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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

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

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
Serves 4

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Talk: Krusteaz Pumpkin Pie Bar

Krusteaz Pumpkin Pie BarEvery holiday season, I tell myself I’m going to plan in advance, prepare foods in advance and get plenty done in plenty of time so I can make everything homemade and fresh from scratch.

Who am I kidding?

While I do try to prepare everything homemade and fresh, sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

Thank goodness there are products like Krusteaz Pumpkin Pie Bar mix that makes life easier for me.

This mix, found on the baking aisle, lets me whip up a delicious and interesting dessert in a matter of minutes.

With a gingersnap crust and a creamy filling, all the ingredients you’d need to add to this mix are probably already in your refrigerator: eggs, butter and water.

With about five minutes of prep time and 30 minutes to bake, your friends and family won’t think twice about this being homemade.

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Posted in: Product Talk

Dine In: Stuffed Pepper Soup

ChimineaA few years ago, I bought an iron chiminea.

Chimineas, by design, are made of a hard, baked clay to keep the heat in but without being scorching to the touch.

I, however, got a black, cast-iron chiminea, and once I finally wrangled it from the car to the backyard (a feat that left me sore for days, thank you very much), it earned a place of honor on the patio (where it hasn’t moved in two years.) It gets fiercely hot, and the fire that blazes from the belly of the black beast is intense.

My very favorite thing to do on Friday nights all fall and winter (and a large portion of the spring) is to sit on the back patio with the fire blazing. I’ve finally mastered the art of the chiminea fire (and cursed myself for never having been a Girl Scout); the secret is the pyramid shape of the logs. The other secret is having VERY dry logs, which my dog makes difficult because he likes to drag the wood from the wood pile out into the backyard. The other secret, which I read somewhere online and finally tried this year, is the humble dryer lint fire starter. Don’t laugh; it works. Collect dryer lint and stuff inside an empty toilet paper roll. Once you have enough lint to fill the roll (about two days worth in my house), the fire starter is ready to use. It will ignite almost immediately.

But back to the back porch. I love sitting outside with a good fire and good friends while enjoying a good meal. On chillier nights, soup tastes wonderful while watching the fire. This is a new favorite!

Stuffed Pepper Soup

1 lb lean ground beef
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped (a little over 1/2 of a medium pepper)
3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5) can beef broth
2 1/2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 cup uncooked long grain white or brown rice
cheddar or mozzarella cheese, for serving (optional)

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add beef to pot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally while breaking up beef. Drain beef and pour onto a plate lined with paper towels; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in pot then add onions, red bell pepper and green bell pepper. Sauté 3 minutes. Then, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer. Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth. Add parsley, basil, oregano and cooked beef, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a light boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While soup simmers, prepare rice according to directions listed on package. Once soup is done simmering, stir in desired amount of cooked rice into soup. Serve warm topped with optional cheese and garnish with fresh parsley.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 437, Calories from Fat: 123, Fat: 14 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 51 mg, Sodium: 3742 mg, Potassium: 1675 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 43 g.

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


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Posted in: Dine In

Family Matters: Picky Eaters

Picky EatersBoth of my boys went through a picky-eating phase.

When my older son turned about one, he stopped eating anything that was remotely nutritious. He was the kid who ate pureed Brussels sprouts, for goodness sake, and then he just stopped eating. His diet consisted largely of cheese toast, applesauce, bananas and milk.

I had to get sneaky. Did you know cooked and pureed broccoli and carrots are GREAT in pancakes? They sure are. Pumpkin is delightful mixed into oatmeal and sweet potatoes pass as french fries.

Now, a lot of toddler food comes in easy-to-handle, delicious pouches in a variety of flavors and combinations, so parents have a lot more choices for their toddlers without having to resort to stealth tactics.

From peas to potatoes and carrots and everything in between, pouch foods offer parents an excellent option for on-the-go nutrition or just a sit-down dinner at home.

You can also sneak veggies into pasta sauce, like this:

Chock Full o’ Veggies Pasta Sauce

1 (32 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini squash, diced
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried basil
1 Tbs garlic salt

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté all vegetables until tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil and garlic salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour. Serve over pasta. To put this sauce into stealth mode, puree the sauce in a food processor immediately after it comes to a boil, then return to pan to let simmer.

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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