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Creative "cooking" for those who don't cook

The hands-down winner with respect to variety and quality is Ukrop's Super Markets. For the best of both we suggest the store at the corner of Patterson and Three Chopt Road. Ukrop's offers a monthly menu of "dinner for two" selections that include stuffed peppers, lemon chicken, meatloaf, lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, turkey tetrazzini … the list goes on and on. Each dinner includes a veggie, starch and, usually, Ukrop's popular White House rolls. Most cost $9.99 to feed two.

If you're looking for seafood, check out the Yellow Umbrella at 5600 E. Patterson Ave. In addition to an extensive fresh seafood selection, the Umbrella makes life easy for you with several seafood casseroles such as crab imperial, crab Mornay and crab-and-shrimp casserole. These are available frozen or refrigerated. Be sure to pick up some boiled shrimp for an appetizer.

In the Fan, Strawberry Street Market, 415 N. Strawberry St., offers daily dinner specials. Family favorites like fried chicken, excellent quiche and barbecued ribs are available as well as fresh soups (try the Brunswick Stew) and several salads. Round out the affair with Strawberry's chichi drinks and munchies. A heck of a lot of good food is packed into this little market.

Main Street offers two excellent stores to visit for lunch or dinner planning. Mainly Pasta, 2227 W. Main, offers wonderful freshly made pastas and all of the accoutrements to fill out your dinner menu. You choose the type of pasta (egg, tomato, spinach, red pepper or garlic and herb) and the style you want. They cut your linguini, spaghetti, angel hair, etc. to order, and you can choose from several sauces. The specialty is the spicy Cardinal sauce but the market also offers white or red clam sauce, spicy scallop and Bolognese, to mention a few. The sausages, meatballs and fancy lasagnas are tasty and affordable. Once you try fresh pasta, you'll be loath to go back to the box.

European Market at 2002 1/2 W. Main St. is a one-stop destination. Daily specials include a variety of meals with a Continental flare. An excellent selection of cheeses, pates, cornichons and wines also makes the market a perfect place to plan a picnic. S

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