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Shop the Sale: Orange Glazed Pork Chops


Dinner in a Dash:

I would like to pretend that I get dinner on the table for my family every night…and on time. But if your  life is anything like mine, then there are simply some evenings that supper arrives in a sack through my car window. It’s just the way it is.

But I don’t want to be a fast-food family all the time.  Yes, it takes some planning on my part, and yes, some nights don’t go as I hope and I end up alone in the kitchen with nothing but dirty words and dirty dishes.

These are the nights I try to remember how cute my teenagers were before they decided that I know nothing about anything.

But for the most part, I have found that some my family’s best conversations and laughter happen around our dinner table. One of my family’s favorites is this quick, delicious recipe for Orange Glazed Pork Chops.  This week, the Hormel Pork Chops and Food Club Orange Juice are on sale in all Brookshire’s, making this an even better deal for your family.

The sauce is delicious on hot, cooked rice, and I usually just steam some fresh broccoli to serve with it…which happens to also be on sale this week.

There’s something about coming together at the end of our day in a place where we can let our guard down and enjoy a good meal together that gives us all a much-needed sense of security in this crazy world.

Orange Glazed Pork Chops
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 Hormel boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup Food Club orange juice
2 tablespoons honey or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspooon crushed red pepper, optional
Hot cooked rice

Directions:
In a bowl, combine orange juice, brown sugar, marmalade, vinegar and crushed red pepper. Set aside. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil to medium-high and brown pork chops on both sides. Remove to a plate and drain excess grease from skillet. Return pork chops and skillet to heat. Pour orange juice mixture over pork chops. Cover and simmer on low heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until pork chops are tender. Remove pork chops to a warm platter. Spoon additional sauce over pork chops. Serve pork chops over hot cooked rice. 



Healthy Living: Healthier Microwave Popcorn


Popcorn and movies go together like peanut butter and jelly; I hardly ever watch a movie without it. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out popcorn was a whole grain, making it a healthier snack than most.

What’s not healthy about popcorn? All the fats and salt and flavorings that it often contains. Even the healthiest microwave popcorn has much more fat and salt than the kind you make in an old-fashioned air-pop popcorn maker.

But since those air-pop makers can be hard to find in stores, I needed to find a way to make my own, healthier microwave popcorn. Luckily, it’s easy – and you don’t have to make room in the kitchen for yet another special cooking device!

You just need popcorn (the original kind, which boasts a super NuVal score of 91) and Paper Chef Parchment Bags.

Add about 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the parchment bag. Fold the bag down about 3 or 4 times. Microwave the popcorn 2 1/2 minutes on high.

Meanwhile, put just a little bit of butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the bowl to the microwave with the popcorn and microwave for about 15 seconds. Remove the popcorn from the microwave and carefully open it. Add the melted butter and shake the bag. Serve!

I haven’t felt so good about indulging in popcorn since I was a kid, and we used to pop big bowls of popcorn in my brother’s Scooby Doo air-pop popcorn maker. In fact, when the Breaking Dawn movie was recently released on DVD, I rushed right out and got my collector’s edition – and not just because I’m a big fan of the Twilight movie vampires. I also knew it would give me the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy a movie with a bowl of my favorite movie snack …popcorn. Guilt-free.



Product Talk: Atlantic salmon


Scared of cooking salmon at home? Don’t be. With our precise instructions, anybody who can set a timer can sear salmon like a pro.

Salmon is a popular fish for a reason – it’s meaty, tasty AND heart-healthy. (It’s full of those Omega-3 fats we’re all supposed to be eating.) And yet it’s one of the easiest, most forgiving fish to grill, sauté or sear.

With this precisely timed recipe, all the salmon needs is a few minutes in a hot pan, plus a squirt of lemon juice or a sprinkle of fresh herbs to “finish” it if you desire.  Serve with a side of rice and a green vegetable for a heart-healthy meal worthy of a restaurant chef, but at affordable, cook-at-home prices.

Pan-Seared Salmon
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 salmon fillets (skin-on), each about 6 ounces and 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick
Salt and ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet for 3 minutes over high heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and ground black pepper.

Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. When oil shimmers (but does not smoke) add fillets skin side down and cook, without moving fillets, until pan regains lost heat, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue to cook until skin side is well browned and bottom half of fillets turns opaque, 4 1/2 minutes. Turn fillets and cook, without moving them, until they are no longer translucent on the exterior and are firm, but not hard, when gently squeezed: 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium. Remove fillets from pan; let stand 1 minute. Pat with paper towel to absorb excess fat on surface, if desired. Serve immediately.



Dine- In: Easy French Toast


French toast may be my favorite weekend breakfast/brunch dish: It’s just as easy to make as a pancake, it’s a great centerpiece for bacon and eggs, and it’s even a smart way to use up bread that’s just on this side of going stale. Really, what’s not to like?

This super-easy recipe not only makes a good brunch dish, but you can even serve it as a dessert, especially if you dress it up with fresh berries and whipped cream, or even a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

If you’re going the fruit route, try a technique called macerating to sweeten and soften it up:  Place berries (or other cut-up fruit, like peach slices) in a small metal bowl, sprinkle with granulated sugar, splash with a bit of vanilla, honey and fresh lemon juice, and stir. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Easy French Toast
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 slices crusty white bread
Maple syrup

Directions:
Beat together egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.

Heat a lightly oiled skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Soak bread slices in egg mixture for 20 seconds on each side, or until thoroughly coated and slices have begun to soften slightly. Cook bread until both sides are lightly browned and crisp. Serve hot with maple syrup.

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: Life is Short, Eat Dessert First!


You can learn a lot about people by simply reading the words on their t-shirts. In an instant, you can know which teams they cheer for, how they vote, where they vacation, and which motorcycle they drive in their fantasy life.

One of my favorites was a shirt I saw on a darling white-haired lady one summer while we were in an ice cream shop in Florida. She was sitting at a picnic table in the shade, along with three or four of her grandchildren, happily enjoying huge scoops of melting ice cream. Her shirt read, “Life is Short, Eat Dessert First!”

I read the shirt quickly and thought, “yeah, yeah, cute saying on a cute lady” but didn’t think too much about it until a few weeks later when we were back home and I saw a car with the same saying on a bumper sticker. It reminded me of that day at the beach when my family was having such a good time together, away from the stresses of real life and our fast-paced routines.

Something triggered in my head and I thought how funny it would be if I served dessert first that night at the dinner table. I never let my children have sweets before dinner time, and I wondered what their reactions would be if we sat down, said the blessing, and then I pulled a pie out of the fridge.

The more I thought about it, the more I became certain I needed to make the idea a reality. I still had several hours before everyone got home from school and work, so I decided to make each of their favorite desserts: chocolate sheet cake for Ron, lemon icebox pie for Smith, and Will’s never-varying two scoops of lime sherbet.

Let me just tell you this: Do it. Do it tonight. The expression on their faces and the uncontrollable laughter and delight around our table that night is one of my favorite memories of all time.

I don’t know why I had never thought of serving dessert first before that night, and now that I’m writing this, I think it’s about time for me to do it again. I feel like I just blinked and suddenly those cute little boys wearing matching bathing suits have become huge teenagers well on their way out of our door once and for all.

Life really is short…painfully short at times. So tonight, I’ll do it if you will. Throw the good parent handbook out of the window, and dig in. Eat dessert first.

Smith’s Favorite Lemon Icebox Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Whipped Cream:
3/4 cup chilled heavy cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions:
For the crust, preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl until combined, then press mixture evenly onto the bottom and up side of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake in middle of oven 10 minutes. Cool completely, leaving oven preheated.

For the pie, whisk together condensed milk and yolks until combined well. Add juice and whisk again until mixture is slightly thickened. Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely, cover, and then chill in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

For the whipped cream, just before serving, beat cream and powdered sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Serve pie cold topped with whipped cream.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the sale: Shrimp with pasta


Seafood is traditional during Lent, which starts today – I’m pretty sure that, growing up, we all ate a lot of fish sticks during this season. So this week, we have special prices on lots of your favorite fish and shellfish, including Atlantic salmon, tilapia, and my favorite, shell-on shrimp.

This shrimp dish is easy to throw together – even if you have to clean the shrimp, you can get it on the table in 30 minutes or less, so it’s perfect for a quick after-work supper.

You can substitute other favorite fresh herbs, depending on your tastes, but I don’t recommend dried herbs for this dish; they just won’t give it the depth of flavor.

Shrimp with Capellini and Herbs
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound capellini (angel hair) pasta
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp. Kosher salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside in a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and the garlic and salt and pepper. Sauté the shrimp until they are pink on both sides, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the herbs, lemon juice, and salt. Toss to coat. (Note: To make it easier use a separate large mixing bowl to toss all ingredients)

Serve immediately.



Healthy Living: Salad Fatigue


Salad fatigue? We can fix that!

Do you get bored with the same old salad, day after day? Iceberg lettuce, chopped tomato and ranch dressing got you down? We feel your pain.

Fight salad fatigue with variety—healthy variety!

We’re not talking about high-calorie goodies like cheese, candied nuts and croutons.

Instead, try these:

  • Aim for several varieties of lettuce, in a range of colors from light green to dark purple. Using a variety of lettuce isn’t just pretty; it also adds extra vitamins and a balance of textures.
  • Add your favorite shredded and sliced vegetables (carrots, celery, bell pepper, broccoli, – whatever you like!)
  • Think outside the box – or the typical produce department offerings: Add edamame, chickpeas, fresh snow peas or sprouts for a salad that’s special.
  • Like crunch – but not the saturated fat of traditional oil-soaked croutons? Try just a tiny sprinkle of  plain, slivered almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds  – all of them healthier and more vitamin-packed than a crouton.
  • Sweeten it up – with fruit. Crunchy apple slices, pears, grapes, citrus segments, or even berries can add interest to a green salad.
  • Top with an interesting, lower-fat dressing. The simplest dressing in the world is a tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of your favorite herbs—oregano, basil, dill or parsley. Toss and enjoy.

When there are so many choices to put into salads, it’s easy to keep things lively!

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Don’t tap out with Kona Deep


Brookshire’s has a new bottled water on our shelves, Kona Deep.  And this water has a cool story behind it. In fact, it’s an ice cold one.

Kona Deep is natural glacial water found 3000 feet below the earth’s surface off the Kona coast in Hawaii. You might be thinking that Hawaii doesn’t have any glaciers, and you’re right. Kona Deep’s water is part of a glacier that sank off the coast of Greenland more than 1000 years ago. A natural undersea current brings it to Hawaii, fresh and flowing all the time.

What makes Kona Deep different from the other bottled waters crowding the market is that no other water offers such a rich source of natural electrolytes, minerals and nutrients. The water picks up significant levels of these electrolytes and minerals as it travels deep under the sea.

My first question when I heard about Kona Deep was, “Isn’t sea water going to taste salty?” But Kona Deep does not. For all of your science buffs, Kona Deep runs through a desalination process and uses reverse osmosis to remove the salt without losing any of the benefits. For all of you like me, you just need to know Kona Deep’s taste is pristine, almost sweet in its purity. It’s perfect to drink alone, and it also makes my morning coffee taste even better.

And for all of you CrossFit athletes out there, you might be interested to know Kona Deep was the presenting sponsor for this year’s Fittest Games in Austin, Texas.

Kona Deep is available now in all Brookshire’s Stores. Look for the cool blue bottle.

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Posted in: Product Talk


Dine-In: New Orleans Fried Oysters


Gear up for Mardi Gras next week with this classic New Orleans-style dish – fried oysters.

This recipe gets some heat from the cayenne pepper, but if you like it hotter, kick it up a notch with up a little extra cayenne.

These are good all by themselves, hot out of the fryer with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice or dunked into a side of cocktail sauce. (Serve guests their own ramekin of cocktail sauce and put out some hot sauce on the side, so each can doctor it to their own level of heat.) Or to really channel that Mardi Gras feeling, turn them into oyster po’boys: Stuff hoagie rolls with fried oysters (at least six per roll), lettuce, tomato, and a good squeeze of tartar sauce. And let the good times at the table roll.

Fried Oysters
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
3/4  cup fine-ground cornmeal
3/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2  tsp. salt
3/4  tsp. ground black pepper
1/4  tsp.  Cayenne pepper
1 pound shucked Oysters , in their liquor (about 45 oysters)
5 – 6 cups peanut or vegetable oil
Lemon wedges

Directions:
Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a large, shallow dish, mix together cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. In a separate, medium bowl, combine all oysters with their liquor (juices) and remove any bits of shell.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop up about 8 oysters, briefly allowing the excess liquor to drip off, and scatter them across the cornmeal mixture. Shake the dish to coat the oysters evenly with cornmeal mixture. Transfer the oysters to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining oysters.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 400 degrees. Drop 1/3 of the breaded oysters (about 15 oysters) in the hot oil. Using a wire skimmer, stir and poke at the oysters as they fry to prevent them from fusing together. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil at 400 degrees. Remove the oysters from the hot oil with the wire skimmer when they have turned golden brown and the frying has slowed, about 1 minute.

Transfer the oysters to a plate lined with several layers of paper towel, then transfer to oven to keep warm. Return the oil to 400 degrees and repeat with remaining oysters. Serve with lemon wedges or dipping sauce.

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Posted in: Dine In, Seafood


Family Matters: Making cleaning a family project


If you’re like most of us, your house may start out clean and tidy at the beginning of the week, but after a few days, the clutter and dirt of daily life catches up with you. And, of course, this is multiplied by 10 if you have children in the house.

So why not make the kids part of the solution? A few minutes of work by every family member will make the cleanup go faster – and start teaching children the skills they’ll need to keep house when they finally move out. Plus, it means you’ll have less work to do come the weekend, and more time to spent together as a family, doing the things you’d really rather do.

Combat clutter: Even a clean house can start looking junky from the flotsam you accumulate during the week, like school papers, unopened mail, jackets and toys forgotten in the kitchen. Create a system for catching all this – a basket or drawer for junk mail, a folder for that week’s school papers (which you should clean our frequently).  Another mom I know has a “freebie bowl” – specifically designed to catch all those miniature toys collected from fast-food visits or venues like Chuck E. Cheese.

Conduct a “toy sweep:” In most houses, toys and games and books have a way of migrating from their “home” to other resting spots throughout the house. Some friends make each child do a mandatory “toy sweep” before dinner, by having each child search for dolls, action figures, crayons and games and return each to their room.

Five minute bursts: Create a list of tasks that can be done in five or ten minutes – sweeping the kitchen, wiping down the bathroom mirror and counters, dusting the furniture in just the living room or just the dining room. Then, if your kids are old enough to do the work, let everyone draw straws to see who has to do what.  Have everyone do their job at the same time, then meet back in the kitchen or living room for a family reward, like a favorite video or a quick game of cards.

Give assignments: For older kids, say, 8 and up, it’s time to start assigning a daily task that is their responsibility alone. It can be as simple as making the bed and making sure all their dirty clothes actually hit the hamper, taking out the trash, or for older kids, loading and unloading the dishwasher. If your kids balk at chores, like most do, gently remind them that everyone lives in the house, so everybody has to take some responsibility for keeping it clean and livable. (And if that doesn’t work alone – sweeten the deal with a small but non-monetary reward, like an extra 15 minutes of reading time before bedtime, or watching a favorite TV show together.)

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Posted in: Family Matters


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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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