Sales, Menus and Recipes: Countdown to Christmas

20 December 2018  
The Final Push

This week you will have to finish your shopping, do what can be done ahead, and try to get plenty of sleep. But in the meantime, you and your family still has to eat before the big day. 

Remember, the holidays are for family, fun, and feasting. And if you don’t complete every dish, or have a kitchen disaster, just don’t tell anyone. Smile and welcome your guests. The guests are what makes the party.

The stores this year are featuring ham and roast beef. Walmart does have frozen turkeys for 68¢/lb, Butterballs for 98¢/lb; Safeway has a limited selection of frozen Butterball and Signature frozen turkeys for $1.99. Fry’s has Honeysucke Whites for $.69/lb and turkey breasts for $1.49/lb. All the stores have fresh turkeys.

If you’re considering brining your turkey, be sure to check the package to see if a salt solution has been injected into the bird already. If it has you may not want to add any more salt.  At Thanksgiving Safeway had some totally natural fresh turkeys—those you could go ahead and brine.

Somewhat surprisingly Brussel’s sprouts are not being featured at any store, and the prices are high. We did see some fresh Brussel's sprouts on the stalk at Trader Joe's. 

Next week we will feature, once again, derivatives (known by many as leftovers.) To get the maximum from your meal, think ham. Ham has a long refrigerator life and can be used in a myriad of ways, culminating in amazing soup.

If you have room in your budget and your freezer, this is a great week to stock up on meats. With ribeye roasts as low as $4/lb, hams at $.99 lb and turkeys at $.69 a pound, it's a great time to buy and freeze. 

If you're buying a rib roast, ask them at the meat counter to cut the meat away from the bones for you and then tie together. That way, you get all the flavor and reduce the carving hassle a lot. 

Special Sales This Week

Fry’s—Get special Digital Savings from Friday Dec 21-Mon. Dec 24. There is also a buy 4 save $4 on a limited number of breakfast items. Ribeye Roasts are $3.97/lb and you don't have to buy them whole in the bag. 

Safeway—There are some coupons, both digital and clip or click. There are a number of useful items for !$1 each including Jello, Cool Whip, Cake Mixes and Canned Pineapple. Roast here is $4.97 lb. and you have to buy it whole in the bag. 

Screamin’ Deal—Philadelphia Cream Cheese $.88/pkg, with clip or click coupon, limit 2

Sprouts—Spiral sliced ham for just $.99 lb. Wow! Avocados are 3/$1.

Special Days This Week

12/19—Hard Candy Day and Oatmeal Muffin Day
12/20—Sangria Day
12/21—French Fried Shrimp Day
12/22—Date Nut Bread
12/23—Pfefferrnusse Day
12/24—Egg Nog Day
12/25—Pumpkin Pie Day AND Kiss The Cook Day

This Just In: Cauliflower And Lettuce Recall. Products from Adam Bros Farms in Santa Maria, CA are being recalled. Check your packaging. 

Day 1
(Frozen are not bad, but homemade are available at the Farmer’s Market and at Maya’s Mercado in PV.)
Vegan Quinoa Salad
Pinto or Black Beans (canned or Instant Pot)
Fruit Plate


Recipe: Vegan Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa (tri-color is pretty)
4 cups greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, leaves only
1/4 cup flat leaved parsley, leaves only
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt


2 avocados, peeled and smashed
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, add quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Make Guacamole—Mix smashed avocados with lime juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium wide bowl, mix greens, onions, cilantro, parsley. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt and toss with hands to coat. Push the greens to the outside of the bowl. In the center place the guacamole, surround with the quinoa. You should have a mound of guacamole in the center surrounded by a ring of quinoa, surrounded by a ring of greens.

Items On Sale

Tamales—$6.99/pkg of 6 @Fry’s

Avocados—$1/3 @Sprouts
Quinoa—$2.99/lb @Sprouts, (O)

Day 2 

Boneless Whole Leg of Lamb
Steamed Brown Rice with sautéd Mushrooms
Herbed Baby Carrots
Tiramisu (right now you can but lady fingers at Trader Joe)

Boneless Leg of Lamb Roast

Herbed Baby Carrots
Add some finely chopped fresh herbs, thyme is great, rosemary or basil would also be good.

Raw eggs might be a problem. I would use pasteurized egg whites from the dairy case.

Items On Sale

Lamb Roast—$6.99/lb @Sprouts
Baby Carrots—$.98/1 lb  bag @Sprouts
Eggs—$.99/dz @Safeway, with clip or clip coupon, limit 2

Day 3

Zucchini  Lasagna
Caprese Salad
Fruit and Cheese Plate

Recipe: Lynne’s Instant Pot Zucchini Lasagna Hack
(Note, remember this recipe after Christmas when you have lots of leftovers!)

First, a disclaimer: I apologize to any passionate Italian cooks out there, such as those gathering on the Italians Mad at Food twitter page (caution, language can be rough, but content is hilarious). I am in no way representing this as a genuine Italian dish. 

Let’s get started. I think of it as a formula. Basically, I’m hacking lasagna:

When I make this, it’s different every time. I don’t really measure anything, I just toss in a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s a great recipe for using miscellaneous scraps in the refrigerator. It’s one of my main go-to derivative meals. 

For example, one time, I used some pot roast I had remaining from the night before. Another time, I used turkey and yet another time, I used mushrooms for a vegetarian version. As for cheese? Whatever is in your fridge, although mozzarella is pretty much a must-do. But, feel free to add cheddar, provolone, muenster, parmesan. For the best flavor, use freshly grated cheeses, even parmesan. 

Sauces can be a lot of fun. You can make your own, buy some at the store (please, get something delicious) maybe even add some wine to it if you like. 

For easy preparation, get all your ingredients prepared in advance: Slice the zucchinis; cut, chop and shred the stuff layer ingredients; prepare your sauce; mix your ricotta, shred your cheeses.  Then you simply have to layer it together.

To make this in the Instant Pot, it’s best to get a 6 or 7" springform pan. Even if it’s non-stick, I use a vegetable spray anyway. Note: if you put in a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a springform pan, it might leak a bit. And because I’m using a springform pan, I’m not able to fit in more than two sets of layers. You may be able to do better.

Noodle Layer: 1 medium size zucchini (you can use real pasta if you like - our family is going low-carb for a while)

Stuff Layer: Meat of choice and/or mushrooms and other vegetables

Ricotta Mix Layer: 16 oz. Ricotta cheese + 1 egg + 2 cloves garlic + fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, thyme (Note: If I am cooking in a oven, I may use 2 eggs.)

Grated Cheese Layer: Mozz, cheddar, jack, provolone, whatever you like. A bit of parmesan is delicious, too.

Sauce: You can use a red sauce or a white sauce. It’s up to you, and the other ingredients may make a difference, too. As an example, here’s a recipe for a mushroom and spinach lasagna with white sauce.

1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise - using a mandolin makes it easier and produces even slices. (I purchased my mandolin just for this purpose.) Lay the zucchini slices on paper towels, if you want, you can sprinkle with a little salt, which will draw out more of the liquid. Place another layer of paper towels over the zucchini, press to absorb the natural liquid. Set aside. (If possible, slice the zucchini a day before, wrap it in paper towels, put it in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.)

2. Mix up the ricotta cheese combination - I find that a food processor makes this fast & easy.

Assemble - see diagram above:

First place a layer of zucchini in the bottom of the springform pan. 
Then place a layer of the meat, veggies or mushrooms or all three!
Spoon half of the ricotta cheese mixture in next
Spoon the spaghetti sauce over the ricotta cheese
Sprinkle with grated cheeses
Repeat the layers. Finally, pile (and I really do mean 'pile') the top full of cheese.

Pour about a cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Cover the springform pan with foil. (Hint: Spray the foil with vegetable spray before putting it over the pan.) Place the springform pan on the trivet, and drop it into the instant pot. 

Lock the lid of the Instant Pot down. Using the manual button, set it for 20 minutes. 

When it’s done, let it release its pressure naturally. You can serve it hot, or refrigerate it and serve it later. It reheats nicely in the microwave.


Caprese Salad
Maybe use some cucumbers underneath.

Items On Sale

Pasta Sauce—$1.50/each @Sareway, Barilla,  $2.50/25 oz jar @Sprouts, Muie Glen, (O)
Pineapple—$2/each @Sprouts,      $2.00/each @Fry’s        $2.50/each @Safewa
Oranges, Navel—$.98/lb @Sprouts,    $.99/lb @Safeway
Oranges—$1.99/3 lb bag @Safeway, Halo Clementines, first 2
Oranges—$2.50/4 lb bag @Sprouts, Valencia, (O)
Oranges—$.98/lb @Sprouts, Cara Cara
Grapefruit—$2.50/4 lb bag @Sprouts (O)
Blackberries or Blueberries—$.97/box @Sprouts, Blueberries only $.97/box @Fry’s
Apples—$97/lb @Sprouts, Honeycrisp or Opal

Day 4

Beef Rib Roast
Steamed Cauliflower and Broccoli
Salad Nicoise
Chocolate Cake Roll

Beef Rib Roast

Salad Nicoise 
An original French Chef episode

Chocolate Cake Roll

Items On Sale

Beef Rib Roast—$7.99/lb @Sprouts, Standing Rib Roast, bone in, Presidential Cut
Beef Rib Eye Roast—$3.97/lb @Fry’s, bone in, $4.97/lb @Safeway, bone in
Potatoes—$3.50/5 lb bag @Fry’s
Cauliflower and Broccoli—$.57/lb @Safeway

Day 5

Roasted Turkey
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Bourbon and Bacon Brussel’s Sprouts
Citrus Salad
Pumpkin Pie

Roast Turkey for Beginners

Citrus Salad

Pumpkin Pie

Recipe: Bourbon and Bacon Brussel’s Sprouts

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled (fat reserved)
2-3 lb. Brussel’s sprouts, damaged leaves removed, tough stems cut off, large sprouts halved
1/4 cup sweet onions, medium chopped
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup apple juice
2 T honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or other fresh herb), finely chopped
1/2 cup pecan pieces

In a large skillet, heat 3 Tablespoons bacon fat on medium temperature. Add onion and sprouts. Stir cover and cook on low until onions begin to brown.

Reduce heat to medium low. Mix in bourbon, juice, and honey. Stir and mix well. Add salt and pepper and mix well again. Cover and cook until sprouts are crisp/tender (about 25 minutes). 

Mix in rosemary and pecans. Stir well. Cook stirring occasionally until sprouts are done to your taste. 

Mix in bacon just before serving

Adjust seasoning if necessary

Items On Sale

Fresh Turkey—$1.57/lb @Safeway,   $1.99/lb @Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes/Yams—$.77/lb @Sprouts,  $.99/lb @Fry’s, 
Oranges, Navel—$.98/lb @Sprouts,    $.99/lb @Safeway
Oranges—$1.99/3 lb bag @Safeway, Halo Clementines, first 2
Oranges—$2.50/4 lb bag @Sprouts, Valencia, (O)
Oranges—$.98/lb @Sprouts, Cara Cara
Grapefruit—$2.50/4 lb bag @Sprouts (O)

Day 6

Baked Glazed Ham
Winter Fruit Compote
Dinner Rolls
Spinach Salad
Salted Caramel Cookies

Glazed Baked Ham

Winter Fruit Compote
Maybe add peeled cored apple.

Salted Caramel Cookies

Recipes: Spinach Salad

5 oz. fresh spinach
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
3/4 cup green onions, sliced thin, white and green parts
4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped
1/3-1/2 cup sweet and sour dressing (recipe below)

De-stem spinach and place in a large bowl. Place shredded iceberg lettuce and onions in bowl with spinach. Toss. Add 1/2 bacon, 1/2 chopped egg and dressing dressing. Toss. Sprinkle on remaining bacon and egg.

Serve with hard boiled eggs on the side.

Sweet and Sour Dressing

In a jar with a lid combine:

1 cup vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oli
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Items On Sale

Ham, Spiral Sliced—$.99/lb @Sprouts, $1.27/lb @Safeway, Hormel,   $1.27/lb @Fry’s
Apples—$97/lb @Sprouts, Honeycrisp or Opal

Bonus Recipes



Egg Nog (non alcoholic)

Virgin Sangria (non alcoholic)

Date Nut Bread
Interesting technique with the dates, especially since no one seems to carry the chopped kind with sugar coating anymore.

Quick and Healthy Oatmeal Muffins


Cindy LaMaster