Shop Cheap

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

October 29, 2009
Halloween recipes won't scare off the guests

Got a work event or a neighborhood party that calls for Halloween-themed treats? Shop Cheap recipe researcher Sheila Kern to the rescue. These recipes have all the ingredients to create the perfect appetizer or dessert for your Ghoulish Gathering. Enjoy and Happy Haunting.


Harvest Pumpkin Dip Recipe


Yield: 3-1/2 cups/28 servings


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Apple and pear slices


In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Gradually add the pumpkin, pie spice, vanilla and ginger; beat until smooth. Serve with fruit. Refrigerate leftovers.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake Recipe


Yield: 12 servings


3/4 cup butter, softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, divided


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into one portion. In a well-greased 10-in. fluted tube pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans. Spoon chocolate batter over pecans; top with pumpkin batter. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Bake at 325° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Carrot Fingers and Ranch Dressing


Yield: 6 - 8 servings


1 bag peeled baby carrots

1 cup sliced almonds

Cream cheese

Bottled ranch dressing


Place a bit of cream cheese on the end of a baby carrot and place an almond slice face down on top. The almond should look like a fingernail on the carrot "finger". Repeat until all carrots are finished.

Pour dressing in a bowl and stand a few carrot fingers upright in the bowl. Place the bowl on a platter and lay the remaining carrot fingers around the bowl.

Candy Corn Bark


Yield: 20 servings


16 Halloween-colored chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped

1 1/2 cups broken small pretzels

1/3 cup raisins

1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, broken into squares

2 cups candy corn

orange and brown sprinkles


Spread the cookies, pretzels and raisins evenly onto a lightly greased small baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth. White chocolate burns easily.

Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Brownie Pizza Recipe



1 package brownie mix (21-ounce)

2 tablespoons flour

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup candy coated peanut butter candies

1 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup butterscotch ice cream topping


Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, flour, water, oil, and egg. Beat with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter in the pan and sprinkle with the candy coated peanut butter candies. Bake for about 18 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and immediately sprinkle with marshmallows. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes then drizzle with caramel or butterscotch ice cream topping. Slice into wedges when cool.

Jack-o-Lantern Cheese Ball



2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup pineapple or apricot preserves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large pretzel rod, broken in half

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

dark rye bread

red pepper

black olive slices



Combine Cheddar and cream cheeses, pumpkin, preserves and spices in medium bowl; beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until cheese mixture is firm enough to shape. Shape mixture into round pumpkin, place on serving plate.Using a knife, cut shallow vertical lines down pumpkin. Place pretzel rod in top for stem. Cut rye bread into triangles for eyes, cut red pepper into triangle , for nose, and cut olives in half to make the mouth. Serve with assorted crackers.

Deluxe Halloween Mud Bars


Yield: 36 bars


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Halloween candy corn


Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 9-inch-square baking pan.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 1/4 cups morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 20 to 23 minutes. Remove pan to wire rack. Sprinkle with remaining morsels. Let stand for 5 minutes or until morsels are shiny; spread evenly. Top with candy corn. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes or until chocolate is set. Cut into bars.

October 27, 2009
Scaring up some bargains

We all know that this is the week when Ghouls just want to have fun. So don't go out and plan any elaborate meals until after Saturday. Until then, let's just scare up some bargains.

Save Mart has it going on this week with fresh pork spareibs for $1.39lb. Nothing like sticky fingers before Trick'or'Treating! If you don't want to cook, check out their 16-piece deli fried chicken for $9.99 and some garlic bread ($1.99) from the bakery. Potato, macaroni or cole slaw salad is also $1.99 in the deli.

Cut of the week in the butcher block is London broil for $1.99lb; a whole Farmland smoked ham is $5.99 and Moran's lean ground beef is $1.59lb. in the Max Pak. Fresh whole Keta salmon is $2.99. Gallo Salame is $3.99 - that's $2 less than most stores. Oscar Mayer products are BOGO.

Large Sunnyside Farms eggs are $1.99 for 18; ice cream or sherbet is $2.89 and Minute Maid drinks are 4/$5. Coke products in the 12-can fridge pack are buy 2, get 2 free; Doritos tortilla chips and Foster Farms original corn dogs are BOGO..

It's time for Martinelli's sparkling cider and it's on sale for $2 a bottle. Bohemian Hearth breads are $1.89 a loaf and Campbell's condensed soups are $1 a can.

You can get all your cupcake needs in the bakery. A dozen decorated delights are $4.99.

Produce has avocado for 50-cents each; Roma tomatoes are 47-cents a pound and Fresh Express spinach is 99-cents a bag. A 3-lb. bag of Fuji apples is $2.50; persimmons are $1 each and raspberries are 2/$5. Just to counter the sugar, you might want to pick up some baby carrots for $1 a bag or an entire veggie tray for $4.99.

Raley's is making it easy on the cook this week with Take & Bake pizza 2/$10; Prospector's slow cooked ribs for $7.99 and a delicious-looking brownie cake is $3.99.

If you're thinking seafood, fresh Venus clams are $2.99lb. and cooked shrimpmeat is $4.99lb.

12-packs of Coke are buy 2, get 2 free at Raley's, too. Arrowhead water is $3.99 for a case + 4 extra bottles and gallon jugs of Arizona tea is $2.99. EarthGrains 100% natural bread is $1.99 a loaf; S&W Beans are 89-cents a can and Maruchan Yakisoba noodles are 89-cents each.

In produce, avocados are 77-cents each; red or golden delicious apples are 67-cents a pound and large hot-house tomatoes are $1.97lb. Raley's veggie tray is $4.99 and two-pound bags of baby carrots are $1.99.

In the bakery, you'll find decorated Halloween cakes for $12.99 and pumpkin sugar cookies for $3.99. Pints of Ben & Jerry's are 2/$5.

Want a tasty treat for the kids before they hit the streets on Halloween? Safeway Signature soups are $3.99 and the $5  Friday Special (which extends into Saturday and Sunday this week) is Signature Cafe pizza, 5 cheese or pepperoni. Or, instead of the pizza, grab the two dozen cooked chicken wings in the deli for $5.99 with coupon.

Produce BOGOs include personal-size watermelon and Fresh Express salad blends. Golden pineapple is $1.99 each and Fuji apples are 79-cents a pound. Kiwi fruit is 3/$1; celery is $1.50 a bunch and red, white or yellow potatoes are 99-cents a pound.

Johnsonville smoked sausage or bratwurst and Tyson fully cooked entrees are BOGO.

In the must-buy-3 to get the savings category, Honey Bunches of Oats are $1.99 a box and Barilla pasta sauce is $1.99 a jar. Dasani water is $3.99 for a case; Refreshe water is $3.37 a case and bottles of Coke and Pepsi are 88-cents each, when you buy 4.

In the bakery, a dozen Halloween cupcakes are $4.99 and the Monster cupcake or cake is $12.99. If you like Claim Jumper pies, clip the coupon and save $1.

 Come back Thursday for special Halloween recipes from the Shop Cheap kitchen.

October 22, 2009
Help for the cook

What's cooking? How about cross rib roast (on sale at Raley's and Safeway), chicken (Save Mart and Safeway); soups, sausages and apple strudel.  Researcher Sheila Kern scours The Shop Cheap Kitchen for recipes that will help you plan your week. Enjoy!

Cross Rib Roast


Serves 4 -6


2 lbs cross-rib roasts

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil


Brush roast with balsamic vinegar.

Make a paste with remaining ingredients and apply to meat.

Roast meat at 450 for 15 minutes Reduce heat to 350 and cook for 40 o 60 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 125.

Remove from oven; cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 to 25 minutes.

Dijon Herb Cross Rib Roast


Servings: 8-10


1 (6-lb.) USDA Choice Beef cross rib roast

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. butter, softened

1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

1/2 tbsp. each: basil, rosemary, sage and thyme


Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 2 to 3 hours

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place roast, fat side up, in a large shallow baking pan. Stir together the remaining ingredients and spread over the top and sides of roast. Insert an oven-proof meat thermometer so the tip is in the center of the roast. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until meat thermometer reaches 135°F for medium-rare or 150°F for medium. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Crockpot Smoked Sausages With Potatoes and Cabbage


Serves 4 to 6


2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled or peeled, sliced about 1/4-inch thick

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme

1 medium onion, halved, sliced

1/2 small cabbage, coarsely chopped or shredded

6 to 8 links of smoked sausage, such as andouille, chicken and apple, or your favorite

1/2 cup apple juice

2 teaspoons cider vinegar


Arrange sliced potatoes in the bottom of a 4-to 7-quart slow cooker. Drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with about half of the salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss to coat then add the cabbage and onions. Sprinkle with remaining seasonings and top with the sausages. Pour the apple cider over all and then drizzle with vinegar.

Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH.

Slow Cooker Creole Black Beans and Sausage


Servings: 10


2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch slices

3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper

1 cup water

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves


Place a large skillet over medium heat, and add sausage. Cook, stirring, until sausage is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain fat, and transfer sausage to slow cooker.

Stir the black beans, onion, celery, green pepper, water, tomato sauce, garlic, thyme, bullion granules, white pepper, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves into the sausage in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on Low until vegetables are tender, about 6 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Corn and Wild Rice Soup with Smoked Sausage


Bon Appetit | November 1995


12 1/2 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth

1 1/4 cups wild rice (about 7 1/2 ounces)

6 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels (about 2 1/2 pounds) thawed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 ounces fully cooked smoked sausage (such as kielbasa), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3 carrots, peeled, diced

2 medium onions, chopped

1 1/2 cups half and half

Chopped fresh chives or parsley


Bring 5 cups broth to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add wild rice and simmer until all liquid evaporates and rice is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3 3/4 cups corn and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth in processor until thick, almost smooth puree forms. Heat vegetable oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and onions and stir 3 minutes. Add remaining 6 cups chicken broth and bring soup to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer soup 15 minutes.

Add cooked wild rice, corn puree and remaining 2 1/2 cups corn kernels to soup. Cook until wild rice is very tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes longer. Mix in half and half. Thin soup with more chicken broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Refrigerate until cold; cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm soup over medium-low heat before continuing.)

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chives and parsley and serve.

Cranberry Dijon Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe


Serves: 4


1 family pack leg quarters (any type chicken cuts)

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 packet onion soup mix

1 bottle French dressing

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix all ingredients except chicken in medium -large glass baking dish. Add chicken and spoon mixture over top of chicken making sure to cover completely.

Bake uncovered for 35-60 minutes (depending on choice of chicken cuts - about 60 minutes for leg quarters) occasionally spoon-basting with mixture. Chicken is done when liquid runs clear or meat flakes with the twist of a fork.

Great served over mashed potatoes with side of green beans.

Marinated Grilled Chicken Legs


Yield: 4 servings


1 cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons basil oil

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

8 chicken drumsticks (about 2 1/4 pounds), skinned

Cooking spray

Green onion strips (optional)


Combine the first 11 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place reserved marinade in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat 3 minutes. Place chicken on grill coated with cooking spray; grill 30 minutes or until chicken is done, turning and basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Garnish with green onion strips, if desired.

Apple Strudel



Apple Strudel:

1/4 cup bourbon or apple juice

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 to 3 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound), peeled, cored, halved, and thinly sliced

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup crushed shortbread cookies

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

5 sheets phyllo dough from 1 pound package of frozen dough

2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing phyllo sheets, plus more if needed

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Confectioners' sugar

Caramel sauce, purchased


2 cups confectioners' sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, pour the bourbon or apple juice over the raisins and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Combine the raisins, apples, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, cookie crumbs, pecans, and butter in a large bowl.

Remove the phyllo dough from the box, unfold, and cover with a damp towel. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on the work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Repeat with the remaining sheets, brushing each with melted butter, stacking when done, being sure to keep the unbuttered phyllo covered.

Place the apple mixture on the nearest third of the phyllo stack, being sure to leave a 2-inch border. Gently lift the bottom edge of the phyllo stack to cover the filling and fold the side edges over. Continue to roll the stack away from you until the filling is completely sealed in and the seam is on the bottom. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Pour over the glaze and sprinkle with cinnamon and confectioners' sugar. Pass warm caramel sauce, to drizzle over the strudel.

For the Glaze:

Mix ingredients thoroughly.

Cook's Note: If too thick add a little bit of milk. If too thin add a little bit of confectioners' sugar.

Farmhouse Butternut Squash Soup


Yield: Makes 6 (first course) servings


4 bacon slices

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1/2 pounds carrots, chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

3 thyme sprigs

2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California

3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar


Cook bacon in a 4-to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Add garlic and caraway seeds to fat in pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add squash, carrots, apple, thyme, bay leaves, broth, water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and boil, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.

Puree about 4 cups soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to pot and season with salt, pepper, and vinegar. Serve topped with crumbled bacon.

Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie


Yield: 6 to 8 servings


Pastry for one crust, nine-inch pie

4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Cortland, peeled, cored and cut in 1-inch chunks

2 cups cranberries

3/4 cup oat bran

1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a nine-inch pie pan with the pastry, line the pastry with a sheet of foil and weight it with pastry weights or dry beans. Bake for about eight minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and bake another five minutes or so, until the pastry begins to color.

Combine the apple pieces and the cranberries in a bowl. Add one-fourth cup of the oat bran, two-thirds cup of the sugar and one-half teaspoon of the cinnamon and toss. Dot with two tablespoons of the butter and toss again. Spread in the prepared pie pan.

Combine the remaining oat bran, sugar, pecans and cinnamon and mash in remaining four tablespoons of butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top has browned and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool until just warm, then serve with whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

October 20, 2009
BOGO or typo....pumpkins are big and plentiful

Shop Cheap will let you decide if the fine print in the Safeway ad is a typo or a big honkin' pumpkin. On Saturday and Sunday you can get BOGO Halloween pumpkins at the store. In the fine print it says: Save up to $49.99 on 2. Tell me if you find that $50 pumpkin!!!

In addition to all the pumpkins - 3 for $9.99 at Save Mart and 2/$6 at Raley's - there's lots of other bargains this week. Here's the rundown:

Raley's has "Family Meal Deals" that will save you money. Get three free items (5lbs of potatoes; Fresh Express salad in the bag and a loaf of french bread) when you buy a cross rib or boneless chuck roast at $2.97lb. Buy a package of R Everyday split chicken breasts for $1.97lb and get a pack of Farmhouse rice or pasta; the same salad and bread. Add asparagus at $1.97lb and your meal is complete.

Other good stuff at Raley's this week includes Sunnyside orange or ruby red grapefruit juice for $1.99; Aquafina drinking water for $3.99 a case and Campbell's chunky soup 2/$3. Why is it when people talk about "comfort food" no one says "Tater Tots"? If the mere mention of "Tots" makes you want to go out and get a bag, the Ore-Ida brand $2.99 a bag.

In the weekend coupon dept., Raley's has Friday & Saturday specials that include Tide Laundry Detergent for $8.99; Red Baron or Freschetta pizza for $2.79; 2-liter Pepsi for 88 cents; Bar-S sliced bacon 2/$5; gallon jugs of Crystal Geyser Spring water for 78-cents; Hillshire Farm lunchmeat 2/$6 and large artichokes for 97-cents each.

Barilla pasta is 99-cents a box; Campbell's soups are $1 a can; Kettle chips are BOGO. Raley's  99-cent sale includes Steamfresh veggies; Balance bars; gatorade and 7-Up; Hunt's diced tomatoes; Softsoap, Renuzit air freshener and Kleenex. On the Halloween candy aisle, Nestle fun size (isn't all candy fun size?) bags are $1.99.

In produce, those Holiday grapes are back at $1.77lb; green onion, radishes or cilantro are 50-cents a bunch; pears are 97-cents a pound and organic Fujis are $1.49lb

If you are hungry for steak, head over to Save Mart for whole boneless ribeyes at $4.99lb. They will even cut and wrap your purchase. Foster Farms chicken leg quarters in the Max Pak are 69-cents a pound and tri tip or petite sirloin steaks are $2.99lb. If you want to serve shirmp cocktail with those steaks, cooked shrimp meat is $3.99lb.

In the bread dept., Nature's Pride is $1.99 a loaf; Sara Lee is $1.99 a loaf and Sunnyside Farms whole grain white bread is $1.79. Laura Scudder's BBQ or dip chips are $1.99 for a double bag and Doritos are the same.

If you have the cough, Halls Cough Drops are 99-cents a bag and Theraflu is $3.99. Think we'd all be smart to stock up.

In produce, check out the Cameo apples for $1.29lb; pears for 97-cents a pound and sweet red bell peppers for 99-cents a pound. And remember those pumpkins 3/$9.99.

In the bakery, Save Mart has the cutest "Pumpkin Face" cakes for $5.99; a dozen Halloween cupcakes is $4.99. In the deli, you can get their Rotisserie chicken for $5.99 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise, it's $6.99

Over at Safeway, we're still hoping that pumpkin BOGO (save up to $49.99 on two) is a Boo Boo. But there are other deals that we won't question. Boneless cross rib roast is $1.89lb; pot roast is $1.99lb and round tip (just what is a round tip?) roast is $2.29lb. Whole Foster Farms chickens are 77-cents a pound and pork chops are $1.49lb. If you are wanting to celebrate Oktoberfest, all kinds of sausages are on sale. John Morrell smoked sausage is 99-cents a pound; Hillshire Farm smokes sausages are $1.99 a package and Johnsonville brats are $2.99 a package. If you want to go upscale, Aidell's gourmet sausage is $4.99 a package.

Safeway also has all the ingredients for that lunch classic - soup and grilled cheese. Safeway butter top breads are $2 a loaf; Campbell's chicken noodle or tomato soups are 60-cents each and Kraft singles are 2/$4. Update the classic grilled cheese with a slice of tomato.

The Saturday/Sunday sale at Safeway (what happened to the 72-hour sale?) includes those BOGO pumpkins; Oroweat English muffins or whole wheat breads for $1.99; Nabisco snack crackers for $1.47 a box and Golden Grain pasts, Knorr or Lipton sides and Chef Boyardee canned pasta for 79-cents.

Hormel bacon is BOGO. Be sure to clip the coupon for 18-count large eggs for only $1.49 and Simply Orange juice or lemonade for $1.99.

In produce, raspberries are BOGO; Granny Smith or Delicious apples are 69-cents a pound; bagged salads are $1 each and avocados are also $1 each. In fact lots of the items are $1, including eggplant, bags of baby carrots, leaf lettuce and Odwalla food bars. For $1 a pound, you can get zucchini or yellow neck squash; black plums and green bell pepper.

In the deli, the $5 Friday special is the Signature Cafe whole roasted chicken. Add cole slaw for $2.49lb or a Signature Cafe spinach salad for $4.49 and you have a great meal.

In the bakery, a dozen decorated cupcakes is $4.99 and a "monster" cupcake cake is $12.99.

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




October 15, 2009
Recipes give you a taste of fall

In the Shop Cheap Kitchen this week, we wanted to give you the flavor of fall so recipe reseacher Sheila Kern has soup, salad and muffin recipes that cover everything from broccoli to pumpkin to avocado. Enjoy!

Fresh Broccoli Salad Recipe


Yields: 6 servings


3/4 pound chopped fresh broccoli

1 small green apple, chopped

1/2 cup chopped red onion

3 tablespoons real bacon bits

1/2 cup ranch salad dressing

4-1/2 teaspoons sugar


In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, apple, onion and bacon. In a small bowl, combine salad dressing and sugar. Pour over broccoli mixture; toss to coat.

Broccoli Cheese Soup


Serves 8


1 bunch broccoli, about 1 1/4 pounds, washed and trimmed

2 cups sliced onions

5 tablespoons butter or margarine

7 cups chicken broth, divided

1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 cup milk

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


Cut florets off broccoli and divide into small sections. Simmer in lightly salted water for 2 minutes; drain and immerse in cold water to stop cooking then set aside.

Cut stalks into small pieces; place in a large saucepan. Add sliced onions and 3 tablespoons of butter to saucepan; sauté over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chicken broth and oregano to the saucepan; simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully process hot mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Stir in mustard and pepper. Gradually stir in processed mixture and remaining 4 cups of chicken broth. Continue to cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble. Add milk and cheese; stir until smooth and cheese is melted. Add remaining broccoli florets and heat through.

Chunky White Bean-Avocado Dip


Yield: 4 servings


2 ripe Hass avocados, pitted and peeled

1/2 cup drained canned white beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Salt and ground black pepper


In a medium bowl, combine avocados, white beans and garlic. Mash with a fork until chunky. Fold in cilantro and lime juice. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Avocado Basil Dressing


Adapted from "How to Cook Everything," by Mark Bittman (Wiley, 2008)

Yield: About 1 cup


1 avocado

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1 clove garlic

Juice of one or more limes

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Put all ingredients in a mini food processor or blender and purée until smooth; add a few drops of water if you like a thinner dressing.

Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots


Serves 8


1 (3-pound) pumpkin, seeded and cut into 8 wedges

6 large shallots, peeled and quartered

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon sliced, fresh sage leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper


Roast the pumpkin and shallots: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the pumpkin, shallots, and garlic in a roasting pan and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, pour the mixture over the pumpkin, and toss to coat. Roast, turning the pumpkin and shallots twice during cooking, until browned and tender -- about 60 minutes. Serve immediately.

Fresh Pumpkin Soup


Published in Light & Tasty October/November 2001

Yield: 9 servings (about 2 quarts)


8 cups chopped fresh pumpkin (about 3 pounds)

4 cups chicken broth

3 small tart apples, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Toasted pumpkin seeds:

1/2 cup fresh pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/8 teaspoon salt


In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first eight ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until pumpkin and apples are tender.

Meanwhile, toss pumpkin seeds with oil and salt. Spread onto an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 250° for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

Cool soup slightly; process in batches in a blender. Transfer to a large saucepan; heat through. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins (With Cream Cheese Frosting)


Yield: 12 muffins



1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1 heaping cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup golden raisins (optional!)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until all incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined. Pour into greased muffin pan--batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle generous amounts of cinnamon-sugar over the top of each unbaked muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup softened butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 pound powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy!

Store in fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.

October 13, 2009
Free pumpkins and more at the store

 It's Fall and we have to start acting like it. Put away the shorts and sandals. Start thinking pumpkins and apples and little, scary things that go bump in the night. 

A free pumpkin sounds good this time of year. And that's what you will get this Saturday at Raley's if you spend $25 or more on groceries.

Need ideas on how to spend that $25? Here goes: How about a pasta dinner for less than $10? Raley's is having a special on all the fixin's. Ground beef is $1.67lb; pasta is 99-cents; sauce is 2/$3 and garlic bread in the bakery is $1.59 a loaf. Another great deal - at all stores - is avocado. At Raley's large Hass avocados are BOGO. Other produce specials include large Russett potatoes at 3lbs for 99-cents;  vine-ripe tomatoes at $1.27lb and leaf letuce for 99-cents a head.

A case of Crystal Geyser drinking water is $3.33; a dozen large eggs is $1.49 and Sunnyside ice cream is $2.69.

 Liters of Coke are 98-cents when you buy 3 and Michelina's frozen entrees are 99-cents each. To top it off, Desserts for Two are BOGO, so you can invite friends.

Save Mart is celebrating Oktoberfest with pork loin chops for $1.17lb; London broil for $1.77lb and Johnsonville brats for $2.99. In produce, large pumpkins are $3.33 each; red, seedless grapes are 97-cents a pound; Fuji apples are 69-cents a pound and medium Hass avocados are $1 each. Vine-ripened tomatoes are 99-cents a pound; Driscoll's berries are 2/$5 and green onions, cilantro or radishes are 2/$1. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.99lb in the Max Pak..

Be sure to clip the coupons for Angel Soft tissue or Sparkle paper towels ($3 off your total grocery bill). A 12-pack of Coke is $2.99 with coupon.

Sunnyside Farms bread - white or wheat - is $1.50 a loaf; liters of orange Crush, Sierra Mist or Mug root beer are $1 each; and Thomas' English muffins are BOGO.  General Mills cereals are $2 a box and Keebler cookies are $1.99 a package.

A case of Arrowhead Spring water is $3.99; and Tropicana less sugar orange juice is $2.50.

In the deli, you'll find chicken tenders for $3.99lb and potato, macaroni or coleslaw salads for $1.99lb. A 32oz. container of Sunnyside Farms cottage cheese is $3.29 and 5-oz. cups of parmesean is $2.50.

For an easy, fun treat, check out the recipe for "Ice Cream SandWitches" on the back page of the Save Mart ad.

Safeway is bringing it home this week with whole tip roast for $2.47lb; fresh broccoli for 69-cents a pound and seedless grapes for 99-cents a pound. Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs are $1.67 a box. And check out the dollar deals on Iceberg lettuce (79 cents a head); Dial liquid hand soap (99-cents); Close-up toothpaste (99-cents) and Vitaminwater (88-cents).

The weekend's Saturday & Sunday sale includes Kraft Mac & Cheese 5/$2; 2-liter Safeway soda 3/$1; large Hass avocados for 77-cents; Doritos for $1.49 and Oscar Meyer deli shaved lunchmeat or bacon 2/$5.

Hebrew National beef franks and Jimmy Dean sausage rolls are BOGO; 8-packs of Pepsi products are 3/$10 and Barilla pasta is $1 a box. Nabisco Chips Ahoy! or Premium Saltine crackers are BOGO.

In produce, red, yellow or orange bell peppers are $1.99lb; pears are 99-cents a pound and large cantaloupe is 2/$4.

In the deli, Signature Cafe soups are still $3.99; chicken salad is $3.99lb and the Friday only $5 deal is the All-Americcan sub sandwich. .

And, lastly, Nature Made Vitamins are BOGO!

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

October 8, 2009
Fall favorites from the Shop Cheap kitchen

This week we start with the fresh veggies on sale - winter squash, asparagus, zucchini - and end with a couple of chicken recipes direct from researcher Sheila Kern in the Shop Cheap kitchen. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Risotto


Serves 4 generously


6 to 7 cups chicken stock, as needed

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, or 1 tablespoon each

1 small or 1/2 medium onion

1 pound winter squash (about 1/2 of a good-size butternut, for example), such as butternut, banana or hubbard, peeled, seeded and finely diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed


1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 cup)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Freshly ground pepper


Have the stock simmering on low heat in a saucepan.

Heat the oil or butter over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the squash, garlic, and about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the squash begins to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the rice. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle.

Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. You want some of the flavor to cook into the rice before it evaporates. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock, enough to just cover the rice and squash. The stock should bubble slowly. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed.

Add another ladleful of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, not too fast and not too slowly, adding more stock when the rice is almost dry, for 20 to 25 minutes. Taste a bit of the rice. Is it cooked through? It should taste chewy but not hard in the middle. Definitely not soft like steamed rice. If it is still hard in the middle, you need to add another ladleful of stock and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Now is the time to ascertain if there is enough salt. Add if necessary.

Add another small ladleful of stock to the rice. Stir in the Parmesan, nutmeg and parsley, and immediately remove from the heat. Add freshly ground pepper, taste one last time and adjust salt. The rice should be creamy. Stir for a couple of seconds, and serve.

Squash Rounds with Shallot-Cider Sauce



1 3-pound butternut squash, with a 6-inch-long neck

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups thinly sliced shallots, (8-10 medium)

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cup apple cider

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut off the neck of the squash and peel it. Slice into twelve 1/2-inch-thick rounds; remove any stray fibrous threads or seeds in the centers. (Reserve the rest of the squash for another use, such as squash puree). Place the squash rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, brown sugar and salt and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in cider and vinegar and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, place 1 squash round on a small plate and top with about 2 1/2 tablespoons shallot sauce. Place a second round on top and finish with another 2 1/2 tablespoons of sauce and a sprinkling of walnuts. Repeat with the remaining squash, shallot sauce and walnuts.

Roasted Green and White Asparagus


Bon Appetit | June 2006

Yield: Makes 6 servings


4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound white asparagus, trimmed, peeled, cut on diagonal into 3-inch lengths

1 pound green asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 3-inch lengths

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange all asparagus on prepared baking sheet. Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, shallots, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend; pour over asparagus and toss gently to coat. Spread asparagus in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until asparagus is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. If desired, rewarm in 450°F oven 5 minutes before continuing. Add parsley and toss gently. Transfer to platter and serve warm or at room temperature.


2008 Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved

Show: Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger Episode: Tricks of the Trade

Serving Size: 1/2 cup


Cooking spray

2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)

1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs

1/8 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken


Yield: 4 servings


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-1 1/4 pounds), trimmed (see Tip)

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 egg white

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.

Tips & Notes

Tip: It can be hard to find individual chicken breasts small enough for our recommended 4-ounce (uncooked) portion size. If yours are closer to 5 ounces each, remove the tender (about 1 ounce) from the underside to get the correct portion size. Wrap and freeze the leftover tenders; when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry, for chicken fingers or in soups.

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

Honey-Mustard Ginger Grilled Chicken


Makes 4 servings


1/2 cup GREY POUPON Savory Honey Mustard

1/4 cup orange marmalade

2 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled gingerroot

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)


Mix mustard, marmalade, ginger and garlic.

Place chicken in glass dish or plastic bag. Pour 1/4 cup of the mustard mixture over chicken; turn to coat. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Remove chicken from mustard mixture; discard mustard mixture.

Grill or broil chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Heat remaining mustard mixture. Serve over chicken.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Substitute 2 tsp. ground ginger for 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh gingerroot.


October 6, 2009
Rested and ready to shop

She's Baaaaacck! Nothing like a week away to make you appreciate your local grocery stores. Although, Pavilions (an upscale version of Safeway) is a very nice place to shop. And some of our old favorites - like Ralph's and Albertson's - live on in Southern California.

But now it's back to reality and Shopping Cheap. Here's what's happening this week:

Let's start with Save Mart where you can stock up on beef backribs for 67-cents a pound and boneless chuck roast for $1.97lb. Fresh asparagus is a great deal at $1.47lb and broccoli is 97-cents a pound. Seedless grapes are reasonable again at $1.99lb. If you need drinking water, Sunny Select is $2.98 a case.

Saltine crackers are 99-cents a box and Campbell's tomato or chicken noodle soups are 50-cents a can. Foster Farms ground turkey breast is BOGO; ground round is $2.99lb.

Sunnyside Farms split top bread is $1.69 a loaf; Mission flour tortillas are $1.99 a pack and Sunnyside Farms shredded cheese is $1.99 a package. 2-liter bottles of sodas are 99-cents each; Juicy Juice is $2 a bottle and Simply Juice is $3 a bottle.

Save Mart has a great recipe for Italian Meatball Soup and all the fixins' are on sale, too.

Moving on over to Raley's, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.97lb. Holiday seedless grapes are $1.47lb and Keebler cookies are $1.49 a pack when you buy 4. Post Honeycomb, Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles are $1.99 a box. If you like Hansen's Soda, a 6-pack is $2.

Raley's is having a special seafood sale on Saturday only. All seafood - fresh or frozen - is 50 percent off. A couple of Saturday sale examples: fully cooked snow crab clusters for only $3.50 a pound and Sockeye salmon fillets for $4 a pound.

Yoplait yogurt is 10 for $4 - but you must buy 10. Smart Ones entrees are $1.99; Sara Lee breads are $2.49 a loaf and Macaroni Grill dinner kits are $3.59 each. Bertolli meals are $5.99 a bag.

In produce, be sure to check out the winter squash for 47-cents a pound; red or Yukon gold potatoes for 99-cents a pound and Last Tango peaches for $1.47lb.

In the bakery, mix & match bagels, muffins or croissants are $5.99 for a dozen.

Safeway has the 72-hour sale this weekend with lean ground beef at $1.49lb.; fresh white or green asparagus for $1.49lb and Ken's salad dressing for $1.29.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.97lb; boneless top sirloin steak is $2.67 a pound and whole boneless pork loin is $1.67lb

Over in produce, Fuji apples are 88-cents a pound; Roma tomatoes are 58-cents a pound. Safeway has grapes for $1.99lb; pears for 99-cents a pound and zucchini for $1 a pound.

Coupons this week include: 18 large eggs for $1.49; Northern bath tissue or Brawny towels for $5.99 and Arm & Hammer laundry detergent for $2.99. If you need toothpaste, Aquafresh is $1.99 with coupon.

In the deli, the $5 Friday only special is Signature Cafe meatloaf or turkey pot roast. Signature Cafe pizza is $5.49 and soups are $3.99.

That's it for this week's savings. Come back on Thursday for recipes to match.


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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