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Product Talk: Talenti Gelato


Talenti GelatoI’ve told you before that I lived overseas for almost four years after I graduated from college.

While I lived in a small hamlet in Germany, I was able to travel extensively.

One of the places I loved the most was Italy. I think it’s genetic; my maiden name is “Brocato,” after all. My dad’s family is from Sicily; my mom’s family is scattered around Northern Italy. I’ve got all kinds of Italian heritage.

My ancestry really is neither here nor there; anyone can enjoy Italy (and should!). In fact, there’s a grotto restaurant on the Mediterranean Sea that I want to bring my boyfriend, Paul, to someday. He’s Irish. Again, that doesn’t matter.

One of the most magnificent things about Italy (aside from the ancient architecture, history, landscapes, art and culture) is the food. I could die happy if I could spend a year in Tuscany learning authentic Italian cooking. I could also probably die happy just eating there.

I will never forget my first visit to Florence. It was there, in the shadows of the Ponte Vecchio on a medieval arch bridge over the Arno River, that I experienced gelato for the first time. Gelato is a combination of ice cream and sherbet in a light, airy, rich and creamy frozen dessert. It was heavenly. I had an espresso flavor and marveled over the dichotomy of light and rich.

Brookshire’s has recaptured that moment for me, in the form of Talenti Gelato. Found in the frozen section (duh), the gelato conjures up that warm spring afternoon on the bridge in Florence. Talenti Gelato is made from scratch with only the finest ingredients imported from around the world, according to the company’s website. They start with fresh milk straight from the farm and fine, pure cane sugar – absolutely never high-fructose corn syrup. They hand-pour the sugar from large sacks, blend in the milk and add the finest ingredients sourced from all around the world to craft their 26 flavors of gelato and sorbetto, their website confirms.

My taste buds confirm this is true.

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Dine In: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole


Chicken Cordon Bleu CasseroleWhen I was growing up, we always got to choose our birthday dinners. My mom would make us anything our little hearts desired.

I distinctly remember being the complicated kid. Maybe I just had refined tastes. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

On more than one occasion, I wanted chicken cordon bleu. I’m not even sure where I had it for the first time, but I know I loved it.

This casserole is a much easier version of the classic French dish. I introduced chicken cordon bleu to my boys this way one recent Friday night, and they loved it. They don’t even know there’s a much more complicated way to make it, but it’s the taste that counts, right? This dish captures the taste perfectly.

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Ingredients:
5-6 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced (rotisserie-style is super easy to use)
1/2 lb deli ham, thinly sliced and roughly chopped
1/4 lb baby Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

For the sauce:
4 Tbs butter
4 Tbs flour
3 1/4 cups whole milk
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp white pepper

For the topping:
6 Tbs butter
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley, crushed

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside.

Put cooked, shredded or diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Scatter the ham over the top of the chicken. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.

For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

For the topping:
Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium-sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread-crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.

Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 690, Calories from Fat: 342, Fat: 38 g (21.1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 192 mg, Sodium: 1847 mg, Potassium: 597 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 54 g

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Does it really matter?


Does it really matter?As I sit in the hospital room where my youngest brother lies battling terminal cancer, I am brought to tears. When I talk to people and they mention fighting among their siblings and families about things that are so small and petty, it pains me. I have such a great relationship with my three brothers. We have always been close and supported each other and our families. I consider this as one of my greatest blessings.

As my brother would say, “put on your big girl panties” – meaning, grow up and learn to just move on when something upsets you. In the picture of life, do those small things that irritate you really matter? We are not promised tomorrow. We must learn to live each day to the fullest and to not leave things unsaid or undone that you would regret. In every situation, just ask: does it really matter?

I promise that if you find yourself (or a family member) faced with a life-threating situation, it will change how you look at life and how you live. So, why wait? Look for the good in each situation and find just one positive when it appears all negative. If you just take a few minutes each day, you will find the glory you are surrounded by and the small blessings you miss daily because you don’t take time to see them.

We are all blessed beyond measure of what we deserve, and it is a shame that it goes unnoticed. Take a moment each day to get on your knees, close your eyes and listen…God speaks to us daily. If we take time to speak to Him, you will view each day and every situation differently. If you don’t think it is for you, try it anyway. I promise you that it will change your life and the lives of those around you. Does it really matter…yes, when prayer is concerned and loving those around you like it is your last day…it does.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the Sale: Chuck Tender Pot Roast


Chuck Tender Pot RoastOne of the best ways I’ve found to get great value for my money is to buy a chuck roast. A two-pound roast serves about eight people, if you calculate a half pound per person.

Well, there are three people in my household so a two-pound roast goes a long way.

I like to start out doing just what the name implies: roasting it.

It’s delicious for a Sunday dinner and doesn’t take forever to cook.

After that, I like to repurpose the roast for sandwiches (sliced with bleu cheese on kaiser rolls), soft tacos (shredded and mixed with salsa or salsa verde) or for stir-fry (cubed and quick-cooked with veggies and served over rice).

See how economical it can be?

It’s delicious, too. Chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so get creative with your meals!

Chuck Tender Pot Roast
Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 lb chuck tender roast
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
Allow roast to sit and come to room temperature.

Add olive oil to skillet and heat to medium-high. Add onions and garlic; brown slightly. Salt and pepper both sides of the roast. Remove onions and garlic from the pan. Add roast and sear on each side.

Return onions and garlic to pan. Sprinkle on rosemary and basil.

Transfer all to an oven-safe pan. Roast at 325° F for about 20 minutes per pound. Cook until desired doneness is achieved.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 207, Calories from Fat: 102, Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 65 mg, Sodium: 658 mg, Potassium: 38 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 23 g

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



Healthy Living: Healthy Mushroom Soup


Healthy Mushroom SoupI was one of those weird kids who loved spinach and mushrooms.

My boys didn’t take to either vegetable readily, and even, as old as they are now, still struggle with both. I can get them to eat raw baby spinach, but mushrooms? Forgeddaboudit!

Mushrooms are meaty, but they are super low in calories. They are dense and filling, but they have zero fat or carbohydrates.

In addition to having protein, they can help fight disease as well, with antioxidants and beneficial dietary fibers such as chitin and beta-glucans. Mushrooms contain just as high an antioxidant capacity as carrots, tomatoes, green and red peppers, pumpkins, green beans and zucchini. They also contain vitamin D.

Studies have shown that Type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and Type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. The fiber, potassium and vitamin C content in mushrooms all contribute to cardiovascular health. Potassium and sodium work together in the body to help regulate blood pressure.

Try this soup for a low-cal, low-fat, filling meal. You can swap out the butter for the equivalent amount of coconut oil, if you’d like.

Healthy Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup onions, sliced
1 cup sliced leeks, halved and sliced
3/4 cup celery, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 lb assorted mushrooms, rinsed and thickly sliced
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Directions:
Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, leeks, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until tender but not browned, approximately 10 minutes. Add thyme, mushrooms, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Heat until at a soft boil, then turn down to low heat. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, ladle into bowls and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 106, Calories from Fat: 45, Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 1139 mg, Potassium: 654 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 6 g

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

 



Product Talk: Frozen Meatballs


Frozen MeatballsThis year, for the first time in a long time, I was invited to a Super Bowl party. I’m not sure if the invites tapered off because (1.) I’m not a huge football fan, (2.) I’m known to fall asleep before 8pm or (3.) because I’m not a good cook and no one wants my potluck dish.

Okay, we can eliminate No. 3, but No. 1 and 2 are viable reasons.

However, I was invited this year (I didn’t fall asleep and I knew which two teams were playing), and I brought a delicious antipasto platter that was scarfed up immediately.

My friend, Mathilda, made a dish that took the basic cocktail meatball to a whole new level, though. These bite-sized appetizers were delicious.

I can’t wait to try them myself.

Cheesy Meatball Cups

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) cans crescent rolls
flour, for dusting
5 oz queso fresco, crumbled
16 frozen meatballs
1/2 cup garlic spaghetti sauce
1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Prepare two muffin tins (16 molds total) with nonstick cooking spray.

Extend dough on a lightly floured surface. Pull apart dough triangles and press each inside a muffin mold, covering the bottom of mold and pressing up the sides.

Sprinkle each dough cup with 1 teaspoon shredded cheese. Place a meatball on top of cheese, lightly pressing into the dough.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with 1 teaspoon of sauce and 1 teaspoon shredded cheese. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until dough is golden-brown and the cheese bubbles.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 170, Calories from Fat: 86, Fat: 10 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 465 mg, Potassium: 10 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 6 g

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



Dine In: Cherry-Pineapple Dump Cake


Cherry-Pineapple Dump CakeOne of my most vivid memories of growing up is the night my dad made dinner.

Now, before you think it was a singular night, it wasn’t. There were many nights later on when I remember my dad grilling or helping with dinner, but it didn’t happen very often in the early years.

We lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and there were four of us kids at that point. Four kids under the age of 8. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and my dad was the breadwinner as a physical therapist at a local hospital. My dad worked HARD. My mom probably worked harder.

At some point, they came to an agreement that my dad would help out with dinner on Sunday nights. I don’t remember those details, but I do remember that first time he cooked dinner. It was a big deal with a capital “B” and “D.” (My mom probably played it up to give him incentive to keep doing it!). We had burgers on the grill, french fries and cherry-pineapple dump cake for dessert.

I don’t think we’d ever had a dump cake before, or it wouldn’t stand out so significantly in my mind.

I just remember it being so delicious.

I think I’ll make it for my family tonight.

Cherry-Pineapple Dump Cake

Ingredients:
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow or white cake mix (gluten-free works)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:
Lightly spray a bundt pan or pan of choice.

First, layer the bottom with cherry pie filling then crushed pineapple. Sprinkle cake mix evenly on top. Using a stick of butter, cut into thin slices and lay the butter slices on top of the cake mix layer. Top with chopped walnuts.

Bake at 350° F for 40 to 50 minutes or until the top is golden-brown.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 382, Calories from Fat: 168, Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 20 mg, Sodium: 354 mg, Potassium: 175 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 25 g, Protein: 5 g

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: I Love You A Wafflelot


Cinnamon Roll WafflesValentine’s Day may be over, but you can still show your family you love them a “wafflelot!” Sweet or savory waffles with various toppings, syrups and fillings will generate the love inside and out, and prove that you love them a “wafflelot.” Get in the kitchen with your kiddos or hubby and try your hand at making cinnamon roll waffles, savory cornmeal and chive waffles with salsa and eggs, maple-brown butter dessert waffles or lemon-ricotta waffles with poppy seeds.

Waffles and toppings go together like peanut butter and jelly, or love and marriage! Top your waffles with fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, whipping cream, cream cheese, nuts, bacon, chives, brown sugar, sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon, honey, ice cream, granola, sausage, Nutella, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, raisins, chocolate syrup, jams, apple butter, pretzels, candy, peanut butter and more!

CINNAMON ROLL WAFFLES
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

WAFFLES
1 3/4 cups Food Club All Purpose Flour
2 Tbs Food Club Sugar
1 tsp Food Club Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Food Club Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Food Club Salt
2 large eggs
2 cups Brookshire’s Buttermilk
1/4 cup Brookshire’s Canola Oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

CINNAMON TOPPING
1/2 cup Brookshire’s Butter, melted
3/4 cup Food Club Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tbs Food Club Ground Cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE TOPPING
4 Tbs Brookshire’s Butter
2 oz Brookshire’s Cream Cheese
3/4 cup Food Club Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

WAFFLES
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened; batter will be slightly lumpy. Preheat a waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron grid and close the lid. Bake until waffles are completely done. Keep waffles warm until ready to serve. When ready to serve, drizzle cinnamon topping over waffles and then drizzle cream cheese topping.

CINNAMON TOPPING
In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip-top bag and set aside.

CREAM CHEESE TOPPING
In a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and cream cheese for 30 to 60 seconds, just until melted. Stir together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Do this last as it will thicken quickly as it cools.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 655, Fat: 38 g, Cholesterol: 137 mg, Sodium: 508 mg, Carbohydrates: 70 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 10 g

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



Shop the Sale: Spicy Shrimp Noodle Soup


Spicy Shrimp Noodle SoupI have a good friend, Beth, who takes healthy cooking to a whole new level.

Nothing she puts in her body isn’t fresh, has chemicals or was created in a laboratory. She’s pretty awesome that way.

I admire her, but that’s not always practical for me. Let’s face it, I like cheesy poufs sometimes.

But I do believe, as she says, that we’re supposed to fuel our body with the best foods most of the time.

She made a recipe similar to this for me one night at dinner. Of course, she used homemade bone broth instead of beef stock, omitted the fish sauce and clam juice and only served me the rice noodles, but it was so good that I had to try to duplicate it and she provided this recipe as the “next closest” thing to her homemade variety.

It’s delicious (especially with the rice noodles and clam juice, haha!). I guess it has a Thai flair to it, and you can add a touch of coconut milk at the very end, if you wish, to give it a more creamy consistency.

With medium shrimp on sale this week at Brookshire’s, this is a delicious, economical soup your family is sure to love.

Spicy Shrimp Noodle Soup

Ingredients:
3 cups unsalted beef stock
1 cup water
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp lower-sodium soy sauce
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
1 oz dried shiitake mushroom caps, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger
1 lb (31 to 40) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 oz uncooked flat rice noodles
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup diagonally cut green onions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
12 small fresh basil leaves
4 lime wedges

Directions:
Combine first 10 ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 3 1/2 cups (about 12 minutes). Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes or until done. Remove cinnamon and ginger; discard. Cook rice noodles according to package directions; drain. Place 1/2 cup noodles in each of 4 bowls, and top each serving with 1 cup stock mixture and about 5 shrimp. Sprinkle evenly with bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, and basil. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 287, Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 174 mg, Sodium: 537 mg, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 27 g

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



Company News: BGC shows appreciation for local growers


BGC shows appreciation for local growersTYLER, Texas, Feb. 18, 2015 –Tyler, Texas-based regional grocery retailer Brookshire Grocery Co. today hosted its second annual Local Growers Appreciation Luncheon, honoring local farmers who supply fresh produce sold in BGC stores throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

A highlight of the luncheon was a speech by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) who discussed the impact of government regulations on local land owners and growers. In addition, Mark Chamblee, state director – district 5 for the Texas Farm Bureau and owner of Chamblee’s Rose Nursery in Tyler, addressed the group, emphasizing the importance of using education, communication and engagement to create a connection between growers and consumers.

The event concluded with Marc Green of G-MC Produce in Henderson, Texas, being named the 2015 Grower of the Year. This award is presented to the grower who best demonstrates ethical business practices, strives to bring innovation to the industry and collaborates with BGC to offer the best quality products at the best value. G-MC Produce items sold in BGC stores include watermelons, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes and peaches.

“We are honored to formally recognize our local growers for all they do to provide our customers with fresh, high quality produce,” BGC president and CEO Rick Rayford said, noting that the company works with more than 50 local growers throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas to supply its stores with millions of pounds of produce annually. “Purchasing locally grown produce positively impacts each community’s economy and ensures our customers get the freshest seasonal produce available.”

In 2014, BGC stores sold more than 15 million pounds of locally grown fresh produce including watermelons, peaches, squash and tomatoes. The company also sold more than 150,000 locally grown plants including poinsettias for Christmas.

Some 22 growers and their guests attended this year’s appreciation luncheon, which was hosted at Harvey Convention Center in Tyler.

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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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