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Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Beef and Rice

Slow Cooker Beef and RiceI’ve made no secret of the fact that my younger son is obsessed with rice. Anything he can eat with the rice is A-OK in his book.

I’ve also overshared about my love of the slow cooker. Seriously? How did we get through life without this invention? Oh yeah, we didn’t work full-time, have second jobs, have to be at soccer practice by 7pm, but before that, homework, chores, more homework and, oh yeah, dinner.

I wouldn’t survive Tuesday nights without my slow cooker; it’s as simple as that. Dinner is ready when we walk in the door. Anything extra that has to be cooked, like rice, can be done during homework. We eat at a reasonable hour so no one is getting a stomachache at soccer practice, and we can get out the door (reasonably) sane.

I also love it when meat is on sale at Brookshire’s because then I can stock up for my meat-and-potatoes (or rice) guys!

Slow Cooker Beef and Rice

4 cups beef broth
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 lbs rump roast, cut into small chunks
2 to 3 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup cold water
3 Tbs cornstarch
4 to 6 cups white or brown rice, cooked

Mix broth, Worcestershire sauce and chopped onions in slow cooker. Add beef. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. (I’ve found this works better on low.)

Just before serving, drain juices into a large pot; bring to a boil. Whisk together cold water and cornstarch. Add to pot and stir until thickened. Put gravy back in the slow cooker; stir. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 494, Calories from Fat: 139, Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 1970 mg, Potassium: 264 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 76 g.

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Healthy Living: Cuban Shrimp

Cuban ShrimpMy new obsession is to travel to Cuba.

Ever since the U.S. and Cuba established a more open door policy (aided, in part, by Pope Francis), I’ve wanted to go to the country that has for so long been verboten to American tourists.

You might say my interest started in the third grade, when a boy named Christopher came to sit next to me in Mrs. Armentour’s classroom. Christopher and his family had just moved to the United States from Cuba, a country that sounded exotic and fascinating. Christopher’s father was in Cuban prison (a story I never heard mentioned again) and his mother had taken Christopher and his brother to her native United States. It was all very alluring and mysterious.

Perhaps part of Cuba’s allure is that is has been cut off from the United States for so long, during the years of Castro’s rule and subsequent domination by the Communist Party.

Cuba was discovered and claimed for Spain by our pal Christopher Columbus, although Ameri-Indian tribes inhabited the island just 93 miles off the coast of the U.S. before he arrived.

Cuba’s culture is a blend of Spanish and African, with emphasis on rich music and healthy, flavorful cuisine.

The cuisine features a lot of black beans, citrus fruits, more black beans, saffron rice, mangos and more black beans. (I happen to LOVE black beans.)

But this shrimp dish highlights the citrus flavors I conjure up when I imagine an island visit.
The hot pepper tempers the sweetness of the juices, and the spices say “island” to me! This dish gets its flavor from whole, healthy foods!

Cuban Shrimp

10 cloves garlic
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin, optional
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 lbs large to jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
kosher or sea salt, to taste

Start by making a paste of the spices, using a mortar and pestle (or a bowl and a heavy spoon). Mash the garlic, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes until they form a chunky paste. You can also use a food processor. Whisk this into the orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice and olive oil and add cumin.

Separate the sauce in half and set half aside. Add shrimp to the other half and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes (no longer or the citrus will cook the shrimp, ceviche-style).

Drain the shrimp, but reserve the marinade.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with salt. Sauté for 30 seconds.

Cook an additional 2 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. Remove to a warm platter.
Increase the heat to high and add all the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce reduces by half and thickens. Pour over shrimp and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 508, Calories from Fat: 269, Fat: 30 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 320 mg, Sodium: 331 mg, Potassium: 271 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 46 g.

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Product Talk: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin SnickerdoodlesIt’s inevitable.

It’s the time of year we’re going to talk about pumpkin. Have you seen the hashtag #pumpkinspicelife? It’s because everything this month is pumpkin. That’s fine by me!

Pumpkin is super-healthy. It’s also super-great to cook with.

Libby’s Pure Pumpkin comes in a can, packed with nutrients, low in calories and fat and virtually sodium-free.

Pure pumpkin is not just for pumpkin pie (although that’s a mighty delicious way to use it). You can mix it into oatmeal for a vitamin boost. You can mix it with a prepared cake mix to make a low-calorie muffin. And you can use it to make cookies; snickerdoodles to be exact.

I wasn’t sure how these would go over at my house. I mean, I LOVE pumpkin, but I wasn’t sure how the people who would (hopefully) be eating the vast majority of the cookies would react.

I needn’t have worried: two dozen of this spin on the classic cookies were gone in the first day. (Disclaimer: They did NOT eat only cookies all weekend.) Chilling the dough overnight is a must; they were tender on the inside and crisp with cinnamon sugar on the outside.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Makes 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar for topping
2 tsp ground cinnamon for topping

Cream together sugar, butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs and blend thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add in small batches into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Add the pumpkin puree at low speed.

When well-mixed, place dough in the freezer for 90 minutes (or in the fridge overnight).

Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Mix extra sugar and cinnamon together well in a bowl. Roll a small mound of dough (about 2 Tbs) into a ball in your hand, and then roll in cinnamon sugar. Place on baking sheet 12 to a sheet (they will spread a little).

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. When just the edges of the cookies start to brown, you will know they are done. The middle part of each cookie is going to appear undercooked. Cool on a wire rack and you will see them look like they are cooked through.

Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 94, Calories from Fat: 39, Fat: 4 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 56 mg, Potassium: 40 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Dine In: Butternut Squash-Stuffed Shells

Butternut Squash-Stuffed ShellsThis has been one of the best weeks in recent history for a variety of reasons, but principal among them was finding out that my parents are coming to visit for Christmas!

Most years, I only see my parents once during summer vacation in Sandbridge, Virginia. On extra-special bonus years, I might get another visit in. This appears to be one of those years.

I’m already planning my menu for the four whole days they’ll be visiting.

I come from an Italian family, and my mom’s stuffed shells are the best ever. Mine are never as good as hers, so I’m not even going to try to duplicate the recipe this time around. Instead, I’m going to honor the dish with a variation on the traditional take on stuffed shells.

This is a recipe full of interesting flavors. The butternut squash is slightly sweet, especially after it has roasted and caramelized. The spinach, with its touch of acidity, offsets the sweetness of the butternut squash while the creaminess of the ricotta is balanced by the texture of the pine nuts. Then, the lemon brings it all together with a lovely brightness.

This is a great dish for a fall Friday night or to put in your holiday repertoire this year.

Butternut Squash-Stuffed Shells
Serves 8

2 cups roasted butternut squash
olive oil, for tossing
1 box jumbo pasta shells
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest, grated
4 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup butter
10 sage leaves (if you can’t find sage, substitute oregano or basil)
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

Peel and chop the butternut squash, and then toss in olive oil. Roast at 425° F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Meanwhile, cook your jumbo pasta shells according to directions.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups ricotta, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, spinach, egg, salt and pepper. Combine well. Add the roasted squash and grated lemon zest.

Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of the mixture into each shell, and place in a single layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter over shells. Bake shells at 400° F for about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the shells are baking, make your sauce.

To make the sage brown butter sauce, melt the 1/2 cup butter in a sauté pan until it’s golden-brown, bubbly and has a nutty fragrance. Add at least 10 sage leaves and sauté until slightly crisp. Remove from heat and add the fresh lemon juice.

Remove shells from oven, pour sauce over shells and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 527, Calories from Fat: 292, Fat: 32 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 96 mg, Sodium: 344 mg, Potassium: 370 mg, Carbohydrates: 41 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 20 g.

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Family Matters: DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)DHA isn’t just another acronym in the alphabet soup of all things baby.

DHAs are vitally important for growth and development!

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, sperm, testicles and retina.

Fat is a major structural component of the brain, and DHA plays a role in that structure. Some researchers believe that consuming recommended levels of DHA may help support brain health. DHA has also been shown to help support heart health.

All varieties of Omega-3s are important, but research shows that DHA may supply the greatest number of distinct health benefits. DHA has a huge impact on brain and visual functioning as well as its role in supporting heart health. DHA provides a nutritional boost for baby’s growing mind and body, supporting brain and eye development and function. It has also been shown to support brain and heart health in all stages of life.

The best way for your baby to get enough DHA is to choose DHA-fortifi¬ed foods like Horizon Organic Milk with DHA. Horizon Organic Milk with DHA Omega-3 has the same wholesome, creamy and delicious taste that all Horizon milk is known for but supplies a vegetarian source of DHAs.

Make sure your baby is getting enough DHA with Horizon products fortified with this vital supplement.

Family Matters: Magic 9 Months

Magic 9 MonthsDevelopmental pediatricians say nine months is a critical month in baby’s growth.

They are doing all kinds of amazing things at once! Baby will be able to stand holding onto furniture, roll over on the floor, and commando crawl or look like he’s getting ready to crawl. He’ll be developing more fine motor skills, and will be able to pick up progressively smaller objects in a pincer grasp. He will start having favorites, and will show visible excitement at the sight of certain foods or special people.

Nine months is a pretty magical age, but remember, there is a wide range of development. However, if your baby isn’t doing any of the things mentioned above, have a chat with your pediatrician and have them take a look at your little one. My younger son was doing just fine with his fine motor skills but showed no signs of pulling up, standing or moving. A simple evaluation showed that he had low-muscle tone, and a few weeks with a physical therapist had him right back in shape and hitting typical milestone markers.

Family Matters: Rolling Along

Rolling AlongWhen your baby is about five months old, life gets interesting! I’ll never forget leaving my older son on my bed and coming back to find he’d rolled over! I dodged a bullet on that one. He could have rolled off the bed. Talk about scary!

Luckily, the first roll doesn’t usually result in a traveling barrel roll but safety first, always.

Rolling from front to back is probably the first way baby will roll over. It’s a bit easier to get that momentum going when they can use their legs and arms to propel them over. Rolling from back to front is a different motion and set of muscles, and usually comes after the front-to-back roll.

My older son was about four months old when he rolled over for the first time, so it’s never too early to start making sure you don’t leave them alone on a bed or on any other elevated surface. To encourage rolling, place a favorite toy just out of their reach to the side and let them try to get it.

Shop the Sale: Mexican Steak Salad

Mexican Steak SaladThe days are getting shorter, dusk is coming earlier and my new solar-powered porch lights are making me want to spend more evenings on the back patio. Well, that and it’s not 100 degrees every night any more.

As much as I can complain about the summer heat in Texas, I do love the more mild autumns and winters. I REALLY love the fact you can comfortably grill outside all year long in the South, minus maybe a handful of days.

I like this steak salad because it combines my favorite food group, steak, with a more healthy salad, making it a hearty meal. The acid from the lime juice offsets the rich fattiness of the steak and the queso fresco provides a pop of flavor without a lot of added fat.

I also like this steak salad because boneless sirloin strip steak is on sale this week at Brookshire’s. The boneless sirloin really benefits from the marinade, so don’t skip that step!

Mexican Steak Salad

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs cumin
2 Tbs garlic, minced
1 lb boneless sirloin steak strips
1/4 small red onion, sliced
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn
1 small head butter lettuce, torn
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
3 Tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Mix the soy sauce with cumin and garlic. Marinate the steak in the soy sauce mixture for 30 minutes. At the same time, soak the red onions in ice water for 30 minutes. (It takes away the “bite” of the onion.)

Preheat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the steak 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes, and then slice against the grain. Follow the same directions for a gas grill.

Toss the steak with the romaine, butter lettuce, cilantro, queso fresco, onions and avocado. Whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil with the lime juice, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over salad and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 384, Fat: 26 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 52 mg, Sodium: 663 mg, Protein: 29 g, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Sugar: 2 g, Fiber: 5 g, Iron: 3 mg, Calcium: 140 mg.

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Healthy Living: Pumpkin

PumpkinsIt’s that time of year for all things pumpkin.

I know you’ve seen the jokes about Pumpkin Spice everything (have you seen the new pumpkin spice M&M’s candies?), but pumpkin deserves the hype it gets this time of year.

Pumpkin (not the spiced latte version) is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Technically a gourd, pumpkin is low in calories but abundant in vitamin A and flavonoid antioxidants such as lutein, xanthin and carotenes.

Pumpkin is recommended by dieticians to control cholesterol and help in weight reduction (again, not the candied variety). Pumpkin is full of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, and has a lot of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a great source of dietary fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health. Pumpkin seeds are also a wonderful source of protein, minerals and vitamins. Nutritionally, 100 grams of pumpkin seeds account for 559 calories; 30 grams of protein; 110 percent RDA of iron; 4,987 milligrams of niacin (31 percent of RDA); selenium (17 percent of RDA); zinc (71 percent) and no cholesterol.

Pumpkin can be baked, braised, stewed, simmered, pureed, steamed, roasted and eaten in almost any way you can imagine! If you haven’t already hopped on the pumpkin bandwagon, take a hayride with this awesome vegetable this fall.

Product Talk: Swiss Steak

Swiss SteakLast Saturday night, Paul said those words I love to hear, “I’ll cook tonight.”

I mean, I love cooking, but I really love when he cooks. Everything he makes is mouthwatering.

Last weekend, he said he was going to make Swiss Steak. I’d never had it before, nor have I ever cooked with tenderized cube steak. Also called tenderized round steak, this meat is sold packaged in your butcher shop at Brookshire’s, or the butcher can tenderize it for you. It’s simply a round steak or sirloin made tender with some serious pounding. My boys called it “the meat with holes” when they were younger. The holes don’t go all the way through, mind you, but you can still see those indentations where it’s been tenderized. It’s usually sold in filets or cutlets, and is good for a myriad of recipes!

Back to the Swiss Steak. It came together quickly and simply, and it was so delicious! We had enough for leftovers the next day (and the next). This is a great recipe for fall as it’s warm, hearty, savory and economical.

Paul’s Swiss Steak

2 lb cube steak, tenderized
4 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup white onions, chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes

Remove cube steak from packaging. Sprinkle liberally with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and black pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron skillet until it shimmers and begins to pop. (Make sure to get the oil hot enough, so your meat doesn’t just absorb it all.) Place steak in the pan and brown quickly, no more than 2 minutes per side. Remove steak to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. This might take several batches.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place steak in a pan (can be in a single layer or doubled up). Top with slices of white onions; cover with tomatoes. Cover pan with lid or wrap tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or something similar to catch all those delicious juices.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 291, Calories from Fat: 85, Fat: 9 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 89 mg, Potassium: 380 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 35 g.

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Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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.

Shop the Sale

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

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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