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Product Talk: Halloween General Merchandise


Halloween General MerchandiseToday is Halloween, and it’s not too late to grab your last-minute celebration supplies at Brookshire’s. There’s no need to be having a party to turn your house into a happy haunt.

I love the skull cups! In orange or a dusky gray, these plastic (so you can’t break them easily) mugs of mayhem come in a handled cup or a wine glass variety. They’re perfect for a splash of soda, a mug of milk or a sip of wine.

I also love the Dia de los Muertos collection. These brightly colored napkins, paper plates and paper cups are fun for Halloween but also for celebrating the Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is Spanish in origin but widely celebrated in Mexico as well as Central and South American countries. The day after the American Halloween, Dia de los Muertos aligns on the calendar with the Catholic celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The day, Nov. 1 (in some countries it’s a two-day celebration on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2), focuses on family gatherings to pray for loved ones who have passed and to help support their spiritual journey. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated by creating sugar skulls to honor those who have died, as well as offering them their favorite foods and decorating with marigolds. I love these products because they are fun and festive, but they also celebrate the multicultural aspect of our cities!

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Dine In: Haunted Halloween “Stuffed Intestines”


Haunted Halloween "Stuffed Intestines"There are so many fun ways to fix your food for Halloween that even Dr. Frankenstein would be suitably impressed with the experimentation going on in your spooky kitchen.

You can serve dollops of mashed potatoes piped onto a plate to look like ghosts. You can add black olives to deviled eggs to look like a spider nested on top. You can make individual meatloaves swimming in tomato sauce, striped with bacon to look like zombie heads. The options are endless.

This recipe totally made my kids laugh, after the initial shock wore off. It would be great to serve on Halloween night, before you go out trick-or-treating.

“Stuffed Intestines”

Ingredients:
1 box frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (includes 2 sheets)
3 to 3 1/2 cups Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 egg with splash of water, beaten

Directions:
Thaw the puff pastry according to the directions on the package. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove sausage from casings and cook through. Drain all fat. Add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese to sausage; stir well.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the two sheets of puff pastry to be about the size of the baking sheet. Cut each sheet into 3 strips length-wise or 4 strips width-wise (either way works). Brush a small amount of water on the short end of a strip of dough to help it to stick the short end of the next strip. Continue to create two long strips with all of the dough.

Spoon the sausage mixture evenly down the center of each strip of dough. Bring the sides of the dough up and around the filling, and pinch together to close.

Start with one end of dough. Arrange it winding around the pan in a way that reminds you of an intestine, using all pieces of dough.

Place the pan in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes, or the freezer for 5 minutes, to chill the dough. Then, brush egg wash over the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until dough is golden-brown. Drizzle with the remaining tomato sauce to resemble “blood.” Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 538, Calories from Fat: 354, Fat: 39 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 77 mg, Sodium: 818 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 18 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Pressure-Cooked Pork Chops in Gravy


Pressure-Cooked Pork Chops in GravyI got an electric pressure cooker for my birthday recently, and I’m equal parts fascinated and frightened of it.

When I was growing up, my mom had a pressure cooker that she’d use on the stovetop, with a metal bell affixed to the top that would chatter insanely as pressure built inside the pot. It was scary when she released the valve and steam whooshed from the vessel with incredible pressure and heat.

Mine is a bit more modern, of course, with one-button touch start and a release valve that doesn’t clatter.

I’ve only made a few things in it so far, but the fact that it can cook a stew or roast in a fraction of the time is amazing.

Pressure-Cooked Pork Chops in Gravy

Ingredients:
6 assorted pork chops
1 tsp cracked black pepper
3 Tbs canola oil
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 (10.5) oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Directions:
In the pressure cooker, heat oil over medium heat on the “brown” setting until hot.

Pepper both sides of the pork chops and brown, a few at a time; set aside.

Add water and chicken bouillon to the pot, scraping to deglaze the pan.

Add pork chops back into the pressure cooker.

Secure the lid on the pressure cooker, and set timer for 8 minutes. Start the pot. When time runs out, release the pressure.

When there’s no more steam, open the pressure cooker. Add sour cream and cream of mushroom soup; stir. Leave on warm until heated through. Serve immediately with hot noodles or rice.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 560, Calories from Fat: 333, Fat: 35 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 675 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 47 g.

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



Product Talk: Brookshire’s French Fried Onions


Brookshire’s French Fried OnionsI can neither confirm nor deny that one year I had to make a Thanksgiving Day run to the local convenience store for more French Fried Onions. You see, I may, or may not, have eaten most of the can before they went atop the green bean casserole.

Luckily, Brookshire’s stocks extra French Fried Onions early in the season (although you can also find them on the shelves all year long), so now I’ve learned to make more than just the Thanksgiving green bean casserole with French Fried Onions.

French Fried Onions are exactly that – crunchy little bits of fried onion. Like an onion ring, but crunchier. They’re great for topping a casserole, a salad, as a coating for chicken or pork, or eating straight out of the can, or so I heard.

I’d buy more than one can, if I were you.



Dine In: Chile Relleno Soup


Chile Relleno SoupThere was a time when I made it my mission to taste every chile relleno at every Mexican restaurant in a 100-mile radius.

I think I was pretty successful; there’s really no more relleno dishes left that I haven’t taste-tested. I know to avoid the soggy, greasy dish at one certain restaurant. I know that at another, the golden, crisp goodness and gooey cheese is what I’m going to eat before I even open the menu.

I’ve tried making chile rellenos at home, with varying degrees of success.

However, this soup highlights the essence of the dish, without having to deep-fry anything.

The best part is that you can eat it at home on your back porch in front of a roaring fire on a lazy Friday night. No reservations or gratuity required.

Chile Relleno Soup

Ingredients:
4 poblano peppers
4 Tbs butter
1/4 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
3 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:
Roast the peppers over a gas flame or in the oven under the broiler on high heat until pepper skin is charred and blistered. Put peppers into brown paper bag, and close bag. Let steam and cool for about 20 minutes. Rub the skin to remove as much char as possible. Then, remove seeds and pith; finely chop.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cook until foamy. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and poblano peppers. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in the chicken broth; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chicken, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Incorporate cream cheese and cheddar cheese into the broth, whisking until smooth. To serve, divide into bowls, and then top with remaining cheese. Serve immediately with finely diced tomatoes and minced fresh cilantro, optional.

Nutritional Information: Calories from Fat: 341, Fat: 38 g, Carbohydrates: 10.24 g, Fiber: 2.64 g, Protein: 41.11 g, Cholesterol: 183 mg.

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



Family Matters: Halloween Parties


Halloween Parties Somehow my boys talked me into having a Halloween party this year.

We were in a local Halloween store, and my older son was begging me to buy a fog machine.

“We don’t need a fog machine,” I reasoned. Who sits around the living room enveloped in fog?

“We could use it for a Halloween party,” he said.

“What Halloween party?” I fired back.

Then, I got to thinking about it: My boys LOVE Halloween. We’ve never had a Halloween party, so why not?
Good, solid logic, I decided.

We didn’t buy the fog machine (my best friend has one I can borrow), but we will have ambiance at the party.

The boys are so excited.

They’ve even sat with me, and we browsed Pinterest boards to plan for the big event. They want the fog machine, of course. We’ll string spooky spider webs up around the covered porch in the backyard and replace the lightbulbs on the front porch with black lights.

We’ll hang paper lanterns from the big tree out back, which will also be festooned with scary spider webs and glow-in-the-dark spiders.

The food table will feature grilled sausages spilling out of a stuffed shirt, which will be attached to a bowl of potato salad for the “head” (grapes for eyes, pimentos for a mouth) and a pair of stuffed jeans for legs. The spooky specter’s hands will be food service gloves stuffed with popcorn and candy corn fingernails.

I wanted to put out bowls of peeled grapes and cold spaghetti for eyeballs and brains, but they declared that “so last century.”

“You probably did that when YOU were growing up, Mom,” they said.

Well, yes. Yes, I did, and I loved it.

They will love having friends over. We’ll light a fire in the chiminea on the porch and maybe bob for apples because some things that are so last century are still fun today. We’ll play some scary music, give the costumed guests glow necklaces and bracelets, and the kids will have a memory to take with them for the rest of their lives.

When they’re parents, they can tell their sons that fog machines and spider webs are SO 2016.



Shop the Sale: Pork and Pasta Stew


Pork and Pasta Stew“Hey Mom, what are you writing about?” my younger son just asked me.

“Pork butt,” I replied.

He collapsed into fits of raucous laughter only a teenage boy could produce at the mention of the word “butt.” Boys never really grow up.

Teenage boys do, however, eat me out of house and home. That’s why it’s important to be able to make them a meal that is filling, nutritious and economical.

Enter Brookshire’s Boston butt roast.

This is one of my favorite things to cook because one roast will feed a small army (aka, teenage boys), and the pork gets so much flavor from the fat.

This meal is super easy because you make it in the slow cooker, so it’s ready when you walk in the door at night.

Pork and Pasta Stew

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs pork butt roast (Boston butt), cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, chopped (liquid reserved)
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 Tbs crushed red pepper
1 Tbs oregano
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 oz small shaped pasta, uncooked
4 oz baby spinach
2 oz parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Combine the pork roast, broth, tomatoes and the liquid, garlic, red pepper, oregano and salt in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

Just before serving, add the pasta. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes. Stir in the spinach. Cover and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately topped with parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 400, Calories from Fat: 104, Fat: 12 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 132 mg, Sodium: 1175 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 47 g.

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



Healthy Living: Easy Cure for What Ails You


Easy Cure for What Ails YouDid you know there’s an easy, natural and healthy way to ease congestion or a sore throat during this season of sickness?

You simply make a “tea” of one cup warm water, one tablespoon honey and some lemon to help chase away the chills, congestion and sore throat. You can add cinnamon, too, as cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties that effectively prevent colds.

Honey has been shown to contain antioxidants, and it offers antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help fight against the virus, bacteria and fungus to treat the cold and its underlying symptoms.

In addition, it will help boost the immune system, which lessens the severity of the cold and helps to prevent future colds.

It will also help soothe a sore throat naturally, and it relieves irritation.

You can also take a tablespoon full of straight honey when you feel a cough coming on to help fight that ailment as well.



Product Talk: Chobani Pumpkin Spice Yogurt


Chobani Pumpkin Spice YogurtIn my eternal quest to taste everything that’s pumpkin spice-flavored, a container in the diary case caught my eye the last time I was at Brookshire’s.

Chobani Yogurt makes a Pumpkin Spice Greek Blended Yogurt.

Of course, I bought it.

Made with real pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg, this smooth and creamy concoction smacks of fall. With only two grams of fat and 12 grams of protein, this slightly sweet treat makes the perfect breakfast or snack.

Chobani uses only natural, non-GMO ingredients for their yogurts, and this contains 40 percent less sugar than regular yogurt.

I can feel good about that, especially with how good it tastes!

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Dine In: Slow Cooker French Onion Soup


Slow Cooker French Onion SoupA few weeks ago, I had lunch at my favorite local bakery and café, a place I eat so frequently that everybody knows my name. It helps that my BFF’s daughter is the manager there, too.

I went in for lunch, and the owner greeted me and suggested that I try the French Onion Soup.

To be totally honest, while I like French Onion Soup, it’s never something I crave or choose off a menu.

She brought me a little cup of soup, and I was hooked. I even went back later in the week for some more, and now I’ve made them promise to alert me on days they are serving the magical soup.

Their French Onion Soup is a secret family recipe. No amount of cajoling could get them to give it up. However, I do know one of the major ingredients, so I set off to find a similar recipe featuring red wine. I also know it’s slow-cooked for hours.

French Onion Soup is definitely a meal that you can dress up for a stay-at-home date night or serve as a hearty fall family dinner.

I can’t wait to make it at home, and then enjoy the leftovers all weekend long.

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Ingredients:
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large yellow onions, slivered
8 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 loaf French bread, sliced into 4 thick slices
6 Tbs butter
1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, sliced

Directions:
Combine bay leaf, garlic, onions, beef broth, wine, salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or more.

Spread butter on 4 slices of bread. Ladle soup into four oven-proof bowls. Top each bowl with a slice of bread, butter-side up, and then add a slice of Gruyere cheese. Broil on high until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 648, Calories from Fat: 351, Fat: 39 g (22 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 108 mg, Sodium: 2470 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 32 g.

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



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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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

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