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Dine-In: Getting Ready for Valentine’s Day


Steak and Purple Potato SaladDine In Fridays are the perfect practice for the upcoming holiday.
What upcoming holiday, you might ask?Don’t close this blog, men!!!!Valentine’s Day, of course.It’s the perfect time to make a meal at home and not try to beat the crowds at a hot restaurant. I mean, who really wants to make reservations for 3 p.m. or 11 p.m. trying to avoid the rush?

I had a friend once who made a Valentine’s Day escape right on her own back porch. Inspired by a Moroccan visit, she draped the porch in diaphanous fabrics and piled pillows and soft rugs onto the floor. She served a meal on trays and lit the room with dozens of candles.

Setting the stage is romantic, but so is cooking a simple meal for your sweetie.  In fact, some experts say to keep your meal light so you don’t make yourself bloated and sleepy….for later….

This “salad” hits the spot! For date night in or Valentine’s Day dinner, it’s the perfect end to a day and the beginning of a great night.

Steak and Purple Potato Salad
Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste
8 oz sirloin steak, trimmed
3/4 lb small purple potatoes, (see Tip), scrubbed
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 large radishes, sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Mix lime juice, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic in a small bowl to form a paste; rub onto both sides of steak. Refrigerate the steak.

Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain, let cool for 10 minutes, then quarter.

While the potatoes cool, preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack (see Tip) or pan. Grill the steak, turning once, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140° F, about 10 minutes total on the grill or 16 to 20 minutes in a grill pan. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Whisk vinegar, oil, cumin, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the steak and any accumulated juices, the potatoes, radishes, scallions and cilantro; gently toss to coat.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 360, Fat: 12 g, Cholesterol 42 mg; Carbohydrates: 34 g, Protein: 27 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sodium: 660 mg, Potassium: 413 mg

 



Family Matters: Baby


As I sit down to write this blog, my son is celebrating his 11th birthday.

Eleven years old.

I can’t really remember where the past 11 years have gone.

I also can’t remember where I got the idea for the tradition of the Birthday Chair.

Each year, in the dark hours before the birthday boy wakes up, the Birthday Chair is born.  It started with balloons fastened to a high chair for a 1-year-old to bat around with cake-smeared hands. When the boys were toddlers, they were bent on dismantling the Birthday Chair moments after waking up; not on purpose, but that’s just what toddlers do.

The Birthday Chair is usually decorated with balloons – we used to have one balloon per year of age, but 11 balloons didn’t fit on the chair when I was decorating it last night. Some years it’s festooned in crepe paper matching the theme colors of the birthday party. One year it was Batman crepe paper for a child particularly captivated by the Dark Knight. One year the crepe paper ribbons and balloons were all primary colors to match the bounce house rented for the occasion.  One year I made a fabric cover for the back of the chair in festive birthday fabric.

No matter how it’s decorated, the Birthday Chair is always the place of honor for the birthday boy, until the crepe paper wears off days later and the balloons pop (or are spirited away for balloon wars).

The past few months leading up to this 11th birthday have been an exercise in all things being too babyish for my fifth grader. I wondered how he’d react to the Birthday Chair this morning, as I never quite know what will set off an episode of “THIS IS TOO BABY!!!”

“Mom, make sure I always have a birthday chair,” he said.

And I will.



Family Matters: A Touch of Strawberry


Our family loves strawberries and we are always looking for new ways to prepare them.   We experiment to see how they taste in different recipes or prepared with different toppings.   Our favorite recipe is for Strawberry Bread…it is delicious for breakfast, snack time or a bedtime treat.

You can heat a slice in the microwave and add a little butter – my husband’s favorite thing to do!  A friend shared this recipe with me back in 1986, and I have been making it ever since.  It is a family tradition each year to bake loaves of the Strawberry Bread and give as gifts to close friends, teachers, and serve at family gatherings.   If you enjoy strawberries, this is a must try recipe!

Strawberry Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups Sugar
4 Eggs Beaten
1 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup Chopped Pecans (optional)
2 – 10 oz. Strawberries

Directions:
Mix sugar, eggs and oil well and then add strawberries.  Sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon and then add to the mixture.  Add nuts (optional) and stir together until moist.  Put in greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.  After it is cooled sprinkle top with a little powdered sugar (optional).

When strawberries are in season, it is nice to use fresh strawberries mashed up in place of the frozen.  Also, you can bake it in a Bundt pan for a fancy look and it is a great party item.

Take time and try this bread recipe – time in the kitchen with your kids is an opportunity to talk and bond with them.  It may become a family tradition that you can pass on for generations to come as I have with my girls.  Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!



Shop the Sale: Ground Round


Has your child ever gone on an eating strike?  Mine do, on a regular basis. I feel like a broken record, saying my kids don’t like anything except pizza and tacos.

For example, tonight I made homemade dirty rice. My younger son PICKED THE GROUND MEAT OUT OF THE DISH AND ONLY ATE THAT.

Seriously?

Don’t even ask about the steamed green beans I made as well. He dissected them and only ate the “beans” out of the green beans.

It.
Makes.
Me.
Crazy.

Needless to say, finding recipes they don’t pick apart is a challenge. This one includes ground round, which is on Luke’s “Approved To Eat” list, and it’s a soup, so he’ll drink the broth.  That’s a win/win in my book.  Win/win/win if you consider ground round is on sale this week.

Tortilla Meatball Soup
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 jalapeño peppers
1 red bell pepper
2 ears corn on the cob
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Cooking spray
3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 lb ground sirloin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 (3/4-inch) cups cubed red potatoes
1 (1/2-inch-thick) cup sliced carrot
3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
Preheat broiler.

Cut jalapeños and bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange corn on baking sheet with peppers. Broil 4 to 6 minutes or until blackened, turning corn once. Place peppers in a paper bag; fold to seal. Let stand 15 minutes; peel. Mince jalapeños, and coarsely chop bell pepper. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Set aside.
Place tortilla strips in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat with cooking spray. Broil for 3 minutes or until golden brown, turning after 2 minutes. Set aside.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 garlic clove, panko, and the next 3 ingredients (through chipotle chile) in a large bowl, and gently mix until just combined. With moist hands, shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).

Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs to pan; sauté for 8 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onion, potatoes, and carrot to pan; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 5 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add peppers, broth, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring occasionally. Return meatballs to pan. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and corn; return to a simmer.

Cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are done. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 4 teaspoons Monterey Jack cheese, 2 teaspoons cheddar cheese, and 4 teaspoons cilantro. Top evenly with tortilla strips.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 380, Fat: 16 g, Saturated fat, 7 g, Protein: 25 g, Carbohydrate: 33 g, Fiber: 5 g, Cholesterol: 98 mg, Iron: 3 mg, Sodium: 631 mg, Calcium: 159 mg



Healthy Living: Soup and Sickness


It seems over the past few weeks everyone around me has gotten sick. As soon as one person is better another person is starting to feel ill. Growing up whenever my brother or I got sick we knew chicken noodle soup and crackers were on the menu for lunch. My mom would always tell us chicken noodle soup would make us feel so much better and it normally did. While my mom thought the secret ingredient to getting well was a bowl of chicken noodle soup I personally preferred a bowl of warm, cheesy broccoli soup.

A couple of years ago, I had mentioned to my mom about not feeling well. I had not been home for too long when there was a knock on my door. I opened my door to find my mom holding a bowl of broccoli cheese soup and a package of crackers. The next day I felt better. I don’t know if it was the TLC, the soup or maybe it was the medicine I took.

So, with everyone sick I thought I would make my family a bowl of broccoli cheese soup. With most recipes calling for whole milk, half-and-half, a lot of butter and a lot of cheese, the amount of saturated fat was so high. I decided I would turn this not so healthy soup into something more nutritious.

Instead of cooking the onions and garlic in butter (NuVal Score:2) I chose to cook them in canola oil ( NuVal Score 24). I also added diced carrots (NuVal Score: 99) to the mixture for a little added vitamin A . I replaced the whole milk (NuVal Score: 52) and half-and-half (NuVal Score: 28) with fat-free milk (NuVal Score:91). The soup turned out delicious and well, a little more nutritious!

Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves:6

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped onion (NuVal Score: 93)
1 cup diced carrots (NuVal Score: 99)
2 garlic cloves, minced (NuVal Score: 91)
1 Tbs Food Club Canola Oil (NuVal Score: 24)
3 cups Food Club Fat-Free, Less Sodium Chicken Broth (NuVal Score: 2)
1 (16 oz) pkg Food Club Broccoli Florets (NuVal Score: 100)
2 1/2 cups Brookshire’s Fat-Free Milk (NuVal Score: 91)
1/4 cup Food Club All-Purpose Flour (NuVal Score: 77)
1/4 tsp Food Club Salt
1/4 tsp Food Club Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Food Club Shredded 2% Cheddar Cheese (NuVal Score: 23)

Directions:
In a pot, over medium-high heat, sauté chopped onion, diced carrots and garlic cloves in canola oil. Add broth and broccoli and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine milk and flour; whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until cheese melts. Place half of soup in a blender and process until smooth. Return puree soup to pan. Serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 191, Fat: 9 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 516 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 12 g



Product Talk: Going Gluten Free


Gluten-Free Ginger Rice CrunchA lot of people these days are finding they are intolerant to gluten. Others are just avoiding it because they feel better without it.

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

People with Celiac’s disease cannot process gluten and it causes all kinds of distress for their systems.

Luckily, the number of gluten-free products available at Brookshire’s these days is phenomenal.

This is a quick and easy snack recipe to make with a gluten-free product you can find on any grocery store shelf.

Gluten-Free Ginger Rice Crunch
Serves: 24

Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger or cardamom
6 cups Rice Chex cereal (gluten-free)
1 cup dried banana chips
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries or dried pineapple

Directions:
Heat oven to 250° F. Spray large roasting pan with cooking spray. In 1-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter, honey and ginger to boiling. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Into roasting pan, mix cereal, banana chips, almonds and coconut. Stir in brown sugar mixture until evenly coated.

Bake 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper or foil; cool about 15 minutes. Place in serving bowl; stir in cranberries. Store in airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 140, Calories from Fat: 70, Total Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Sodium: 85 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 18 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 2g

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



Dine-In: Fondue


Basic Cheese FondueI admit it. I had a horrible case of the winter doldrums last week during the extreme temperature changes and the endless rain. I also had a challenging week at work and a host of other annoying things crop up like needing new rotors on my car and both of my kids busting holes in their school shoes.

By the time Friday rolled around, I didn’t want to even exert the energy to order pizza. Plus, with my new year’s fiscal resolution in place, I didn’t want to spend that money, either.

I knew I needed something to cheer us all up, kick off the weekend right and make our dine-in Friday night a pleasant way to end a rough week.

What’s more fun than fondue?

I got a fondue pot for Valentine’s Day a few years ago, but you don’t have to have any special equipment to make fondue a fun feast for the family.

You can do meat, cheese, or dessert varieties.

I opted for cheese, but you’re only limited by your imagination. It only took about 15 minutes and we all had a blast cooking and eating.

Basic Cheese Fondue
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1/2 lb Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Gruyère cheese, shredded
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg
Assorted dippers

Directions:
In a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of the ceramic fondue pot with the garlic, and then discard.

Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in mustard and nutmeg.

Serve with chunks of French and pumpernickel breads. You could also use apples and blanched vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and asparagus. Spear with fondue forks or wooden skewers.

Nutritional  Information: Calories: 343, Calories from Fat: 205,Total Fat: 23 g, Saturated Fat: 14 g, Cholesterol: 76 mg, Sodium: 202 mg,Total Carbohydrates: 6 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 22 g

 

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Family Matters: Family goes far deeper than bloodlines


Sometimes being a family doesn’t’ mean you’re related by blood. Sometimes it means that you’re there for someone else, through thick and thin, no matter what.

Although my family would do anything, at any time for me, they live far away, but I’m blessed – and blessed is the only word for it – to have several close friends nearby who I consider as much my family as my flesh and blood.

We’ve seen each other through divorces, job losses, ailing, aging parents, a cancelled wedding, countless boyfriends, children troubles, children triumphs, a new baby and several new places to live. We’ve helped each other move, we’ve painted bedrooms, we’ve held garage sales together and taken trips together. We’ve taken a few of us to the emergency room and gone to birthday parties and celebrations for our children. It’s quite fair to say we’ve done a lot of laughing, a little crying, a ton of talking and texting and phone calling. We’ve been irritated with each other and we’ve spoken our minds, but at the end of the day, we’re still so much like sisters it’s… yes, a blessing.

Every Thursday is Girls Night Out. We get together, usually at the same place, and wrap up the week. The food is fabulous and the conversation is even better. I love our weekly tradition and I love the women who are my family, when my flesh and blood is far away.

Family goes far deeper than bloodlines. Family goes straight to the heart.

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Posted in: Family Matters


Shop the Sale: Fresh Catfish Fillets


After 15 years of living in Texas, I almost didn’t realize that you could do anything with catfish other than deep fry it. I’ve been to many a fish fry where golden nuggets of cornmeal battered catfish were served by the pound.

Last summer, I went to eat at a friend’s home. She’s extremely health conscious, as she had a heart attack at an early age.

She grilled the catfish and it was deliciously spicy and the grill brought out a flavor I’d never before experienced with catfish.

With fresh catfish fillets on sale at Brookshire’s this week, it’s the perfect time to expand your catfish repertoire.

Spicy Grilled Catfish
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 (6 oz) catfish fillets
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh gingerroot or 2 tsp ground ginger
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (1 Tbs)
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp instant minced onion
1 tsp paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:
In a shallow dish, arrange catfish fillets. In a small bowl or jar, combine lemon juice, soy sauce, vegetable oil, ginger, garlic, green onions, minced onion, paprika and cayenne pepper. Pour it over catfish. Cover, marinate then refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Remove the catfish from marinade; grill or broil 4 minutes on each side, or until catfish flakes with fork.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 377, Calories from Fat: 240, Total Fat: 27 g, Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 992 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 6 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 28 g



HEALTHY LIVING: LIGHTENED UP CHICKEN ENCHILADA CASSEROLE


I adore casseroles. A big pan of mixed goodness and usually only one dish to wash.

But I’m not such a fan of the fact that casseroles (at least the ones I love) are usually laden with cheeses and cream-of-something soups.  Perhaps it will be my mission in 2013 to create lighter versions of some of the foods I love best.  It’s often not hard to reduce fat and calories in a recipe. You can often reduce the amount of cheese called for by at least half. Instead of creamy bases, use broth and thicken it with a bit of cornstarch. Certain vegetables, when pureed, also thicken a soup or cream sauce instead of adding extra fat. Increasing the spices adds more flavor without adding any extra calories.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/3 cup (3 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups chopped onion, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs chopped, pickled jalapeño pepper
9 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup (1 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side. Place skillet in oven; bake at 425° F for 10 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 15 minutes. Remove meat from bones; shred. Discard bones. Place chicken in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, corn, and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) to chicken; toss to combine.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup onion; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 3 garlic cloves; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add onion mixture to chicken mixture; stir to combine.

Combine remaining 1 1/2 cups onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, broth, salsa, 1/4 cup water, and jalapeño in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Carefully pour mixture into a blender; add 2 tablespoons cilantro. Process until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tortillas; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove tortillas from pan; repeat procedure with remaining tortillas. Cut tortillas into quarters.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa mixture in the bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 12 tortilla quarters over salsa mixture. Spoon half of chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Pour remaining salsa mixture over tortillas; sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake at 425° F for 15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned. Top with remaining cilantro.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 371, Fat: 12 g, Protein: 23 g, Carbohydrate: 45 g, Fiber: 5 g, Cholesterol: 80 mg, Iron: 2 mg, Sodium: 759 mg, Calcium: 141 mg

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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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