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Dine In: First Week of School Slow Cooker Chicken Soup


First Week of School Slow Cooker Chicken SoupThe first week of school did me in.

Phew.

Between wrangling school supplies, gym clothes, homework, backpacks, instruments, equipment and early mornings, I’m done with a capital “D.” Done.

It was imperative that I serve an easy but healthy meal to cap off the first week of school.

This chicken soup fit the bill perfectly. It slow cooks all day, so you don’t have to wrangle dinner, on top of everything else Friday afternoon. It’s also Paleo, low-fat and full of flavor. Don’t skip the bones or the skin; they add flavor and nutrients to the soup. If you can make a clean cut, you can even cut through the bone with a cleaver (like I said, clean cut so there’s no shards in your soup), so the bone marrow can leach into your soup and infuse it with flavor and health benefits.

It’s a great meal for a Friday night or any school night.

First Week of School Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs basil
1 Tbs oregano
2 organic chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on
2 organic chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups filtered water

Directions:
Layer onions, celery, carrots and chicken in the slow cooker, ensuring chicken is bone-side down on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with spices and apple cider vinegar. Add water to cover the vegetables, and come up to the midway point of the chicken, between 3 to 4 cups.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Remove meat; discard skin and bones. Shred the chicken meat, and add back to the slow cooker.

Add more seasoning, if desired; heat through and serve.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 462, Calories from Fat: 153, Fat: 17 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 202 mg, Sodium: 704 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 67 g.



Family Matters: Breakfast Cookies


Breakfast CookiesGive me breakfast foods or give me cookies. I love them both! Then, what could be more perfect than cookies to start your day! Before you think I’ve gone off the deep-end, these cookies are packed with lots of wholesome ingredients like oats, bananas, blueberries and pecans.

These are so easy to make ahead of time and store in the freezer until you are ready to eat them. You can pop them in the microwave to enjoy hot or take them on the go with you. You will love these, and your kiddos will think you are awesome for giving them cookies for breakfast!

Breakfast Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Brookshire’s Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 cup Brookshire’s Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 Tbs golden flax meal
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried blueberries
3 very-ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid form
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine oats, coconut, flax meal, salt, pecans and blueberries in a bowl. Stir in bananas, coconut oil, agave and vanilla until well-combined. Firmly press together 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 2 1/2-inch flat round onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Continue with remaining mixture. Bake at 325° F for 20 minutes or until golden-brown. Let cool on pan.

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



Shop the Sale: Friday Night Football Layered Pork Barbecue Cups


Friday Night Football Layered Pork Barbecue CupsMy son starts high school today.

Not two minutes ago, he was a toddler banging his head into tables, chairs, door frames and handles. Two minutes, I tell you.

Today, he will walk into the new high school building after cross country practice and go to his first period AP Algebra class. I won’t walk him into school. He won’t carry a Superman lunchbox, and he won’t be able to stand it if I write a note on his napkin.

Instead, he’s been hanging out with his cross country teammates. He volunteered at the fundraiser garage sale. He’s hauling around his trombone for Jazz Band.

Oh, and he eats. He and his friends can decimate a meal.

That’s why, when a group of parents and I were brainstorming for a fall fundraiser that had to serve food, we knew we had to come up with something hearty, filling and cost-effective for high school kids and their parents.

This would be a great meal for a fall football Friday night to sell at a concession stand, for a fall football tailgate, for a lunch fundraiser or for a block party. It looks a little messy, but it is kid – and parent – approved. Adjust the amounts as necessary for the number of people you’re serving (double that for high school boys).

Stock up on pork butt while it’s on sale at Brookshire’s this week for some spectacular savings.

Layered Pork Barbecue Cups

Ingredients:

PORK:
1 (5 lb) pork butt
salt
ground black pepper
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 large onions, roughly chopped

CUPS:
plastic cups
barbecue sauce
prepared pork (see above)
baked beans
prepared mashed potatoes
chopped onions
chopped pickles

Directions:
Rub pork butt with salt and pepper. Place in a slow cooker with apple cider vinegar and onions. Cook on low until fork tender, about 8 to 10 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserving some of the juices; shred meat. Place back in slow cooker, and mix with juices.

To assemble the cups, place a scoop of baked beans in the bottom of a plastic cup. Top with shredded pork, some barbecue sauce and finish with a scoop of mashed potatoes drizzled in more barbecue sauce. Sprinkle with onions and pickles, if desired. Serve this portable treat with a spoon and plenty of napkins.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 548, Calories from Fat: 170, Fat: 19 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 261 mg, Sodium: 178 mg, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 88 g.

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



Healthy Living: Healthy Fats


Healthy FatsIf those two words don’t seem to go together to you, you’re not alone.

When I first heard of a “low carb, high fat” diet, I thought to myself, “That’s a heart attack waiting to happen.”

Then, I realized that you’re not eating your body weight in Cheetos and ice cream; you’re opting for HEALTHY fats and HEALTHY carbohydrates.

Healthy fats include things like olive oil, avocados and nut butters. Healthy fats are great for your skin and hair, and they keep you feeling full longer. They’re also good for your heart.

Monounsaturated fats, like the ones found in olive oil and avocados, raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). Canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados are good sources of healthy fats. Salmon is another good source of healthy fats.

Healthy fats help your body absorb nutrients, and they help your food digest more effectively.

Don’t go overboard, though. Fat is fat. Read labels and pay attention to serving sizes! Remember that a serving size of almonds is an ounce, not a can.



Product Talk: Good Health Avocado Oil and Sea Salt Kettle Chips


Good Health Avocado Oil and Sea Salt Kettle ChipsSometimes when I walk down the snack food aisle, I see flavor combinations on a chip or pretzel that just shouldn’t happen.

Other times when I walk down the snack food aisle, I see something that makes me stop dead in my tracks and grab the bag.

That’s what I did with Good Health Avocado and Sea Salt Kettle Chips.

Someone in my house, I’m not naming names, turned up his nose. His brother, on the other hand, had the bag devoured in about 2.6 seconds.

These are so delicious. They’re kettle chips, so they have that super-duper crunch factor that separates a real chip from the weakling chips. It’s perfectly salted, satisfying that craving as well. The avocado flavor is interesting! It’s mild, yet striking, and balances the salty chip perfectly.

These chips are made with 100 percent avocado and dusted with sea salt. They have 30 percent less fat than regular potato chips, and they are low-sodium and gluten-free.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine In: Buffalo Chicken Casserole


Buffalo Chicken CasseroleSometimes, I need a buffalo chicken fix like nobody’s business.

It happened not too long ago on a Friday night when my kids weren’t home. My sweetie and I had the option to go to a nice restaurant for an adult meal at a place where there were no video games or TVs playing sports, where they put wine glasses on the table, and where they don’t hand you a roll of paper towels to clean your hands.

Did we do that? No.

“Um, can we go get wings?” I asked.

Wings it was; my sweetie is quite accommodating that way. I pile-drived through a basket of spicy buffalo wings, and I don’t even think I came up for air. Yes, there was a roll of paper towels on the table.

When I saw this recipe, I knew I was going to pile-drive through it, too. It’s a super fun recipe for a Friday night, and who doesn’t love fun on Friday? I know I do!

You can adjust the heat in this recipe; I tend to make it hotter.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:
6 small chicken thighs
6 slices bacon
3 medium jalapeños, seeded and pithed
12 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Debone chicken thighs, and season with salt and pepper. Bake chicken thighs at 400° F for 40 minutes or until cooked through.

Chop up bacon slices, and cook until crisp. Just before the end of cooking, add jalapeños to the pan; cook until soft. Drain fat.

Return the pan to the stove (turn off heat). Add cream cheese, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Mix together until smooth.

When chicken is cool to the touch, remove skins. Place in a casserole dish, and top with cream cheese mixture. Then, add a layer of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Return to 400° F oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 711, Fat: 462 g (24 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 222 mg, Sodium: 1165 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 55 g.



Family Matters: Back to School


Back to SchoolGet your kids ready for back-to-school by engaging them in the process of making their own lunches.

School-age children can definitely pitch in when it comes to school lunches. Older kids, in high school perhaps, can be completely responsible for their school lunch. Younger kids can help with all the prep work, and they can have an investment in a healthy diet by helping to choose some options.

Take your kids grocery shopping with you on the weekends, and let them pick out some proteins, some fruits, veggies and maybe a snack or two for a treat.

When you get home, go ahead and package a lot of those items into individual serving sizes. For example, lunch meat can be rolled into rollups and saved in small, zipper-lock bags. Carrot sticks and celery can be cleaned, cut and packaged into bags as well.

Your kids can create trail mix with nuts, popcorn, pretzels and chocolate chips, and store in baggies, too.

Then, on school mornings, all you need to do is have them grab a protein, a fruit (whole, cleaned fruits like bananas, apples, peaches, pears, plums and grapes are great) and a veggie. Drop it in a bag with a bottle of water and a napkin, and voila! Lunch is served.



Mi Blog Hispano: El Menú De La Semana


El Menú De La SemanaAndo emocionada porque mis tres hijas empezaran la escuela pronto y quiero organizarme lo más que pueda.  Estuve pensando en maneras de hacer que los días entre semana sean más fáciles ya que entre el trabajo, la escuela, tarea, deportes, y hacer de comer, los días están llenos.

Una de las cosas que empezare a hacer este año escolar es crear un menú de lo que comeremos cada día de la semana.  Esto se puede hacer de varias maneras.  Puedo comprar un calendario y poner el menú allí.  También puedo usar una pizarra de gis o de marcador borrable para escribir el menú.  El punto es que el menú este escrito en un lugar donde toda la familia pueda verlo fácilmente.

Cada semana voy a planear un menú para la siguiente semana basándome en los especiales que haya.  Si el pollo está a buen precio, eso comeremos.  Planeando el menú de antemano me ayudara a estar más organizada, me ahorrara dinero, y me ahorrara tiempo.  Realmente no sé porque no había hecho esto antes, pero bueno, lo importante es que ya lo hare.

Aquí les doy un ejemplo de cómo podría ser el menú de una semana:

Lunes: Spaghetti con pollo (guardare suficiente pollo desmenuzado de esta receta para el siguiente día)
Martes: Tacos dorados de pollo (usare el mismo pollo del lunes que guarde)
Miércoles: Pescado
Jueves: Hamburguesas o hot dogs
Viernes: Sobras (A comer lo que sobre de la semana para no desperdiciar comida.  Además, será fácil y rápido por si hay algo que hacer como un juego de las niñas o un programa de escuela.)
Sábado: Chuletas
Domingo: Salir a comer

El sábado o domingo saldré a comprar el mandado porque ya tendré el menú de la siguiente semana hecho.  Estoy segura que esto me ayudara a estar más organizada, y le recomiendo que usted también haga el menú de la semana de antemano.  Estará ensenándoles a sus hijos a ser organizados, y su semana será más fácil con más tiempo para hacer tarea con los niños, pasar tiempo con la familia, o simplemente tener tiempo para uno mismo.

Que emoción empezar algo nuevo.  ¡Hasta más gusto y ganas de cocinar me dan!



Shop the Sale: Southern Slow-Cooked Steaks


Southern Slow-Cooked SteaksI didn’t grow up with the tradition of the Sunday dinner (or as I’d have called it: lunch). However, since I moved to Texas, I’ve discovered that the Sunday dinner, which takes place after church and before the Sunday nap, is the main meal of the day.

We’ve recently come to adopt this tradition. Although, we tend to eat a big breakfast, skip lunch, and then have a big dinner in the late afternoon, before we have to start easing back into the Monday mindset.

This recipe is perfect for a Sunday lunch or dinner, whatever you want to call it and whenever you want to eat. However, it is slow-cooked, so you might want to adjust your timing accordingly.

Top sirloin steak is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so stock up and save for your Sunday supper.

Southern Slow-Cooked Steaks

Ingredients:
2 lbs top sirloin steaks, cut into 3 to 4-inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 cups water, divided
1 beef bouillon cube
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Directions:
Sprinkle the steak pieces with the salt and pepper; toss to coat. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is fragrant and sizzles, add half the steak pieces, and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to the slow cooker, and brown the remaining steak. (Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, as the steak will steam instead of brown.)

Pour 2 cups of the water into the hot pan along with the bouillon cube and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to medium; bring to a simmer.

Whisk flour, garlic powder and onion powder into the remaining 1 cup of water. Slowly pour this into the simmering liquid in the pan, stirring well to incorporate. Stir until the mixture thickens. Pour over steak in the slow cooker.

Optional: Add a cup of sliced onions or mushrooms before slow cooking.

Cover with the lid. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, cornbread or noodles.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 346, Fat: 14 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 135 mg, Sodium: 617 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 47 g.

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



Healthy Living: Super Simple Marinara Sauce


Super Simple Marinara SauceSummer is the perfect time to make a healthy and hearty marinara sauce, using the freshest of summer vegetables and herbs.

It comes together quickly, and it is so fresh and tasty that simmering and stirring on a stove all day is not required (but it sure smells great if you do!).

Right now, tomatoes are at their peak, so grab some for your sauce today. You could also use a hybrid combination of fresh and canned like I do.

The beauty of a marinara sauce is that you can combine any herbs you like, not just limiting yourself to what’s traditional. Everything is at the peak of freshness and flavor right now.

Today, I have some simmering with Cuban oregano from my friend’s garden. She gave me a sprig last week that I’m trying to root hydroponically, but in the meantime, it smelled too good not to use. I also have fresh basil from my garden as well as locally grown onions and tomatoes.

I like a chunky marinara, but you could always give this a whirl in the food processor if you want it to be smoother.

The tomatoes are full of antioxidants and cancer-fighting agents. Make a huge batch of this, and freeze what you don’t use for later use.

Toss with a rigatoni pasta, or serve over slices of eggplant (my plan).

Super Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:
1 lb local tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
2 oz tomato paste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Spread tomatoes and onions on a baking sheet. Roast until the edges turn dark, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a large pot.

Add garlic, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Process in food processor until smooth, if desired.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 57, Calories from Fat: 5, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 406 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



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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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