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Dine-In: Meatloaf


Meatloaf is easy to make – but it’s also easy to make wrong. I’ve had dry and tasteless meatloaf, and I’ve had it where each slice is heavy and brimming with grease. Neither were worth eating! But there are a few things you can do to make sure your meatloaf is perfect every time – and well worth making on a cold Friday night at home with a fire in the fireplace and a movie to watch. 

Sauté your vegetables first, and use plenty of them. I like them when they are soft and caramelized. Also, I use oats instead of breadcrumbs to absorb and retain more of the ground beef’s natural juices. And it’s really all about the ketchup, isn’t it? I admit, I don’t normally eat ketchup, but I haven’t found another condiment that adds the moistness and the zing that good ol’ ketchup does. 

Finally, to top it all off, strips of bacon on top bastes the loaf as it cooks while adding more flavor in the meantime. If you’re worried about the fat weighing things down, I use a rack instead of a loaf pan so excess grease can drip away. 

Enjoy!

Meatloaf
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large rib celery, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup rolled oats, not instant
1/2 cup ketchup, divided
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
3 strips bacon

Directions:
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for several minutes. When hot, add butter, onions, green pepper and celery. Cook until vegetables are slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Lower heat and cook 15 minutes more. Transfer to a plate to cool. 

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Spray a standard-sized loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk eggs into a large bowl. Add sautéed vegetables, ground beef, thyme, oats, 1/4 cup ketchup, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and press into the prepared loaf pan, pounding the pan a few times to make sure all air pockets are removed. 

Spray a roasting rack with nonstick cooking spray. Set it on a rimmed baking sheet. Turn meatloaf onto the rack, patting back into shape if any of it sticks. Spread the top with remaining 1/4 cup ketchup and arrange bacon slices lengthwise over ketchup. 

Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve.  

Nutritional Information: Per Serving: Calories: 438, Fat: 19 g, Sodium: 1370 mg, Carbohydrates:  11 g, Protein: 53 g.



Ask Leigh


Question:  We ate at a restaurant recently where the salsa was just delicious. Our server said they roasted the tomatoes and jalapenos first. Do you have a recipe like this? 

Answer:  Definitely! This one is fairly spicy, so if you want a milder flavor, make sure you remove all the jalapeno seeds after roasting. 

 

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, preferably plum 
2 to 3 fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed
½ white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 

Directions:
Heat the broiler of your oven to high. Lay the whole tomatoes and jalapeños on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted — even blackened in spots — on one side. With a pair of tongs, flip over tomatoes and chiles and roast other side for another 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Change the oven temperature to 425˚F. Separate onions into rings. Place onion and garlic on another baking sheet. Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every couple of minutes, until the onions are browned, and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. 

In a food processor, pulse the jalapeños with onion and garlic until moderately finely chopped, scraping everything down with a spatula as needed to keep it all moving around. Remove to a big bowl. Without washing the processor, coarsely puree tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Stir in enough water to give the salsa a spoonable consistency. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and season with salt and vinegar. Refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days. 



Ask Leigh


Question:  We ate at a restaurant recently where the salsa was just delicious. Our server said they roasted the tomatoes and jalapenos first. Do you have a recipe like this? 

Answer:  Definitely! This one is fairly spicy, so if you want a milder flavor, make sure you remove all the jalapeno seeds after roasting. 

 

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, preferably plum 
2 to 3 fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed
½ white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 

Directions:
Heat the broiler of your oven to high. Lay the whole tomatoes and jalapeños on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted — even blackened in spots — on one side. With a pair of tongs, flip over tomatoes and chiles and roast other side for another 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Change the oven temperature to 425˚F. Separate onions into rings. Place onion and garlic on another baking sheet. Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every couple of minutes, until the onions are browned, and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. 

In a food processor, pulse the jalapeños with onion and garlic until moderately finely chopped, scraping everything down with a spatula as needed to keep it all moving around. Remove to a big bowl. Without washing the processor, coarsely puree tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Stir in enough water to give the salsa a spoonable consistency. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and season with salt and vinegar. Refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days. 



Product Talk: Bacon


Bacon has reached cult status these days. It seems everywhere I look someone else is pledging their love to the salty strips of pork – even in chocolate!

You can find bacon salt at the grocery store, and I’ve seen some funny bacon bandages at a novelty gift shop in the mall. Nothing like covering your child’s cut with a “strip of bacon” to help wipe away the tears. 

I recently enjoyed this Pecan Sugared Bacon at a baby shower. I’ve had it before with brown sugar, but not with the wonderful addition of pecans. It is deliciously addictive, so consider yourself warned! 

Pecan Sugared Bacon 

Ingredients:
2 Tbs finely chopped pecans
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
10-12 thick-cut bacon slices  

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Mix pecans, brown sugar and pepper.  Lay bacon slice on mixture and press into one side only. Lay in a single layer on a lightly greased wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined baking pan (sugar side up). Press pecan mixture as needed on bacon slices. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut slices into desired lengths.



Shop the Sale: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp


I hope you had a holly, jolly Christmas! I know I’m still swooning from the after-effects of too much sugar, a lot of presents and a great holiday had by all.

So now it’s time to think about New Year’s Eve.

I know! I know!!! STOP THE MADNESS.

This quick and simple recipe, using the peeled and deveined shrimp on sale at Brookshire’s this week, will elevate your New Year’s Eve party from humdrum to VA-VOOM and have everyone partying like it’s 1999! And you’ll reap the benefits in the new year of money saved. 

Bacon (Because Everything Is Better With Bacon) Wrapped Shrimp
Serves 12 as an appetizer portion

Ingredients:
18-24 peeled and deveined pre-cooked shrimp
9-12 slices of Brookshire’s bacon (cut in half)

Marinade:

Ingredients:
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Toothpicks or wooden skewers 

Directions:
Soak toothpicks or wood skewers in warm water for around 30 minutes.

Stir together all of the ingredients for the marinade in a small to medium sized bowl.

Rinse shrimp, remove tails and pat dry.

Add shrimp to marinade, toss to coat and allow to marinate at least 1 hour at room temperature. In a large skillet, cook bacon around 2 minutes until edges start to curl. Do not cook the bacon entirely; it still has to wrap around shrimp. Perhaps 1 minute total. Drain and set aside until shrimp is done marinating.

Wrap bacon around shrimp and skewer or secure with toothpick.

Grill or broil until shrimp is done and bacon is crisp. This takes around 10 to 15 minutes on both my grill and broiler, but you will need to judge this for yourself. Be careful to not overcook.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 162, Calories from Fat: 87, Cholesterol: 107 mg, Sodium: 632 mg,Total Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 16 g



Product Talk: Eggnog


My favorite night of the entire year is Christmas Eve.

To me, it’s better than Christmas morning – the anticipation of the birth of Christ and the festivities of the next day practically charge the air with electricity. I love leaving evening church services and coming home to a big meal – it’s traditionally lasagna in my house – and wrangling the kids to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Then, of course, it’s time to wait for Jolly Old St. Nick to bound down the chimney.

While you’re waiting, you can indulge in a treat we really only see once a year — eggnog.

Eggnog is a sweetened dairy-based beverage traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, and whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture). Brandy, rum, whisky, bourbon, Kahlúa, vodka, or a combination of liquors are often added. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.

Here’s one eggnog recipe my family has enjoyed at Christmas Eve gatherings. Purchase pre-made eggnog from the dairy case at Brookshire’s to get you started.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Golden Blizzard Eggnog

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups eggnog
2 shots Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps
2 shots Arrow peppermint schnapps

Directions:
Add the shots of Goldschlager and Arrow to a mason jar, then fill with eggnog. Shake and pour into 2 cups.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 505,Calories from Fat: 128, Cholesterol: 112 mg, Sodium: 103 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 42 g, Sugars: 33 g, Protein: 7 g.

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



Dine-In: Friday Night Slow-Cooker Jambalaya


If you’ve read many of the blogs on the Brookshire’s site, then you know that we all have come to have great affection for our slow cookers. It’s the working parent’s answer to getting dinner on the table soon after we all get home, and these days, there are tons of new recipes that make slow cooking a whole new way of cooking that doesn’t involve cream of mushroom soup every time! 

There are all kinds of recipes on the internet for modernized slow cooking, from healthier choices to chocolate pudding cakes and everything else you can think of in between. This recipe for Slow-Cooker Jambalaya is one of my teenage sons’ favorites because they love the chicken and  smoked sausage, and along with the rice, the jambalaya seems to fill them up if only for a while! 

The last thing you do when you get home from work is add the rice, and 30 minutes later you can have dinner on the table and everyone happy. Easy and delicious for your family’s winter weeknight table. 

Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Jambalaya
Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
3  garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbs Cajun or creole spice mix
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 3/4 cups long-grain white rice
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish 

Directions:
Combine chicken, sausage, onion, green pepper, celery, tomatoes, garlic, chicken broth, spice mix, thyme and oregano in a large (5-quart) slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 hours. Add shrimp and rice; raise heat to high and cook for 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.  

Nutritional Information:  Calories Per Serving: 861, Total Fat: 34 g, Sodium 1064 mg, Carbohydrates 55 g, Protein: 80 g



Product Talk: Passion for Pomegranates


Pomegranates are considered one of nature’s “super foods,” thanks to the cancer- and disease-fighting properties of their juicy seeds. And this time of year, pomegranates make a powerful, delicious addition to your wintertime diet – whether you drink the juice or enjoy a snack of pomegranate seeds (which are completely edible).

A ripe pomegranate feels fairly heavy when you pick it up. You want to choose one that is not pale in color; Look for dark or bright red firm skin. And be sure to eat it as soon as you open the pomegranate. It’s easy for this super fruit to dry out, which won’t taste the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

One of my favorite pomegranate recipes pairs the taste (and nutrition) of the fruit with toasted walnuts in a wonderful winter salad. It’s colorful and beautiful on your plate, not to mention great tasting and great for you!

Enjoy!

Winter Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

For the vinaigrette

Ingredients:
2 tsp shallots, chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

For the salad
Ingredients:
2 lbs mixed salad greens
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and julienned
1/4 lb blue cheese
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:
To prepare the vinaigrette, place the shallot, vinegar, mustard and thyme in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Place salad greens, apples and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Add half the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, then toss again. Sprinkle the remaining seeds and walnuts over the salad. Serves 6.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 529, Fat: 40 g, Sodium: 347 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Protein: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 g

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



Ask Leigh


Question:  At an office birthday party the other day, a woman mentioned that the meringue on the pie being served was made with marshmallows. Is that really possible?

Answer: Yes! And although it does give the meringue a bit of a creamier taste and texture, this recipe works every single time. It seems to help keep the meringue from shrinking, as well as tasting absolutely delicious! 

Marshmallow Meringue

Ingredients:
1 (7 oz) jar Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème
3 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Using rubber spatula, scrape marshmallow crème into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form.

Add 1/2 cup beaten egg whites to marshmallow crème and stir with rubber spatula or spoon just until incorporated to lighten. Marshmallow crème is very sticky and will be difficult to blend at first, but blending will become easier as remaining whites are folded in. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions just until incorporated.

Spread meringue over top of cold pie, mounding slightly in center and swirling with knife to create peaks. Bake for about 5 minutes until meringue is browned. Enjoy!

 



Family Matters: Creating Family Memories


When the holidays roll in and school lets out, it’s a great time to stop and enjoy some free time with your children and grandchildren. Yes, I know it’s the most hectic time of the year, but it’s also the most wonderful from what I hear. And these little moments with our little ones disappear before you can say, “Happy New Year!” 

I have teenage sons and they are way more interested in what their friends are doing than spending too much time with me in the kitchen, so I try to grab every opportunity I can to draw them in to hanging out with me. It’s a great time to talk, as everyone is pretty relaxed and knows some good food is on the way soon! 

These two recipes were some of my sons’ favorites when they were younger. They loved chicken nuggets, but I just didn’t care for the frozen kind – or for frying the nuggets too often. I bake mine, and no one notices that they haven’t been in the deep fryer. The quality of the chicken is also so much better than anything you can get in a drive-thru! 

And once you’ve made Homemade Applesauce, you’re going to be hooked for life. Yes, it takes a bit of time to prepare and to allow too cool down, but it’s worth every single delicious spoonful. Depending on how sweet you like yours, choose a variety of apples and play with the flavors. You really can’t go wrong, and its five simple ingredients I bet you already have at home. 

We still make these recipes from time to time, and it’s adorable to see them flashback to memories from their preschool days. We have had some sweet conversations simply because the food triggered fun days back when I could still carry them on my hip and read Dr. Seuss every afternoon at nap time. Those days are gone, but the memories and the food will stay with us…until grandchildren one day (a long, long way away!). 

Enjoy! 

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks. Mix bread crumbs with parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Dip chicken into melted butter. Roll in crumb mixture. Lay on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve warm. Also good cold for leftovers. 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 458, Total Fat: 27 g, Sodium: 360 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 44 g 

Homemade Applesauce
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
6 red apples, or whatever kind you like
1 cup water
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Core and peel all apples. Quarter the apples, and then cut into chunks. Place apple chunks in a medium saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover to simmer until apples soften and break apart. Stir every few minutes. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Refrigerate until cooled. Keeps about a week in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 128, Total Fat: 0 g, Sodium: 3 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Protein: 1 g

 



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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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