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Healthy Living: Banana Chips


Banana ChipsMy kids love bananas and can go through a bunch in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, for whatever reason, they sit on the kitchen counter, and I have to make a snap decision on what to do with the rapidly ripening fruit.

Often, I peel the bananas and freeze them, using the fruit for smoothies later.

Lately, I’ve been making banana chips. If I thought bananas went fast, these go faster. The boys gobble them up. Seriously, I have to hide them. They’re delicious plain or as a topping to yogurt or oatmeal.

Banana Chips

Ingredients:
10 bananas, thinly sliced (the more thinly sliced, the crisper they will be)
1 lemon, juiced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 200° F. Cover a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or a baking mat, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Sprinkle banana slices with lemon juice.

Arrange bananas in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 2 hours. Flip the slices, and then bake for an additional 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, and transfer the chips to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 6 mg, Carbohydrates: 68 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 36 g, Protein: 3 g.

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



Product Talk: Melissa’s Black-Eyed Peas


Melissa’s Black-Eyed PeasI always love spring and summer because they mark the arrival of black-eyed pea season.

I love black-eyed peas so much.

Now, I can get Melissa’s Black-Eyed Peas in the produce section of Brookshire’s. These vacuum-packed peas are refrigerated and ready to eat. Just heat and serve if you can wait that long, I may have had a spoonful straight out of the package).

These black-eyed peas are delicious served as-is, in soups, in stews, as a side dish, or in a casserole or salad. Cook them with salt, pepper and bacon. Steam them or simmer them in a little water on the stove. You can also microwave them. They’re super simple, fresh and delicious.



Dine In: Memorial Day Baked Beans


Memorial Day Baked BeansIt’s Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you’re going to get out and enjoy the long weekend with family and friends.

Memorial Day almost always means a picnic for me, and I love me some good picnic food.

I always head straight for the baked beans, if I don’t bring them myself, that is. I like them savory, not too sweet. To be quite honest, I could eat only baked beans and be quite happy. Well, beans and German potato salad, maybe. And homemade ice cream. And watermelon. Possibly a burger or rib.

Fine. I like it all.

This version of baked beans can certainly stand alone as a main dish and (for real this time) has actually done so in my house! It’s also good for a picnic or buffet because there’s nothing in it that will spoil, and it still tastes good at room temperature.

Memorial Day Baked Beans

Ingredients:
3 (16 oz) cans pork and beans
1 lb ground beef, browned
2 Tbs brown mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp cumin
8 slices bacon

Directions:
Mix beans, ground beef, mustard, brown sugar, ketchup and cumin together. Spread in a 9-inch square casserole dish. Lay slices of bacon on top.

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes, or until beans are bubbly and bacon is beginning to crisp.

Serves 10 to 12 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 346, Fat: 11 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 999 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein: 26 g.

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

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Shop the Sale: Melon Salsa


Prep Time: 20 mins
Serves: 12

Get the best of both worlds! Sweet and savory, with a satisfying crunch thanks to red onions, this summery salsa is simply fruitastic. Enjoy it as a refreshing snack with chips at your next BBQ or as a topping for grilled fish, pork or chicken. Treat your sweet tooth the healthy way this summer, and don’t miss cantaloupe on sale all this week at Brookshire’s.

Ingredients
2 cups cantaloupe, diced
1 cup honeydew melon, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup orange segments, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 Tbs lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve with chips, salad, or grilled fish or pork.

Calories Per Serving: 19, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 59 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 0 g.

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

Chef Tips

Know Your Salsa
Did you know that salsa is the Spanish word for sauce? Or that salsa was being made long before the Spaniards? Salsa “sauce” actually originates with the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas who cultivated tomatoes and pepper plants and combined them to eat as a condiment. Today of course there are many variations of salsa, from the more traditional Pico de gallo, Salsa verde and negra to avocado, pineapple, corn – and of course – melon salsa concoctions.

Slice Smarter
Cutting open round melons on a flat chopping surface doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s surprisingly simple. First cut a half inch off the top and bottom of the fruit, so that the fruit sits flush on your cutting board. Then you can easily split the melon open and chop as desired. Another option is to use a baller to create bite-sized melon balls.



Healthy Living: Freeze Your Fruit


No doubt the summer months produce some of the best fruit of the year, but how do you maximize all those great flavors – and the nutritional value – later in the year?

You can freeze summer fruits for use a few months down the road without compromising their taste, textures or nutrients if you go about it the right way.

  • For raspberries and blackberries, rinse, dry thoroughly, and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer overnight. The next morning, portion into freezer bags or containers and seal well.
  • For blueberries, remove stems, rinse and dry. Then, follow the same method for raspberries and blackberries.
  • For strawberries, rinse, dry completely and then remove stems. Chop or slice and freeze until solid.
  • If you want to freeze fresh cherries, rinse, dry, remove pits and slice before freezing until solid.
  • Bananas are easy. Just peel and freeze until solid. They’re great for smoothies and banana bread.
  • For stone fruits like peaches, rinse, dry, peel, slice, remove pit and freeze until solid.
  • Apples are easy, too. Rinse, dry, peel, cut into chunks and freeze until solid.
  • For melons, remove the inside flesh and chop. Freeze until solid.
  • Citrus fruits can also be frozen. Rinse, dry, slice or segment and freeze until solid.

All these fruits are great for smoothies, toppings on yogurt, mixed into oatmeal or cereal, or baked into breads, muffins or cookies. You get summer taste and nutrition all year long.



Product Talk: Mi Costeñita Spices


One of my favorite places in Brookshire’s is the wall of hanging Mi Costeñita spices in the produce department.

There are rows and rows of small packages of the most aromatic dried spices you can imagine, cumin seeds, dried peppers, oregano, smoky paprika, basil, garlic powder and so much more.

Founded in 1995, the Mi Costeñita company sells dried herbs, spices and snacks such as mango chips. Their selection of dried peppers is absolutely amazing, including ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, abol sin pata chiles and more. You can grind them into spices yourself, use them as seasonings in sauces and stocks, or finely dice for rice or a filling for enchiladas or tamales.

My favorite is the dried cumin seeds that I can grind myself. The flavor is intense!

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Dine In: Beer Cheese Dip


I drove through Kentucky a few summers ago on my way home to Texas from a trip to Virginia (I took the scenic route), and there I discovered the thing my heart loves: beer cheese.

Beer cheese is a traditional Kentucky dish with roots in Cook County. It’s exactly what it says it is: beer and cheese. It’s easy to make and easy to store, but the flavor profiles of a sharp cheddar against a lager are out of this world.

Beer cheese is usually used as a dip, but in Kentucky, they also spread it on a piece of thick toast. This would be delicious as a Friday night appetizer or snack in front of a good movie.

Beer Cheese Dip

Ingredients:
32 oz Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
12 oz flat Shiner Bock beer (any lager or pilsner but no “lite” beer)

Directions:
Use a box grater to grate the cheese by hand.

Meanwhile, pulse the garlic in the food processor until minced but not pasty. You can also do this by hand and add them to the food processor. Add the cheese, cayenne, paprika, salt, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Pulse three or four times until just combined.

Turn food processor on, and slowly pour the beer through the chute until the cheese mixture is smooth and creamy. Be careful not to overmix.

Beer cheese will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve cold with pretzels, crackers or raw vegetables.

Note: Pre-shredded cheese in the bag is mixed with cellulose to keep it from sticking. Using pre-shredded cheese will also keep your beer cheese from combining into a smooth, creamy consistency. It’s worth it to grate it yourself.

Open beer about 12 hours before preparing your beer cheese to let it go flat and warm.

Makes 6 cups

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 644, Fat: 25 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 79 mg, Sodium: 664 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 31 g, Protein: 19 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matter: Summer Fun, Summer Challenges


Summer Fun, Summer ChallengesSummertime is hard, especially if your kids are school age, you work and you can’t take the whole summer off yourself.

My kids are now old enough to stay home alone during the summer, but it’s not much fun for them, if we’re being honest. There aren’t any kids of a similar age nearby, so they end up relying a lot on each other during the summer (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

The challenge comes in keeping them occupied in a productive manner, even though I still have to go to work each day. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation.

Generally, they sleep late. When they wake up, they each have a job to do around the house, like vacuuming or cleaning their bathroom. This summer, they’re going to be in charge of some meal prep, too. They exercise every day, usually alternating between running, walking and riding their bikes through the neighborhood (they keep a cellphone with them for safety or emergencies). They will still play outside in the sprinklers; I don’t think you ever outgrow that. I’ve purchased some books for them to read over the summer, as well as what they have assigned for school.

My older son just got a part-time job. My younger son will attend one week of theater camp, and we’ll take a family vacation together one week as well.

It’s not the best solution. They still have too much screen time, but I’d be curious to hear from readers in the comments about what you do with your kids during summer vacation!



Shop the Sale: Pad Thai Bowl


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Skip the restaurant and make your Thai takeout favorite at home in under 30 minutes. This sweet and spicy noodle dish is surprisingly quick and easy to prepare, making it a fantastic choice for weeknight dinners. Whip it up in a single skillet, grab a glass of Riesling, and you’ve got a gourmet Pad Thai meal at home. Check out our Chef Tips section below for low-carb substitutions and more Asian shrimp meal ideas.

Ingredients
4 oz packaged rice noodles
1 1/2 Tbs fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili powder or more, to taste
2 Tbs canola oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 oz medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 oz fried firm tofu, cut into slices
1 large egg
4 to 6 oz bean sprouts
1 green onion, cut into 2-inch lengths
Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
2 Tbs crushed peanuts
Lime wedges

Instructions
Follow package directions to boil dry rice noodles. The rice noodles should be soft (but still chewy and not mushy) after boiling. Rinse boiled noodles with cold running water. Set aside. Mix fish sauce, sugar, water, rice vinegar and chili powder in small bowl until well-combined and sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a skillet on highest heat setting; add oil. As soon as oil is heated, add garlic to skillet, and start stirring until you smell the aroma of the garlic. Don’t burn. Add shrimp and tofu pieces to skillet and continue stirring. As soon as shrimp changes color, add noodles to skillet; stir continuously, about 30 seconds. Use spatula to push noodles to one side of skillet, and crack egg into empty side of skillet. Use spatula to break egg yolk and blend with egg white. Let cook for about 30 seconds. Combine egg and noodles; add sauce. Stir to combine well with noodles.

Add bean sprouts, chive and basil; continue stirring. As soon as bean sprouts are cooked, stir in crushed peanuts. Turn off heat. Serve dish immediately with lime wedges.

Calories Per Serving: 563, Fat: 31 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 1471 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 31 g.

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

Chef Tips

No Noodles? No Worries!
For those watching their carb count, you can still enjoy Pad Thai with our low-carb substitutions. Try Shirataki noodles made from Japanese yam starch or make your own veggie noodles from zucchini, sweet potato or spaghetti squash.

Shrimply The Best
Although Pad Thai is hard to beat, there are a lot of Asian-style shrimp dishes to satisfy your taste buds. There’s Garlic Shrimp, Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry, Shrimp Fried Rice, Coconut Shrimp and Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta, although we’re in danger of sounding like Bubba from the movie Forrest Gump if we try to list them all here. But with shrimp in season – and Peeled and Deveined Gulf Shrimp on sale all week – make the most of it while you can!



Healthy Living: A Nutritional Favorite – Watermelon


A Nutritional Favorite - WatermelonLast weekend, we bought a watermelon at Brookshire’s. Now it’s still May and watermelons are at their prime in early July, but this one, as my family declared, “tasted like a Fourth of July melon.”

Indeed it did, and we’re thankful to have access to such beautiful produce grown close to home.

Not only is watermelon delicious, but it’s super healthy, too.

Watermelons are mostly water, 92 percent, in fact. So, eating watermelon keeps you well-hydrated.

You can also eat a lot without fear of consuming too many calories! One cup of watermelon contains only 42 calories.

It also contains many other nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI

Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene.

There’s no reason NOT to eat watermelon all summer long!



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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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