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Create someting out of 99 Cent Store's food [moved from L.A. board]

I pick up my cleaning stuff and toothpaste pretty often from that 99 cent store in Silverlake after having a breakfast at Millie's. They have so much canned seafood and other stuff and my plan's been for a long time to create some decent meals where most of the ingredients come from 99's shelves, but I never get around of it. A while ago I saw a simple recipe for Thai omelette with oysters in Gastronomica magazine, well 99 didn't have whole oysters but pieces of oysters. I had the omelette with some Thai beer and it was okay. I usually shop on that Mayfair on Franklin, and I'm not in a "student without money," -situation, but everytime at 99 I just think "SO much all kinds of stuff here, I should be able make something good out of this." (I also voluntarily shop for produce at Food 4 Less on Sunset; more options than, say, at Mayfair, and stuff is almost free. I mean, 3 pounds of limes $1 and so on.)
Anybody else worked on this challenge?

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  1. As I am emphatically not averse to bones in canned salmon (nor is Mrs. O), I frequently use the 99 Cent store salmon for salmon salad, and sometimes salmon cakes as well. The salad is simply salmon broken into a mixing bowl (remove as much skin as you can if it bothers you) along with finely chopped celery and onion and a dash of Worcestershire, and then beaten up with enough mayonnaise to make it spreadable. Packed into a covered plastic container, this will easily keep for a week in the fridge.

    To make salmon cakes, I use the salmon salad, and add an egg and enough panko or cracker crumbs stirred in to allow me to form the stuff into 3" balls. I roll these balls in more crumbs, then lay them onto waxed paper, flatten them, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning I fry them on a greased griddle, just until brown and crisp on the surface, and serve with fried or poached eggs.

    The canned beans are always a good buy, and if you drain and rinse them are perfectly adequate for any recipe calling for cooked beans. I could also go on about some of the wines they've been having lately, but that should probably go back onto the LA Board...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Will Owen

      Those bones in the canned salmon are good for you. I have read articles on sources of calcium that recommend canned salmon with the bones mashed in. As a child I actually liked those bones and my mother would pick them out of the salmon and give them to me as a treat.

    2. Just a small caveat here: check the expiration dates. We have dollar stores and I've found at least 75% of the food products are out of date and/or dented.

      1. I always look for canned crabmeat for crabcakes, but that's one of the things they never seem to have.
        I do check for exp.dates, but with most of the canned fish, for example, that date is years away. Also, exp. date is not the same things as the last day of "usage" (or how should I say it,) we had lots of about that stuff in culinary school.
        The 99 Cent Store -chain seems, at lest to me, to be the best dollar store, I rarely see dented cans in there, and if I do sometimes, well, I just pick up one that is not dented. I never go to other dollar stores. Does anybody know if 99 Cent store is in CA only?

        1. Kraft mac and cheese (Or dinner, depending on what part of NA you live in). Canned tuna.
          Make your M&C as per usual. Chop some onion and celery and saute in oil or butter. Add tuna and M&C. Sprinkle with bread crumbs

          Tuna Helper!!


          1. I buy pasta there...and canned beans.

            1. I buy Muir Glen organic fire roasted tomatoes at the Dollar Store...but I've never found enough (decent) stuff to make an entire meal. The candy selection is pretty darn good for a dollar store: Toffifay, some European imports, etc.

              1. There are so many great recipes with 99 cent store goodies. My favorite recipe that I make is to use their Louisiana Gem marinade, a can of their yellow pear tomatos and packages of Aarons Kosher chicken thighs or wings that they have all the time. Coat the chicken with the marinade in a pan, then spread the contents of one drained can of the tomatoes over the chicken and sauce, sprinkle the top with their Santa Paula spices (excellent by the way) dried garlic and cilantro. Bake at 350 for an hour. Delicious.

                I also use their yellow pear tomato cans for sauce and spread over 99c imported linguini with a little salt, pepper, garlic and parm.

                The yellow tomatoes that I keep talking about are 2/99 and they're the HUGE cans.

                I've also made green tomatillo sauce enchiladas with cheese, tortillas and the canned sauce they carry which is really tasty.

                Don't forget to take advantage of their produce....you can make a big pot of chicken veggie soup with their carrots, celery, onions, zucchini and peppers if you like that and their canned chicken...they usually have good soup base mix in the spice aisle. Be creative!

                1. Try a ceasar salad. They sell anchovies, heart of romaine, eggs, croutons (stuffing which is the same thing, dried seasoned bread) and an olive oil blend.

                  1. my 99c store has canned shiitake mushrooms that are sliced, cooked, and just a hint of sesame and salty (not for those blood pressure faint of heart), but i love these on their own, or with a little extra bragg's in an egg white omelet.

                    i also have used the canned ground tomatoes, green chiles, jalapeno slices, basil, oregano, cilantro to make salsa.

                    the produce can be outstanding, just luck of the draw--i bought a box of tear drop red tomatoes once that were outstandin (almost as good as the costco massive box), but the lettuce is routinely icky. i've made great ratatouille though from the eggplant, onions, squash, canned tomatoes, etc.

                    all the fixins are here too for some fried rice and/or pad thai...