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Healthy Living: Truvía Sweetener


Cranberry-Orange Muffins Made with Truvía SweetenerYou know the expression “sweet as sugar?” Well, this is but without the calories!

Truvía® Natural Sweetener continues to serve as a great-tasting, zero-calorie sugar substitute for people looking to reduce calories and/or sugar in their diets. That’s me! That’s me!

Truvía® is made from the stevia plant, which grows naturally. The extract comes from the leaves of the stevia plant, which was discovered hundreds of years ago in Paraguay and has been used worldwide for decades. Truvía® stevia leaf extract is a high-purity and consistent sweetener containing the best-tasting parts of the stevia leaf.

Truvía® sweeteners were created to help people maintain a balanced lifestyle while retaining the same sweetness they love in their beverages and recipes. Thank goodness for products like this, where you can still enjoy a treat without breaking the calorie bank.

To learn more about Truvía® Natural Sweetener, be sure to check out truvia.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Truvia. You’ll also find lots of great-tasting, reduced-calorie Truvía® brand recipes to try at truvia.com/recipes.

Cranberry-Orange Muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1⁄3 cup Truvía® Baking Blend
1 Tbs orange zest
1⁄2 cup Brookshire’s orange juice
2 Brookshire’s eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup skim milk
1 1⁄2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen), chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Prepare muffin tin by using paper liners or greasing cups.

In a large bowl, add baking powder, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix together with a fork.

In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, Truvía® Baking Blend, orange zest, eggs, orange juice, vanilla and milk.

Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Fold in chopped cranberries and fill each muffin cup about 3⁄4 full.

Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean (20 to 25 minutes).

Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 190, Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 50 mg, Sodium: 210 mg, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g

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Dine In: Chicken Parmesan Sliders


Chicken Parmesan SlidersThere is nothing I love more than coming home to a meal completed in the slow cooker, except maybe if it’s coming home to an ITALIAN meal completed in the slow cooker.

I also love when I find a classic recipe that’s been repurposed (especially for a slow cooker).

This Chicken Parmesan Slider recipe is one of those.

Classic Chicken Parmesan is pounded, tenderized, breaded, pan-fried and broiled with Mama’s red sauce then finished with some parmesan cheese.

In this recipe, the breading becomes a slider roll. The tomato sauce is mixed in with the chicken, and I see nothing wrong with adding a bit of provolone (warming it just heightens the flavor profile) to the dish. If you don’t care for provolone, you can swap for mozzarella.

The best part about this dish is that it’s ready when you walk in the door from work. It’s not your traditional chicken parmesan, but then again, it’s not supposed to be.

Chicken Parmesan Sliders

Ingredients:
8 slider rolls
4 chicken breasts
1 cup marinara sauce
2 Tbs garlic, minced
4 slices provolone cheese, halved
8 oz parmesan cheese, divided

Directions:
Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker. Top with garlic and marinara sauce. Cook on low setting for 8 hours. (can be done in advance) Shred chicken with two forks, leaving it in the marinara sauce.

Preheat broiler to low. Halve slider rolls. Top with about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture, then top with provolone and parmesan.

Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 857, Calories from Fat: 354, Fat: 39 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 182 mg, Sodium: 1758 mg, Potassium: 568 mg, Carbohydrates: 53 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 73 g



Family Matters: Zesty Strawberries


Zesty Strawberries  Looking for a simple, refreshing and absolutely delicious dessert for summer? This recipe is great for family gatherings, weddings, showers, church events…or just a special treat for your family. Fresh strawberries are in season, and though they are sweet by themselves, why not add a little zest to make them even more of a treat. This recipe is one that I recently enjoyed at an event and then decided to make for Mother’s Day, and they were a hit with the family and friends.

Summer is a great time to plan family gatherings or picnics for the important people in your life. Try this simple and easy recipe, and add some “zest” to your family gathering that they will not soon forget. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!

Key Lime-Filled Strawberries 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 Tbs lime juice
1 lb fresh strawberries
zest of 1 lime (optional)

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Place the creamed mixture in the refrigerator to chill. Carefully cut the strawberry tips and stems from the strawberries (be careful to not cut into the edges). Take a small spoon or metal 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and hollow out the inside of the strawberries. Pipe or spoon the creamed filling into the strawberries and then refrigerate until ready to serve. These can be placed in the freezer for a few minutes to set the filling in case they tip over in the container. Additional lime juice may be added (up to 2 teaspoons) if more lime flavor is preferred.

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Shop the Sale: Campfire Burgers


Campfire BurgersFood always tastes better on a camping trip.

That’s my belief, and I’m sticking to it.

Last week’s camping trip was filled with mountain bike rides, a really long hike around the lake and one seriously long trek to the actual restroom facilities. Oh, then there was swimming and a paddle boat excursion, too.

I know two boys who were hungry. Ravenous, really.

The weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, warm sun and cool breezes. That plus a lot of physical activity made for a great day.

Then, there was dinner.

These “Campfire Burgers” are named as such for their smoky flavor and aroma.

I don’t know whether it was the starry night, the crackling fire or the ghost stories, but these tasted just about perfect.

If you want to get really fancy, add soaked hickory chips to your charcoal fire for an extra infusion of smokiness.

Angus ground chuck, which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, is perfect to pack in your camping cooler.

*Note: You can caramelize the onions in advance and pack them in your cooler. Just reheat them when you’re ready to serve. The sauce can also be mixed up in advance. You can cook the bacon up at home, or fry a bunch at the campsite and save it for the next morning’s breakfast, too.

Campfire Burgers
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Caramelized Onions:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Campfire Sauce:
1/4 cup regular mayonnaise
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

Burgers:
1 lb Angus ground chuck
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
4 hamburger buns

Directions:
Caramelized Onions:
Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; season with salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook for another 1­2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Campfire Sauce:
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and liquid smoke until creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Burgers:
In a large bowl, mix ground beef, cheese, bacon, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, salt and pepper until combined. Form into 4 equal-sized patties.

Preheat grill or skillet with olive oil over medium­-high heat. Add patties and cook for about 6­-7 minutes. Flip; cook for another 6-­7 minutes until cooked thoroughly.

Assemble burgers on toasted buns topped with caramelized onions and campfire sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 591, Calories from Fat: 263, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 128 mg, Sodium: 1324 mg, Potassium: 660 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 46 g

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Healthy Living: Best Pizza Sauce EVER


Best Pizza Sauce EVERThe other night, Paul and I made homemade pizza.

It was outstanding for many reasons, including the fact that we made our own crust, grew our own basil for garnish and topping, used fresh mozzarella for the cheese, and made a so-simple-you-won’t-believe-it-sauce for the fresh pie.

It all started when Paul gave me an autographed copy of a Julia Child cookbook. Autographed by hand not a stamp, mind you. I stroked the pages lovingly and did not let anyone touch it for days on end.

Until I wanted to read it, that is.

Paul got me the cookbook because he knew I LOVE cooking, and I LOVE to read cookbooks. This masterpiece was meant to be read.

The first recipe in the book was for pizza, an incredibly simple recipe that let all the ingredients shine.

Easiest of all was the sauce, which is a great base a child can have fun helping you make. It’s made with a can of fresh whole, peeled plum tomatoes with only a few extra ingredients. It’s bright, tasty, fresh and healthy.

This would also be good tossed with fresh pasta, ravioli or tortellini, or used on top of a bruschetta.

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:
1 (48 oz) can peeled Italian whole plum tomatoes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions:
With your hands, crush tomatoes in a large bowl until pulverized. Add spices. Add olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Spread onto pizza crust; add toppings. Bake.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 149, Calories from Fat: 64, Fat: 7 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1231 mg, Potassium: 22 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 14 g

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Product Talk: Borden’s Grilled Cheese Melts


Borden’s Grilled Cheese MeltsGrilled cheese isn’t only a comfort food; it’s a delicacy.

Yes, really.

There’s at least one restaurant in Austin, Texas, dedicated to nothing but grilled cheese. I hear they start at $15.

You can make a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich much more cost-effectively in your own home.

It starts with Borden’s Grilled Cheese Melts, individually wrapped slices of cheese specially formulated to melt blissfully into the buttery, bready goodness of your sandwich.

Borden’s Grilled Cheese Melts are an American cheese food product designed to dissolve into melted goodness in your sandwich.

My little guy was sick last week, and he wanted grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. So when I ran to Brookshire’s after dropping his big brother off at school, I grabbed a package of these slices, knowing it would make lunchtime easier.

The slices were delicious, melting beautifully while maintaining tons of flavor, but we didn’t stop at your basic grilled cheese.

You see, a friend of mine had posted a recipe on social media for a grilled sandwich crusted in parmesan cheese. I had to try it!

Parmesan-Crusted Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:
4 slices whole-wheat bread
2 Tbs butter, softened
4 slices Borden’s Grilled Cheese Melts
4 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Place 2 slices of Borden’s Grilled Cheese Melts between 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, adding whatever extras you desire (bacon, avocado, tomatoes, etc…). Press sandwich together firmly, but be careful not to “smush” it. Butter each side of the bread. Press buttered bread into grated parmesan, dividing evenly across the entirety of the bread. Heat griddle to medium. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place bread onto griddle; cook until bread and cheese are golden-brown and filling is beginning to melt, about 4 minutes. Flip; grill until bread and cheese are crispy and golden-brown, about another 4 minutes. Slide onto plate and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 553, Calories from Fat: 351, Fat: 39 g (24 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 111 mg, Sodium: 1251 mg, Potassium: 146 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 25 g

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Dine In: Crusty Fish and Jalapeño Pasta


Crusty Fish and Jalapeño PastaMy best friend and I have Girls Night Out every Thursday.

Well, not EVERY Thursday. Life has gotten in the way, but we try to meet as often as possible, if only for an hour or two.

Our favorite restaurant is the same (that’s part of the reason we’re BFFs), and we go there as much as we can. The restaurant is in an old mansion on a hill, and we love sitting out on the expansive deck decorated with lights, comfortable with a fan and under the webbing of trees, shade and sanctuary.

I also love their jalapeño fish pasta.

It’s spicy, yet mild. It’s creamy, yet bold.

Delicious! You can probably make this with any kind of hardy white fish you want.

Crusty Fish and Jalapeño Pasta

Ingredients:
2 (4 oz) tilapia fillets
1/2 cup white flour
2 oz melted margarine
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/4 cup jalapeño, diced
1 cup de-stemmed fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch garlic salt
4 oz heavy cream
1/4 cup lemon butter (1/4 cup butter mixed with 4 Tbs lemon juice)
5 oz angel hair pasta
1 tsp fresh parsley
1/8 cup Roma tomatoes, diced

Directions:
Dredge the tilapia fillets in the flour; add them with the melted margarine and garlic to a medium temperature sauté pan.

Once the tilapia has finished cooking on one side, flip the fillets over and add the jalapeños, spinach, salt, pepper and garlic salt.

Prepare the angel hair pasta in boiling water. Allow it to cook 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the temperature of the water.

As the fillets begin to flake, add the heavy cream, then bring it to a slight boil.

Once the cream begins to boil, remove the pan from the fire, and reduce the lemon butter into the sauce.

Place the pasta in a bowl, and pour the fish with the sauce over the pasta.

Garnish with fresh Roma tomatoes and parsley.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 2226, Calories from Fat: 1284, Fat: 142.6 g (67.9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 398.7 mg, Sugar: 5.8 g, Sodium: 1295.3 mg, Carbohydrates: 163.3 g, Fiber: 8 g, Protein: 75.7 g

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Shop the Sale: Shredded Beef Tacos


Shredded Beef TacosI think I’ve mentioned before that we have Taco Tuesday at my house.

Well, to be honest, it’s more like Taco Wednesday (which does not have the same alliterative value) because we have soccer until 8pm on Tuesdays and only get home in time to gulp something out of the slow cooker.

Point being, we eat good on Taco WhateverDayItIs.

We have tried a lot of different taco fillings. I have a limit on the ground beef filling, even though I’ve perfected my own spice mixture.

Once, I did shredded beef with a green salsa verde mix, but last week, I tried slow-cooking a rump roast without adding anything to the beef. It was amazing.

I think the beauty of this roast came in searing it first. It sealed all the juices in during cooking and created a tender, flavorful taco filling.

One rump roast easily fed four people with at least four taco servings left over.

Shredded Beef Tacos

Ingredients:
4 lb rump roast
4 Tbs cumin
4 Tbs chili powder
4 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs red pepper
4 Tbs David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder (or sauce)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup salsa
tortillas, salsa, cheese, avocado slices, sour cream

Directions:
Mix all seasonings together and rub all over meat.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron skillet until oil starts to smoke. Sear meat, about 1 minute per side, until crusty and browned.

Remove rump roast from cast-iron skillet and set slow cooker to low heat.

Place rump roast and all the juices from the pan into slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup salsa. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove beef from slow cooker. Shred beef. Return to slow cooker. Turn to high heat. Cook for another hour.

Serve in tacos with flour tortillas, salsa, cheese, avocado slices and sour cream.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 451, Calories from Fat: 134, Fat: 15 g, Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 432 mg, Potassium: 176 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g

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Healthy Living: Zucchini Pizza Bites


Zucchini Pizza BitesI was browsing Pinterest over the weekend (I was looking for healthy recipes, and recipes for s’mores kept popping up. I’m not sure how that happened) and noticed something on my feed: There were six or seven pins for “Foods You Should Never Eat.” Each one pictured bread, then several of the remaining pins on the page were for foods you could substitute for breads or other heavy starches.

I love my bread, but I know that it’s often “empty calories,” especially if I’m eating white bread or something similar. I know a lot of people find it hard to escape the clutches of white flour and processed carbs.

Let’s take pizza, for example. I’ve made pizza with the cauliflower crust. It was delicious, but it wasn’t “real” pizza crust.

Still, though, I’d like to enjoy the taste of pizza without the carbs and calories from the crust.

These zucchini bites are the perfect solution. They give you the added benefit of fiber and the vitamins of veggies without the calories.

Plus, you can just pop ‘em in your mouth!

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Ingredients:
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella, finely grated
1/4 cup pepperoni minis
1 Tbs Italian seasoning

Directions:
Preheat oven to broil.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add zucchini and cook, flipping once, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place zucchini rounds onto a large baking sheet. Top each zucchini round with marinara, mozzarella and pepperoni minis.

Place into oven and cook until the cheese has melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with Italian seasoning, if desired.

Note: For some added texture, place the pepperoni minis on a paper towel; place in microwave and cook for 30 seconds. They’ll become crispy and render some of their fat onto the paper towel. Remove them from the paper towel, blotting grease before you add them to the top of the zucchini pizza bites.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 190, Calories from Fat: 125, Fat: 14 g, Trans Fat: 0.2 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 455 mg, Potassium: 222 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 12 g

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Dine In: Eggplant Parmesan


Eggplant ParmesanIt’s Mother’s Day weekend, so for at least one meal over the next three days, I would like one of my favorites (just saying, to anyone who might be reading this).

Growing up, eggplant parmesan was one of my favorite dishes. It was often requested as a birthday or special occasion dinner.

Never mind that my mom initially tricked us into liking eggplant, cutting it in wedges and frying it.

“Oh, they’re french fries,” she’d say.

I don’t remember if I believed her or not, but I did love eggplant no matter how she cooked it, ESPECIALLY with red sauce and cheese on top.

Growing up, I realized that you didn’t really have to fry the eggplant to make a delicious parmesan dish. Besides, too many people don’t fry correctly and the eggplant becomes soggy with grease (I know this because I try it in almost every new Italian restaurant I discover). So, this is a lightened-up version, and it would taste delicious tonight (again, just saying, in case anyone I know is reading this).

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

Eggplant:
2 egg whites from large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbs water
2 cups panko
1/4 cup (1 oz) fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 (1 lb) eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
cooking spray

Filling:
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn
1/4 cup (1 oz) fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 (16 oz) ctn part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Topping:
1 (24 oz) jar premium pasta sauce (or homemade)
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
3/4 cup (3 oz) fontina cheese, finely grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

To prepare eggplant, combine 2 egg whites and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant slices 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° F for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.

To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).

To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce. Spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° F for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 318, Fat: 15.1 g (8.2 g Saturated Fat, 2.7 g Monounsaturated Fat, 0.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat), Protein: 19.3 g, Carbohydrates: 26.8 g, Fiber: 4.8 g, Cholesterol: 99 mg, Iron: 1.6 mg, Sodium: 655 mg, Calcium: 365 mg

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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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