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Dine In: Salami Roll-Ups


Salami Roll-UpsWhile we’re at the beach, we pack lunches every day to bring from the beach house onto the sand. No one, and I mean no one, wants to leave the beach to go back and be bothered to eat lunch, so we pack it and have lunch al fresco listening to the waves pounding on the shore.

I have to admit I’m not always creative when it comes to lunches, but my sister-in-law makes it look so easy. She concocts all these spreads, wraps and rolls for her kids, using all kinds of fun and fresh ingredients.

Yesterday, they ate spinach wraps spread with hummus and topped with roasted red peppers, cucumber slices and baby spinach.

We tried this version, which would also be great for a Friday night dinner, with a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc.

Salami Roll-Ups

Ingredients:
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 lb salami, very thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced

Directions:
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on the work surface. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the cream cheese on top of the plastic wrap and cover with another piece of wrap the same size. With a rolling pin or an offset spatula, roll the cream cheese out into an even layer, approximately 1/4-inch thick. This process can get messy, so be aware of the cream cheese seeping out of the edges of the plastic wrap.

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and add the salami, laying the slices in an overlapping pattern and lightly pressing into the cream cheese. Cover the cream cheese entirely with salami.

Replace the plastic wrap; flip the salami and cheese mixture over so that the cream cheese is on top. Remove the wrap and place the sliced green peppers over the cheese.

Roll the salami over the cream cheese firmly. Roll the meat log and press the outer layers tight to hold it all together. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. It’s easiest to cut when well chilled. Cut thin slices of the roll; serve as is or with your favorite cracker or crostini.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 310, Calories from Fat: 263, Fat: 29.2 g (16.6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 653 mg, Potassium: 157 mg, Carbohydrates: 2.6 g, Sugar: 0. 9 g, Protein: 9.7 g



Shop the Sale: Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Skillet


Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Skillet‘Twas the night before vacation, and I realized I still had a refrigerator full of food that would have gone bad by the time we returned from our trip. I HATE wasting food. Granted, I hadn’t planned very well the week before, but life happens sometimes, you know?

I pulled out Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage, a ton of vegetables, milk, cheese, grapes and eggs.

Now, clearly I wasn’t going to use all of those ingredients together (although that might have made a good episode of “Chopped”), but I did some Googling and found a recipe that made good use of most of what I had.

I had beautiful locally-grown zucchini and grape tomatoes (which are pretty much a staple in my house) and some savory smoked sausage, which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

It didn’t take much effort to combine all that into a one-dish meal that cooked up quickly in my cast iron skillet.

Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Skillet
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbs butter or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 lb Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces
1 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Heat butter or olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

When the oil or butter becomes fragrant, add the diced onion; stir and cook until onions are soft and opaque. Toss in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the slices of smoked sausage.

Cook until sausage is browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, tomatoes, squash and seasonings; cook another 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve over steamed rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 428, Calories from Fat: 337, Fat: 37 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 75 mg, Sodium: 1102 mg, Potassium: 226 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 15 g

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Healthy Living: Fresh Express Spinach


Rustic Grilled CheeseI was one of those rare kids who loved spinach from the get-go. When my mom would ask what vegetable I wanted with dinner, my answer was always an enthusiastic “spinach!” I still love it to this day and always, always have a bag of Fresh Express Spinach in my refrigerator. In fact, most days I eat it up to three times a day! I start at breakfast by adding fresh baby spinach leaves to an egg white scramble. Then at lunch, I use it in place of lettuce on my sandwich. At dinner, I mix spinach into butter or romaine lettuce for a salad. I love fresh spinach as a side dish to any meal. I gently sauté it until just wilted with a clove of freshly chopped garlic and finish it with a spritz of fresh lemon juice as soon as I take it off the heat. I LOVE this recipe idea from Fresh Express, as it combines so many of my favorite things!

Rustic Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:
8 slices rustic country sourdough bread
4 Tbs Dijon mustard
4 Tbs honey
24 baby spinach leaves from one bag of Fresh Express Baby Spinach
8 slices prosciutto, thinly shaved
8 slices Baby Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

Directions:
Heat panini press to medium heat, and spray with cooking spray (or you can use a grill pan on medium heat). Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on 4 slices of bread. On remaining undressed slices of bread, spread a thin layer of honey. Place 2 slices of Baby Swiss, 2 slices of prosciutto and 6 baby spinach leaves on 4 slices of bread. (Make sure each slice of cheese is on the side with the bread so it acts as the “glue” to holding the sandwich together.) Place the remaining slices of bread on the sandwiches. Grill the sandwiches until the bread is golden and cheese is melted.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 393, Calories from Fat: 103, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 40 mg, Sodium: 978 mg, Potassium: 272 mg, Carbohydrates: 55 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 21 g, Protein: 21 g

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Dine In: Italian Sausage Sliders


Italian Sausage SlidersWe’re about to go on our annual beach vacation: one week of fun, family and food. The food is important. My whole family stays together in a beach house, and we all take a turn cooking.

This year, it’s very important to my younger son that he is an integral part of the process. From choosing the menu to helping with prep work and cooking, he has been talking about what we’re going to make for our meal for weeks now (he is MY son, after all).

We talked about it for a long time last night. It’s not easy to plan a meal that will satisfy 20 people, not take forever to cook or clean up (because who wants to spend all vacation cleaning up when there’s “Night Beach” to be had?), and doesn’t cost a fortune (it’s not cheap to feed 20 people).

We knew that we wanted to grill on our night to provide a meal. No one else was planning a grill night, and goodness knows grilled food tastes great after a day on the beach, plus it smells great mingled with sea air.

We vetoed the idea of doing ribs. It’s a great idea, except for the fact that I like to cook them on low heat in the oven for hours and finish them on the grill. Ain’t nobody got time for that kind of maintenance when there’s boogie boarding, sand volleyball and sunning to do. Luke then suggested sliders, and we all loved the idea. We can do a variety of different kinds with different condiments. He approved this recipe, which sounds a little different from your basic burger.

Italian Sausage Sliders

Ingredients:
2 lb Johnsonville® All Natural Ground Sausage (or links removed from casings)
1 lb ground beef
16 small slider buns or mini sandwich rolls
condiments, including provolone cheese, marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, giardiniera (marinated chopped vegetables and olives), sautéed onions, roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms and cheddar cheese

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine sausage and beef. Using your hands, blend the two meats together and form into one large ball. Use a spoon or a small measuring cup to gather up  3-ounce balls and press into patties.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Cook for about 3 minutes then flip; continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Test for doneness. Internal temperature should be 160° F.

Slice the buns and top the sliders with your favorite condiments.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 248, Calories from Fat: 76, Fat: 8 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 42 mg, Sodium: 643 mg, Potassium: 114 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 20 g

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Shop the Sale: Jalapeño Popper Sliders


Jalapeño Popper SlidersI wrote recently about going to the beach with my family. As I sit and write this, there are 23 of us crowded around two big breakfast tables, from my six-month-old niece and nephew to my parents, the patriarch and matriarch of this big, crazy, loud family.

I also mentioned that we all take turns making dinner. When it was our turn, my son Luke suggested that we make sliders, so we made a version that combined Italian sausage with ground beef. They were so delicious that my nephew Ben said it was the best meal we’d had all week, and that’s a pretty tall compliment.

No one was assigned dinner tonight, so we’re going with sliders again, by popular demand. My nieces and nephews are adventurous eaters, as are their parents, so we’re going to spice things up a bit with jalapeño popper sliders.

When you have to feed a crowd, a 3-pound chuck chub from Brookshire’s, on sale this week, is the perfect way to get the job done.

Jalapeño Popper Sliders

Ingredients:
3 lb chuck chub
2 Tbs seasoned salt
1 jar pickled jalapeño slices
8 oz cream cheese, cut into 24 cubes
12 slices cheddar cheese
24 slider or dinner rolls

Directions:
Mix meat with seasoned salt and 2 tablespoons juice from the jar of pickled jalapeños. Combine well. Form into 24 slider burgers. Insert 1 cube of cream cheese into the center of each slider, covering it with meat. Grill until desired doneness. Immediately top with a half slice of cheddar cheese and more jalapeños. Serve on slider rolls.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 502, Calories from Fat: 226, Fat: 25.1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (6.2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 1002 mg, Potassium: 145 mg, Carbohydrates: 45.2 g, Fiber: 1.7 g, Sugar: 4.9 g

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Healthy Living: Watermelon Basil Popsicles


Watermelon Basil PopsiclesSummer is certainly a great time for frozen treats, but when you’re eating something like ice cream, you have to beware of the fat and calories you’re consuming. However, when you eat fruit, you can be a little more liberal with your portions and frequency.

These fun treats are frosty AND healthy, combining watermelon (which has tons of vitamins A and C) with fresh basil and lime juice. Then, you just pop them in the freezer.

As a working mom, I’m not home all day to monitor what my kids eat. I’d feel good about leaving these popsicles home unattended with two growing boys.

They’re quick and easy to make, too.

Watermelon Basil Popsicles

Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs honey
8 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
4 cups watermelon, cubed
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
10-count (3 oz) popsicle mold
10 wooden popsicle sticks

Directions:
In a saucepan, bring water and honey to a boil; stir to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat and add basil; allow to cool, then remove the basil.

In a blender, combine the basil simple syrup (the water and honey combo), watermelon and lime juice; puree until smooth.

Equally pour the mixture into popsicle molds, and insert an additional basil leaf or two for garnish. Next, cover with the top and insert popsicle sticks. Placing paperclips on the top end of the popsicle sticks will help them stay in place. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Once frozen, remove the popsicles by running water over the molds and gently pulling on the sticks. Wrap in wax paper and store in the freezer for up to a month.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 38, Calories from Fat: 1, Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Potassium: 72 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 0.4 g

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Product Talk: Noonday Onions


Grilled Noonday Onion “Steaks”The Brookshire’s headquarters has the distinction of being very near the (very) small city where the world’s best onions are grown.

Noonday, Texas, population 798, must have magic soil or something because these are the only onions in the universe that I actually seek out.

I’m a bit ambivalent about onions, if I’m honest. I like them as a flavor base to some things, mostly soups and stews, but I don’t want them as a garnish, on my burger or in my salad.

However, Noonday onions are the exception to all of this. They are sweet and mild, and they give dishes a complementary flavor without being overpowering. I love them.

Last night, we decided to do something different with onions. You know how it’s popular to make cauliflower “steaks,” thick slices of grilled cauliflower? Well, we decided to do the same with Noonday onions.

I bought four large onions and two of us almost ate them all.

Grilled Noonday Onion “Steaks”

Ingredients:
4 Noonday onions, cut into 3/4-inch slices (so the onion holds together)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Directions:
Cut onions into thick slices with all rings together. Drizzle with olive oil on both sides; sprinkle with seasoned salt or seasonings of your choice (fresh rosemary is also delicious).

Preheat grill to medium-low. Oil grill grates well so the onions won’t stick. Place onions on grill and cook for about 7 minutes on the first side. Flip only once; continue cooking until onions are caramelized and browned.

It’s helpful to have a wide spatula or wide tongs to flip the onions, as they tend to shrink a tiny bit and come apart during the grilling process.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 106, Calories from Fat: 64, Fat: 7 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 5 mg, Potassium: 168 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 1 g

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Dine In: S’mores Bites


S’mores BitesMy friend Leslie is one of the greatest people I know. She’s smart, thoughtful, hilarious, hardworking, dedicated, strong and brave. She’s a great mom and a great friend, and she has a true servant’s heart.

She also goes bonkers over s’mores. One of my favorite Leslie experiences was one night on my back porch when I think we were enjoying a Girls’ Night In. We’d made dinner, lit a fire in my chiminea and were going to roast marshmallows for traditional s’mores. Leslie finished preparing hers first and dug right into the chocolaty, gooey, crunchy treat; the look of complete ecstasy sent us into gales of laughter.

Since then, we’ve swapped recipes for anything s’mores related that we can find!

This is one I’ve found recently and can’t wait to try.

S’mores Bites

Ingredients:
7 whole graham crackers (equals 1 cup)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbs butter, melted
2 (1.5 5 oz) milk chocolate candy bars (like Hershey’s)
12 large marshmallows

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Finely crush the graham crackers into crumbs, using whatever method you want. I used my slap chop, but a food processor would work or putting them in a plastic bag and smashing.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and melted butter into a small bowl.

Evenly divide crumb mixture into each cup of a 24-cup mini muffin pan, greased slightly before using. Press crumbs down to form shallow cups.

Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.

While that’s baking, break the candy bars into the divided rectangle pieces. Also, cut the marshmallows in half using a pair of scissors that has been sitting in cold water.

Remove the pan from the oven and place one chocolate rectangle into each cup.

Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup.

Return to oven for 2 to 4 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened.

If you’d like the tops to be brown, turn the oven to broil, and broil the s’mores bites for 1 to 2 minutes.

Cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing them from the pan.

Do not freeze; preferably eat within 3 days of making.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 234, Calories from Fat: 106, Fat: 12 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 76 mg, Potassium: 6 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 25 g, Protein: 3 g

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Family Matters: I LOVE cooking!


Texas CaviarI love cooking for my family. Although, I can only use the word LOVE when I truly have the time to cook. Otherwise, if I do not have time to cook, like the five days a week I am working, I cannot use the word LOVE. I don’t even know if I can use the word LIKE! I do know, however, that having a sit down meal every night is very important to my family’s lifestyle, and I try to meet this goal the best I can. It’s not always pretty, but we make it happen.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, I had my parents over for lunch. This was a time that I LOVED cooking because I had the extra time to prepare. I started the night before preparing the side dishes to go along with a traditional smoked brisket. I decided on making Texas caviar. I had never made this, but I recently had it at a friend’s and really liked it. The best part about this dish is that the longer you let it sit, the better it gets. So, making it the night before gives it time to marinate, making it oh so yummy!

This recipe is easily adjustable to your own tastes and very forgiving, which makes me LOVE it!

Texas Caviar
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating

Ingredients:
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15.8 oz) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (15.25) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup red onions, diced
1 cup cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1 Tbs lime juice
salt, to taste
tortilla chips

Directions:
Combine all vegetables. Pour dressing and lime juice over mixture; mix together.

Season with salt. Cover and marinate at least 2 hours in refrigerator before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Calories Per Serving: 186, Fat: 6 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 310 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 7 g

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Shop the Sale: Stir-Fried Pork Spare Ribs


Stir-Fried Pork Spare RibsRibs are a staple of summer, but I rarely run across recipes that call for anything but grilling or baking.

Then, I found this one, which calls for stir-frying the ribs. Sounds different, doesn’t it? It also sounded delicious.

The quick fry gives these ribs a beautifully caramelized exterior, sort of crispy, with a juicy interior. My boys could eat ribs 10 times a week and twice on Sundays, so I had to try this version. I was a little leery of how they’d like the fish sauce and oyster sauce, but they didn’t realize it was anything other than “barbecue” sauce and ate it right up!

Pork spare ribs are on sale this week, so it’s a good time to give this recipe a try!

Stir-Fried Pork Spare Ribs

Ingredients:
2 lb pork spare ribs

For the marinade:
1 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs palm sugar (or white granulated sugar)
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
peanut oil or vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
Wash the spare ribs, and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut them into 1-inch pieces and place them into a bowl.

Make the marinade, and then pour it over the ribs. Allow them to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Into a hot skillet (on medium-high heat), add in the ribs and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Remove lid, stir and then turn heat up to medium-high. Continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and sugar has caramelized. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 434, Calories from Fat: 255, Fat: 28 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 111 mg, Sodium: 882 mg, Potassium: 32 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 41 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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