When you have special dietary needs, you don’t want to be caught short at mealtimes; that’s when you’ll be tempted to veer off your eating plan! So be prepared by cooking extra food whenever you can. Whenever you’re fixing chicken breasts, make a few extra and keep in the fridge. You might even want to add a dash of Caesar dressing to the chicken as you put them in the plastic bag. The next night, all you need to do is warm them in the microwave, serve over greens and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese for quick and easy Chicken Caesar salad!
Grits are one of those foods that either you love or hate. If you’re in the hate group, maybe your problem is in how you fix them!
We’ve got a recipe for a grits casserole that will convince all but the hard-core haters to give grits another try. And if it helps you, call your grits polenta. That’s the Italian word for the same food: cooked cornmeal.
Prep time: 10 minutes plus chilling; Cook time: 1 hour total
1 cup uncooked grits
4 cups (1 quart) milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside.
Cook grits according to package directions, using milk and ½ cup butter. Season with salt and pepper. Beat the grits at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, about 5 minutes. Pour into the baking dish. Refrigerate until set.
Preheat oven to 400 DEGREES.
Cut the grits into 2-inch squares. Place the squares in the baking dish, overlapping slightly. Pour the melted butter over top and sprinkle with both cheeses. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Sliders—mini burgers—are all the rage at restaurants right now. They’re amazingly simple to make, and if you promise not to tell, I’ll show you the secret to awesomely special burgers: it’s the bun. Sure, you can use a dinner roll for a basic slider bun, but why not try something a bit more exciting? Toast some Italian bread baguette slices, slice open some pita bread, try some of that mini party rye bread….toast it, grill it, top it with a mayo-spice blend….all of a sudden, people will be talking about YOUR sliders!
Mini Cheddar Burgers
Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 11 minutes
1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 Tbs water
8 small slices cheddar cheese
16 slices of small bread or 8 dinner rolls
Olives, pickles and cherry tomatoes for garnish
Ketchup and mustard for toppings
Combine the beef, bread crumbs and water gently. Shape into 8 burgers, about 3/4 inches thick.
Grill outside or broil in the oven, about 5 minutes per side. Top with cheese slices and allow to melt. Assemble patties on bread pieces and garnish with olives, pickles and tomatoes skewered with toothpicks. Serve with ketchup and mustard.
Nutritional Information: 376 Calories, 16 g Fat, 8 g Sat Fat, 76 Cholest., 732 Sodium, 28 Carbs, 2 Fiber, 27 Protein
If you find a stray cat hanging around your house, what should you do? First off, make sure the kitty is a stray. Some cats just like to wander and they have a permanent home somewhere else in your neighborhood. Give the cat a chance to go home.
If you determine that this cat has adopted your family, then you need to do some serious thinking about the responsibility. Just feeding it every once in a while isn’t doing the cat a favor, because you’ll create a dependency on your food that won’t be consistently met. If you feed a cat, you need to be prepared to do this permanently.
If this isn’t something you’re prepared to do, then you really shouldn’t start feeding the kitty. If no food is forthcoming, he’ll probably move along to a more receptive household. If you do end up feeding the cat, use good-quality dry food and provide fresh water as well.
Nothing says romance like chocolate dipped strawberries! Melt your favorite brand of chocolate, or use dipping bark (found on the baking goods aisle).
Melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, until softened. Dip washed and dried berries, let excess drip off, and place on waxed paper to dry.
If you want to add sprinkles, do it quickly before the chocolate sets; otherwise, you can drizzle with white chocolate once the first layer is firm. Practice a little and you’ll soon be making professional-quality dipped strawberries—at a fraction of the price!
Oreos are on sale!! Need we say more?! If you can resist scarfing down the entire bag, put half a bag in a zipper-top plastic bag and crush them with a skillet. Then use some of that as a crumb crust. Add in a thick layer of the ready-to-use cheesecake filling you can get in the dairy case and top with more cookie crumbles.
What an awesome Valentine’s Day cake to make! And you can say in all honesty, “I made it myself.”
One of our loyal shoppers and readers, Heather, shared some of her favorite gluten-free choices at Brookshire’s. She says she often finds people who are new to gluten-free eating are stumped on what to buy… and it’s comforting to know that there are mainstream choices out there.
Heather’s favorites include:
Chex mix cereals specially marked as gfree (My favorite is honey nut.)
Pamela’s pancake mix (These may need to be special-ordered. They make great pancakes & muffins.)
Van’s frozen waffles (These may need to be special-ordered. They come in buttermilk, apple cinnamon & blueberry.)
Frozen fruit/veggies (I use about a cup of frozen strawberries and Simply orange juice to make a smoothie in the morning.)
Fresh fruits & veggies
Pre-packaged salads (I like the organic prewashed salads available in tubs. Grab a handful, throw in some cheese, and bring your favorite gfree dressing to work for a quick lunch.)
OreIda frozen potatoes: zesty fries & shredded hash browns (I haven’t read all of the ingredients for their other products, but Ore Ida uses cornstarch instead of flour in these.)
LaChoy Soy Sauce & Teriyaki Sauce
Mission Corn Tortillas (Fry them with a little butter & lime juice – the only way they taste good. They make great tacos & enchiladas when fried like that. My husband and in-laws actually prefer the corn ones over flour now!)
Plain meats (frozen or fresh: chicken, fish, beef, turkey, pork – not processed.)
Dairy products: cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream; ice cream (I like Goldenbrook ice cream and sherbet the best – no cookie versions, though!)
Frito Lay chips (Frito Lay provides lists of products for specific allergies on their website!)
Corn chips (Frito Lay, blue corn, sweet potato; other natural versions)
Dried Fruit (Pick up some nuts & candy to make your own bags of trail mix.)
If you’re trying to get your kids to love vegetables, tomatoes are a great place to start. Nothing is more fun than tiny grape, pear and cherry tomatoes! Dip or skewer on toothpicks and watch them smile! Then you can talk about heirloom tomatoes—how these seeds are from old fashioned tomatoes that grow in crazy sizes, colors and shapes—but have wonderful flavors. Hold a taste testing party and see if you can tell the differences in the varieties!
Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.
Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.
On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.
Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.
Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.