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Dine In: Cranberry Brie Puffs


Cranberry Brie PuffsAre you throwing a holiday party this year? I am.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting a gathering for family or a fete for friends. It’s a good idea to have some delicious and distinctive treats on hand for this holiday season.

One of the most distinctive holiday flavors, in my mind, is the cranberry. It’s even lusciously red like Christmas!

Cranberries are most readily available during the holidays. This recipe calls for fresh, but you can buy flash-frozen, too. The tartness of the cranberries is offset by the mild and milky flavor of the brie cheese.

These bite-sized morsels are great to pass at a party or snack on Christmas afternoon, after opening presents. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of a Christmas afternoon full of appetizers, love and laughter.

Make sure the brie is COLD for this recipe to be successful!

Cranberry Brie Puffs

Ingredients:
For the cranberry filling:
1 cup fresh cranberries
3 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the puff pastry bites:
2 (10 x 10-inch) sheets puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
4 oz brie cheese, cold

Directions:
Prepare the cranberry sauce by combining the cranberries, orange juice, water, honey, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 10 minutes until the cranberries break down and thicken. Let cool.

Unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, gently roll the pastry so that it is an even 10 1/2-inch square. With a 1 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the pastry (24 rounds total).

Beat the egg in a small bowl, and then lightly brush each pastry. Top 12 of the pastry rounds with 1/4 teaspoon cranberry sauce and 1 small piece brie cheese, rind included.

Carefully place the remaining pastry rounds on top of the brie and cranberry, brushed egg-side down. Pinch the ends closed, and then gently crimp the edges with a fork to secure. Prick each pastry with a fork to allow the air to escape. Repeat with second pastry sheet.

Place a rack in the upper third section of the oven and preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pastries on the prepared sheet and brush lightly with egg. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until puffed and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 69, Calories from Fat: 42, Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 6 mg, Sodium: 50 mg, Potassium: 15 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Family Matters: Giant Christmas Tree Cookie


Giant Christmas Tree CookieAre your kiddos crushing on cookies this Christmas? Make a giant treat for your little ones to decorate, a sweet and easy, memory-making activity to share with loved ones during the holidays.

Giant Christmas Tree Cookie

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1/3 cup Brookshire’s Butter, softened
green gel food coloring
1 (12 oz) Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting
1 (12 oz) Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate Frosting
decorations or candy, as desired for decorating

Directions:
Heat oven to 375º F. In a medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms.

Line a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with foil. With moistened fingers, press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden-brown; cool completely, about 30 minutes.

With the help of mom or dad, cut tree shape from baked cookie. If you need help, create a tree template. Place the template on the baked cookie and cut around it using a sharp knife.

Stir food coloring into frosting as desired. Decorate cookie tree with frosting and candies.

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Shop the Sale: Apple Bacon Pork Roast


Apple Bacon Pork RoastThis week at Brookshire’s, boneless pork roast is on sale, and do you know what that means? Well, besides getting a great deal on the other white meat that is a healthy and easy choice for your family, it means that you can celebrate fall with recipes that celebrate the pork roast!

Pork naturally lends itself to fall flavors such as fruit and succulent spices. Pork can be dry, so fruit adds natural juices while ramping up the flavor.

This recipe actually does double duty. Apples, slipped between succulent slices of pork, keep the roast moist, while bacon placed on top adds a little fat and a lot of flavor to the meat, infusing it with the taste of Americans’ favorite guilty pleasure.

I like Granny Smith apples in this recipe because they don’t break all the way down, and the tartness of the apples plays well against the sweetness of the glaze. Fuji apples work well, too, or whatever suits your taste!

Apple Bacon Pork Roast

Ingredients:

3-4 lb boneless pork loin roast

2 large Granny Smith apples, sliced

6 slices bacon (halfway cooked)

1/3 cup brown sugar

Glaze:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple juice

1 Tbs Dijon or grainy mustard

dash of cinnamon

Directions:Slice your pork loin into 1-inch slices about 3/4 of the way through. That way the roast is still connected in one piece. Place roast in a large slow cooker and place the apple slices in the slits. Lay the bacon slices over the top of the roast and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place lid on the slow cooker, and allow the roast to cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Slice and serve with the glaze below.

Glaze:

Blend glaze ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 516, Calories from Fat: 116, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0.1 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 207 mg, Sodium: 349 mg, Potassium: 1270 mg, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 20 g, Protein: 74 g.

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Dine In: Grilled Chicken Nachos


Grilled Chicken NachosI was sitting out on the back porch a few Thursday nights ago with my girlfriends. We’ve transitioned our weekly “Girls Night Out” to “Girls Night In.” It’s just less expensive – and more fun – that way. We love the back porch. It’s covered. I have a fan for when it’s hot and a chiminea for when it’s chilly, and, most importantly, I have a grill.

On Thursday nights, we usually cook out, so we can all stay in the same place and socialize. We’ve gotten pretty creative with our meals on the grill. That week, I really wowed the girls with Grilled Chicken Nachos.

My sons, who were not there for the Thursday festivities, were envious, so I made them again on Friday night. 

Grilled Chicken Nachos

Ingredients:
1 (24 oz) bag tortilla chips
salt and pepper, to taste
sour cream, for serving
salsa, for serving
guacamole, for serving
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup plum or cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced and caramelized
1 Tbs taco seasoning

Directions:
Mix chicken with spices, salsa and tomatoes. Heat on stovetop until warm. 

In a separate pan, heat the black beans and caramelize the onions.

Preheat the grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat.

Spray grill pan with cooking spray.

Place a single layer of tortilla chips on the bottom of a grill tray. Sprinkle with cheese and then a layer of the chicken and other toppings, topping with more cheese.

Place grill tray on the grill over indirect heat. Cover for 5 minutes, then turn and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the grill and use a spatula to cut and serve. Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Serves 4
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1252, Calories from Fat: 483, Fat: 54 g, Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 1210 mg, Potassium: 878 mg, Carbohydrates: 154 g, Fiber: 20 g, Sugar: 22 g, Protein: 46 g.

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Product Talk: Slow Cooker Cube Steak with Gravy


Slow Cooker Cube Steak with GravyFor a long time, I had no idea what a cube steak was, so I never cooked with it. Then, I found out that it’s the most commonly used cut of meat for chicken fried steak, so if it’s used for that, it can’t be all that bad, right?

Cube steak is a simple cut of beef, usually a top round or top sirloin, that’s been tenderized using a meat tenderizer or an electric meat tenderizer. The name refers to the shape of the indentations left by that process, which is called “cubing.” See? Nothing to be afraid of.

A top round or top sirloin isn’t the most tender cut of beef to begin with, so this process helps things along. Slow cooking also helps tenderize the meat, as in this recipe for a slow cooked cube steak with gravy. You can serve this over rice or mashed potatoes like the recipe calls for, but my boys also like it over egg noodles.

Slow Cooker Cube Steak with Gravy

Ingredients:
1 cube steak family pack (includes about 6)
2 cans reduced fat and/or low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place cube steaks in a slow cooker. Stir all other ingredients together and pour over meat. Cover and cook on low setting all day. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 643, Calories from Fat: 155, Fat: 17 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 258 mg, Sodium: 1347 mg, Potassium: 1048 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 104 mg.

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Dine In: Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Bacon and Cherry Tomatoes


Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Bacon & Cherry TomatoesSeveral years ago, we had “Pasta Thursday” every week in my house. It didn’t really matter what the dish was, but it contained some sort of pasta.

We’ve gotten away from that in the past few years, and it seems like we don’t each much pasta in the summertime at all.

Now that it’s cooler, pasta and pasta dinners have started reappearing on our menus. The boys love pasta and let’s admit, it’s fast, easy and inexpensive.

This recipe, to me, combines the best of summer flavors with heartier fall fare. While I’d normally take out as much fat as I could, make sure you use the bacon drippings as called for in the recipe. It makes so much of a difference. The original recipe didn’t call for whole-wheat fettuccine, but that’s pretty much all we eat any more. I love the nuttier flavor and the extra bite in the pasta when you use the whole-wheat kind.

This dish is also great to feed a crowd. I think it’s going to make an appearance at a porch party one Friday night soon.

Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Bacon & Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 strips center-cut bacon
1 Tbs olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
9 oz whole-wheat fettuccine pasta
3 Tbs basil, chopped chiffonade (into thin strips)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary. Roast in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and have started to collapse.

While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the bacon over medium heat in a skillet. Reserve the fat and drippings while cooking. Crumble bacon roughly with your fingers and set aside.

Without washing the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and drippings to the skillet. Over medium-low heat, add the minced garlic cloves, and cook until fragrant and starting to brown, about a minute. Add the remaining chopped thyme and rosemary, and cook for another minute. Set aside.

Cook the fettuccine according to package directions for al dente pasta. When done, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and drain.

Add the cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and bacon to the garlic herb mixture in the skillet over medium-low heat. Stir together and cook for about a minute. Then, add the cooked pasta and toss, cooking for another minute. Add reserved pasta water if the sauce needs more liquid, but this shouldn’t be a saucy pasta.

Serve with plenty of chopped basil on top.

Serves 3-4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 431, Calories from Fat: 205, Fat: 23 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 52 mg, Sodium: 515 mg, Potassium: 944 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 26 g.

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Family Matters: Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pie


Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pies

A family friend made Chicken Pot Pie one night for a get-together, and my family loved it. We, of course, then had to ask for the recipe, and we have been making it for a few years now. I did not eat Chicken Pot Pie, but after trying this recipe, I enjoy making it and eating it. This recipe makes two pot pies.

We often get in the habit of eating the “same old thing” because it is easier than trying to figure something else out, and we know the family likes it. Don’t be afraid to cook something new and different for your family to try. This recipe is packed with vegetables and chicken, and it is a quick and easy hot meal. Hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy time at the table eating supper together. Count your blessings daily and remind your family to give thanks for a meal on the table each night.

Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pies

Ingredients:
2 pkg deep dish pie crusts
2 large cans chunk white meat chicken breast
2 large cans Veg-All Mixed Vegetables
1 large can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
McCormick Season All

Directions:
Mix the soup and vegetables (drained) in a large bowl. Add some seasoning for added flavor and then add the chicken (break apart as you put in bowl). Mix all together. Pour in an uncooked pie shell and then flip the second uncooked pie shell on top of the filled one. Pinch the edges together around the pie, and cut small slits in the top of the shell for air and a small hole in the middle of the top. It may look weird, but when it cooks, the shell will lay down. Place in oven and cook at 350° F for approximately 35 minutes and until golden-brown on top. Remove from oven and it is ready to serve. My kids like to add grated cheese on top before eating.

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Shop the Sale: Butter and Garlic Stuffed Split Chicken Breasts


Butter and Garlic Stuffed Split Chicken BreastsGrowing up, we always had chicken breasts on the bone.

When I was out on my own, I decided I’d only buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Yes, those are easy, fast and convenient, perfect for many of the dishes I make.

However, there’s no doubt that the flavor of a bone-in breast is so much more significant! I think cooking meat on the bone keeps it juicier, too.

This recipe produces about the most moist, flavorful chicken I’ve ever had. It’s crispy and juicy all in one. The recipe calls for dried drill, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other spices as well.

Split chicken breasts are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so stock up!

Butter and Garlic Stuffed Split Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:
2 split chicken breasts with ribs removed
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs dried dill
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Trim two split chicken breasts of any extra fat and trim off rib section if you desire. Rinse and pat dry

Mince garlic. In a small pan, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic and cook about 2 minutes.

Place 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl and microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Add the cooked garlic.

In the thicker side of the chicken breast, cut a 1-inch slot and then with your finger, create a pocket inside the breast.

Reserve about a teaspoon of the butter/garlic mixture. Then, add half of the remaining mixture to each pocket and spread it around the pocket. Brush the remaining butter mixture on the skin of the breast. Prep a baking pan by lining with aluminum foil and spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

Place on prepared pan lined with aluminum foil, and season with dill, salt and pepper.

Bake in 400° F oven until internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes depending on size of breast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 778, Calories from Fat: 352, Fat: 39 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 333 mg, Sodium: 378 mg, Potassium: 898 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 99 g.

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Healthy Living: Brussels Sprouts


Brussels SproutsMy kids recently discovered a new favorite vegetable: Brussels sprouts.

It’s more accurate to say that I recently INTRODUCED them to Brussels sprouts. I was lazy and took it for granted that they’d hate them because all kids hate them, right?

Nope.

My kids LOVE them now, as do several others I know. Brussels sprouts are a cultivar of German cabbage. One cup contains only 38 calories but has 342 grams of potassium, 3.3 grams of protein, dietary fiber and 3 grams of protein, plus 124 percent of the USDA for vitamin C.That’s a lot!

In addition, Brussels sprouts help you out with some cholesterol-lowering benefits, if you use a steaming method when cooking them. The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed.

So, steam them, roast them, grill them, bake them or enjoy them any way you like: they’re good for you!



Dine In: Pumpkin Pie Cake


Pumpkin Pie CakeI don’t care what the calendar says; as soon as school starts, it’s fall! Fall means all things pumpkin. Major chains are selling pumpkin coffees, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin cookies and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Pumpkin in quintessentially fall, from Halloween jack-o-lanterns to Thanksgiving pies. I remember growing up in Virginia where it was actually cool by the time school started and enjoying pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake and, of course, carving pumpkins then roasting the seeds to eat!

This recipe sounded amazing as it embodies all your favorite flavors of pumpkin pie in a cake!

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Ingredients:
1 can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pkg yellow cake mix (gluten-free works as well)
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup nuts, chopped

Topping:
2 (12 oz) ctn whipped cream cheese frosting

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Add the pumpkin, eggs, milk, sugar and spices to a stand mixer; mix well. Next, mix in the cake mix and butter. If you choose to use nuts, mix those in at this point as well.

Pour the mix into two 9-inch round cake pans.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Once baked, let them cool completely.

Carefully remove and release them from the pan once they are fully cooled.

When cooled, add a thin layer of frosting on top of one cake, then place the other cake on top of the icing, making a 2-layer cake.
Serve immediately or serve chilled.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 554, Calories from Fat: 270, Fat: 30 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 524 mg, Potassium: 260 mg, Carbohydrates: 67 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 48 g, Protein: 8 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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