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Product Talk: Hunt’s Meal Starters


Hunt’s Meal Starters“I have a Product Talk product for you to write about,” Paul told me recently.

Of course, I wanted to know what it was.

Of course, if I was going to write about it, we had to try it.

“It’s kind of tricky to find on the shelves,” he said.

(It was.)

Once we found it, it was definitely worth the search.

Hunt’s Meal Starters are shelved with the canned tomato products. There is Hunt’s Mild Chili Starter, Hunt’s Green Spices for Medium Chili, Hunt’s Chipotle Spices for Hot Chili, and Hunt’s Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf.

We picked up the can of the meatloaf starter.

The tomato sauce (Hunt’s premium, of course) is seasoned with all the herbs and spices you’ll need to get a slow-baked meatloaf flavor out of a dish that comes together in 30 minutes. (We made individual loaves and topped them with the sauce.) The sauce gives the meat a slow-cooked flavor, which is a combination of smoky, tangy and savory. It would also be a delicious addition to mix into the meat mixture for your loaf as well as pouring some on top.

I especially loved how it made putting together a meal so quick and simple.

We’ll be trying the other varieties as well.



Dine In: Caprese Chicken


Caprese ChickenI decided to bring someone new to date night: chicken.

We don’t eat much chicken, to be honest; Paul likes red meat. A girl can’t live on red meat alone though (actually, I could, but it’s not the most healthy option), so every once in a while, I have to work chicken in the rotation.

I love this caprese version because it brings in all the best flavors of springtime: basil from the bountiful pot on my back porch and fresh Roma tomatoes from the Brookshire’s produce aisle. Splurge on some fresh mozzarella cheese for this delightful dish, but if you can’t find it, it’s fine to get a package of cheese slices from the deli, too.

You can sear these chicken thighs in a pan and then roast in the oven, but you can also grill them. If you use the grill, place the cheese and tomatoes on at the last minute, covering the grill until the cheese is melty and then topping with the basil and sauce before serving.

I love this with a fresh salad and grilled flatbread.

Caprese Chicken

Ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 Tbs unsalted butter
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Combine olive oil, basil and oregano. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Using a pastry brush, work the olive oil mixture onto both sides of the chicken.

Melt butter in cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbling, add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. After the chicken is seared, place on a baking sheet in the oven; roast until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella cheese; broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with tomatoes and fresh basil; drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 337, Calories from Fat: 221.4, Fat: 24.6 g, (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 91 mg, Sodium: 239 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 20 g.

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



Dine In: S’mores Cheesecake


S’mores CheesecakeLast weekend, under the shade of the elm tree in my backyard, we enjoyed a long-awaited crawfish boil with warm spring sunshine beaming down on us and cool spring breezes blowing.

I say “long-awaited” because it’s been in the works for over a year.

We tried to make it happen during last crawfish season, but schedules never meshed, calendars never coordinated and the crawfish boil never happened.

My friend, Leslie, and I said we were not going to let another crawfish season go by without celebrating.

Celebrate, we did. Ran into a few kinks with the propane heat source, but a little ingenuity goes a long way when you’re hungry and there are 30 pounds of crawfish ready to be eaten.

Speaking of hungry, Leslie baked and brought a S’mores Cheesecake, which didn’t make it until dessert. In fact, we all had our dessert BEFORE dinner, and it was so delicious that I can’t stop thinking about it.

Leslie and I love all things s’mores, so this dessert definitely needed to be what was happening at our crawfish boil.

The cheesecake part was creamy, but not too dense. Even though the flavor was rich, you could definitely manage a second piece (after dinner, this time).

S’mores Cheesecake

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 Tbs butter, melted
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup marshmallows

Cheesecake:
4 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
10 oz hot fudge topping, warmed
2 cups marshmallows

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan with Crisco, butter or vegetable oil (use something other than nonstick cooking spray). Place the springform pan inside a larger roasting pan with deep edges, like a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter, vanilla and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well-combined and forms small pea-sized “pebbles.”

Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, including about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.

Sprinkle mini chocolate chips and marshmallows over the bottom of the crust.

Using an electric mixture, beat cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and sugar; mix until well-combined. Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Then, beat in the sour cream, vanilla and heavy cream.

Mix well.

Pour the cheesecake batter over the top of the chocolate and marshmallows; tap the sides of the springform pan gently until evenly spread. Pour water into the roasting pan until it reaches about half the depth of the springform pan. (If you’re worried about water compromising the springform pan, wrap the bottom with aluminum foil before adding the water to the roasting pan.)

Bake for 90 minutes. Do not open the oven door during the baking process.

Turn off the oven and crack oven door. Let cheesecake rest for 10 minutes in the oven before removing it.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes; carefully remove the outer portion of the springform pan.

Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat broiler to high heat.

Spread warm hot fudge over the top of the chilled cheesecake, and spread the marshmallows across the top.

Place cheesecake under the broiler for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove immediately when the marshmallows are golden.

Cool cheesecake completely; cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 720, Calories from Fat: 346, Fat: 38 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (23 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 138 mg, Sodium: 394 mg, Potassium: 186 mg, Carbohydrates: 86.6 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 56 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Shop the Sale: Greek Grilled Pork Chops


Greek Grilled Pork Chops

When I first moved out of the house, one of my mom’s friends gave me a cast iron skillet.

Not only did this cooking vessel weigh enough to take up most of my allotted baggage weight with the moving company, but it came with strict instructions: DO NOT WASH THIS WITH SOAP EVER.

That seemed like one too many rule to me, plus not using soap was just plain gross.

Or so I thought.

My cast iron skillet sat, untouched and unseasoned (yet unwashed with soap) in my cabinet for years, until I had occasion to make a recipe that specifically called for a cast iron skillet. I called my mom.

“What am I supposed to do with this again?” I asked.

She guided me through rubbing it down with vegetable oil and placing it in a hot oven for a few hours, taking it out, letting it cool, rubbing it down with more oil, then using it.

I did all that.

I made something in it. I can’t remember now, but when I finished, there were bits stuck to the bottom of the gleaming cast iron.

I was going to have to use soap, or so I thought until I ran it under hot water and everything washed off easily, no soap required.

From then on, it was true love.

A co-worker is about to get married and, while I don’t know her that well, we threw a shower in her honor a few weeks ago. I decided to get her one of the things that I love most in my kitchen: a cast iron skillet.

Her eyes bulged when she took the bag.

“What do I do with this?” she wanted to know.

So I told her.

Never, EVER wash it with soap.

You can make these Greek-inspired pork chops in your cast iron skillet as well.

This week, boneless pork chops are on sale at Brookshire’s, your grocery oasis right near home, no road trip required and, let me tell you, the prices are great.

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops, about 1 1/2 lbs

Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp dried Greek oregano
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Whisk together marinade ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Greek oregano, garlic and black pepper. Pour into a zipper-lock plastic bag; place pork chops inside. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours, turning a few times.

When ready to cook, let pork chops come to room temperature in marinade. Preheat the grill pan to medium-high heat. Slap the pork chops onto the grill pan, and let them cook about 3 minutes. Then, rotate 45 degrees to get lovely cross-hatched grill marks. Cook an additional 3 minutes on the first side; flip and cook an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 361, Calories from Fat: 169, Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 124 mg, Sodium: 101 mg, Potassium: 763 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 45 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Spicy Fried Pork Chops


Spicy Fried Pork ChopsThat’s it! I clicked past this picture on Pinterest too many times, and I was just unable to resist opening the link to the crispy, juicy, gravy-smothered delight that was these pork chops.

I did not regret it.

Assorted pork chops are a seriously economical choice for dinner, especially when they are on sale at Brookshire’s.

They are a versatile meat. They can take a variety of seasonings, cooking methods and even sauces, and still come out the shining star of a meal, as they do here.

These pork chops are seriously crunchy and seriously spicy. You can reduce the amount of creole seasoning if necessary, but for those of us who love a spicy kick, have at it!

Spicy Fried Pork Chops

Ingredients:

Pork Chops:
10 (1/4-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 cups flour
1/2 cup hot sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbs creole seasoning
1/2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1/2 Tbs onion powder
1/2 Tbs paprika
cooking oil

Gravy:
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp creole seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
dash of hot sauce

Directions:
Start by removing pork chops from packaging and patting dry. Place pork chops in a large dish or shallow pan.

Mix creole seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Add 1 tablespoon of this mixture to the flour; stir to incorporate.

Beat egg; add hot sauce and remaining seasoning. Pour over pork chops until they are covered, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Add oil to a cast-iron skillet; heat to 350° F.

Remove pork from refrigerator, and pour off excess marinade.

Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour and place in hot oil. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from oil; drain on paper towels.

Place in oven heated to lowest setting to keep warm while remaining pork fries and gravy is prepared.

For the gravy, drain grease from cast-iron skillet. Add butter and olive oil to the skillet; whisk in flour. Stir for about 2 minutes until a thick roux is formed. Add spices and broth, continuing to stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Stir in cream and hot sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve over pork chops.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 372, Calories from Fat: 183, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 1153 mg, Potassium: 161 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 29 g.

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



Dine In: Cajun-Stuffed Chicken


Cajun-Stuffed ChickenI was talking to a friend last night about dining out.

We both love to cook, and we’ve found that it’s difficult to find restaurants where we think the food is something better, or something different, than we’d prepare in our own kitchens. That’s not to say I don’t love eating out; I do! It’s always nice when someone else does the work…and the dishes.

Often times, I just like cooking at home. Dining in on Friday night is often a special time with friends and family.

This week, we made these Cajun-stuffed chicken breasts, inspired by a prepared dish from the meat counter at Brookshire’s with our own spin on it.

Cajun-Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbs Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
4 jalapeños
1/4 cup bulk pork sausage
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
8 slices bacon

Directions:
Place chicken breasts between two sheets of waxed paper, and pound until about 1/2 inch uniform thickness. Sprinkle with Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning on both sides.

Meanwhile, wash jalapeños. Remove stems and ends. Slice through one side of the pepper lengthwise; remove seeds and pith.

Mix sausage with cheddar cheese. Stuff each jalapeño with 1/4 of mixture. Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lay 1 chicken breast at the end of 2 slices of bacon placed side by side. Place stuffed jalapeño at one end and roll up, covering pepper with chicken and bacon. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts, bacon and stuffed jalapeños.
Place chicken bundles in cast-iron skillet or other baking pan.

Bake at 400° F for about 30 minutes, flipping once, until chicken and sausage are cooked through. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 651, Calories from Fat: 383, Fat: 42 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 195 mg, Sodium: 1862 mg, Potassium: 716 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 61 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Smoked Easter Ham


Smoked Easter Ham“What are we going to do for Easter?” my son asked me yesterday.

Do? What do you mean, do? We’re going to celebrate our eternal salvation through the sacrifice Christ made for us; that’s what we’re going to do, I told him.

But celebrate, how will we celebrate?, he wondered.

In past years, I’ve hosted Easter gatherings at my house for up to 40 people. We probably won’t do that this year, but we will celebrate with our family and some local friends.

There’s no need to remind you about my obsession with the smoker, but chances are, we’re going to smoke our ham this year.

Hormel or Brookshire’s spiral-sliced hams are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, just in time for Easter. Did you know that you can, indeed, smoke a precooked ham? Trust me, I plan to!

Since the ham is already precooked, you’re really just introducing it to the smoke and warming it through.

I think we’re going to use Applewood to add some sweetness, and probably fill the pan with apple juice instead of water, to help impart some flavor that way.

The ham has to be heated through to about 145° F. After that, it’s ready to eat!

You can use your grill over indirect heat if you don’t have a smoker, and set a pan of chips over the flame for that good, smoky flavor.



Healthy Living: Store Your Food Safely


Store Your Food SafelyI know I’m guilty of it, and I’m guessing you are, too.

I go to the fridge looking for something for lunch, pull out a container and realize the leftover chili has been in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

While it was stored properly for a short time, it’s not going to be safe to eat after two weeks.

There are right – and wrong – ways to store your food.

A store-bought loaf of bread, for example, is perfectly fine stored in your dry pantry for a week, but a loaf of freshly baked bread might not make it longer than a day or two.

I could have stored that chili in the freezer for two weeks, but I wouldn’t risk eating it out of the refrigerator from that same time period.

On the Counter
You can safely store some foods out on your kitchen counter. These include garlic, onions, shallots, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, citrus and melons. Make sure they aren’t in direct sunlight or exposed to moisture. You can also keep cakes and pies out for up to a week, wrapped tightly with aluminum foil or sealed in a food storage container or zipper-lock bag. Move fruit pies to the refrigerator after two days.

In the Pantry
Most unopened dry goods can be stored in your pantry for up to six months. After a package is opened, seal it in a food-safe container. Brookshire’s offers lots of options for long-term food storage. Your pantry is the best place for all of your spices, as it is probably dark and should be dry. Spices can last up to a year. After that, they start to lose their potency and flavor.

In the Refrigerator
Dairy must be kept refrigerated. Use the upper shelves, where temperatures stay more constant. This includes eggs, even though many manufacturers create an egg shelf on the door. The refrigerator door is the warmest place in the appliance, so save it for things like condiments and preserved foods.

Keep fruits and veggies that aren’t able to sit out on your counter in the crisper drawer, where it should be the least humid.

Cheeses should be stored wrapped in wax paper or something else porous.

Meats are best stored in the bottom of the refrigerator where it is the coldest. Remove retail packaging and rewrap the meat in foil to extend its shelf life. However, you should try to use it within four days of purchase or put it in the freezer. Fish will keep for two days wrapped in waxed paper, also on the bottom shelf, but give it the sniff test first. If it smells excessively fishy, err on the side of caution.

In the Freezer
When you do want to store things like meat for a long time, the freezer is the best option. For the freezer, leave it in its original packaging and try to remember to use it within six months.

Any time you use the freezer, make sure foods are cooled to room temperature (or put them in the fridge first), and then seal them in a way that eliminates any extra air. Some foods, like cheeses and fruits or vegetables, will change texture after being frozen, so experiment with the best ways to store these foods long-term.



Dine In: Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice


Slow Cooker Chicken and RiceSpringtime means soccer season! (Well, truth be told, so does winter, summer and fall, all but the month of July!)

For some reason, however, soccer season seems more vibrant in the springtime. Maybe it’s the new, neon-colored grass sprouting everywhere, the breeze on the field, the chill of the early morning games or the warmth of the sun on my neck during the afternoon games. Whatever it is, it’s my favorite time for soccer.

Of course, soccer season means a lot of soccer practices and sometimes some really early games (7:30am is too early a lot of Saturdays to be on the field, just sayin’). Often, between multiple practices a week and games, there’s not a lot of time left for cooking. I know a lot of you reading this can relate.

So, that’s where the slow cooker comes in. Whether it’s a practice night, game day or just the end of the work week, it saves me so much work.

The boys love rice dishes. Anything in the slow cooker works for them, and for me, so this has become a family-favorite this spring.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large white onion, diced
1 (8 oz) pkg Zatarain’s Yellow Rice Mix, cooked according to package directions
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained

Directions:
Spray crockery of slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on the bottom of the crockery; sprinkle with the onion. Pour the cream of chicken soup over the chicken and onion, and let cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the cooked yellow rice, corn and cheese. Stir to combine; warm through and serve hot.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 600, Calories from Fat: 288, Fat: 32 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 212 mg, Sodium: 685 mg, Potassium: 524 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 65 g.

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



Family Matters: Earth Day Pancakes


Earth Day PancakesEarth Day is April 22nd this year, and we love to celebrate it.

Earth Day is a time to inspire everyone to appreciate our environment. For more than 40 years, Earth Day has been a special occasion to set aside time to plant a tree, pick up trash, plant a sustainable garden or clear out harsh chemicals in your home for a more natural approach.

These Earth Day pancakes are a perfect way to kick off the day with your kids. They’ll love the whimsical nature of these tasty treats, and it will start the day the right way!

Earth Day Pancakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups Brookshire’s Baking Mix
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
blue and green food coloring (preferably natural)

Directions:
Mix baking mix, buttermilk (or regular milk), egg, sugar and vanilla. Mix until most of the lumps are gone.

Separate batter into two bowls. Add blue food coloring to one bowl and green to the other bowl. When that’s well-mixed, you might want to put the green food coloring into a squeeze bottle or into a plastic bag with the corner snipped off.

Preheat your griddle to medium heat. When it’s hot, place a dollop of blue batter onto the griddle, then draw “continents” on the pancake with the green batter to represent the Earth. Cook until edges are dry and bubbles stay open. Flip and cook another minute or two, or until cooked through. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 320, Calories from Fat: 97, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 51 mg, Sodium: 831 mg, Potassium: 235 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 18 g, Protein: 9 g.

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



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Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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.

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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