3.99 for an 8- or 12-pack of drinks.

Seedless grapes and gala apples are both 79-cents a pound. Green bell pepper is 99-cents a pound and baby peeled carrots are BOGO. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are $2.99 each. 

Rancher's Reserve whole tri tip roast is $2.57lb; pork chops are $1.49lb and for $1.99lb you can get  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs or the combo pack. You'll save $4 on General Mills cereals and granola bars and get a coupon for a free box of Capri Sun when you buy 4. Prego sauces are $1.87 a jar.

Primo Taglio pan roasted turkey or Black Forest Ham is the $5 Friday special and Flatbread Pizza in the deli is $3.99.

Bush's beans are $1 a can; Chips Ahoy! and Ritz crackers are BOGO and Milano cookies are 2/$4.

Come back Thursday for some fall favorites from the Shop Cheap kitchen.


September 9, 2009
Easy and economical recipes from the Shop Cheap kitchen

Want to stretch the dollars this week? Check out these recipes from Sheila Kern in the Shop Cheap kitchen. They are easy and economical, using items that are on sale at the supermarket. Enjoy!

Raspberry-Balsamic Chicken

From The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, compiled and edited by Cathy A. Wesler, c. 2000, Oxmoor House

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 2 T. sauce)


1 t. vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 1/2 t. minced fresh or 1/2 t. dried thyme

1/2 t. salt, divided

4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves

1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1/4 t. black pepper


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Sprinkle thyme and 1/4 t. salt over chicken. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium. Add 1/4 t. salt, preserves, vinegar, and pepper to pan, stirring constantly until preserves melt. Spoon sauce over chicken, and serve immediately.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken


Yield: 4 servings


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces

1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, (see Note)

1 large eggwhite

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided


Working with one piece of chicken at a time, place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even 1/4-inch thickness.

Place pecans, breadcrumbs, orange zest, salt and ground chipotle in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Whisk egg white and water in a shallow dish until combined. Dip each chicken breast in the egg-white mixture, then dredge both sides in the pecan mixture.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the chicken and cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Carefully wipe out the pan with a paper towel and add the remaining oil. Cook the remaining chicken, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Serve immediately.

Note: Chipotle peppers are dried, smoked jalapeño peppers. Ground chipotle can be found in the specialty spice section of most supermarkets.

Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce


Serves 4


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Lemon pepper seasoning

Vegetable cooking spray

2 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

2 clove garlic, minced

1 cup Swanson® Chicken Stock

1/4 cup light cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves


Season the chicken with the lemon pepper seasoning.

Spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet with the cooking spray and heat for 1 minute over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on both sides.

Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until they're tender. Stir in the stock, cream and tarragon and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Tuna Rice Salad



2 cans white tuna, drained, (12 to 14 ounces total)

juice of 1 lime

1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

2 cups cooked long-grain rice, chilled

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons dried dill weed


In a mixing bowl, break up tuna with a fork. Sprinkle lime juice over the tuna; mix well. Fold in the sliced olives, quartered artichoke hearts, and rice. Add mayonnaise and stir in dill weed.

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole


Serves 4


1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Celery Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup cooked peas

2 tablespoons chopped pimientos

2 cans (about 6 ounces each) tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles

2 tablespoon dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted


Heat the oven to 400°F. Stir the soup, milk, peas, pimiento, tuna and noodles in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the tuna mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the tuna mixture. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with your favorite vegetable combination. For dessert serve ice cream.

Tip: Substitute Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup for the Cream of Celery.

Tip: To melt the butter, remove the wrapper and place the butter into a microwavable cup. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds.

Stuffed Turkey Burgers


Yield: 4 servings

Show: Food Network Specials Episode: 10 Days to a New You


1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey breast

1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Divide turkey into 4 equal sized rounds. Make 2 equal sized patties out of each round so you have 8 patties total. Sprinkle 4 of the patties with 2 tablespoons red peppers and cheese, and top with remaining patties, working the turkey around the edges to seal burgers closed. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill or broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Honey-Mustard Turkey Burgers


Servings: 4


1/4 cup coarse-grained mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1 pound ground turkey breast

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons canola oil

4 whole-wheat hamburger rolls, split and toasted

Lettuce, tomato slices and red onion slices, for garnish


Prepare a grill.

Whisk mustard and honey in a small bowl until smooth.

Combine turkey, 3 tablespoons of the mustard mixture, salt and pepper in a bowl; mix well. Form into four 1-inch-thick burgers.

Lightly brush the burgers on both sides with oil. Grill until no pink remains in center, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Brush the burgers with the remaining mustard mixture. Serve on rolls with lettuce, tomato and onion slices.

Spinach-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf



1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped onion

One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound 99% lean ground turkey breast

3/4 cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray medium skillet with cooking spray. Cook mushrooms and onion in skillet over medium-low heat 4 minutes or until onion is tender; remove from heat. Add spinach, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; mix well. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine turkey, oats, milk, egg white, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; mixing lightly but thoroughly. Spoon 2/3 of turkey mixture lengthwise down center of 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish. Form a deep indentation down middle of turkey; fill indentation with reserved spinach mixture. Top with remaining turkey, forming a loaf. Seal edges to completely enclose spinach filling.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thermometer registers 170°F and juices show no pink color. Remove from oven; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Return to oven 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.


Kid-Friendly Tuna Salad with Almonds and Raisins


Serves 4


1 (6-ounce) can water-packed chunk light tuna, drained

1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese

3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

3 tablespoons seedless raisins

2 tablespoons grated carrots

4 leaves green leaf lettuce

8 slices whole wheat bread, toasted if desired


In a small bowl, toss together tuna, cottage cheese, almonds, raisins and carrots until well combined. Layer tuna salad and lettuce between slices of bread and serve immediately or wrap tightly and refrigerate until ready to eat.

September 8, 2009
More "moo-lah" for milk

We have heard for months that milk prices were going up and now it's finally happened. I was positively giddy a week ago when I paid $1.60 for a gallon of non-fat at Winco. A week later, not so giddy. That same gallon of non-fat shot up to $1.88 at Winco and up to nearly $2.50 a gallon at both Raley's and Safeway.

Thankfully, you've got Shop Cheap to help you find savings elsewhere to make up for the extra moolah you'll be paying for milk.

Here's what's on sale this week:

At SAFEWAY, there's lots of coupons - more than a page - and a good 72-hour sale this weekend. There's no better way to stretch your shopping dollar than with tuna and this weekend Safeway has Bumble Bee solid white albacore for 88-cents a can. And what do you do with that tuna? Mix it up and plop it on some Oroweat bread. Only $1.99 a loaf. Mission tortilla chips are 99-cents a bag; chicken tenders are $3.99 in the deli and Rice or Pasta Roni is 89-cents a box.

Safeway is introducing Signature Cafe organic soups this week for only $3.99 for a 24-ounce container. Sounds perfect for when the weather cools off a bit. This week's $5 Friday special is Turkey or Homestyle Meatloaf.

In the meat dept., Rancher's Reserve boneless top sirloin steak is $2.69lb; boneless center cut pork loin is $1.69lb and Foster Farms lean ground turkey is BOGO.

In the coupon category, Thomas English muffins are $1.49; Lucerne large eggs (18-count) are $1.49; a 4-pack of vitamin water is $2.99 and Alpine Lace cheese is $1.99..

In produce, organic heirloom tomatoes are $1.99lb; berries are BOGO and nectarines are 79-cents a pound. Baby peeled carrots are BOGO and Bartlett or red pears are 99-cents a pound.

Save Mart is still coming through with great prices on produce. Red seedless grapes are 77-cents a pound; a 5lb bag of apples is $2.49 and broccoli is 49-cents a pound. Avocados are still $1 each; raspberries are $1.50 for a 6-ounce container and limes are 6/$1. Fresh celery is 69-cents; green bell peppers are 2/$1 and tomatoes on the vine are $1.69lb. Fresh Express garden salad in the bag is $1.29.

Boneless cross rib roast is $1.97lb and Sunnyside Farms fresh chicken breasts are $1.99lb in the Max Pak. Fresh cooked shrimp meat is $2.99lb and lean ground beef is $3.99lb.

Campbell's tomato or chicken noodle soup is 2/$1; Sunny Select pasta is 99-cents and a 16-ounce bag of Sunnyside Farms shredded cheese is $2.99.

Deals in the bakery and deli include master cut roast beef for $5.99lb and chicken tenders for $3.99lb. Bakery rolls are BOGO.

Over at Raley's, check out the Fiesta Tamale kit. You get all the ingredients for a DIY treat. Only $39.99; save $5 if you order online for pickup in the Deli. Also, boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.77lb; black angus cross rib steak or roast for $2.99lb and pork spareibs for $1.67lb. In seafood, check out the tilapia for $5.99lb and salmon burgers for $1.49 each.

Buy two jars of Skippy peanut butter for $1.69 each and get the jam or jelly free. Another interesting offer: mix and match bagels, muffins or croissants for $5.99 a dozen. Plus check out the coupon for a BOGO coffee drink.

Raley's will help you get your game on with Fritos and Cheetos for $1.88 per bag; ground beef patties for $2.99lb and Oscar Mayer or Louis Rich franks for $2.29.

General Mills has a 10 items for $20 special, including cereal, Progresso soups, pancake mix and Betty Crocker mixes. In produce, sliced white or baby bella mushrooms are $1.97 a package; large Hass avocados are 4/$5 and personal size watermelons are BOGO.

Come back on Thursday for recipes from the Shop Cheap kitchen. 

September 3, 2009
Recipes for your Labor Day picnic

As promised, the Shop Cheap Kitchen has come through with delicious recipes for the upcoming 3-day weekend. Recipes from researcher Sheila Kern include some of the best items on sale this week - avocado, watermelon, and pork ribs. Enjoy! 

Tomato and Watermelon Salad


Epicurious | March 2009

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


3 or 4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh

1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, tarragon, chives, and cilantro

1/4 teaspoon coriander seed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. In a spice grinder, grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder. Add the ground coriander to the tomato mixture and toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Watermelon and Peaches Dessert


Serves 6-8


4 cups small watermelon cubes

2 peaches

Juice from 2 fresh lemons

1/8 cup raw or organic white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup slivered almonds


In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the almonds to the pan. Stir the almonds until they are toasted and golden. Remove the almonds from the pan to aluminum foil or heatproof plate to cool. Thinly slice the peaches and toss in a bowl with lemon juice. Add the watermelon cubes to the bowl with the peaches and toss together. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and yogurt and pour over the watermelon and peaches. Sprinkle the almonds over the top. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Banana Split


Makes 4 servings


2 bananas

1 medium watermelon

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/4 cup caramel fruit dip

1/4 cup honey roasted almonds


Peel bananas and cut in half lengthwise then cut each piece in half. For each serving, lay 2 banana pieces against sides of shallow dish. Using an ice cream scooper, place three watermelon "scoops" in between each banana in each dish. Remove seeds if necessary. Top each watermelon "scoop" with a different fruit topping. Drizzle caramel fruit dip over all. Sprinkle with almonds.

Avocado Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

From (California Avocado Commission)


4 small or 2 large portobello mushrooms

1T butter

1 leek, cleaned and sliced

1/2 garlic clove, pressed

1 large, ripe avocado, peeled and chopped

1/2 t. chopped fresh or dried rosemary

1/2 T lime juice

1/8 t. salt

2 oz. goat cheese

1 1/2 T chopped walnuts

1 T olive oil

Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs


Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushrooms using a spoon; discard gills. Remove stems, if necessary, and reserve for another use, if desired.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add leek and garlic, and sauté, until tender. Remove from heat, and cool.

Stir together avocado and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in leek mixture.

Press goat cheese evenly into mushroom caps; top each with avocado mixture. Sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle with olive oil. Place on rack in a broiler pan.

Bake at 400° for 5 minutes; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and bake 5 more minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.

Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Artichoke, Avocado & Chicken Salad

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 8


Terttu's Special Dressing (see make-ahead recipe below)

1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

10 oz cooked chicken, shredded

1 (10-oz.) bag chopped romaine lettuce

2 ripe, avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped

Terttu's Special Dressing

1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. light Caesar dressing


Gently toss a small amount of the dressing with each of the artichoke hearts, olives, chicken. Reserve remaining dressing.

Place lettuce in a large flat serving bowl. Toss with half of the reserved dressing.

Top lettuce with the artichoke hearts, olives, chicken and avocados.

Serve immediately and pass remaining dressing on the side.

Terttu's Special Dressing

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, mix all dressing ingredients.

Shake well before using.

Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Classic Guacamole

From (California Avocado Commission)

Serves 8


4 ripe avocados, seeded and peeled

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tomato, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/8 tsp ground cumin

3 drops hot pepper sauce

Tortilla chips


Using a fork, coarsely mash avocado with lemon juice and garlic.

Stir in remaining ingredients to blend.

Serving Suggestions:

Garnish as desired and serve with tortilla chips.

Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Barbecued Ribs


Serves 4-6


4 to 5 pounds pork ribs, cut in serving-size pieces

salt and pepper

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

dash Tabasco sauce


Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan, meaty side down; season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425° for 35 minutes. Drain off excess fat; turn meaty side up. Top ribs with sliced lemon and onion. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to roast ribs for 30 minutes longer. Meanwhile, combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and Tabasco in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and pour over ribs. Continue roasting ribs, basting occasionally, for 1 hour longer. Add more water if sauce gets too thick.

Mom's 'Sweet 'n' Sours' Pork Ribs


Makes 4 servings


1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 cups water

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup vinegar

2 pounds pork spareribs, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped


In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir in the water, soy sauce, and vinegar.

Place the ribs in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes, and drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown the ribs on all sides. Mix in the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Mix in the garlic, and continue cooking 15 minutes, or to desired doneness.

Sweet BBQ Crockpot Ribs


Serves 6


3 lbs. pork loin back ribs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup cola beverage

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves


Cut ribs into 2 or 3 rib portions and place in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour cola over. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours until the ribs are tender. Drain liquid and discard. Pour barbecue sauce and thyme into crockpot and mix so ribs are coated. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 1-2 hours until ribs are glazed.

September 1, 2009
Labor Day sales are looking good

You aren't going to have to work hard to find Labor Day savings at the local supermarkets. For once, they've made it easy. Avocado, watermelon, ribs. Don't need much more than that if you are planning a Labor Day gathering. Here are the highlights, starting with Save Mart.

With Calvo medium Hass avocado at 2/$1, how can you not make guac this weekend? Buy them early, let them ripen, then mash and serve. Whole seedless watermelon is $2.97 each and fresh pork spareribs are $1.38lb. If you'd rather do burgers, ground beef patties are $1.99lb when you buy 3lbs. or more. Ball Park franks and Fresh Express salads are BOGO. Tostitos and Doritos are BOGO and inside the ad, you'll find a whole page of Mix and Match BOGOs.

Sara Lee buns are $1.99 a package but if you'd rather go cheaper, Sunnyside Farms are $1.19. Ice cream will be perfect for dessert and Sunnyside Farms is 2/$5. Hershey's syrup is 2/$5 and cones are $1.29 a box.

If you are going to do the 'cue, Kingsford briquets are $5.99 for a big bag. Sweet Baby Ray's sauce is 2/$3 and Bush's baked or grillin' beans are $1.49 a can.

If you don't want to labor on Labor Day, check out the family size fried chicken meal - 16 pieces for $9.99; and grab a loaf of garlic bread for $1.79. There are strawberry Boston cakes in the bakery for $6.99 and a dozen cupcakes for $4.99. In the deli, Foster Farms turkey breast is $3.99lb and rolls are 4/$1 in the bakery.

Fresh berries are $3.99 for a large container; veggie trays are $4.99 to $7.99 and sweet pineapple is $2.97 each.

If you are heading to a neighbor's on the weekend, a Labor Day bouquet is $8.99.

Raley's is definitely worth a stop this week, especially if you are planning a backyard gathering or picnic in the park. Whole seedless watermelon is $1.47 each; pork loin backribs are $2.99lb and country style strips are 99-cents a pound. Whole Foster Farms chickens are 75-cents a pound; Kingsford charcoal is $7.49 for a 17-18lb bag; and Pepsi 12-packs are  $2.50 each when you buy 5.

Be sure to clip the coupon for Crystal Geyser spring water - it's just $2.98 a case. If you are going to be snacking, Mission tortilla chips are $1.99 a bag; Sunshine, Keebler or Carr's crackers are $1.99 each when you buy 4; Lay's chips are BOGO and Nabisco snack crackers are $1.69 a box.

The no-labor Labor Day deals include: 8-piece fried chicken for $5.99; slow cooked ribs for $7.99 and a family-size sub sandwich for $6.99. Apple pie in the bakery is $3.97 (grab some Cool Whip for 99-cents); and for $4.99 you can get a dozen decorated cupcakes.

The avocados are a little more pricey at 2/$3 but corn on the cob is 5/$2 and good old broccoli is 99-cents a pound. The Raley's veggie tray is $4.49 and green onions, radishes or cilantro are 50-cents each.

In the bakery, the ladyfinger cake is only $9.99 and a fresh fruit tart is $12.99.

If you are willing to work for your savings, check out Safeway because they have a number of clip-worthy coupons. Right on the front page, you will find $5 off any Rancher's Reserve beef item; Kraft mayo for $1.99 and Kraft singles for 99-cents. There's fresh pork spare ribs for $1.69lb; whole Foster Farms chicken for 77-cents a pound a  steak sale to go with that $5 off coupon.

In produce, the Hass avocados are $1 each; green grapes are 67-cents a pound and a 5-lb box of Clementine mandarins is $4.99. Corn on the cob is 4/$2 berries are 2 baskets for $6 and Walla Walla onions are $1 a pound.

It's definitely a good time to stock up on bottled water. Safeway's Refreshe brand is $2.78 a case; Arrowhead and Nestle are $3.48 a case and Aquafina and Dasani are $3.98. For the weekend snackers, Nabisco crackers are $2 a box;  Tostitos and Lay's chips are BOGO.

For the BBQ, most brands of sausages and hot dogs are BOGO; lean ground beef is $3.99lb and buns are $1.19 a bag. Deli counter salads are $3.99 each.

To top it all off, fresh fruit tarts in the bakery are $12.99; Lucerne whipped cream is BOGO and cupcakes are $4.99 a dozen. The no-labor Labor Day specials include St. Luis-style smokehouse ribs are $6.49 when you buy two; Signature cafe potato salad is $2.99lb and 25-count boneless wings are $7.99 each. The $5 Friday special is 8-piece all-natural roasted chicken.

Come back Thursday morning for easy recipes for your Labor Day weekend.


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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