Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Walk and Win with Winco

Please excuse the title of this blog post. I know I'm going to have so much fun with Winco's name going forward.

So this morning under the guise of getting my daily exercise, I again headed to the new Winco store at 7th Ave and Bell. Here is what I bought for exactly five dollars:

10 pounds of potatoes - 48c. That's 48c for 10 pounds of potatoes, not 48c/lb.
about 5 pounds of red seedless grapes for 48c/lb - you read that price correctly
12-pak of Shasta Diet Root Beer - $1.98.

Hmmm...Potato-Grape Casserole in a Diet Root Beer reduction, anyone?

Don't laugh. That'll be the next signature dish on Top Chef.

Other rock bottom prices I noticed were 48c/lb for Green Beans and 68c/bunch for fresh spinach. But if you were thinking of ducking in for some of those 48c/pint strawberries I mentioned a couple of days ago, that ship has sailed. The strawberries are now 98c/pint, about what Sprouts, Sunflower and many of the other stores are charging this week.

An aside, in the Wall of Values, which you pass through when you first enter the store, yesterday's White Rain Shampoo/Conditioner at 88c each has been replaced by Suave Shampoo/Conditioners at $1.08/ea. Nothing I'd write home about.

Readers of this blog know I'm a 'from-scratch' cook, so I don't focus too much on the boxed and canned stuff in the aisles. In general, prices are reasonable or low. If anything really dazzling catches my eye, I'll pass it on.

Today, I spent time in the deli. We start a kitchen renovation next week, which seems a perfectly reasonable excuse to avoid cooking for a bit. I wanted to see what was available. Winco offers the typical chicken, fried or roasted at prices comparable to the other major groceries, maybe a bit less. What caught my eye were the wrapped goodies in the refrigerated cases. For example, nice-sized take and bake French bread pizza for $1.98/ea for the non-carbohydrate-concious or generously portioned Cobb and Chef's salads at $3.48/ea. for the Atkins-minded. There are other good items to be found at prices that rival the Dollar Menu at McDonald's but offer a whole lot more nutrition and panache.

And what I really did with today's purchases was hide the Diet Shasta so the kids keep their mitts off of it and made a potato/onion casserole in a peppery bechamel sauce. Here's the recipe:

For the sauce:
Make a roux of butter and flour (whisk together in a saucepan)
Add milk as needed (if you don't add enough, the sauce will be too thick. Easy to fix, add a little more milk)
salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk over low heat until your arm falls off...I mean, until thickened.

For the casserole:
In a buttered deep-dish pan slice potatoes and onions. Top with any leftover green beans or asparagus or even carrots you might have. Pour thickened bechamel sauce over.

Bake for approx 1 hr at 350 degrees.

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