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Dine In: Jalapeño Sausage Balls


Jalapeño Sausage BallsI tend to get stuck in a pattern for Friday night meals. When I lived overseas in Germany, my best friend Susan and I walked down to our favorite Greek restaurant every single Friday night.

When I had kids, I continued a tradition that my mom started by serving pizza on Friday nights.

Now, I tend to use the smoker for Friday night festivities. I run home at lunchtime to put dinner on to smoke (or prep it in the morning, depending on what we’re smoking), and it’s done by the time we’re home from work and relaxing on the back porch.

I saw a smoked dish on Instagram that I wanted to try, and it only takes about two hours on the smoker. Even if you don’t have time to run home at lunch on a Friday, you can still enjoy this on your porch on Friday evening.

You can switch up the fillings, too. I have one person in my family who doesn’t like cream cheese, so he just gets cheddar. I have another who doesn’t like jalapeños, so he just gets cheese pressed into the middle of the sausage ball. I like bleu cheese, so I’ll mix that in with mine. The sky is the limit.

Jalapeño Sausage Balls

Ingredients:
12 jalapeño peppers, tops removed, seeded and pithed
6 Tbs whipped cream cheese
6 Tbs sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tbs white onion, finely minced
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 lbs Owens Pork Breakfast Sausage
12 strips bacon, uncooked

Directions:
Remove the tops from the jalapeño peppers. Slice a slit through lengthwise, not cutting all the way through. Remove pith and seeds.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onions and cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stuff each pepper with a heaping tablespoon full of the cream cheese mixture.

Using your hands, mold sausage around pepper, forming a ball and completely covering the pepper. Wrap sausage ball with two strips of bacon; secure with toothpicks.

Prepare smoker. Place sausage balls on rack, and smoke for about 2 hours or until cooked through. Alternately, place on the grill over indirect heat (the bacon will cause flare-ups if it’s not indirect) and cook through, several minutes on each side.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 460, Calories from Fat: 330, Fat: 36 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 1576 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 29 g.

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Healthy Living: Kids’ Summer Breakfasts


Kids’ Summer BreakfastsSummers can be tough.

I still have to go to work, but my kids don’t have to go to school.

They’ve hit the age where they’re old enough not to need summer day camp, so they stay home during the day. They spend their hours running or biking (being certain to text me before they leave and as soon as they get home), working through the job list I leave every morning, playing outside with the kids down the street, and probably playing too many video games, truth be told.

I can’t always control what they do during the day, but I can make sure they have a good breakfast to start the day.

They are often still asleep when I leave, so I make sure to stock up on things they can prepare themselves that will give them energy and nutrition to have a great summer.

Some of those things include whole grain Bagel Thins with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with diced fruit and granola, homemade breakfast burritos (if you wrap them in foil, they stay warm for a pretty long time), homemade sausage rolls (same foil trick applies) and all kinds of fruit bars.

These are their favorite.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients:
For the strawberry bars:
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs sugar, divided
10 oz fresh strawberries, chopped

For the glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, ginger and salt. Swirl in the melted butter, and stir until it forms crumbs and the dry ingredients are moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

Spread about 1/2 the strawberries over the crust. Sprinkle with the cornstarch, lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Top with remaining berries and the remaining sugar. Spread the topping crumbs over the strawberries. It’s fine to have fruit showing through.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the fruit bubbles and topping is golden. Cool completely.

For the topping, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk; whisk until smooth. Add more milk if you want the glaze to have a thinner consistency. Drizzle bars with glaze. Slice and serve.

Makes 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 115, Calories from Fat: 43, Fat: 5 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 12 mg, Sodium: 68 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Bacon-Mushroom-Swiss Slow-Cooked Chicken


Bacon-Mushroom-Swiss Slow-Cooked ChickenIn a house with two picky eaters, one dieter and one kid who eats everything but the kitchen sink (and that’s only because I’ve never put hot sauce on it and put it on a plate), dinner can sometimes be a challenge to put together without repeating the same dishes over and over.

One kid doesn’t like mushrooms. One man doesn’t like white cheese or white sauce. One dieter doesn’t eat carbs.

Does anyone else feel my pain?

Luckily, bacon makes everything better, especially John Morrell Bacon on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

For whatever the reason (likely the bacon), this dish passed muster with everyone in my house. (I’ll just pretend I didn’t see one kid picking out the mushrooms).

This is delicious served over rice (cauliflower rice if you’re the low-carb dieter) with a side of steamed green beans or a fresh salad.

The bacon gives this dish a smoky flavor and pulls all the flavors together.

Bacon-Mushroom-Swiss Chicken

Ingredients:
3 slices John Morrell Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pint fresh button mushrooms
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
6 slices Swiss cheese

Directions:
Spray the crock of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Top with mushrooms and cream of chicken soup. Cook on low for 8 hours. Top with Swiss cheese, and cover lid until cheese begins to melt. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 484, Calories from Fat: 200, Fat: 15 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 175 mg, Sodium: 890 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 63 g.

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



Healthy Living: Sunscreen


SunscreenIf you’ve ever read the famous newspaper column or heard the song, for that matter, you know that if you learn one thing in life, it’s to always wear sunscreen.

Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, thus greatly reducing your chances of skin cancer.

When should you wear sunscreen?

That’s easy: at all times.

Really? Even during the winter months or on cloudy days?

You betcha.

Your skin can still be damaged on a winter or dreary day. Trust me; I’ve gotten sunburned in February.

Look for a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher. The number means the amount of time you should be protected from the sun versus not wearing any at all. For instance, if you apply an SPF 30, you should be protected 30 times longer than you would be without sunscreen, in theory.

In reality, sunscreen itself can only work up to a certain amount. If you’re going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, consider putting on long-sleeves, and covering your legs and your head with a hat, which will protect your face. Don’t forget your ears. Spray them liberally with sunscreen to prevent them from burning.

If you’re on the beach, outside at a festival or sporting event, or doing other outdoor activities, you’ll want to reapply about two ounces of sunscreen every 90 minutes, more if you’re swimming or sweating heavily.

Apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before going outside. Don’t forget your lips! Buy a lip balm with a high SPF rating and reapply frequently. If you’re outside, store sunscreen in a cooler bag to keep it from melting and making a mess during frequent use.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Canada Dry Ginger Ale


Canada Dry Ginger AleThe entire first trimester of my second pregnancy, you’d never see me without a glass of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. I had to sip it from a glass (don’t even TRY to give it to me in a plastic cup). It had to have a straw, and it had to have three ice cubes. Not four, not two, not crushed ice. Three ice cubes. Three.

Pregnancy neuroses aside, Canada Dry Ginger Ale has been an enduring favorite.

It was always what my mom brought to my bedside to sip on during my sickly days as a child.

It sees me through many a baby shower, bridal shower or brunch where some sort of fabulous, fizzy punch drink is required.

It’s also great to settle the stomach of a couple of guys who get overheated or eat too fast.

Canada Dry Ginger Ale is made with 100 percent real ginger. It was first made in Canada over 100 years ago. It became popular in the United States during Prohibition, and its popularity has been going strong ever since.

Gold Coast Punch

Ingredients:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cans orange juice, frozen concentrate
2 quarts Canada Dry Ginger Ale
1/4 cup maraschino cherries

Directions:
Combine lemon juice, pineapple juice and concentrated orange juice. Mix well. Pour over ice in punch bowl. Fill the bowl with ice-cold Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Serves 25

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 44, Calories from Fat: 1, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 7 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 0 g.

Recipe from Canadadry.com

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



Dine In: Cheeseburger Hand Pies


Cheeseburger Hand PiesOne of our favorite family activities is to go to the drive-in movies on a Friday night.

We get there early, spread out a few picnic blankets, set up camping chairs and unpack the cooler. We have dinner there in the fading light and pack extra snacks for the movie, of course!

Having dinner at the drive-in is the best. I’ve often said food tastes the most delicious outdoors, and on a picnic blanket in front of a huge screen is no exception. After we eat, we usually kick around a soccer ball or throw a tennis ball until the sun sinks over the horizon and the big screen crackles to life.

One of the best parts is that we’re so busy enjoying each other, that phones and other electronics get left inside the car!

When the movie starts, we pile blankets in the trunk and settle in under the stars. It’s really a perfect Friday night.

I found that I can make these Cheeseburger Hand Pies ahead of time and heat them up before we go, storing them in an insulated bag to keep them warm until we’re ready to eat.

Cheeseburger Hand Pies

Ingredients:
1 lb 80/20 ground beef
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 cup dill pickles, finely chopped
1 (8 ct) pkg refrigerated biscuits
8 slices American cheese
mustard and ketchup, to taste
olive oil

Directions:
Mix ground beef with seasoned salt and pickles. Form 8 burger patties. Grill or pan-fry until cooked through to desired doneness.

Preheat oven to 350° F, and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the biscuits from the package. Place on baking sheet, carefully separating biscuits into two pieces horizontally.

Press bottom biscuit to flatten. Top with a burger, cheese, mustard and/or ketchup, if desired. Press the other half of the biscuit on top; fold edges of the bottom biscuit piece up to seal.

Repeat with all burgers and biscuits.

Brush with olive oil. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden-brown and burgers are heated through.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 392, Calories from Fat: 187, Fat: 21 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 1527 mg, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 24 g.

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



Family Matters: Leftovers


LeftoversSometimes, no matter how well we plan, some leftovers are inevitable, which is perfectly fine with me. This means a night of hassle-free cooking after working all day.

This week on Monday, I put a roast, carrots and potatoes in the slow cooker to cook on low heat all day. This recipe is so easy. You just add a can of fat-free cream of mushroom soup and a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix to the slow cooker with your roast and vegetables. It’s really yummy, and you could eat leftovers of this for the next day. However, my family isn’t crazy about having the same meal the next day.

The next day, I took the leftover meat only and put it in the slow cooker with a chopped onion and barbecue sauce to make barbecue beef sliders. This meal was so easy to throw together using the leftovers from the night before, and it was a huge hit with my kiddos.

So, clean out the fridge at least once a week and get creative! Cooking is about creating not wasting, and using leftovers is actually a great way to make something new!



Honey: Nature’s Healing Candy


Honey: Nature’s Healing CandyAre your New Year’s resolutions slowly waning or have you kept with them? I sometimes find myself in the mornings knowing the gym will entice me to seize the day, but I’m unwilling to get out of bed. How do you make up for those “snooze button” mornings? Nutrition, that’s how.

One of our newer products in stores is Brookshire’s Honey. The Raw Texas Honey even comes in a Mason jar, so you feel as if you just came back from the hive itself. This honey is so delicious that I use it whenever I get the chance. I use it on celery, tortillas, cereal and snack mix, but there is much more to honey than snacking.

Our Brookshire’s Honey is 100% pure and True Source-Certified. That means the honey can be tracked from the consumer back through the supply chain to the country of origin and the beekeeper that harvested the honey from the beehive! We care about our customers, so we know exactly where our products and their ingredients come from.

There are so many reasons to include honey in your daily regimen. It boosts energy, reduces muscle fatigue, promotes a good night’s sleep, helps build up your immune system, soothes a sore throat, and can even help you fight cancer! You can also put it on a cut or burn to help heal it. It might even help persuade you to hit the gym in the morning! Just a spoonful is all you need. Perhaps I should start my mornings that way…

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Posted in: Natural, Nutrition


Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Ragu


Slow Cooker RaguWhen I was visiting Italy, one of my favorite meals, not only of the trip but of all time, was a slow cooked ragu over polenta.

A ragu is simply a meat sauce, slow-cooked until the meat is fork-tender and melts in your mouth, with tomatoes and spices.

In fact, most “sauces” you see in Italy are more a ragu than the marinara we know well in America.

You can make a ragu with almost any meat. I’ve had pork ragus and beef ragus. They’re delicious if you leave the bone in your meat during the cooking process, but it’s just as tasty if you use a boneless cut of meat, like this boneless rump roast on sale at Brookshire’s this week.

The trattoria where I ate my ragu in Italy was on a cobbled side street in Venice with a small garden with a tiny view of the water, covered in a pergola weighted down with flowering vines.

The whole street was resplendent with the smell of cooking meat and spices.

You can serve this over pastas or mashed potatoes, but the polenta provides a bit of bite that complements the heavy sauce.

Slow Cooker Ragu

Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
3 lbs beef rump roast or round roast
1/2 cup white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano Whole Tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Wait until it is fragrant and starting to bubble, then add rump roast. Sear on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

Place rump roast in the slow cooker with onions, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, basil, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with a fork and remove bay leaves.
Serve over polenta, a hearty pasta or mashed potatoes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 461, Calories from Fat: 189, Fat: 23 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 1099 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 31 g.

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



Healthy Living: 100-Mile Challenge


100-Mile ChallengeSummer vacation is almost here for area students, and you know what that means: sleeping late, no school lunches to fix and a lot of lazy days sitting around not doing much of anything aside from playing video games.

At least, that’s how it tends to go in our house.

My sons are old enough that they’ve aged out of summer day camps and activities like that, but they’re not old enough for summer jobs. Two summers ago, they devised their own plan that would keep them active, give them something to do each day, and give them a goal to work toward. They called it the “100-Mile Challenge.”

The point was to travel 100 miles by the end of summer vacation, either by walking, running, jogging or riding their bikes. We clocked off a 2.1-mile loop in our neighborhood, one I felt safe enough letting them do without me. It didn’t involve any main roads and stuck to the neighborhood. While it still made me a little nervous, (because let’s face it, in this day and age you can’t be too careful) the benefits seemed to outweigh the risks.

Most days, I’d say at least five a week, they’d embark on their 2.1-mile jaunt. If they were riding their bikes, they’d generally do the “loop” twice for 4.2 miles. Keeping this pace, they were each able to hit 100 miles the week before school started again.

They loved the competition (truth be told, my younger son finished his 100 miles before his older brother). They also stayed in shape and had some fun. They quickly learned that in the heat of the summer, they’d better pry themselves out of bed at a reasonable hour before it got too hot to run. My older son realized that he needed to stay in shape all year, not just the summer, to keep up with his brother who plays soccer 11 months out of the year. They both learned that cross-training, combining the bike with running, was the smart way to use different muscles and combat fatigue.

Plus, they just had fun.

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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.

Product Talk

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