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Dine-In: Friday Night Slow-Cooker Jambalaya


Slow-Cooker JambalayaIf you’ve read many of the blogs on the Brookshire’s site, then you know that we all have come to have great affection for our slow cookers. It’s the working parent’s answer to getting dinner on the table soon after we all get home, and these days, there are tons of new recipes that make slow cooking a whole new way of cooking that doesn’t involve cream of mushroom soup every time!

There are all kinds of recipes on the internet for modernized slow cooking, from healthier choices to chocolate pudding cakes and everything else you can think of in between. This recipe for Slow-Cooker Jambalaya is one of my teenage sons’ favorites because they love the chicken and  smoked sausage, and along with the rice, the jambalaya seems to fill them up if only for a while!

The last thing you do when you get home from work is add the rice, and 30 minutes later you can have dinner on the table and everyone happy. Easy and delicious for your family’s winter weeknight table.

Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Jambalaya
Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
3  garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbs Cajun or creole spice mix
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 3/4 cups long-grain white rice
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Combine chicken, sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, spice mix, thyme and oregano in a large (5-quart) slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 hours. Add shrimp and rice; raise heat to high and cook for 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 861, Total Fat: 34 g, Sodium 1064 mg, Carbohydrates 55 g, Protein: 80 g

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: Giving and Receiving


Christmas is a beautiful time of year with the bright colorful lights, festive music, snuggly weather, and holiday gatherings full of laughter and cheer.  From hanging the lights, decorating the tree, shopping for hours and dancing with glee, sounds like a fairy tale, right?  This is a special time of year for many but a really hard time for others due to circumstances surrounding them.

As we anticipate the holiday season and the true meaning of Christmas let us not forget to remember those less fortunate.  A lesson we learned young, is a lesson worth teaching our children – it is better to give than receive. Giving of our time to help where needed, our talents to bless others, our cooking to fill hunger, a hug to bring comfort, giving is not always monetary. What does it cost to offer hope to someone who has lost a job, lost a loved one, lost direction?  What is the cost of generosity, compassion and humility?  You don’t have to look far to find someone that needs to be blessed by you this Christmas.  Giving a toy, providing a meal, giving a coat or blanket, providing assistance wherever needed, this is important.

Let us focus on others instead of ourselves this holiday.  Let us show mercy and love, and extend a hand that makes the difference in the life of someone you may or may not know.  We were given the “ultimate gift” of mercy and grace at no cost. We can’t afford not to extend it to others.  Let us set an example for those around us and show the love of Christ in all we do.

Giving instead of receiving, the cost is small, the return is priceless.  Let us be a reflection of the true joy of giving and share the true meaning of Christmas.  May your family be a blessing to someone this holiday season.  Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!

 

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Posted in: Family Matters


Family Matters: Puppy Points


When my older son, Curt, was in first grade, he played soccer for the first time.
Let’s just say it didn’t go so well. He didn’t want to practice; he didn’t want to go to games; it was all very overwhelming for him.

But in our family, when you make a commitment to do something you try your best to stick it out.  We decided to offer Curt the chance to earn something he wanted most of all – a little puppy he could pick up. We had a bigger dog, Jill, but she was rambunctious and high-energy and Curt couldn’t corral her at that stage in life. He wanted a small-breed dog he could carry with him.

So he began to earn “puppy points.” He could earn up to two points per practice and game, not if he played well, but if he tried hard and gave it 100 percent. He had to earn a certain number of points over the course of the season to get his puppy.

Low and behold, Curt earned his puppy points and he picked out Tickles, a Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie mix) from a litter we’d found locally.

Tickles went everywhere with Curt. Curt would just scoop up that fluffy little puppy and tote him around like a toy. Fully grown, Tickles is now only about 12 pounds. But the vet told me recently that you really have to be careful about the weight on small dogs. Dogs can pack on the holiday pounds too, you know.
But here are some tips to keep your pooch fit and trim so they can lead a healthy, happy and long life:

• Don’t feed them table scraps and people food. They don’t need it and it’s not really a treat – it’s just fattening.
• Pay attention to the serving size on your dog’s bag of food. You don’t need to give a small dog an entire big bowl of food every day.
• Keep your pet active – take them on a walk every day or provide a green space for running.
• It’s OK to leave your pet outside during the day in mild weather. They tend to get more exercise outside.
• Give them a chew toy instead of a treat as a reward for good behavior.
• Send your children outside to play with the dog. Both get good exercise that way.
And don’t forget the love – a well-loved and cared for dog is the most happy and healthy.



Shop the Sale: Sausage Queso Fundido


It’s the time of year when work parties, holiday gatherings, outings with friends, potlucks and other festivities abound.

I seem to be stuck in the rut of always bringing the same few dishes to these events, so this year I tried to shake up my tried-and-true routine while still giving people their favorites.

This sausage queso fundido fit the bill perfectly. Who doesn’t love a bowl of warm cheese and some chips? This recipe is just a slight variation of an old favorite. The flavor is heightened with a dash of beer or tequila, but you can omit that if you don’t want to use it (don’t forget the alcohol will burn off).

Traditionally a fundido is made and served in a cast iron skillet, but you can always keep it warm in your slow cooker too.

Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage is on sale at Brookshire’s this week and I’d be willing to bet you have a party coming up sometime in the next week or two!

Sausage Queso Fundido
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1/2 lb Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup tequila or Mexican beer (optional)
1/2 lb Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

Directions:
Cook the sausage in a pan over medium heat, breaking it apart as you go, about 5-7 minutes. Drain. Add the onion, jalapeno and tomato and cook until the onions are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tequila, deglaze the pan and cook until most of the moisture is gone, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle on the cheese and cook, stirring, until it melts, about 2-3 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 449, Calories from Fat: 300, Total Fat: 33 g, Cholesterol: 98 mg, Sodium: 730 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 3 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 25 g

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



Healthy Living: Holiday Party Pitfalls


I have been to three holiday parties so far and that has amounted to at least six extra pounds. It’s hard to stay away from the mini-meatballs, the petit-fours, the sausage slices and the cheese balls and crackers.

But there are choices you can make at all these holiday fetes that won’t adversely affect your waistline.

• Bypass the chips and other fried pound-packers and help yourself to a small handful of nuts, reduced-fat cheese and fresh fruit, or chilled shrimp. Or serve a hummus dip with a holiday-themed veggie platter: red or green pepper, zucchini and jicama strips.
• Instead of a slice of pecan pie, opt for a small slice of pie minus the crust, and make it pumpkin, which is lower in fat and calories and also provides a good dose of beta-carotene. Or try a couple of strawberries dipped in chocolate.
• Instead of calorie-laden eggnog, choose hot apple cider spiced with cinnamon.
• Cheese straws are delicious, but how about a pretzel dipped in salsa instead?
• Dodge the mashed potato bar! Grab a baked sweet potato chip in its place.
• Cheesecake is decadent. If you must, bake a bite-sized version in a mini-muffin pan (and only eat one).
• Spinach and artichokes are packed with nutrition, then drowned in cream and cheese for a warm, crowd pleasing dip. Try drizzling roasted artichokes with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper.
• Traditional gingerbread is a holiday treat – try making cookies instead, which come in with fewer calories and grams of fat.
• Tis the season for rich coffee drinks. Add one crushed peppermint candy to your coffee instead of choosing a peppermint mocha.
• And when all else fails, don’t forget your regular exercise.

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Posted in: Healthy Living


Product Talk: Passion for Pomegranates


Pomegranates are considered one of nature’s “super foods,” thanks to the cancer- and disease-fighting properties of their juicy seeds. And this time of year, pomegranates make a powerful, delicious addition to your wintertime diet – whether you drink the juice or enjoy a snack of pomegranate seeds (which are completely edible).

A ripe pomegranate feels fairly heavy when you pick it up. You want to choose one that is not pale in color; Look for dark or bright red firm skin. And be sure to eat it as soon as you open the pomegranate. It’s easy for this super fruit to dry out, which won’t taste the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

One of my favorite pomegranate recipes pairs the taste (and nutrition) of the fruit with toasted walnuts in a wonderful winter salad. It’s colorful and beautiful on your plate, not to mention great tasting and great for you!

Enjoy!

Winter Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

For the vinaigrette

Ingredients:
2 tsp shallots, chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad
Ingredients:
2 lbs mixed salad greens
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and julienned
1/4 lb blue cheese
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:
To prepare the vinaigrette, place the shallot, vinegar, mustard and thyme in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Place salad greens, apples and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Add half the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, then toss again. Sprinkle the remaining seeds and walnuts over the salad. Serves 6.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 529, Fat: 40 g, Sodium: 347 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Protein: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 g

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



Ask Leigh


Question:  At an office birthday party the other day, a woman mentioned that the meringue on the pie being served was made with marshmallows. Is that really possible?

Answer: Yes! And although it does give the meringue a bit of a creamier taste and texture, this recipe works every single time. It seems to help keep the meringue from shrinking, as well as tasting absolutely delicious!

Marshmallow Meringue

Ingredients:
1 (7 oz) jar Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème
3 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Using rubber spatula, scrape marshmallow crème into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form.

Add 1/2 cup beaten egg whites to marshmallow crème and stir with rubber spatula or spoon just until incorporated to lighten. Marshmallow crème is very sticky and will be difficult to blend at first, but blending will become easier as remaining whites are folded in. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions just until incorporated.

Spread meringue over top of cold pie, mounding slightly in center and swirling with knife to create peaks. Bake for about 5 minutes until meringue is browned. Enjoy!

 

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Posted in: Cooking


Dine-In: Hot and Sour Soup


Hot and Sour SoupI have become obsessed lately with a local Chinese restaurant’s hot and sour soup.

When I say obsessed, I mean I ate it five days in a row last week. It’s that good.  It’s thick, it’s spicy, it’s perfect for a cold winter night. And it would be even better if I didn’t have to change out of my pajamas to get some.

This recipe is the closest I’ve found to my restaurant favorite and I can prepare it in my pajamas and not have to leave my fireplace on a Friday night to make a soup run!

Hot and Sour Soup
Makes 2 quarts

Ingredients:
4 dried Chinese fungi (about 1 oz), such as wood ears or cloud ears
2 Tbs canola oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbs red chile paste
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
Pinch sugar
2 quarts Chinese Chicken Stock, recipe follows
1 square firm tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
3 Tbs cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Chopped green onions and cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions:
Put the wood ears in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes to reconstitute. Drain and rinse the wood ears; discard any hard clusters in the centers.

Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high flame. Add the ginger, chili paste, wood ears, bamboo shoots; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavor. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar in a small bowl. Pour it into the wok and toss everything together – it should smell really fragrant. Pour in the Chinese Chicken Stock, bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir until smooth. Mix the slurry into the soup and continue to simmer until the soup thickens. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1 direction to get a current going, then stop stirring. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream and watch it spin around and feather in the broth (it should be cooked almost immediately.) Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.

Chinese Chicken Stock

Ingredients:
1 (4 lb) whole chicken
1 bunch green onions, halved
4 garlic cloves, smashed
3-inch piece fresh ginger, whacked open with the flat side of a knife
1 onion, halved
1 tsp whole white peppercorns
3 quarts cold water

Directions:
Put the chicken in a large stockpot and place over medium heat. Toss in the green onions, garlic, ginger, onion and peppercorns. Pour about 3 quarts of cold water into the pot to cover the chicken by 1-inch. Simmer gently for 1 hour, uncovered, skimming off the foam on the surface periodically.

Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and pass the stock through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to remove the solids and excess fat. Cool the chicken stock to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator, or chill it down over ice first.

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

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Posted in: Dine In


Family Matters: Creating Family Memories


When the holidays roll in and school lets out, it’s a great time to stop and enjoy some free time with your children and grandchildren. Yes, I know it’s the most hectic time of the year, but it’s also the most wonderful from what I hear. And these little moments with our little ones disappear before you can say, “Happy New Year!” 

I have teenage sons and they are way more interested in what their friends are doing than spending too much time with me in the kitchen, so I try to grab every opportunity I can to draw them in to hanging out with me. It’s a great time to talk, as everyone is pretty relaxed and knows some good food is on the way soon! 

These two recipes were some of my sons’ favorites when they were younger. They loved chicken nuggets, but I just didn’t care for the frozen kind – or for frying the nuggets too often. I bake mine, and no one notices that they haven’t been in the deep fryer. The quality of the chicken is also so much better than anything you can get in a drive-thru! 

And once you’ve made Homemade Applesauce, you’re going to be hooked for life. Yes, it takes a bit of time to prepare and to allow too cool down, but it’s worth every single delicious spoonful. Depending on how sweet you like yours, choose a variety of apples and play with the flavors. You really can’t go wrong, and its five simple ingredients I bet you already have at home. 

We still make these recipes from time to time, and it’s adorable to see them flashback to memories from their preschool days. We have had some sweet conversations simply because the food triggered fun days back when I could still carry them on my hip and read Dr. Seuss every afternoon at nap time. Those days are gone, but the memories and the food will stay with us…until grandchildren one day (a long, long way away!). 

Enjoy! 

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks. Mix bread crumbs with parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Dip chicken into melted butter. Roll in crumb mixture. Lay on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve warm. Also good cold for leftovers. 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 458, Total Fat: 27 g, Sodium: 360 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 44 g

Homemade Applesauce
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
6 red apples, or whatever kind you like
1 cup water
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Core and peel all apples. Quarter the apples, and then cut into chunks. Place apple chunks in a medium saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover to simmer until apples soften and break apart. Stir every few minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Refrigerate until cooled. Keeps about a week in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 128, Total Fat: 0 g, Sodium: 3 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Protein: 1 g

 



Shop the Sale: Pizza Chicken


If left to their own devices, my boys would eat pizza for every meal, every day.  I can only imagine when they grow up and go off to college or get a job, or whatever they do that puts them out on their own, they’ll eat pizza every opportunity they can.  I, however, cannot and will not eat pizza that often, but I do try to incorporate the flavors into other dishes.

Thus “Pizza Chicken” was born. I make this in the slow cooker so it’s ready when we get home from school/work/karate on Tuesday nights. You could serve it over pasta if you wanted; I usually let it stand on its own with a side salad.

Chicken is on sale this week at Brookshire’s – making it easy and affordable to get this meal on the table in no time!

My Boys’ Pizza Chicken

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz turkey pepperoni, chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except cheese in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 5 to 6 hours. Right before serving, sprinkle with cheese. Let melt. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 613 Calories from Fat: 175 Total Fat: 19 g Cholesterol: 175 mg Sodium: 1729 mg,Total Carbohydrates: 52 g, Dietary Fiber: 14 g, Protein: 66 g



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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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