Today: May 31 , 2020

Sales, Menus & Recipes: What's In Your Pantry?

01 April 2020  

Shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging.

Experts tell us that that the fewer stores we go into, the safer we are. Since the coronavirus spreads easily both from person to person and person to surface or object, we should be avoiding both places which put us in contact with other people and with objects many people touch. 

But people need to eat, and some of the most nutritious foods are hard/impossible to store for long periods. Milk, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables are all difficult to store long term.  And if you are like most of us, your limited freezer space is already full.


  1. Check your pantry. What do you have and how can you use it? What do you need to supplement what you have and make it more usable?
  2. Go to the grocery store as infrequently as possible. It should be possible, with some planning, to go only once a week, even only every 10 days. If everything were reliably available once every two weeks would be even better
  3. When you do go try for unpopular times, late evening or in the morning just after the special senior hours.
  4. If you see something that has a long shelf life and can be used in a lot of ways, buy some. It is not necessary to clear off the shelf. Just buy what you could reasonably use. Examples: pasta, grains, canned meats (chicken and tuna, sardines if you like them,) beans (dry and canned), dry mixes like cake and biscuit…
  5. Don’t forget to disinfect at check out, clean your keys, credit card, hands, etc. And remember to clean the parts of your car you use often, brake handle, gearshift lever, steering wheel, door handles 

Our recipes the week will try to show how to use staples in different ways. 

In Stores This Week:

Fry’sWednesday April 1 is Senior Discount Day.10%off most items. Special Hours for Seniors and others needing special help or protection are 6 am to 7 am Mon thru Thurs. 

SafewayWednesday April 1 is Senior Discount Day. 10% Off your Grocery Purchase. 
There is a limited print flyer this week. There are some good deals and a selection of Clip or Clip coupons. There are no returns, and sales are limited to stock on hand, no rain checks. 
Hours: Regular Hours Mon thru Fry 6 am to 9 pm EXCEPT “Golden Hours” for seniors and other high risk groups, pregnant, immune suppressed, Tues & Thurs 6 am to 9 am
Best Bargains:

Beef—$5.97/lb, T-Bone, New York Strip, bone in
Pork Loin—$3.99/lb, Chops or Roasts, Value Pack
Berries—$10/3 boxes ($3.34/box), Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
Iceberg Lettuce—$.99/head
Bell Peppers—$.99/each, red
General Mills—$1.99/3ach when you buy three, Cereal, Nature Valley Granola Bars, Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks, select varieties, limit 2 offers, additional $2.99/each.
Cake Slices—$1.50/each
With Coupons—Lunchables Basic, $1.49/each, limit 4—Sargento Cheese, $1.99/each, Shredded or Sliced, limit 4

In store specials only, no ad. They do have an online Sales department  You have to click on the item to see details, such as how long the price lasts. Most things appear to be pre-packaged. Supplies of many items limited so no guarantees of prices or availability are possible. On Monday for example, at 11 am there were eggs and plenty of milk. Sprouts corn chips were on sale. There  was plenty of bread, but not all varieties. There were limited numbers of most bakery goods. By 2  pm the bakery was  well stocked. The bulk food items are only pre/packaged in plastic bags. 

Sprouts has also set up a cart disinfecting system. Entry is now through the south door only (on the right.) The carts are being cleaned and disinfected by store employees.

Sprouts hours are 7 am to 8 pm every day. They do not have a special time for seniors. 

Recipes Using Pantry Staples

Quinoa 101
Depending on your altitude you may want to adjust the water. In Prescott 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa is about right. At lower altitudes 1 3/4 cup water to 1 cup quinoa might be better.

Fluffy Instant Pot Quinoa

Quinoa Fried Rice

Chickpea Curry
Could be made with any beans, can add any veggies like cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, peas etc, either frozen or fresh.
Serve over cooked quinoa, rice, barley or other cooked grains.

Twelve Things to do with Chickpeas

Three Canned Tuna Recipes (and one uses Quinoa)

Things to do with Pasta

Struggle Meals
Want to boost the protein? Serve with a quinoa avocado salad, add diced ham or chicken (fresh cooked, deli or canned.)


Tuscan Bean Soup with Crispy Croutons

Instant Pot Basic Bean Soup 
The Instant Pot or other pressure cooker is the perfect tool to cook beans at high altitude.

And By The Way

If you have the opportunity to buy a ham (bone in is best), do it. It is the most versatile meat you can find. Put some in your bean soup, pasta, salads. Slice some for sandwiches. If there’s too much, freeze some. It thaws well. Use the bone it to make a delicious, if somewhat salty, stock. Once again, freeze some of the stock to add flavor to soups and other dishes.

The Last Word

Here is a recipe I learned from a college roommate. I used to keep the ingredients on hand because it makes a quick meal if you invite someone over at the last minute. And people really like it.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Preheat oven to 350º F

2 cans of Tuna—whatever you like or can afford. Chunk White or Solid White is best (don’t like tuna, use canned chicken, diced chicken or ham from the freezer.)
1 12 oz bag extra wide egg noodles
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups or so frozen green peas
1 can sliced black olives
8 oz shredded cheese, Jack cheese works well, medium cheddar is fine too, divided
Optional ingredients: 1 red bell pepper, diced, 8 oz sliced mushrooms, sautéd.


In a 6-8 quart oven safe pot or Dutch oven with a lid, boil about 2 quarts of water, add noodles and  bell pepper if using. Boil on medium heat until cooked al dente. Drain, leaving noodles in pot.

Add  mushroom soup and any flavorings you are using and stir well. now add 1/2 the cheese, green peas, olives, mushrooms if using. Stir all together. Add tuna last as you want it to stay a little chunky. Use a fork or your hands to break tuna into small to medium chunks and carefully fold in. Top with cheese.

Bake in 350º F oven covered for about 15 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and bubbly.

Let cool slightly.

You can use many different types of frozen veggies, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, even mixed vegetables if that’s what you have.

You could add many types of seasoning, maybe some salsa with frozen corn, or some ranch dressing.  Use Italian seasoning or fresh rosemary and thyme.