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Dine In: Mashed Potato Pancakes

Mashed Potato PancakesOn Monday, you’ll read about the Swiss Steak that Paul made for dinner last weekend, so I apologize that these posts are coming in a little out of order. You see, to go with the Swiss Steak, we made mashed potatoes, and because we had leftovers the second day, we made the first day’s mashed potatoes into mashed potato pancakes.

They were delicious, but I think we’ll both readily admit there was a steep learning curve involved. Turns out you can’t just smash the day-old mashed potatoes into patties and drop them in hot oil. I mean, you can and we did, but I think there is a better method out there. In fact, I know there is.

You start with cold, day-old mashed potatoes, but then you need a binding agent, like egg. We used cheese, which is a delicious add-on, but it wasn’t enough to hold the potato pancakes together. We didn’t dredge the potatoes in anything, but it turns out, that would have given them a crispy, golden crust.

Ours were still good, but these are even better! We had them with leftover Swiss Steak, but I even had one again the next morning, topped with Canadian bacon and a fried egg. The golden yolk ran down over that potato pancake, and it was a little bite of heaven.

Mashed Potato Pancakes

2 cups mashed potatoes, cold
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6 Tbs all purpose flour
2 Tbs onions, minced or grated
2 Tbs green onions
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat oven to 250° F. Keep the potato pancakes warm in the oven when you’re done frying them.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes and the egg. Then, add the onions, chives or green onions and cheddar. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Combine well.

In a large heavy skillet like cast iron, heat 1/8 inch of the oil over moderately high heat until it is shimmering but not smoking. Press a heaping mound of potatoes into a patty and place in the oil. Fry until they are golden-brown, about 1 minute per side. When they are golden, place on a platter lined with paper towels and keep them warm in the preheated oven.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 146, Calories from Fat: 44, Fat: 5 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 39 mg, Sodium: 253 mg, Potassium: 275 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Protein: 6 g.

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

Family Matters: Cooking = Responsibility

 Cooking = ResponsibilityAs my girls have gotten older, I found how helpful they can be, if given the opportunity to do something on their own. They get home from school before we get home from work, so they know if they wait for us to cook supper that it will be late when we eat. Therefore, they have taken on the responsibility of cooking a few nights a week. My rule is that I don’t care what you cook because I will eat it! It’s just nice getting home and not having to go straight to the kitchen.

When I buy groceries, they tell me what items they need for what they are planning on cooking that week. They check the weekly grocery ad and let me know what is on sale (budget shoppers!). They have learned that Pinterest has lots of recipes, or they look through our cookbooks (I know, who uses those anymore!). The twins are 16 now, and they cook just about anything you can imagine. I always tell them how great the food was and how much I appreciate them.

We make cookies for a boys’ home as part of a church ministry, and I came home the other night to them having made 8 dozen cookies. They were not all perfectly round nor did they look like the cookies I would have made, but they tasted great. What a blessing to me (who was exhausted) and to the boys receiving them! Letting your kids grow in responsibility reaches outside your home…what a great lesson!

What a blessing it is that my children do not feel the need for someone to wait on them hand and foot, but they step up and act responsible in helping. If we all pitch in on things that need to be done, then there’s more time we can spend as a family doing things together. Most children are willing (definitely able) to cook, clean and even do laundry if parents would let them. Don’t worry that it may not be the best meal you ever ate or chores may not be done exactly like you would have done it. Let your children learn responsibility; it is good for them and it helps them grow!

What a comfort I have in knowing my girls can cook, clean, plan ahead and work through matters on their own. They will be responsible adults which is a great virtue to have in college, at work, in church ministry and in your family. I count my blessings daily, and I give thanks for my girls and the responsible young ladies they have become!

Shop the Sale: Beef and Broccoli

Beef and BroccoliConsidering my son’s current affinity for white rice, I try to work it into as many dishes as humanly possible. While Luke is a sweet boy, he’s a picky eater. He likes rice, approximately two vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and meat.

That doesn’t always make cooking easy.

This dish satisfies all his requirements AND is made in the slow cooker (which makes me happy). In addition, chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so really, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Beef and Broccoli

1 lb boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef stock or beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbs sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 (12 oz) bag frozen broccoli florets
white or brown rice, cooked

Whisk together the beef stock, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic in the crockery of a slow cooker. Place beef strips in the sauce, tossing to coat. Cook on low setting for approximately 6 hours.

When your beef is almost finished, remove about 4 tablespoons of the sauce from the slow cooker, and whisk it with cornstarch. Stir it back into the slow cooker and add broccoli. Turn heat to high; let cook for about 30 more minutes, or until sauce is thickened and broccoli is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 563, Calories from Fat: 316, Fat: 35 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 117 mg, Sodium: 2090 mg, Potassium: 402 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 14 g, Protein: 34 g.

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

Healthy Living: Purell Hand Sanitizer

Purell Hand SanitizerWhen my kids went back to school last week, the item at the top of each school supply list was “Purell Hand Sanitizer.”

Back-to-school means germs, germs and more germs, and Purell Hand Sanitizer helps fight the germs that might be spread from kids with colds touching the pencil sharpener then to other kids.

Purell Hand Sanitizer was invented in 1988 to help reduce the spread of germs in the healthcare and restaurant industries. There needed to be an effective way to stop the spread of germs, and keep things sanitary when soap and water were not readily available.

Purell Hand Sanitizers are effective at killing 99.99% of most common germs, and have been available to the general public since 1997. I think it’s been on every school supply list of ours since then.

My teacher friends keep bottles everywhere in their classroom. I have one on my desk at work, as does my co-worker. There’s Purell Hand Sanitizer dispensers in most public restrooms. I haven’t been into a commercial kitchen since I stopped waiting tables in college, but I imagine they’re found there as well. I have a travel-sized bottle in my purse.

Used correctly, Purell Hand Sanitizer will help keep you germ-free this fall and winter.

Product Talk : Mission Chicharrones

Mission ChicharronesI’ve made it forty-something years without ever tasting a pork rind, and I’ve been perfectly happy and lived a fulfilled life.

However, Paul and I were in Brookshire’s on Saturday, picking up a few items to grill for dinner, when we decided we also needed some snacks for the late afternoon lull before it was time to cook.

I grabbed Pirate’s Booty. Paul grabbed Mission Chicharrones, picante flavor.

Pork rinds.

We brought them home and tore into our respective bags. Being the gentleman he is, Paul held his open bag out to me first.

Like I said, I wasn’t sure about pork rinds, having successfully navigated a lifetime being pork-rind free.

However, I saw a recent episode of a show on Food Network where the cooks were making homemade chicharrones.

If you can get past what they look like to begin with (it is, after all, the skin of a pig), the process is actually pretty interesting. The rinds are dumped into a vat of (more) fat, and they puff up, crispy, crunchy and light as air before you remove them from the fat and let them drain.

I went for it, carefully reaching into the open bag.

I’d expected them to be weighed down by fat and greasy, but they’re super crispy, crunchy and airy.

I read that a lot of dieters eat them because they contain no carbs whatsoever. A half ounce has 80 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein.

Mission Chicharrones, found on the aisle with the chips, come in a 4-ounce bag.

Now, I can say I’ve tried them!

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Dine In: Steak Shish Kebabs

Steak Shish KebabsOne of the things Paul and I love to do together is cook. Specifically, grill. If it’s a Friday or Saturday night, you can pretty much guarantee we’re on the back porch grilling.

We love steak, but that’s just not practical every single time we grill. However, there are great ways to stretch a sirloin into a date-night meal without stretching your budget.
Enter Steak Shish Kebabs.

They cook up quickly, and the juices from the steak flavor the other ingredients on the skewers. They’re a meal right on a stick, so to speak.

Last Friday night, we made some with steak, tomatoes, Noonday onions and Honey Gold potatoes. We sat on the back porch, watched the hummingbirds flock to the newly-filled feeder, and enjoyed some good company, sizzling sounds and succulent smells.
To me, that’s the best kind of date night.

Steak Shish Kebabs
Serves 2

1 1/2 lb sirloin steak, cut into large pieces
2 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 lb Honey Gold potatoes, parboiled and cut into large chunks
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 large sweet onions, cut into large chunks
wooden skewers

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes, so they don’t burn when placed on the grill.

Season steak with Lawry’s and black pepper. Toss parboiled potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Thread steak, potatoes, tomatoes and onions onto skewers, alternating items.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, turning three times.

Carefully remove from grill. Enjoy.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 309, Calories from Fat: 86, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 101 mg, Sodium: 90 mg, Potassium: 681 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 37 g

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

Family Matters: Make Every Night A Family Night

Make Every Night A Family NightBe sure to put September 28 on your calendar as National Family Day. Family dinnertime does not have to be perfect. CASA’s Family Day is a national movement to celebrate parental engagement as an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free. Eating at the table with your kids is a simple way to stay engaged with time to talk, eat and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t expect your meals to always turn out delicious where everyone is raving about your cooking. Also, don’t expect your kids to always be polite and on their best behavior. Let’s be real, good food is only as good as the people you enjoy eating it with. Dinnertime is about sitting down at the table for at least 30 minutes and catching up with everyone. Let the kids tell you what went on at school, open up to one another and share the day’s events with each other.

Keep your family grounded this fall with these 15 ideas for fabulous dinners and family nights:

  1. Enjoy a movie night with homemade pizza. Make your own individual pizzas, and let each family member take a turn selecting the movie.
  2. Have an overnight staycation at home with a cookout and camping. Pitch a tent in your yard, and cook over an open fire (or on the barbecue). Sit around the fire pit and tell stories.
  3. Volunteer as a family. Help out at a school fundraiser or serve meals at the local soup kitchen.
  4. Bake together. Take turns picking favorite recipes and let everyone join in on the fun.
  5. Take family photos. Get out the camera, and have some fun taking photos of each other. Be silly, be serious and have fun.
  6. Have a formal family dinner. Set the table with your best tableware, have everyone dress up and use your best manners. Give everyone a fancy name and title — like prince or princess — and behave as one would.
  7. Play show-and-tell. Have each family member choose an item that is important to him or her, and tell all about it.
  8. Play a casual game of baseball, football or basketball.
  9. Play “Name That Tune.”
  10. Make a family cookbook. Have every family member choose several of his or her favorite recipes and type it up. Make copies to pass out as gifts at Christmas.
  11. Have a family slumber party. Put blankets down in the living room and pile on top!
  12. Visit a local bookstore and read together. Buy a chapter book each member of the family can read aloud from to the others.
  13. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or park. Play “I Spy.”
  14. Play charades.
  15. Have a Bible lesson, songs and snacks.

Mi Blog Hispano: Recetas para el Regreso a la Rutina

Recetas para el Regreso a la RutinaSe acabaron las vacaciones y estamos de regreso a la rutina de las clases y del trabajo. Siempre este tiempo es emocionante porque regularmente tenemos historias y experiencias que contar de lo que se hizo durante las vacaciones. También está la alegría de los nuevos comienzos, estreno de uniformes, útiles escolares y conocer amistades y maestros nuevos.

A veces nos cuesta agarrar la onda de levantarnos temprano, de los horarios y las tareas, por eso estos comienzos a veces toman su tiempo en acostumbrarnos a los nuevos ciclos. Una de las cosas que también se hacen difíciles es comenzar a preparar recetas fáciles y nutritivas ya que no contamos con el mismo tiempo que teníamos durante las vacaciones de inspirarnos en preparar platillos elaborados. Es importante tomar en cuenta que las recetas deben ser balanceadas, económicas y rápidas de cocinar.

Les voy a compartir una de mis platos favoritos para compartir con mi familia en estos tiempos de corredera, tráfico y eventos escolares.

Receta de Ensalada de Macarrones con Queso

Prepara un paquete de macarrones de queso “Macaroni & Cheese dinner” (7 ¼ oz), tal cual como lo indica el paquete. Mientras hagas la pasta mezcla ½ taza de mayonesa con la mezcla de la salsa de queso del paquete en un tazón grande, caliéntalo por 20 segundos en el microondas en potencia alta y revuélvelo muy bien. Ponga la pasta en un colador y escúrrala, luego coloque la mezcla de mayonesa y revuélvala muy bien. Colóquele tres huevos duros picados en cuadritos, un pimentón grande, dos tallos de apio y tres cebollas picaditas en trocitos pequeños. Coloque en el refrigerador por lo menos una hora antes de servir o puede hacerla desde el día anterior y así ya estará lista para cuando regreses del trabajo o la escuela.

Shop the Sale: Bacon and Egg Cheese Ball

Bacon and Egg Cheese BallEverywhere I go, there are eggs on the food.

Eggs on pizza, eggs on burgers, eggs on noodles, eggs on sandwiches of any kind.

They’re easily the “it” ingredient of 2015.

What goes well with eggs? Well, bacon, of course.

Eggs and bacon clearly aren’t just for breakfast anymore, but when I was asked to bring a dish to a potluck brunch recently, I didn’t have to look much further than the classic breakfast staples. This cheese ball, a classic party food, makes breakfast so much fun. The trick is the soft-boiled egg. I’d probably soft-boil a few, just in case the first one doesn’t work out. Just remember to handle with care!

Use Brookshire’s Bacon for this recipe. On sale this week in your local Brookshire’s store, Brookshire’s Bacon stays crisp, even when cooked a few hours before you need it. This cheese ball lets you enjoy the creamy richness of the egg yolk with its best complimentary flavors: bacon and cheese!

Bacon and Egg Cheese Ball

8 oz aged cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 slices Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 soft-boiled egg
crackers of your choice

Partially spread cream cheese on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place your soft-boiled egg gently in the center of the softened cream cheese, and use your hands or a small spatula to mold cream cheese around the egg, forming a ball.

Roll your ball of cream cheese in the shredded cheddar cheese until it’s covered, and then press bacon into the cheeseball, covering the bacon.

The cheese ball is now ready to serve, but you can also refrigerate it for a few minutes to encourage it to hold its shape.

Serve with crackers.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 336, Calories from Fat: 258, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 759 mg, Potassium: 189 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 18 g.

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

Healthy Living: Grilled Peaches

Grilled PeachesOne of my favorite healthy treats in the summertime is grilled peaches.

They’re a perfect summertime dessert or a healthy snack. Peaches are about 50 calories per fruit and have zero fat. They’re full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. They have lots of vitamins A and C, which are good for your skin. Peaches are also said to reduce anxiety! They have a diuretic effect, which is good for the kidneys and bladder.

Plus, they’re super-easy to grill.

Grilling a peach caramelizes it beautifully, bringing out all its natural sugars. If you use local honey, you get added sweetness and a crisp crust on your peach.

Slice your peach in half. Remove the stone. Brush cut-side with local honey. Place on grill, cut-side up, over medium heat; grill until it begins to soften. Flip over to cut-side, and grill until there are char marks and the honey has caramelized.

Serve immediately.

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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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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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