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DINE IN: Artichoke Bruschetta


ArtichokeWhile I think most people perceive that I have a non-stop social life and am often on the go, nothing could be further from the truth. While I love my friends and am involved in a lot of community efforts, deep down I’m a homebody at heart.

When you find me on a Friday night, I’d much rather be tucked into my couch with my boys or on the back porch with a friend than out at a restaurant or club.

I’m worn out by the end of the week!

However, cooking relaxes me, and while I sometimes don’t want to go all-out for a full meal, I do like to make something special to let Friday night feel luxurious.

My boys weren’t home one Friday night recently, so I decided to treat myself to something they are not a huge fan of: artichokes.

I love them.

Roasted, fresh or jarred, packed in water (or olive oil for a decadent treat), artichokes add great flavor and texture to a dish.

You can make this bruschetta with the artichoke mixture as a topping, or bake it separately and use it as a dip.

Artichoke Bruschetta

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 loaf French bread, cut into slices
1 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 oz) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place the bread on a foil-lined baking sheet, and brush or spray with olive oil.

Bake the bread for 8-10 minutes until crispy and golden; set aside.

In an electric mixer, mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, chopped artichokes, garlic salt, parsley and both types of parmesan cheese.

Scoop a generous amount of the spread onto each piece of bread, and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Broil in the oven on the high heat setting for 5-7 minutes until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned on top. Watch closely to avoid burning.

This can also be made into a dip and baked at 350° F for 15-20 minutes until bubbly.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 674, Calories from Fat: 364, Fat: 40 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (20 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 1758 mg, Potassium: 107 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 35 g.

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: Fingerprints of God


Three crossesI just got off the phone with Steven Curtis Chapman, the Christian singer/songwriter superstar, and I broke a huge professional rule: I cried.

I didn’t mean to.

It wasn’t some fangirl hysteria either.

I had an interview for an article I am writing about his Christmas holiday tour, and I was, of course, going to keep it strictly business. Professional, concise, pithy, witty, well-intentioned and informative. Everything a good interview should be.

However, toward the end of the 20-minute conversation, I let it get personal.

You see, in 1999, Steven Curtis Chapman released his album, “Speechless,” which includes a song that ended up getting me through a very dark period in my life.

In 2002, my older son was born, and in 2003, we strongly suspected he had autism. By the time he was officially diagnosed at age 2 1/2 in 2004, I was spiraling downward in a confluence of clinical postpartum depression following the birth of my second son in late 2003, and the stress and fear of the diagnosis.

At church one Sunday, the contemporary Christian praise and worship band played Chapman’s song, “Fingerprints of God,” and it struck a chord so deeply within me that it hasn’t stopped resonating yet.

I bought the CD but played that track over and over and over and over. When I converted to digital music, it was one of the first pieces I downloaded from iTunes.

When my son was old enough, I played it for him to explain the “masterpiece” that is his brain.

I simply wanted to thank Chapman for this bit of light among several dark years, but I couldn’t do it without sniffling a bit.

He was quiet.

Very quiet.

I knew I’d blown it.

Then, he said, simply and quietly, “Thank you for telling me that. That is why I do this.”

“Fingerprints of God”

I can see the tears filling your eyes
And I know where they’re coming from
They’re coming from a heart that’s broken in two
By what you don’t see
The person in the mirror
Doesn’t look like the magazine
Oh, but when I look at you, it’s clear to me that…

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God’s hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He’s been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living, breathing, priceless work of art…

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God

Just look at you
You’re a wonder in the making
Oh, and God’s not through, no
In fact, He’s just getting started and…

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God

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Posted in: Family Matters


SHOP THE SALE: Hormel Spiral Sliced Ham


Sweet Wine and Mustard HamThe spiral-sliced ham has become synonymous with the holidays, whether it be the centerpiece of your Christmas or Easter table, or a delicious accompaniment to the Thanksgiving turkey.

The spiral-sliced ham came into being three generations ago by the mind of Harry J. Hoenselaar, founder of the Honey Baked Ham Co.

When the patent expired on the cut of meat in 1981, other forward-thinking companies, like Hormel, got in on the spiral-sliced sensation.

This year, you can have a spiral-sliced ham on your table along with the turkey. Spiral-slicing allows the meat to be coated with a sweet and savory sauce, so each bite is rich and flavorful. Because Hormel hams are precooked, this recipe won’t take up a lot of real estate in your oven this holiday season.

Hormel Spiral Sliced Hams are on sale this week at Brookshire’s. You have time to get one for all upcoming holidays!

Sweet Wine and Mustard Ham

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
1 (750 ml) bottle sweet white wine, divided
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbs thyme leaves
2 tsp crushed red pepper
3/4 cup whole-grain mustard
1 (16 lb) Hormel Spiral Sliced Ham

Directions:
In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions; cook 5 minutes or until softened.

Add 1 cup wine, honey, thyme and crushed red pepper. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Stir in mustard. Divide mixture in half.

Heat ham according to package directions. Use remaining wine instead of water in pan. Baste ham with one half of mustard mixture and wine from pan during cooking.

Serve ham with remaining mustard mixture.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1031, Calories from Fat: 486, Fat: 54 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (24 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 366 mg, Sodium: 5930 mg, Potassium: 20 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Sugar: 13 g, Protein: 114 g.

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

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Healthy Living: Shrimp and Grits


Shrimp and GritsI may have mentioned before (like 97,000 times) that I’m on this new, doctor-driven diet. I didn’t exactly embrace it at first, but now I’m having a lot of fun trimming down recipes that might not otherwise be viable on a low-fat diet.

Right when I started this diet, I had a hankering for shrimp and grits. Before, that would have meant shrimp sautéed in butter over a bed of creamy grits laden with butter, cheddar cheese and bacon. Yep, I think I just felt my arteries constrict.

While that still sounds good to my palate, which hasn’t finished adjusting to the new way of eating, that isn’t good for my heart. And, I have to be good to my heart.

However, I still wanted the shrimp and grits, so I had to come up with a new way to make them. With the addition of some chicken stock, some herbs and some veggies, I didn’t even notice the absence of the fat. I grilled the shrimp instead of sautéing it in butter, and it tasted even better with the smoky flavor from the grill.

Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients:
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs low-sodium Cajun seasoning
1 cup grits
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbs hot pepper sauce
1 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh oregano, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Directions:
Toss shrimp with Cajun spice. Thread onto skewers with space between each shrimp. Grill over medium heat until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add grits and stir, reducing heat to medium-low. Add salt and pepper. When the liquid is mostly absorbed, stir in pepper sauce, garlic and oregano. Stir well. When liquid is incorporated, remove grits from heat. Stir in tomatoes. Cover the pan and let stand for 3 minutes. Serve immediately with shrimp.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 197, Calories from Fat: 29, Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 239 mg, Sodium: 2678 mg, Potassium: 423 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 28 g.

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

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Russell Stover Big Bite S’mores Bar


Russel Stover S'mores Big BiteMy friend, Leslie, LOVES s’mores.

She loves them outside around a fire or inside over a fondue pot. She’s made s’mores brownies, s’mores cookies and s’mores candy.

So, when I was cruising through Brookshire’s this morning before work (because where else would you stop to get breakfast?), I saw a s’mores product by the register and just had to stop and look. For her, of course.

Russell Stover now makes a pre-wrapped s’mores candy, no mess, no cleaning up sticky skewers (or fingers) from melty marshmallows.

“Featured on the popular ‘Unwrapped’ series from Food Network, our Big Bite S’mores Bar is a thick pillow of marshmallow covered in milk chocolate and sandwiched between two crunchy graham crackers,” the Russell Stover website says.

It also promises that “you’ll feel like a kid again!”

I bought a bunch and handed them out to all my friends. Neither my kids nor Leslie got one…yet. Back to Brookshire’s I go!

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Posted in: Product Talk


DINE IN: Spicy Spinach Quesadillas


Spicy Spinach QuesadillasIf you asked me when I was five or six years old what my favorite vegetable was, I’d tell you honestly: spinach.

The person who asked, usually a teacher or the cashier in the local grocery store, would reiterate, “Spinach? Really?”

Yep, spinach.

The super green super food has been a favorite for about as long as I can remember. I love it raw; I also love it cooked, and it’s SO good for you.

My kids haven’t been as enthusiastic, I must admit, but when you add cheese and bacon, everything tastes better. Everything tastes better in a quesadilla, too. I love these because they’re quick and easy to make on a Friday night when you’re worn out from the week, but they still pack a nutritional punch and a ton of great flavor.

I’ve swapped out the pepper jack cheese with cheddar before, but I really like the spicy kick the pepper jack provides. I think it melts nicer, too. I almost always leave off the chicken, but you can use it to bulk up the meal. You could also add grilled shrimp instead of chicken.

Spicy Spinach Quesadillas

Ingredients:
6 oz baby spinach
pinch of kosher salt
8 small or 4 large tortillas
8 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
fresh spicy salsa or pico de gallo
diced or shredded cooked chicken, optional

Directions:
Heat 1/4 cup water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add spinach, sprinkle with salt and cover. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.

Drain spinach in a colander, rinse with cold water and squeeze out excess water. Set aside.

Rinse and dry the same skillet. Spray the skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat.

Place 1-2 tortillas (as many as will fit in an even layer) in the hot skillet, and evenly spread a thin layer of cheese over the surface. Separate cooked spinach leaves and spread over the cheese.

When cheese is mostly melted, sprinkle crumbled bacon onto cheese. Scoop up about a tablespoon of salsa, draining as much liquid off as possible, and drop it onto half the open tortilla. Optionally add chicken to half the tortilla, too. Carefully fold the side of the tortilla that does not have salsa on it over the top, creating a half-circle shape. Cook about one minute longer before removing to a plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 389, Calories from Fat: 214, Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 71 mg, Sodium: 658 mg, Potassium: 380 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 22 g. 

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

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: Spoiling Your Pets


Dog treatsI am not one of those people who spoils their pets.

Of course, by not “spoiling” him, I mean I don’t let my 90-pound dog up on the furniture. (Well, except for the overstuffed arm chair that’s his and the couch after we’ve all gone to sleep at night.) He doesn’t have a sweater to keep him warmer during cold months (yet), and I don’t feed him scraps from the table (except when he steals eggplant parmesan).

However, he’s quite spoiled with love and attention, and he’ll be spoiled during the upcoming holidays, as your pet should be as well!

Spoil your pet by spending some extra time with him. The weather is cooler, so it’s a perfect time for long walks with your dog and playtime in the park or a big yard where he can run. You might want to slip a tennis ball in his stocking and teach him how to play fetch for some extra exercise incentive.

As for your kitty, some catnip toys to throw around the house would be a great gift.

For cats or dogs, you can spoil them during the holidays with these tasty treats! Just remember, treats aren’t a substitute for nutritious food, though!

Chicken Liver Treats

Ingredients:
1 lb cooked chicken livers, finely chopped
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Combine all the ingredients, making sure the chicken livers are well-coated. The dough should be stiff, but if it’s too dry, add a little more chicken broth.

Form the dough into pea- to marble-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.

With the tip of a spoon, press a tiny indentation into the top of each ball.

With a spoon, carefully drip a few drops of chicken broth into each indentation.

Bake the treats for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of the treats are golden-brown.

Remove from the oven, let cool thoroughly and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 141, Calories from Fat: 34, Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 244 mg, Sodium: 60 mg, Potassium: 152 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 12 g.



Mi Blog Hispano: Celebrando Acción de Gracias


Celebrando Acción de GraciasEl Día de Acción de Gracias es una de las celebraciones más importantes en este país y para muchos de nosotros como inmigrantes o como hijos de inmigrantes, celebrar este día se ha convertido también en una tradición donde aprovechamos, de dar la gracias a Dios por esta noble nación, que abrió sus brazos generosos a nuestras familias, al igual que a aquellos primeros viajeros que vinieron a América.

Para nosotros los hispanos, este es un tiempo de compartir en familia y con los nuevos amigos quienes se han convertido también en parte de nuestra familia. En mucho de los casos, celebrar “Acción de Gracias”, aparte de ser un día para agradecer y estar alegres, también significa darle la bienvenida a las Navidades. En la cena de “Acción de Gracias”, lucimos nuestro arbolito de navidad y las decoraciones navideñas.

Para muchas familias Hispanas, la cena de “Acción de Gracias” es una fiesta de sabores, colores y olores, porque es una reunión de diversas culturas, Hispanos de distintos países (México, Venezuela, Honduras, Colombia, España, etc.), también nos acompañan muchos de nuestros amigos o familiares que son, o están casados con Americanos, Filipinos, Asiáticos, etc. Amo celebrar “Acción de Gracias” porque para nosotros también es celebrar la diversidad.

A la hora de colocar la mesa en el día de la Cena de “Acción de Gracias” de un hogar Hispano, siempre seguimos la tradición de este país, preparando el pavo relleno; mejor conocido en México como guajolote, puré de camote dulce, el pastel de calabazas, vegetales y el maíz. Los tamales Mexicanos, las hallacas Venezolanas (tamal envuelto en hoja de plátano), pozole, pernil de Puerco, pan de jamón, barbacoa, ensaladas, empanadas y muchas cosas más.

En el día de “Acción de Gracias” de un hogar Hispano nunca falta la música y la alegría de estar reunidos. En esta fecha especial, este año, no olvidemos que ese día es la ocasión perfecta para darle gracias a Dios por habernos traído a este país de paz, libertad y prosperidad. Para dar gracias por la familia, la salud, por nuestros trabajos, nuestros hogares y por nuestros gobernantes. ¡Este año también voy a dar gracias por ustedes!



Shop the Sale: Roasted Apple Chicken


Roasted ChickenNothing is easier than roasting a whole chicken, so it should be just as easy to add some fabulous fall flavors to a whole fryer.
With a few seasonal apples and some onions, you can transform this humble meal into a dish fit for company – or the ones you love most, your family.

You can use almost any kind of apple that you’d use for baking in this recipe. I like the tart flavors of a Granny Smith, but a Fuji, Pink Lady or Cameo would be sweeter and would hold up well during roasting. If you were getting adventurous, you could substitute pears for the apples or use a blend of both.

Whole fryers are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so take advantage of the sale to try this delicious fall dish.

Roasted Apple Chicken
Ingredients:
1 whole fryer/roasting chicken, thawed and cleaned
1 onion, cut in quarters
3 apples, cut in quarters
salt (optional)
pepper
1 Tbs olive oil or butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Place chicken in roasting pan, breast-side up.

Mix onion pieces and apple pieces in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if you like. Place apple-onion mixture inside chicken.

Rub outside of chicken with olive oil or butter. Sprinkle outside of the chicken with salt and pepper, if you like.

Place foil tent on top of chicken and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour and then remove foil tent; continue cooking for 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before carving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 582, Calories from Fat: 301, Fat: 33 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 256 mg, Sodium: 702 mg, Potassium: 130 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 57 g.

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

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Posted in: Shop the Sale


Healthy Living: Mediterranean Lettuce Tacos


Mediterranean Lettuce TacosToday is 11/11. You know how people always say to make a wish at 11:11 a.m. or p.m.? Well, I’m going to make a wish on the entire day for recipes that taste great and are good for you.

Luckily, they aren’t hard to find.

We put out many of our own here at Brookshire’s. From this blog to Celebrate Cooking magazine to recipe cards provided in stores, healthy and tasty recipes abound.

This recipe came about one night when I was scrambling for dinner on a “Taco Tuesday.” It’s an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe using things I had around the house that particular night. You might not have ready-made tzatziki, but just combine plain Greek yogurt with dill, lemon juice, garlic and chopped cucumber. Voila!

These lettuce tacos are a spin on Asian lettuce wraps using Mediterranean flavors. My boys like the filling in corn tortillas, but obviously eating them in lettuce is better for you.

Mediterranean Lettuce Tacos

Ingredients:
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4-inch-long, 1-inch-thick strips
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette
4 romaine lettuce leaves, shredded
1 Tbs red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinaigrette (or red wine vinegar)
12 butter lettuce leaves
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
12 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 tsp parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Directions:
Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on grill. Cook, basting with balsamic vinaigrette and turning once, until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill; set aside.
Place shredded romaine lettuce and red onions in a medium bowl; drizzle with red wine vinaigrette and toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly among butter lettuce leaves, and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon tzatziki.

Top each taco with 1 piece of chicken, and garnish with chopped tomatoes, feta cheese and olives. Season with parsley, basil and oregano; serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 320, Calories from Fat: 169, Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 85 mg, Sodium: 646 mg, Potassium: 557 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 28 g.

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

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Posted in: Healthy Living


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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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