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Shop the Sale: Creole Chicken Thighs


Creole Chicken ThighsChicken thighs are easily the most underrated protein you could possibly cook. They’re inexpensive and full of flavor. They also stay juicy, and they’re so versatile.

They’re on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so you can’t go wrong with picking up a package (or three) to feed your family for a few meals.

Chicken thighs are considered a dark meat, but to me, they don’t have the same flavor as, say, the leg. They’re a lighter dark meat, if that’s really possible.

Chicken thighs cook quickly on a grill, in a stew or soup, or in your oven.

This recipe practically bursts with Creole flavor. Cook the chicken with the skin on; it will seal in the juices and flavor. I love the white pepper in this recipe. You can really taste the latent heat after you take a big bite!

Creole Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken thighs (about 5 to 6 pieces)
2 tsp Creole or Cajun spice, like Tony Chachere’s
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475° F.

Rinse chicken thighs, and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the spices and mix well.

Sprinkle both sides of each chicken thigh with a generous amount of the spice mixture, and gently rub into the skin. Place chicken thighs on a baking sheet. If you wish, place them in the refrigerator overnight; it is not necessary to cover them.

Bake chicken thighs in preheated oven starting at 475° F for the first 20 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 400° F.

Bake until the skin is crispy, the thighs are no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes or until chicken is 165° F internally.

Serves 5 to 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 438, Calories from Fat: 152, Fat: 17 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 202 mg, Sodium: 558 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 66 g.



Healthy Living: Grilled Foil Packets


Grilled Foil PacketsOne of my good friends recently lost about 12 pounds.

I asked him how he did it.

His reply, “I grill pretty much everything. The fat cooks off the food, but the flavor stays in.”

I didn’t run it by a dietitian, but it sounds like pretty good advice to me.

Speaking of the grill and eating healthy, I’ve been pretty obsessed with grill packets lately.

Basically, you take any combination of protein and veggies, wrap them in a foil packet, and grill them! I like doing this with seafood because it cooks up so quickly, but you can do it with chicken, pork or beef. I’d recommend cutting them into chunks or strips, though, to make sure they’re cooked through.

Some healthy combinations I love are salmon with asparagus and lemon, shrimp with bell peppers and lime, chicken with broccoli florets, and seasoned tilapia with zucchini. You can really use any combination.

Here’s the premise:

Choose a protein and some veggies. Toss lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and season with whatever you like. I like lemon pepper seasoning, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, almost all of the McCormick Grill Mates, or just sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. The olive oil will help when you remove the food from the foil. Place an individual serving on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold the foil over the top and side of the dish, leaving a little space. Seal tightly on every end. Grill for several minutes, and then flip (make sure the foil is tightly sealed so nothing leaks and causes a flare-up). Grill until cooked through. Let packets rest before opening them.



Dine In: Ice Cream in a Bag


Ice Cream in a BagOne of my sons’ favorite things to do in school, mainly in the lower grades, was to make ice cream in a bag.

I know they did it in preschool, again in kindergarten and probably even in first grade since they both had the same wonderful, bubbly, creative teacher.

Ice cream in a bag sounds weird, but it’s super fun for kids (adults too!), and it is a tradition we repeat every summer on the back porch.

We’re going to do it again on Friday night after dinner.

Seriously, there’s nothing better than a good sit on the back patio with the dog chasing crickets around in the yard, the solar lights flickering and everyone I love gathered in one place.

You can add extra goodies to this recipe. Just be aware that it might alter the way it freezes a tiny bit. Each bag makes an individual serving.

Ice Cream in a Bag

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs sugar
4 cups crushed ice
4 Tbs salt
2 quart-sized zipper-lock plastic bags
1 gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic freezer bag

Directions:
Mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart-sized bags.

Seal the bag tightly, pressing out excess air. If you leave too much air in the bag, you might have a mess on your hands during the shaking process.

Place the quart-sized bag inside another of the same size to help prevent ice or salt from leaking into your mixture. Place the double-bagged mixture into the gallon-sized bag and fill with ice. Then, sprinkle salt on top.

Press out excess air and seal the bag. Wrap the bag in a towel; shake the bag vigorously for 5 to 8 minutes or until the “ice cream” has formed.

Pour into a chilled bowl and eat immediately.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 112, Calories from Fat: 23, Fat: 3 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 58 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 17 g, Protein: 4 g.

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

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids


Shop the Sale: Rotisserie-Style Chicken


Rotisserie-Style ChickenIf I had a dime for every time I’ve made a recipe that calls for a rotisserie chicken, I’d have enough to buy a truckload of whole fryers and make rotisserie-style chicken myself.

Buying a whole fryer is one of the very best values I think you can get for feeding your family. You get white meat, dark meat, breast meat, legs, thighs, everything…because you get the whole shebang. This week, whole fryers are on sale, so take advantage and stock up. You can freeze them before you cook them, or you can freeze the meat after you prepare it rotisserie-style in your slow cooker, no actual rotisserie needed. The meat is great for tacos, enchiladas, casseroles, chicken salads and almost anything else you can imagine.

Even better, preparing rotisserie-style chicken is easy to do, and it won’t heat up your whole house. Goodness knows it’s hot enough in the South without turning on your oven.

Rotisserie-Style Chicken

Ingredients:
1 whole fryer, about 5 lbs
2 Tbs butter, softened
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs garlic salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Rinse fryer and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with butter. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, garlic salt, onion powder and pepper together. Sprinkle over the chicken, patting gently to help the spices adhere to the chicken.

Place chicken in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours.

Serve as a whole rotisserie chicken, or shred the meat for use in other dishes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 576, Calories from Fat: 217, Fat: 24 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 260 mg, Sodium: 266 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 83 g.

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



Dine In: Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese


Cauliflower Mac and CheeseLast Friday night, I was craving a big, heaping bowl of mac and cheese like no one’s business. It was the only thing I could think about. I needed it. I wanted it. However, I didn’t want to go to the store and get macaroni (I’m lazy on Friday nights, what can I say?), so I had to find something else to use.

I had cauliflower.

I went online to find a recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese because I’d heard someone else doing it at some point, and I found that swapping noodles for cauliflower was pretty simple. Other than that, it’s simply the same recipe.

I had my heaping bowl of cheesy, creamy goodness and enough leftovers for several more meals!

Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

Ingredients:
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F, and spray an 8 x 8 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil, and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water until they are tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. They’ll continue cooking in the oven.

Drain the cauliflower, and pat dry with paper towels.

In the meantime, bring the cream to a simmer in saucepan. Whisk in cream cheese and mustard; stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of cheese, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder; whisk until the cheese melts. Add cauliflower to the pan; stir to coat. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 171, Calories from Fat: 115, Fat: 28 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 44 mg, Sodium: 1021 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 10 g.

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Shop the Sale: Creamy Sausage and Tortellini


Creamy Sausage and TortelliniOne of my memories growing up was that whenever we visited my grandparents’ house, at some point my grandfather would bring out a plate of sliced smoked sausage speared with colored toothpicks. It was such a treat.

I’m not sure whether this was really his personal snack and I was honing in on it like a vulture or whether it was intended to share, but whatever the intent, I certainly probably ate the lion’s share and felt like it was a special thing.

I still love smoked sausage. Whenever my kids want hot dogs, I grill smoked sausage for myself.

I made this recipe at first with leftover grilled smoked sausage, but you can certainly do it the way the recipe directions call for as well.

Eckrich Smoked Sausage is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so pick up a few packages: one to grill now and another for this delicious dish.

Creamy Sausage and Tortellini

Ingredients:
1 lb Eckrich Smoked Sausage
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup onions, diced
20 oz pkg refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
28 oz can whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup chicken stock
pinch of sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbs cream cheese
2 cups shredded jack and cheddar cheeses

Directions:
Sauté onions in butter over medium-high heat until translucent. Add sliced sausage; cook through until the sauce is browned.

Add chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Add tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

Remove from heat and add cheeses, reserving about 1/2 cup for the topping. Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 763, Calories from Fat: 385, Fat: 43 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 131 mg, Sodium: 1526 mg, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 37 g.

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



Healthy Living: Dill Cucumber Bites


Dill Cucumber BitesDill is one of those spices that I think is highly underrated.

I remember when we had a guest for dinner who ended up taking over the kitchen (which does not sit well with me, by the way) and coating our beautiful ribeyes with dill.

As much as I didn’t like his interference, it was delicious.

Now, I will admit that I didn’t pursue the use of dried dill on my steaks, but I do use it liberally on salmon, in potato salad and in other savory dishes. Dill has a fresh, earthy flavor that reminds me of clean, summer grasses and bright flavors.

This snack is low in carbs, but it is high in protein and flavor. The fat from the cream cheese keeps you satisfied, and the tomato adds a bright burst of summer flavor.

Dill Cucumber Bites

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1 Tbs dried dill
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Whip cream cheese with dried dill. Slice cherry tomatoes into halves. Toss with sea salt and pepper. Place a dollop of dilled cream cheese onto each cucumber round, and top with a cherry tomato half. Chill and serve.

Makes 12.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 20, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 80 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



Dine In: Pesto Salmon Packets


Pesto Salmon PacketsI love a delicious, fresh, easy dish.

I love it more when cleanup and prep-work are minimal.

This pesto salmon in foil packets fits all the criteria.

You bake this dish in foil, which seals in the flavor and moisture, and it also makes cleanup minimal.

Salmon, which is naturally high in (good) fats, is enhanced exponentially by olive oil and pesto (which contains olive oil). Even though it already contains good fats, the olive oil makes the salmon moist and flavorful, with an added kick from the aromatic pesto.

You can make these in advance, store in the refrigerator, and pop in the oven or on the grill on Friday nights.

Pesto Salmon Packets

Ingredients:
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbs dried dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbs pesto, homemade or store-bought
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray 4 lengths of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Toss asparagus with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide into 4 portions onto foil, and layer in center of each piece. Season both sides of salmon with salt, pepper and dill. Layer salmon over asparagus, and then spread 1 tablespoon pesto on top. Drizzle 1 teaspoon lemon juice over each fillet. Toss tomatoes with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil; season lightly with salt. Spread over each salmon fillet. Wrap sides of foil in and roll, crimping edge to seal. Then, wrap ends upward to seal. Place foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake until salmon has cooked through, about 20 to 28 minutes. Open foil to vent and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 365, Calories from Fat: 188, Fat: 21 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 79 mg, Sodium: 179 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 38 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Cheesy Pork Chop Bake


Cheesy Pork Chop BakeA one-pan meal is a delicious solution to a Wednesday night meal. A lot of folks go to church on Wednesday nights. Or, this time of year, you might be at baseball, at the pool or just tired of the school year grind.

This dish, with boneless pork chops on sale this week at Brookshire’s, can be prepared in advance and popped into the oven for a satisfying meal, all in one pan. Serve with a side salad, add some chopped broccoli to the dish or add additional veggies.

I know that last Wednesday after a swim party, a long day at work and a long day for my kids, this was an easy dish to prepare for dinner. If you make it in advance, make sure the potatoes are coated in the soup mixture before you pop the pan in the fridge, or they’ll turn brown. Alternately, you could toss them in olive oil before you layer the casserole.

For a bit of bite, chop jalapeños or chili peppers, and mix into the soup before pouring it on top of the pork chops and potatoes.

Cheesy Pork Chop Bake

Ingredients:
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 (6 oz) boneless pork chops
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4 potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high-heat until oil is fragrant and shimmering. Sear the pork chops quickly on each side. Remove from pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk soup, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder together. Arrange the potatoes and onions in the baking dish. Place the seared chops over the potatoes and onions. Then, pour the soup mixture over all.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with cheese, and bake for 30 more minutes.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 688, Calories from Fat: 478, Fat: 53 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 169 mg, Sodium: 729 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 45 g.

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



Product Talk: Texas Chili Company Beef Chili


Texas Chili Company Beef ChiliYou know those days when the hours escape you and, before you know it, it’s time to fix dinner?

Today was one of those days.

I didn’t set my alarm because I almost never need to; I wake up on my own. I set my alarm on work days, as insurance. However, on this particular weekend day, I’d knew I’d be up with the roosters anyway, so I didn’t bother. The joke was on me.

At a horrifying hour, with practically three-quarters of the day behind me, I slowly opened my eyes and rolled over to punch the home button on my phone to see the time.

8:45!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT?

What had happened? Where were my children? Were they still breathing?

In order of questions asked: I needed sleep. In bed, sleeping soundly. Yes, punctuated by teenage boy snores.

I had planned to knock out a bunch of work. I had planned to cook a big breakfast. I had planned to repaint the kitchen (Goodbye, “Butter;” hello, “Intense Teal.”)

Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans.

I got all of those things accomplished, just not necessarily in the timeframe I’d originally wanted.

In addition, dinner snuck up on us right about the time I was scrubbing Intense Teal off my paint rollers.

We had to make a quick run to Brookshire’s. We came home with hot dogs, sausages, cheese, onions and Texas Chili Company Beef Chili.

This chili comes in a box, not in a can, and it tastes like the next best thing to coming out of a pot on my own stovetop. The chili is sealed in a bag, which you boil to heat up and serve from a bowl with no waste in the bag itself. I hate waste.

Texas Chili Company, out of Fort Worth, “began doing business in December 1952, making ‘brick’ chili from an old recipe. Chili was prepared and filled into rectangular, brick-shaped pans and frozen, thus the name brick chili. Although the packaging has changed, we still produce our Famous Beef Chili and market it throughout Texas and the Southwest,” the website says.

The old-fashioned chili has a deep, rich flavor and big chunks of meat.

This was fast and easy to prepare, and it tasted homemade. I’ll buy it again, even when I’m not in a hurry.



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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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Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

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

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