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Dine In: Baked Jalapeño Chicken Sliders

Baked Jalapeño Chicken SlidersLast year, some girlfriends and I got together on a Friday night in mid-November before the chaos of the holidays really kicked into high gear, and had a wonderful evening of food, fellowship and creating fun Christmas presents for teachers and co-workers. We each brought a dish and sampled each other’s favorites, while helping each other “mass-produce” the cutest Christmas gifts! One friend set up a coffee and hot chocolate bar, so the evening ended around the fireplace with a peppermint mocha espresso for me and whatever else my friends could dream up.

The gifts were easy and adorable. We bought tubes of Brookshire’s Sugar Cookie Dough. Super simple. We purchased metal cookie cutters in bulk, as well as clear glass ball Christmas ornaments. We carefully removed the “hangers” from the ornaments, and filled the glass bulbs with different kinds of cookie sprinkles and jimmies in holiday colors. Red sugar, green sugar, silver jimmies, multi-colored holiday jimmies and anything else festive we found. Then, we packaged several Christmas ornaments in assorted varieties with some sugar cookie dough and a cookie cutter! Voila, instant gift! (You might want to keep the dough refrigerated up until the time you give the gift, however.)
The food was fabulous as well. I made these super-easy sliders that were a huge hit.

Baked Jalapeño Chicken Sliders

12 King’s Hawaiian rolls
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
5 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and diced
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 large jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 1/2 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove rolls from the foil tray, being careful not to separate rolls. Using a serrated knife, slice through the rolls horizontally, so they each have a top and a bottom. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and place the bottom layer of rolls into the dish.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and half the Monterey Jack cheese. Add in the crispy bacon, chicken and jalapeño. Mix well.

Spread the chicken mixture over the bottom layer of the rolls. Sprinkle the top of filling with the remaining cup of cheese. Addtop layer of rolls.

Mix the melted butter with garlic salt. Brush over rolls. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are golden-brown. Serve warm.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 247, Calories from Fat: 178, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 71 mg, Sodium: 477 mg, Potassium: 139 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 15 g.

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Family Matters: Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Pumpkin Ice Cream PieIt’s officially pumpkin spice season, and pumpkins are popping up everywhere on our shelves at Brookshire’s. There are so many ways to get your pumpkin fix. From pumpkin cream cakes and pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin craft beers, there are so many ways to enjoy the wonderful flavor of pumpkin this fall season.

What could be better than two of my favorite desserts in one: pumpkin pie and ice cream, oh my! This recipe for pumpkin ice cream pie is the perfect dessert for your holiday gatherings or just to keep for you to enjoy!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
Freeze Time: 4 hours
Serves: 10

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
3 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 cups Brookshire’s Whole Milk
4 whole cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
hot fudge, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter in a bowl; stir until evenly combined. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned at the edges. Let cool completely.

Whisk together 1 cup sugar, egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in 4-quart saucepan. Stir in milk, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk until smooth. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and mixture coats the back of the spoon. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Let cool, and then refrigerate until chilled. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer ice cream to pie crust, smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Freeze for 4 hours or until set. Garnish with hot fudge sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Fat: 18 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 147 mg, Sodium: 245 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 5 g.

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Shop the Sale: Turkey in a Paper Sack

Turkey in a Paper SackThis will be our second Thanksgiving together, and this year, Paul is cooking the turkey his way. I mean, mine was good and all that, but Paul never steers me wrong, especially when it comes to cooking meat.

Late celebrity chef David Wade from Dallas was not only a great chef, but he was a personal friend of Paul’s, so Paul makes his Thanksgiving turkey the way David Wade prepared his: in a brown paper grocery bag.


Yep, a brown Brookshire’s bag works just fine.

Is it okay if it has ink on it? Yep, that’s perfectly fine, too.

What you must NOT do is deviate from this recipe. The turkey has to be 12 pounds or larger, or it won’t cook right. Don’t use more than a cup of peanut oil, or you’ll have a fire on your hands. It must be peanut oil, which has a high heating point. Other than that, it’s a simple and delicious recipe, and I look forward to not basting the bird or wrangling with the hot oven.

Buckley Farms turkeys are on sale now, so grab one (or two), ask for paper bags at the checkout and enjoy a fuss-free Thanksgiving.

Turkey in a Paper Sack

1 (12 lb) Buckley Farms turkey, room temperature
3 Tbs paprika
1 cup peanut oil (no substitutions)
2 Tbs salt
2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs Worcestershire powder
1 heavy, brown paper Brookshire’s grocery bag

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Inspect brown paper bag thoroughly for any holes. Bag cannot have any holes or tears.

Wash turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix paprika, salt, pepper and Worcestershire powder together in a small bowl.

Rub turkey with about 1/2 cup of peanut oil, inside and out. Then, massage seasonings into bird. Pour remaining oil into the brown paper bag, completely coating the surface. Place turkey inside the bag, breast-side up, and place the bag into a large roasting pan.

Seal the end of the bag tightly using twine. Make sure the top of the bag does NOT touch the top or sides of the oven.

Bake 10 minutes per pound without opening the bag.

When time is up, remove from the oven. Carefully slit the top of the bag, allowing steam to escape. Allow to vent, and then remove the bag.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 937, Calories from Fat: 368, Fat: 41 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 343 mg, Sodium: 1488 mg, Potassium: 1397 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 133 g.

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Dine In: Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short RibsLast Friday night was the perfect night to stay home and cook something fabulous.

It was raining, chilly and the eve of a certain spooky holiday that’s perfect for watching scary movies and snuggling.

So, stay home and cook, we did. I’m oh-so-glad we did, too. It’s five days later, and my house STILL smells like the delicious braised short ribs we made. Yep, they were that good that the scent is still lingering.

This recipe is adapted from a Pioneer Woman recipe. If you’re going to make a slow-cooked, savory dish that features bone-in meat in a rich sauce, the Pioneer Woman is a pretty good example to follow! She serves hers on creamy polenta. I opted for mashed potatoes. Anything to sop up the delicious gravy that’s produced during the braising process would be a good accompaniment for this dish.

Braised Short Ribs

8 whole beef short ribs (bone-in)
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
6 slices bacon, diced
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion, diced
2 cups baby carrots
4 oz tomato paste
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 cups beef stock
4 Tbs garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Coat ribs liberally in salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour, pressing flour to adhere to meat. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty skillet, brown bacon over medium heat until crispy and fat is rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; set on paper towels to drain.

Add olive oil to the bacon grease in the pan, and raise the heat to high. Working in two batches, brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and let rest. Reduce heat to medium.

Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pan; cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

If you’re continuing to cook in your Dutch oven, proceed. If you need to transfer vegetable broth mixture to an oven-proof baking dish with a lid, do that now.

Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper to the liquid in the large ovenproof pot. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged.

Add whole sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme.

Place a lid on the pot and put in the oven. Cook at 350° F for 2 hours, and then reduce heat to 325° F, cooking an additional 45 minutes at that temperature. Remove from oven and let stand, covered, for 20 minutes. Meat should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Serve on top of creamy polenta, mashed potatoes, rice or egg noodles.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Calories from Fat: 228, Fat: 25 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 47 mg, Sodium: 1408 mg, Potassium: 694 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 20 g.

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Shop the Sale: Chicken and Rice Bake

Chicken and Rice BakeWhen I graduated from college and moved away, I didn’t just go across town or a few hours away, I moved from Virginia all the way to Germany.

It was an amazing adventure, but I was pretty homesick, especially at first. One of the things my mom gave me before I left was a recipe box filled with index cards on which she’d painstakingly copied some of my favorite recipes, so I could recreate them on my own. I was a pretty spoiled kid; I’d never had to cook because my mom always did it. The cooking learning-curve was pretty steep, and there were no cooking shows on Armed Forces Network in the early ‘90s.

One of the first recipes I tried was a chicken dish featuring leg quarters, rice, cream of something soup and broccoli. The rice didn’t cook, and it was hard and crunchy. I bought chicken thighs instead of legs (the thigh is part of the leg, right?), and it was pretty much a total disaster.

Years later, I pretty much know what I did wrong, but there are also products like instant rice available to help out.

I also figured out chicken leg quarters, which are a delightful cut featuring tender, juicy parts of the bird. They’re also on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so I figured it would be a good time to reprise this old favorite.

Chicken and Rice Bake

4 chicken leg quarters
1 (4.5 oz) pkg instant long-grain and wild rice
2 cups water
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) ctn sour cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 cup broccoli florets
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray a large 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken leg quarters in pan, covering with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

Combine rice and seasoning packages, salt and pepper, water, soup, sour cream, garlic and broccoli; stir to thoroughly combine.

Remove chicken from oven, and remove chicken to platter. Drain oil and juices from baking pan. Spread the rice mixture in the bottom of the pan; top with cheese then chicken. Bake uncovered for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 801, Calories from Fat: 445, Fat: 50 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 230 mg, Sodium: 1766 mg, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 54 g.

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Healthy Living: Brussels Sprout Chips

Brussels Sprout ChipsMove over potato and slide over, kale. Brussels sprout chips are the newest fad I’ve seen from Facebook to Instagram and Twitter.

I was as dubious of Brussels sprout chips as I was of kale chips, but I figured that if I didn’t like raw kale but liked the chips, I was already a step ahead of the game since I really like Brussels sprouts.

A member of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts have a ton of vitamin K and vitamin C. They are high in folate, fiber, protein and potassium. They have high detox and antioxidant properties. Turn these into chips, and you can enjoy a crunchy, healthy snack that’s guilt-free!

Brussels Sprout Chips

15 Brussels sprouts (about 1 lb)
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt, to taste

Heat oven to 350° F. With a small sharp knife, trim bottom of each sprout, releasing the outermost layer of leaves. Pluck leaves off individually and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil and a smattering of salt.

Place leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until leaves are lightly browned and crisp.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 64, Calories from Fat: 19, Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 28 mg, Potassium: 441 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Dine In: Blackened Shrimp with Cajun Garlic Butter

Blackened Shrimp with Cajun Garlic ButterFour years of my childhood were spent living in Louisiana while my dad was employed by the public health service, but I never really took to Cajun food until adulthood.

Now, it seems that I can’t get enough.

It bears to mention that Cajun and Creole are very different.

The Cajun people and Cajun foods come from the Acadians and their descendants, largely transplants from French areas of Canada. They have their own foods and distinct dialects.

While a lot of people are guilty of using the terms Cajun and Creole interchangeably, they’ll be the first to point out the differences.

Cajun cuisine focuses on local ingredients and wild game like duck or rabbit, vegetables and grains, as well as fish and shellfish. This shrimp recipe is the perfect blend of Cajun foods and spices!

Blackened Shrimp with Cajun Garlic Butter

Serves 6

For the Shrimp:
1 lemon, juiced (reserve zest for butter)
2 lbs large shrimp
3 Tbs Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish (optional)

For the Cajun Garlic Butter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest, finely chopped
1 to 2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
splash of Worcestershire sauce

Pour lemon juice into a large bowl. Toss shrimp in lemon juice and let marinate for 10 minutes at most. (Don’t go longer than 10 minutes or the citrus juices will cook the shrimp.) Drain and pat dry.

Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and toss to coat. Let stand another 10 minutes.

Prepare the butter sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and keep warm until ready to serve.

Preheat the grill to medium heat and skewer the shrimp on metal or wooden skewers that have been soaked for at least 30 minutes. Cook the shrimp about 2 minutes on each side until they are opaque.

Toss with fresh thyme leaves. Serve with Cajun garlic butter and lemon wedges.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 262, Calories from Fat: 139, Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 257 mg, Sodium: 389 mg, Potassium: 21 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 29 g.

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Shop the Sale: Oven-Baked, Crunchy Honey-Garlic Chicken

Oven-Baked, Crunchy Honey-Garlic ChickenI’m forever in the market for delicious, interesting, not-your-average chicken recipes.

This one fits the bill to a T.

At first, honey and garlic sounded like a strange combination to me, but the pungent garlic offsets the sweetness of the honey and the added spices complement it all beautifully.

The true majesty of this recipe comes in the double-dredge and oven-baked crispiness. The secret to crispy, oven-baked chicken is keeping the temperature of the oven hot, hot, hot. First, you heat the pan. Then, you keep the oven door closed tightly against drafts and against soggy chicken. The double-dredging helps, too. When you flip the chicken, take it all the way out of the oven and close the door while you’re turning the chicken to help the heat stay in, too.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are on sale this week at Brookshire’s. You might want to buy extra because your family is sure to love this recipe.

Oven-Baked, Crunchy Honey-Garlic Chicken
Serves 4

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper
3 Tbs ground ginger
1 Tbs freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp ground sage
2 Tbs paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs
8 Tbs water
canola oil, for greasing pan
2 Tbs olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper

Pound chicken breasts between 2 sheets of wax paper to an even 1/2-inch thickness.

Sift together flour, salt, black pepper, ground ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage, paprika and cayenne pepper.

Whisk together eggs and water to create an egg wash.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour mixture. Dip into egg wash and then again into the flour mixture, pressing crust to chicken to help it stick.

Heat a baking sheet in a 425° F oven. Preheating the pan helps make the crust crispy. Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin drizzle of canola oil using only enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Working quickly, place all the chicken pieces on the pan and return to the oven.

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce by heating a heavy saucepan to medium heat. Add olive oil and minced garlic; cook until soft but not browned. Add the honey, soy sauce and black pepper. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Bake the chicken for 15 minutes without opening the door. At the 15-minute mark, flip the chicken over and continue cooking for 10 to 15 more minutes until golden-brown. Do not open the oven door while cooking or the crust won’t be crisp.

Remove chicken from oven; dip in sauce and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 882, Calories from Fat: 198, Fat: 22 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5.4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 265 mg, Sodium: 3394 mg, Potassium: 698 mg, Carbohydrates: 129 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 71 g, Protein: 47 g.

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Dine In: Slow Cooker Pecan Pie

Slow Cooker Pecan PieYesterday, when Paul and I were in the checkout line at Brookshire’s, I commented on the tasty-looking picture on the front of a food magazine. Within seconds, he’d grabbed it off the rack and tossed it into the cart.

“I’m buying that for you,” he said.

So, what does it mean when your boyfriend rapidly buys you a cooking magazine you’d commented on?

  1. He loves you.
  2. He loves the recipe on the cover and hopes you’ll make it for him.
  3. All of the above.

The recipe was for pecan pie (his favorite) in a slow cooker (my favorite).

This recipe is especially perfect for a Friday night when all you really have to do is dump ingredients into a slow cooker, pour a glass of wine and sit on the back porch to enjoy the dusky twilight and each other’s company while the pie cooks.

You really want to line the slow cooker with parchment paper for this recipe. It helps keep the crust crisp. It also allows you to rotate the pie while it’s cooking to avoid hot spots, and it allows for easy removal of the pie once it’s finished.

Slow Cooker Pecan Pie

parchment paper
1 uncooked pie crust, rolled into the shape of your slow cooker
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Cut parchment paper into two strips, placing them down the sides and bottom of slow cooker, overlapping. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Press the pie crust dough into the bottom of the slow cooker on top of the paper, and press about 1/2 inch up the sides.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until well-mixed. Pour on top of the pie crust.

Cover and cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours, rotating the pie once through the process.

Remove pie from the slow cooker and let cool on a rack. Serve with ice cream.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 425, Calories from Fat: 181, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 83 mg, Sodium: 232 mg, Potassium: 48 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Sugar: 43 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Dine In: Pumpkin Beer Bread

Pumpkin Beer BreadMy friend Carlyle posted on Facebook today asking what she could cook with pumpkin beer.
After all, it is the season for all things pumpkin.

I started rattling off responses to her: barbecue, short ribs braised in pumpkin beer, beer bread…
Wait. Pumpkin beer bread?

Why not??

I love a good pumpkin recipe and this is one I have not tried. Until now. I’m going to make pumpkin beer bread for our porch party on Friday night.

Think of how delightful it will taste with a nice grilled steak and salad, sitting outside in the early darkness with the fire crackling nearby. Of course you can drink the remaining pumpkin ale during your meal, too.

Pumpkin Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 (12 oz) bottle pumpkin ale
4 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 375ºF and prepare bread pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
Sift flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt together. Add honey and pumpkin puree. Mix well. Slowly stir in beer until nicely combined and smooth. It will be slightly lumpy.

Cut 2 Tbs of butter into chunks and place in prepared baking pan. Put pan in the oven until butter is melted and bubbly. Spoon bread batter over melted butter. Dot the rest of the butter on top of batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Let bread rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 550, Calories from Fat: 38, Fat: 4.2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 223 mg, Potassium: 81 mg, Carbohydrates: 66 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

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