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Dine-In: Sausage-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Fridays are the gateway to the weekend and, to me, the perfect time to celebrate a few days off with a festive meal. I love the feeling of Friday nights – the anticipation of soaking up the sun on Saturday, enjoying time with friends, resisting the hustle and bustle of the work day and being able to play epic games of Battleship or Clue with my two boys.

I also love weekends because they give me time to try new recipes and I don’t have to fight crowds at local eateries.

I originally saw something like this recipe posted on Facebook. It caught my attention because it had all my favorite words in it: “bacon,” “sausage” and “pork.” Go ahead, admit it – those words caught your attention too. Initially, I didn’t even READ the recipe my Facebook friend linked to and as it turns out, this recipe I’ve developed from those key words is vastly different than the version of pork paradise he posted.  His version, however, was cooked in a smoker. I don’t have a smoker at home, but the addition of a little liquid smoke in the stuffing plus slow-roasting the pork in the oven produced just as good of a result.

Sausage-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, or, Heaven On A Plate
Cooking time: One hour, 5 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves 10

1 (5 lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
1 lb reduced-fat bulk pork sausage
1/2 large white onion, diced
3/4 lb center-cut bacon
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbs liquid smoke
2 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper
Kitchen twine

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In a cast iron skillet or skillet with an oven-proof handle, brown bulk sausage with onion until sausage is cooked through and onion is translucent.  Transfer from skillet into a large bowl. Mix with panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add beaten egg and liquid smoke. Mixture should be slightly damp.

Cut a pocket three-quarters of the way through the pork tenderloin, lengthwise.  Pack sausage stuffing into the pocket.

Place stuffed tenderloin back into the skillet.

Bind with three pieces of kitchen twine.

Using almost the entire pound of bacon, criss cross slices in an alternating pattern, covering the top of the stuffed pork tenderloin, tucking ends underneath.


Roast at 325 F for an hour, or until internal temperature of the pork reaches 145 F.

Remove cover, turn broiler to high and brown the bacon, about 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. 

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 713, Fat: 30 g (10.6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 250 mg, Sodium: 600 mg, Carbohydrates: 16.2 g, Fiber: 1.1 g, Protein: 88.6 g

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Family Matters: Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

Sometimes the hardest part of making time for a family dinner is not just finding the time, but also selecting a good recipe everyone will enjoy! If your children are anything like mine, then one usually does NOT want what the other wants, even if it’s just the general principle of disagreeing because they are brothers! If one son wants hamburgers, then I can bet you that the other one will often suddenly have an aversion to all things ground beef.

But I have had good luck with this super-easy Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie recipe a friend gave to me at a football game a few years ago (Yes I was trading recipes during the game). Several of us were discussing needing new ideas for the family weeknight dinner table, and this one was easy enough that I could remember it and make it the next night at our house. It was a big hit with everyone!

It’s the perfect recipe when you have left over cooked chicken, maybe from a rotisserie you’ve purchased at Brookshire’s, or if you’ve had time to bake chicken breasts ahead of time and are looking for new ways to serve them.

The refrigerated biscuit topping make this the all-time easiest way to make pot pie…it’s a great recipe for your kids to jump in and help you too, even if it’s simply popping the biscuit can open and stacking the dough on the pot pie.

All you need to complete the meal is “something green” as my mother used to always say. For our dinner plates to be complete, Mama made sure green beans, broccoli, asparagus, peas or a tossed salad was offered to us and “strongly encouraged” to enjoy! She thankfully helped us form good eating habits, and “something green” has now found its way to my sons’ plates every day too.


Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs flour
1/4 cup each carrots, yellow onions and celery (small diced)
1 cup chicken stock
1 lb shredded cooked chicken
1 7.5-oz tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (small-sized)

Preheat oven to 450⁰F. Over medium-high heat melt butter in large oven-proof skillet. With a wooden spoon, mix in flour until smooth and just begins to smell toasted. Add ¼ cup each small diced carrots, onion and celery add stir until combined. Stirring constantly add 1 cup stock and simmer until thickened. Add chicken and bring back to a simmer. Cover top with biscuits in a single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 430, Total Fat: 20.2 g, Saturated Fat: 6.6 g, Sodium 1332 mg, Carbohydrates: 53.7g, Fiber: 1.3g, Protein: 8.5 g

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Shop the Sale: The first cake I ever made

It was the summer of 1974, and I wanted to make my Daddy a birthday cake. I was five years old, but already knew my way around my mother’s kitchen fairly well. She had shelf after shelf of cookbooks, and learning to read recipes was one of the ways I actually learned to read words – and perform simple math problems.

I found an old cookbook in the cabinet above Mama’s built-in desk, and I can still see it today as clearly as I did almost 40 years ago. It had a red-and-white gingham cover and the title was “Our Groaning Board.” I thought that was the weirdest title I had ever heard of for any book, much less a cookbook, so I pulled it down and started reading the cake section looking for the easiest, shortest recipe I could find.

Around that same time, I am embarrassed to admit I was fond of Jell-O. I loved the jiggly, fruity dessert and jumped at the chance to incorporate Jell-O into any and all recipes and creations, for better or for worse.

This cake recipe started from a mix, which was good for a beginner, and it also called for my beloved gelatin. I decided this was sure to be a winner for Daddy’s birthday cake.

And it was. To this day, I am asked for the recipe for this cake more than any other cake I make. I’ve learned to bake some fancier ones since 1974, but most people are like I am when it comes to enjoying good food. We seem to return to the simpler, more satisfying tastes of life.


Daddy’s Favorite Lemon Punch Cake


1 (18.9-oz) Pillsbury yellow cake mix
1 (4.3-oz) box lemon gelatin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
4 eggs

1 (1lb) box powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all cake ingredients together in a bowl of an electric mixer until well blended. Bake in a 13 x 9-inch rectangular pan for 30 minutes or until it springs back when touched in middle with fingers. Immediately prick cake several times with an ice pick (all the way to the bottom of the cake) and spoon glaze over entire cake while hot. Serves 10-12.

For the glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice, stirring to remove any lumps.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 330, Fat: 15.1 g (3.1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 55 mg, Sodium: 83 mg, Carbohydrates: 48.2 g, Protein: 2.4 g

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Healthy Living: Quinoa and Edamame

I just read that the year 2013 will be recognized by the United Nations as “The International Year of the Quinoa.”  

I have fallen head over heels for the taste and nutritional value of quinoa, but I realize that quinoa is an unfamiliar grain to many people, especially in wondering how to prepare it and enjoy it in various recipes. But first things first, “quinoa” is pronounced “keen-wa.” 

Quinoa is a nutritionally rich source of several flavonoids (which help protect you from cell damage), as well as providing a valuable amount of heart-healthy fat.  

This recipe also adds delicious and nutritious edamame, which is just a fancy name for boiled baby green soybeans. Edamame, pronounced “ed-a-mah-me,” also packs a punch in your diet…and taste great! These soybeans are rich in fiber, protein and several vitamins and minerals. 

I threw this salad together with a few ingredients I already had, trying to replicate a salad I had enjoyed recently. I didn’t have any cilantro on hand, but I think I’ll add ½ cup of chopped cilantro next time. In fact, this kind of recipe is so easy to adapt to your own according to what’s in your fridge. Baby tomatoes, grilled chicken or even leftover diced sweet potatoes would taste great!


Quinoa and Edamame Salad 

1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup edamame, cooked and shelled
1/8 cup chopped red onion
1/2 Tbs light extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar (really makes a difference to use this vinegar)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped almonds (Whatever kind you have on hand will work)

In a bowl combine cooked quinoa, edamame and red onion. In another small bowl whisk to combine oil, vinegar, garlic, red pepper, and salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa and toss well. Cover and let flavors meld in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve topped with chopped almonds.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 341, Fat: 11.7 g (1.1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 8 mg, Carbohydrates: 45.2 g, Fiber: 7.1 g, Protein: 15.2 g

Product Talk: Cream Cheese

I love cream cheese.

I REALLY love cream cheese. In fact, I consider it a food group unto itself. I even have a board on Pinterest titled, “Ode to Cream Cheese.”

Someday, I plan to write the definitive cream cheese cookbook. There’s no time like the present to get started.

Cream cheese is made from un-skimmed milk enriched with additional cream. In the refrigerated section of Brookshire’s stores, you can find full-fat, one-third less fat and fat-free varieties of the lovely white stuff. It comes flavored, whipped, herbed and fruited. You can buy it in a brick or in a tub. The options are endless but the taste is ever-so-delicious.

Of course I like to eat cream cheese on a bagel (sesame, toasted). I also like to use it as a party spread, simply placing a block of cream cheese on a chilled platter and topping it with hot pepper jelly and serving with crackers. I use a thin spread of cream cheese in place of shredded cheese on a grilled pizza, under fresh tomato and fresh basil. And I cook with it every chance I get. My kids’ favorite slow cooker meal uses cream cheese: Place four frozen chicken breasts, one can of drained black beans, one 12-ounce bag of frozen corn, one jar of salsa, one jar of salsa verde and one block of cream cheese in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.

But usually my favorite cream cheese recipes involve desserts. I made this dish for a cook-out last weekend. Keep it refrigerated until time to serve and it’s even better the second day.

Cream Cheese Dream
Makes one 9×13 pan
Serves one (if it’s me), or about 12


1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick Food Club butter, softened
1 cup Food Club all purpose flour

First Layer:
1 cup Food Club powdered sugar
1 cup Food Club whipped topping (from a large container)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

Second and Third layers:
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
2 cups milk

Mix together first three ingredients and press in ungreased 9 x 13 glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Mix together next three ingredients and spread on cool crust.

Beat together vanilla pudding and one cup milk  and chocolate pudding and one cup milk and spread on as two creamy layers.

Cover top with the rest of the whipped topping. Refrigerate.

•Use pistachio and chocolate puddings.
•Top layer of whipped topping with Heath Bar bits, crushed Butterfinger candy bars, mini-chocolate chips, peanuts, sprinkles or whatever you like.
•Substitute chocolate-flavored whipped topping for regular on top of the dessert.
•Use chocolate milk for an extra chocolate kick.
•Add a third layer of pudding in your choice of flavor.

Dine-In: As American as Baseball and Chocolate Cake!

This weekend is going to be crazy busy with a baseball tournament, which means I have to plan ahead to avoid a fast-food frenzy from Friday to Sunday night. And it’s so hot outside, I find myself avoiding the hot stove as much as possible…at least that’s the excuse I have been using lately!

Teenage boys seem to remain in a perpetual state of starving, not to mention how hungry our 15-year-old becomes after several games of baseball. It’s hard to plan ahead to make sure he will have good, home-cooked food to eat throughout the weekend, and truth be told, I’m sure we will have to pick up a dinner or two through the car window!

Friday night is a night I like to have a dessert waiting in the kitchen as a way to signal the weekend is here, and it’s time to have a little fun. This Chocolate Pudding Cake is so easy to make and is the perfect Friday night after-baseball sweet ending – especially with a scoop of Goldenbrook Ice Cream. The cake takes about the same amount of time to prepare as it does for my baseball player to take a shower and get comfortable on the couch for late-night television.

I’ve made this cake several times, and no matter the score of the weekend’s games, you’re sure to have a winner at home!


Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups hot water
Goldenbrook Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, butter and vanilla; stir until smooth.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 9-inch square pan. Batter will be very thick. Whisk together remaining sugars and cocoa powder and sprinkle it evenly over the batter. Pour hot water over the top. Do not stir.

Bake 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and let stand 15 minutes. Serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Serve with ice cream.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 303, Fat: 8.8 g (5.5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 125 mg, Carbohydrates: 56.4 g, Fiber: 2.0 g, Protein: 3.2 g

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Family Matters: Lavender Baby Bath

As most parents know, multi-tasking becomes a way of life when you have small children, especially babies.

My boys are close together in age, about 18 months apart, so the ability to multi-task was critical to the smooth flow of our household.

Plus, as a new parent, I was tired. Did I mention, TIRED?  Luke, my younger son, needed to eat every 90 minutes, at most, for the first several months of life. I remember waking up to his hunger cries, incredulous that he was hungry again. But sure enough, he’d eat vigorously and fall back to sleep…until the next time his belly needed filling.

Needless to say, I was exhausted and more-than-a-bit stressed out those first months of both boys’ lives, but then I discovered a way to double up on a task and get much-needed-relaxation.

Enter Lavender Baby Wash – Brookshire’s carries several brands of the lavender scented-baby wash.

Each evening, I’d fill my large bath tub (it was such a blessing to have!) with warm water and add a capful of lavender-scented baby wash, which bubbled up just enough to entertain the babies.  I’d put the boys in the tub together and inhale the soothing, steamy scent of the lavender-scented bath water. Both boys were bathed at once and we’d take advantage of the comforting, tranquil properties of lavender at the same time.

Lavender, sometimes called the “Mothering Oil,” is known for its relaxing properties and is used to alleviate not only stress but also anxiety. The ancient Egyptians added it to their baths for extra relaxation. Lavender settles irritability and is gently sedating, restoring mind and body to a state in which healing – and rest – can take place.

In closing, I have a confession: my boys are now 8 and 10 years old and I will STILL buy lavender baby wash.

No, they don’t use it; it’s for me.

Healthy Living: Cookin’ With Cast Iron

Cooking with cast iron isn’t just for frying chicken any more.

Using that beautifully black, superbly seasoned, wonderfully weighty cast iron skillet that your grandmother handed down is a smart way to help get chemicals out of your kitchen and more nutrients into your food.

Did you know that studies show that cooking your food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce, in a cast-iron skillet can increase iron content by as much as 20 times? Unlike some non-stick pans, cast iron doesn’t leach chemicals into your food, but it does release iron, supplementing the elemental mineral content in your cooking.  In addition, you remove the presence of PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a substance found in the non-stick coating of some pans that can be released into your food when you heat your pans over high heat or accidentally nick or scratch their surfaces.

Because well-seasoned cast iron is naturally non-stick, you can cook with less oil. To properly season your cast iron, wash with hot water after use (no dish soap, please), dry thoroughly and rub with a light application of cooking oil. Buff with a paper towel or soft cloth and store near your oven. In fact, because I have double ovens, I store my cast iron skillet in the oven I don’t usually use, but the heat from the unit helps keep my pan perfectly seasoned.  When I sauté something in my cast iron skillet, I often use no oil at all, unless it’s a touch of extra-virgin olive oil to add flavor.

Zucchini Tomato Gratin

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 sweet onions, sliced in rings
3 large zucchini, thinly sliced
3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup panko
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 TBS fresh basil or oregano

Place a layer of sweet onion rings on the bottom of cast iron skillet. Drizzle with 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil.

Top onions with a layer of tomatoes and zucchini slices, alternating.

Toss panko with cheese and spread over vegetables.

Bake in a 425 degree oven until vegetables are tender and the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

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Product Talk: Summer Refresher

Bananas might not be the first ingredient you think of using when it comes to making a refreshing batch of frozen margaritas, but after my first one last month, I’m a big fan!

Our corporate chef, Glenn Terrell, is a magician when it comes to creating wonderful flavor combinations, such as his Cucumber-Jalapeno margarita and this delicious Banana Margarita.

The ingredients in this recipe are not classic margarita flavors, as Glenn has added the creaminess of coconut milk and a hint of vanilla to make it more of an island-inspired tequila concoction.

I served these wonderful drinks with fish tacos and homemade chips and guacamole. It was the perfect end to a summer day!


Banana Margarita
Serves 6

1 vanilla bean
3 oz tequila
2 oz triple sec
2 oz coconut milk
4 large bananas
1/2 (12 oz) can frozen limeade concentrate
6 cups ice
Coarse sugar for rimming glasses

Scrape vanilla bean into blender along with remaining ingredients, except sugar and 1 banana for garnish. Blend until frozen consistency. Add sugar to rims of glasses. Pour margarita into glasses and garnish with a sliced banana.

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Posted in: Product Talk

Dine-In: Mangia! Meatballs

Ever since Lady and The Tramp canoodled over a plate of pasta, spaghetti and meatballs has been, in my mind, a sweet date night dish.

It doesn’t get much better on a Friday night than to sit down with your sweetie over a plate of mouth-watering , homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

I’ve been working on my meatballs and marinara sauce for years. I finally have my marinara sauce as close to perfection as it’s going to get, but I hadn’t yet been satisfied with my meatballs. That  all changed last Friday night.

These meatballs melt in your mouth, which was just the consistency I was going for. In the past, my meatballs had gotten tough, but these are tender, moist morsels. Don’t over bake these beauties; pull them out of the oven when they’re still pink inside and let them continue simmering in your sauce. They’ll infuse your sauce with a savory goodness and the sauce, in turn, adds tenderness to the meatball.

Makes 12

1 lb 85% lean ground beef
1 lb bulk sausage
1 large egg
1 cup panko
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs dried basil

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix by hand until well incorporated. Roll gently into rounds slightly larger than golf balls. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven while the centers are still pink and place into pot of simmering marinara to finish cooking, at least 30 minutes. If you’re not going to use the meatballs immediately, cook through in the oven. These freeze well.

*Note, a friend of mine hates to put her hands into raw meat, so she combines all her ingredients inside a gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag and “squishes” the bag until all ingredients are well incorporated.


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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

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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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