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Dine-In: Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers


Sometimes my brain works in strange ways.  Try to follow me (it’s OK if you don’t. I don’t always understand my train of thinking after-the-fact).

I love stuffed peppers; I’ve blogged about them before.  And I love chicken fajitas. (I’ve never blogged about those before).

Somehow, somewhere, I came up with the idea of marrying chicken fajitas and stuffed peppers.

Are you following me? If so, you’re much faster than I am.

I guess the common denominator is the peppers. You use peppers for fajitas and peppers for stuffed peppers. As my 10-year-old would say, “Duh.”

I love this combination because it’s a festive meal for a Friday night with the family and can be prepared in a slow cooker if you choose.

All you need to start with is a base recipe of Salsa Chicken, which is so easy and so delicious and so versatile. Prepare a virtual vat of Salsa Chicken to have handy for recipes like Fajita Chicken Stuffed Peppers, chicken soft tacos, enchiladas and nachos. 

Salsa Chicken
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4-6 boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts
1 (16 oz) jar medium salsa or picante sauce.

Directions:
Place both ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook, on low, for about 6 hours. Remove the chicken, leaving all the other juices in place. Shred chicken with two forks. Place back in slow cooker on low for two hours. 

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers 

Ingredients:
One batch Salsa Chicken (4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 1 16-oz jar salsa)
4 large green bell peppers, cored and seeded, with just tops removed
1 large onion, diced
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 small can chopped green chilies, diced
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces

Directions:
Remove the tops from green peppers. Core and seed, leaving the flesh of the peppers in tact.

Combine chicken, onion, cheese, cream cheese, green chilies and torn tortilla pieces. Stuff mixture into green bell peppers.

Place in slow cooker for 3-4 hours or oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Shop the Sale: T-Bone Steaks with Compound Butter


If you’ve never had a sizzling T-bone steak covered with a dollop of savory, flavorful butter, you’ve been missing out.

At first glance, putting butter on a steak seems like overkill. After all, butter is for rolls and for baking, right?

Not anymore.

There are so many way to enhance the flavor of your steak with a few simple compound butters. Compound butter is easy to make and imparts flavor and juiceness to any steak or cut of meat. Basically you just mix ingredients into your softened butter. I like to use salted butter, but that’s your choice. You can mix almost anything into your compound butter. I’ve provided one simple recipe, but I like to use this as my base recipe and jazz it up with blue cheese or hot sauce or chopped jalapenos.

T-bone steaks, on sale this week at Brookshire’s, are already juicy and flavorful, thanks to the particular cut and to the bone. With a T-bone,  it’s almost like getting two for the price of one as the T-bone has both the strip steak and the tenderloin, separated by the bone. As meat closer to the bone tends to be juicer, this steak is already rich and full of flavor. The compound butter will, as Emeril says, “kick it up a notch.”

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List. 

Grilled T-Bone Steaks with Compound Butter

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 large T-bone steak
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, diced
1 tsp dill
1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
Combine butter, garlic, rosemary, dill and lemon juice. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

Prepare a grill over high heat. Sear your steak on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

Reduce heat to medium. Continue to grill until steak reaches desired doneness.

Remove steak from the grill, let it rest at least five minutes befores slicing.

Place a tablespoon of butter on top of the steak right before serving. It will melt and add delicious flavor.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 1,006; Calories from Fat: 554; Total Fat: 62 g; Carbohydrates: 64g; Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 3 g; Protein: 49 g



Healthy Living: Back to School Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip


School has started and once again I face the annual challenge of reading, writing and arithmetic with my kids, plus the added test of providing them with a healthy, hearty lunch every day. 

I don’t know if your kids are like mine, but they’d eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day if I let them. Not that there’s anything wrong with peanut butter – it’s chock full of protein to keep their tummies full throughout the day, and it’s a good choice served on a whole grain bread – but honestly, I get bored making the same lunches day after day after day. I’ve started to swap out whole grain bread for whole grain pita pockets. The boys love ham and cheese in a pita pocket with mustard and they even make ‘mini’ pitas now so my boys don’t waste food (and there’s no crust on a pita so Luke can’t refuse to eat it!). They also like ‘mini meatball subs,’ meatballs and marinara with slices of provolone cheese in a whole grain bun. They don’t mind if they’re served cold. Sometimes we make our own “Lunchables” with whole grain crackers, slices of cheddar cheese and chunks of roasted chicken I have left over from a dinner. 

Getting a serving of fruit or vegetables into a lunch box is one of the most important parts of the meal, to me. My boys love bananas, clementine’s, grapes, strawberries, carrot sticks with hummus and, of course, apples. 

Last year I tried this delicious dip for apple slices, which soon became a big hit around our house – and in their lunch kits. 

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List. 

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

One serving is about two ounces of dip and 1/2 cup fresh fruit

Ingredients:
4 oz honey flavored Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbs honey (use local honey if possible – it’s said to reduce histamines which cause allergy flare-ups)
2 Tbs of peanut butter
2 oz fat-free cream cheese, softened

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Chill in the refrigerator for 15+ minutes or serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 145; Calories from Fat 86; Total Fat 10g; Cholesterol 17mg; Sodium 88mg; Total Carbohydrates 10g; Dietary Fiber 1g; Sugars 9g; Protein 6g



Product Talk: Barbecue Seasoning


Last night I got home from work late, as it is more often than not these days. I didn’t want to cook anything, but I’d already eaten my way through all the leftovers I had from earlier in the week. 

I stopped by Brookshire’s on my way home because I knew that I’d find something delicious in their prepared foods department. But I found myself wandering over to the butcher and meat counter to see what they had. 

As always, they had a bounty of delicious looking, ready-to-cook meats. I saw one I didn’t know anything about, so I asked the very helpful gentleman behind the counter. 

“Can you tell me about that one,” I said, pointing to a scrumptious looking roll of chicken and bacon. 

“That,” he said, “Is the Chicken Tickler.” 

I laughed. (Good name) 

“It’s a butterflied boneless, skinless chicken breast, wrapped around a whole jalapeno pepper stuffed with cheese, and rolled up, covered in barbecue seasoning and then wrapped in bacon on the outside.” 

I was sold.  But I’d never heard of barbecue seasoning. Sauce? Yes. Seasoning, not really. 

McCormick’s Grill Mates indeed has a spice they call “Barbecue Seasoning.” The helpful gentleman behind the meat counter took me to correct aisle and showed me. 

It’s a blend of  brown sugar, salt, tomato, garlic, onion, red bell peppers, parsley, paprika and hickory smoke. 

Let me just tell you, it was delicious on the baked Chicken Tickler and I bought some to use to flavor all my meats when I grill them. It’s a brilliant way to season your meat before adding barbecue sauce at the end of the grilling process (if you add sauce too early, it will just burn). Found on the spice aisle, and on delicious ready-to-cook products on the meat counter, McCormick’s Grill Mates Barbecue Seasoning is sure to become one of my new favorites.



Shop the Sale: Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers


I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the fall. 

Cooler, crisp weather. Football games. Leaves crinkling underfoot. Delicious aromas wafting through the house after a day spent outside hiking. 

This recipe reminds me exactly of that. 

I love using ground turkey in slow cooked dishes. It stays a bit more tender than ground beef and positively melts in your mouth after a day in the slow cooker. The fall-colored peppers are even on sale this week, so you can stock up and freeze extras for another day. 

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers (for the slow cooker)
Serves 4 

Ingredients:
4 hothouse grown bell peppers (red, gold or orange) tops removed and seeded
1/2 cup brown rice

20 oz lean ground turkey
1/2 cup black beans
1 cup flash frozen corn kernels
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbs cumin
28 oz canned tomatoes, divided and crushed 

Directions:
Remove tops from bell peppers, core and seed.  Cook rice according to package directions. Let cool slightly.  Combine turkey, beans, rice, corn, garlic and cumin. Mix with about 3/4 cup of the tomatoes. Stuff turkey mixture into peppers (you’ll probably have a bit extra). Place peppers in slow cooker. Top with rest of tomatoes. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. 

Nutritional Information: Calories: 614; Calories from fat: 189; Total Fat: 21 g; Cholesterol: 145 mg; Sodium: 172 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 57 g; Dietary Fiber: 11 g; Sugars: 12 g; Protein: 50 g. 



Healthy Living: Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki


I just returned from my annual beach vacation to Virginia.

Not born, but bred in the capital of the confederacy, I return to my home state every summer with my boys to meet my entire family at Sandbridge Beach, just south of Virginia Beach.

I have four siblings. They have spouses. They have children. It’s a week of carefully (and sometimes not –so-carefully) controlled chaos in our beach house. Chaotic, but completely glorious.

Needless to say, mealtimes can be one of the most trying times of the day. Each sibling – and my parents – take a night to cook dinner for the entire crew.  “What’s for dinner?” is often the most-asked question of the day. The meals are magnificent!

This year, my mom made chicken souvlaki with tzatziki. A Greek dish, souvlaki is simply a skewered and grilled meat. Mom used chicken in order to appeal to the large crowd. Tzatziki makes the dish, in my opinion. Made with Greek yogurt, the light, refreshing tzatziki sauce packs a powerful punch on the grilled chicken and elevates it from a meal to an experience. Sitting on the deck of the beach house, I was instantly transported across the ocean.

Everyone loved this dish. Greek  yogurt has substantially more protein than standard American yogurt. A 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt, contains a full 15 grams of protein. Additional protein can help you to feel full and satisfied. A 6-ounce serving also provides 20 percent of your daily calcium needs.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 seedless cucumber, finely diced
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

Directions:
Mix all of the ingredients except chicken, place them in a sealed container and let flavors blend for a few hours. Skewer the meat, and grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Serve with sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories 198; Calories from Fat 37; Total Fat 4g; Sodium 232mg; Total Carbohydrates 3g; Dietary Fiber 1g; Sugars 1g; Protein 36g



Dine-In: Buffalo Chicken Dip


My mom used to serve what she called a ‘munch lunch’ on weekends. I think basically this meant that she was trying to clear out any leftovers she had in the fridge from the week, and we could take it and do with it what we wanted for lunch. Sometimes it was “real” food like leftover meatloaf we could make into a sandwich, but sometimes it was cheese, crackers, some leftover tuna salad or other bits and pieces of former meals we could “munch” on for lunch. 

Sometimes my boys and I purvey this idea into a fun Friday night dinner. Somehow it just feels festive to snack in front of a good movie on a Friday night. 

This Buffalo Chicken dip is a family favorite. You can serve it on crackers, pitas or with celery or carrot sticks. We’ve also been known to dip chicken wings in this Buffalo Dip! 

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Serves 10 – 12

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 12-oz bottle Frank’s Hot Wing Sauce
8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
8 oz lite ranch dressing
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Poach the chicken breasts in boiling water until cooked through. Drain, let cool and then pull meat apart with a fork. In a 9-inch casserole dish, spread out the chicken and pour the wing sauce over. Mix well and spread out, covering the entire bottom of the dish. In a medium sized saucepot, combine the cream cheese and ranch dressing.  Whisk while heating until smooth. You don’t want any cream cheese clumps! Pour the cream cheese mixture over the chicken and spread out. Sprinkle the celery on top. Bake for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes, sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and continue baking for another ten to fifteen minutes or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for ten minutes. Stir well and serve with chips, celery sticks and buffalo chicken wings.

Nutritional Information: Calories 306; Calories from Fat 184; Total Fat 21g;  Cholesterol 98mg; Sodium 1076mg; Total Carbohydrates 5g; Sugars 3g; Protein 25 g



Shop the Sale: Pork and Apple Tagine


I’ve been breaking my former rule of ‘no fruit and meat together’ more and more frequently these days and let me just tell you, it’s quite liberating. Why did I resist the delicious combination of fruits and meats for so long? 

I’ve been making up for lost time and this recipe, which combines two items on sale at Brookshire’s this week: Hormel Boneless Pork Tenderloin Roast and Royal Gala Apples. 

As soon as I read this recipe, I knew I had to try it. It reminds me of fall and is perfect for back-to-school. Don’t be intimidated by the word “tagine,” either. A tagine is simply an earthenware vessel popular in Africa and used to cook stews such as this one. Don’t worry if you don’t have one. I don’t either. I simply used a large stock pot. 

View this recipe to print or add items to your Shopping List.

Pork and Apple Tagine
Serves 4

Source:  Recipe from Aussie Apples 

Ingredients:
400 g Hormel Boneless Pork Tenderloin
1 Tbs plain flour
2 tsp olive oil
2 red onions, cut into 6 wedges
1 bunch baby (or Dutch) carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 1/2 cups low salt vegetable stock
2  Granny Smith apples
2 Royal Gala apples 

Directions:
Cut the pork fillet into strips. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Dip the pork into the flour, so it’s lightly coated. Shake off any excess flour. Heat olive oil in a flameproof casserole dish, over a medium-high heat. Once heated, add the pork in small batches and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until browned on all sides. Transfer browned pork to a plate and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium – low. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pork and spices to the pan and cook for a further 30 seconds, until all the ingredients are coated with the spices. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, place the lid on top and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Cut the apples into quarters and remove the core (leave the skin on). Add apple to the pork and vegetables. Stir gently and then replace the lid. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes, until the pork is cooked through.

Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick. Serve the apple and pork tagine with a large green salad and couscous.

Nutritional Information: Calories 250; Calories from Fat: 54; Total Fat: 6.0 g; Cholesterol: 54 mg; Sodium: 571 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 7 g; Sugars: 21 g; Protein: 21 g



Healthy Living: Cauliflower Poppers


Today is my younger son’s birthday. And in honor of the day, I asked him what his favorite healthy food was.

I expected him to try to rationalize how deep-dish-pepperoni-double-cheese pizza was his healthy favorite.

To my surprise, he did not.

He named his favorite vegetable: cauliflower.

I should have known as cauliflower is one of MY favorite vegetables and I steamed and pureed it for him, as a baby, by the pound.

Cauliflower only contains about 26 calories per cup and is very low in fat and contains no cholesterol. One cup contains two grams of dietary fiber and several anti cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent. Together these compounds fight against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers .

Fresh cauliflower is excellent source of vitamin C; and contains good amounts of many essential B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, vitamin B5, B8,B1 and B3 as well as vitamin K. It is also good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium. 

Luke’s Favorite Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 4

Ingredients:
8 cups 1-inch-thick slices cauliflower florets, (about 1 large head)
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F.

Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Nutritional Information: Calories 149; Fat 10g; Cholesterol 7mg; Carbohydrates 10 g; Protein 7g; Fiber 4g; Sodium 364 mg; Potassium 490 mg.



Product Talk: Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream


Today is Labor Day, the last official holiday of the summer.

What better way to celebrate than with a batch of homemade ice cream you don’t even need any special equipment to make? Just remember to start this recipe a day ahead to give it time to freeze.

This ice cream is made with Food Club Sweetened Condensed Milk.

Sweetened condensed milk is cow’s milk from which the water has been removed, with sugar added. Sweetened condensed milk is a very thick, sweet product which, when canned, can last for years without refrigeration if unopened.

Use Food Club Sweetened Condensed Milk to make this tasty holiday treat today.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Serves 8

Ingredients:
8 oz Food Club cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) Food Club Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup Food Club heavy whipping cream
2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
3 Food Club honey graham crackers, coarsely chopped 

Directions:
Mix first four ingredients with mixer until blended. Freeze 4 hours or until almost solid.

Beat the cream cheese mixture until smooth and creamy. Blend strawberries in a blender until s mooth. Add to cream cheese mixture with chopped graham crackers. Mix well. Freeze 8 hours until firm.

Remove dessert from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories 382; Calories from Fat 153; Total Fat 17g; Cholesterol 63mg; Sodium 220mg; Total Carbohydrates 51g; Dietary Fiber 1g; Sugars 47g; Protein 9g

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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