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Dine In: Meatloaf Bombs


Meatloaf BombsThis post is an homage to an account I follow on Instagram. The owner of the account, whose real name I don’t know of course, is a grill aficionado, with new, delicious-looking temptations on his account almost daily. The man must live on his back porch (which sounds like heaven-on-earth to me).

He posted a picture recently that made me stop and do a double-take. It looked amazing. It made me actually consider commenting and asking him what his secret was. After I thought about it, I knew I had to do more than consider the question. I commented and he answered! He didn’t give away all his secrets, so I had to guess at the recipe when I recreated it on a recent Friday night, but he did tell me enough to cook it perfectly. We’ll be making this again and again.

Meatloaf Bombs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup panko or seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs parsley, dried
1 tsp garlic salt
2 Tbs ketchup or tomato paste
2 large white onions
8 slices bacon

Directions:
Mix ground beef with breadcrumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, ketchup and garlic salt. Form into 4 balls.

Peel white onion and remove ends. Using the tip of a sharp knife, slice through the outer ring of onion and remove. Remove the 2 outer layers of onion (the 2 largest ones) from each onion. Wrap onion around each ball of meat, forming kind of a shell. Wrap 2 slices bacon around meat balls, crisscrossing over the top and securing with a toothpick to hold the mixture together.

Preheat grill to 400° F.

Place meatloaf bombs on the grill over indirect heat. Cook until internal temperature reaches 160° F for medium, 170° F for well-done. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 634, Calories from Fat: 294, Fat: 33 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 205 mg, Sodium: 1669 mg, Potassium: 975 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 60 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bubble Chicken


Bubble ChickenSometimes, like on a cold winter’s night, you want something creamy, cheesy and simple to make that will “stick to your ribs,” as my mom used to say.

Check, check, check, check.

This chicken dish fits the bill. I like anything with cheese and sour cream; my kids love anything with chicken, and we all love anything with bacon. Plus, there are those nights when you need a one-dish meal that cooks up quickly (like every Tuesday and Thursday night before soccer practice).

This week, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are on sale at Brookshire’s, so you can buy a package or two and cook up some chicken to use in this dish! Then, on the night you choose, it will be ready to mix up and pop into the oven.

This is called “Bubble Chicken” because the biscuits puff up, and the creamy mixture bubbles when the dish is ready.

Bubble Chicken

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 Tbs ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup chopped bacon, cooked
1 (12 oz) can refrigerated Pillsbury Grands Jr. Biscuits

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Thoroughly mix chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing mix and bacon together.

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Toss with the chicken mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the dish is bubbly and the pieces of biscuit are golden-brown. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 814, Calories from Fat: 436, Fat: 48 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (23 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 146 mg, Sodium: 2110 mg, Potassium: 438 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 46 g.

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Dine In: Homemade Bread Bowls


Homemade Bread Bowls I remember when serving soup in a bread bowl was all the rage, and I’ll never forget the first time I had it served that way.

I was in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, and a class I was taking in public relations only had four students registered for the course. We only met once a week for three hours on a Friday morning. The professor elected to have class in a small bistro near campus in downtown Austin. We’d arrive and order breakfast with a never-ending pot of coffee, from which we got more than our money’s worth, and we’d pour over the lesson and engage in lively discussion and banter. It was one of my favorite classes, mostly for the ambiance and the readily-available caffeinated beverages.

Then, there was the soup in the bread bowl. I usually ordered breakfast, but remember, it was a three-hour class. If I’d eaten breakfast before my two-hour commute to class, I was hungry again about an hour into class. It was that odd time when either breakfast or lunch would work, and soup tastes good at pretty much any time of day or night.

This café served a velvety tomato soup in a whole-grain bread bowl that was sustenance enough for two meals, especially on those rainy, chilly days of the winter semester. I could savor the soup, then pick at the saturated morsels of whole-grain bread until there was nary a crumb left on my plate.

I made bread bowls recently for a soup we were going to have on a cold, Friday night, and my kids thought this was the most brilliant, novel idea they’d ever heard of.

Using instant yeast made this a practical meal for a Friday night after a long week of work.

Homemade Bread Bowls

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour, more as needed
2 tsp salt
spray bottle with warm water

Directions:
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast. Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it becomes foamy.

Add 3 cups of flour and the salt, and mix at medium speed of the mixer until well-combined.

Mix in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth, only slightly sticky to the touch and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl greased lightly with olive oil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with a damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces.

Preheat the oven to 500° F. Shape each piece into a ball, and place on a lightly-greased baking sheet.

Score the top of each roll, then spray with warm water and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Bake for 2 minutes, spray again with water, then reduce the heat to 425° F. This will give you the crisp crust on the bread.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a paring knife, score a circle on the top of the bread. Remove ring of outer crust and soft, tender interior, leaving a thick shell. Reserve the removed bread for other purposes. Spoon soup into the bread bowl; serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 427, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1171 mg, Potassium: 238 mg, Carbohydrates: 89 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 13 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids


Family Matters: Easy Meal Idea


Easy Meal IdeaI recently prepared a meal for my family that was so easy to make, and it was delicious not only for dinner but it also made a great leftover meal for the next day.

Slow Cooker Pork Loin
Cut pork loin in 3/4” to 1” pieces, and dip in a milk and egg mixture to moisten the outside of the meat. Place pieces of pork loin in breadcrumbs (flip several times to make sure they are covered). Place the breaded pork loin in a slow cooker and seal off with cover. I put 3 layers of pork chops with no problem. Do not put any type of water or juice in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove from slow cooker, and you are ready to eat. Meat comes out crunchy and tender. If your family likes gravy, it would be great on top of the finished pork loin.

Baked Diced Potatoes
Wash whole potatoes thoroughly in warm water. Cut potatoes in half and then cut into small cube-shaped pieces (as large or small as you like). Place in a large bowl, rinse with cold water and then drain. Add olive oil in the bowl and mix potatoes until they are covered. Add at least 1 package of dry ranch dressing, and toss potatoes so the seasoning is mixed in well. Bake at 400° F for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and enjoy. Potatoes are soft, full of flavor and better for you since they are baked!

Try this easy meal idea and use the extra “free time” to enjoy your family or to do something special for yourself…you deserve it! Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family.



Shop the Sale: Honey-Butter Pork Tenderloin


Honey-Butter Pork TenderloinSometimes, the first thing that catches your eye is the thing that will stick with you.

It happened to me with my wedding dress. The first one I tried on was THE ONE. Although, I had to try on 97 more just to make sure. In the end, I went back to the first one.

The same thing happened as I was making dinner menus recently. I saw a recipe for a whole, boneless pork tenderloin that sounded delicious, but I had to read 76 more pork loin recipes only to decide I wanted to make the first one I’d seen.

I didn’t regret it.

Whole pork loin is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and this is probably the best deal on meat that ever exists. There are so many ways to break down a whole pork loin. Generally, when I buy one, I can get a roast and two tenderloins out of it, or about 24 servings. That’s a lot of value in one cut of meat.

For this recipe, you can break down the loin into a roast, a tenderloin and chops, and make this from the tenderloin, or you can double this recipe and use it for the whole loin, then make the leftovers into sandwiches or stir-fry.

Honey-Butter Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs local honey
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Heat the butter and honey over medium-high heat in a cast-iron (or other ovenproof) skillet until melted. Rub the pork loin with Cajun seasoning and black pepper. When the butter is hot and beginning to sizzle, brown each side of the pork loin for 5 minutes until seared. Lower the heat if the honey begins to brown.

Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer to the oven. Roast, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the pork to a large platter. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Add water to the skillet and stir over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the pan sauce is reduced slightly.

Slice pork on the diagonal and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 254, Fat: 11 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 103 mg, Sodium: 125 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 30 g.

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Product Talk: Fish in Crazy Water


Fish in Crazy WaterI’m all about fish these days.

A few weeks ago, I floated the query to my family, “Would you guys be interested in eating more fish?” and expected the answer to be a resounding silence, which would be answer enough.

To my shock, they were all for incorporating more fish into our diets.

I love fish. I could eat it 17 times a week, but I knew my guys would need to be eased into it.

I made blackened tilapia, a hit. I offered fish tacos, another hit. I baked salmon (mostly a hit). Then, I was skimming through Pinterest and looking for instructions on how to make three-dimensional cardboard stars, when I saw a recipe for Fish in Crazy Water. That was close enough to “Fish in a Crazy Household” that I had to click the link.

This recipe sounded so good that I had to put it on the menu immediately.

The recipe calls for snapper, sea bass, Branzino or Orata, so I went to the fish counter at Brookshire’s to see what was available for a good price.

I love going to the seafood counter at Brookshire’s because they never make me feel stupid if I don’t know what Orata is. (It’s a member of the bream family found in the Mediterranean.) Plus, the seafood experts will fillet, peel, steam, debone or otherwise prep your seafood for you! It’s a win/win.

This particular day, there was red snapper on sale, so that’s what I got. This recipe ended up being our favorite so far.

Fish in Crazy Water

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh fish fillets (such as snapper, sea bass, Branzino or Orata), cut into 4 portions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and slightly smashed
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, washed and cut into matchsticks
2 or 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
This recipe calls for a large skillet with a lid. If using a cast-iron skillet, placing a baking sheet over the skillet will act as a lid.

Heat the olive oil and garlic in the large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers and is fragrant, and the garlic starts to sizzle. Add the carrots, celery and onions. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften but not brown.

Add the cherry tomatoes; cook, stirring often, for a minute to heat the tomatoes until they begin to release juices. Add the fish to the pan, tucking it down into the vegetables. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook over medium-low heat at a very gentle simmer for 10 minutes, poaching the fish until it’s just cooked through and the vegetables are softened. Stir in half the parsley.

Divide fish, veggies and broth among 4 shallow bowls. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with the other half of the parsley.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 383, Calories from Fat: 142, Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 148 mg, Potassium: 1363 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 47 g.

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Dine In: Bacon Cheese-Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls


Bacon Cheese-Stuffed Mashed Potato BallsThe other morning, my friend Judith tagged me in a post on Facebook for a recipe for Bacon Cheese-Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls. I was inordinately excited. Judith tags me in all kinds of yummy recipe posts, and is probably single-handedly responsible for my most-recent 10 pounds.

It’s worth it. I was so excited to try these when Paul came in from the grocery store.

“Do I smell like potatoes?” he asked.

I was confused.

“What? Why potatoes?” I asked.

“Because I ate three potato logs at Brookshire’s while I was shopping,” he responded.

Potato logs? Were those anything like potato balls?

The coincidence was compelling.

Turns out, a potato log is more like a big steak fry, but I was quick to show Paul the post about the mashed potato balls.

We’re going to make these on Friday night, if Paul can keep from stopping at Brookshire’s for some deli potato logs.

Bacon Cheese-Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls

Ingredients:
2 cups mashed potatoes, cold
1 egg, lightly beaten
10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes from a larger block
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup dry Italian breadcrumbs
oil, for frying

Directions:
Let mashed potatoes come to room temperature. Mix in the egg, onions and bacon. Shape into 1-inch balls. Press block of cheese into the center of each ball; form potato around it, completely covering the cheese. Roll balls in breadcrumbs.

Let rest for 15 minutes.

In a deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to about 375° F. Fry potato balls in small batches for about 3 minutes each or until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 461, Calories from Fat: 268, Fat: 30 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 110 mg, Sodium: 1293 mg, Potassium: 477 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 27 g.

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Family Matters: Sunday Morning Pancake Bites


Pancake BitesIt’s 7:30 on Sunday morning, time to get up and wake the kids for church. As I’m walking to my daughter’s room, I can hear her and her sleepover buddies already up and giggling about something they think is so funny. That’s what 14-year-old girls do: giggle! I told them to start getting ready for church, and then I walked into the kitchen to make them something for breakfast.

I hadn’t bought groceries this week, and we didn’t have time for a sit-down breakfast. I needed something quick and easy so they could eat on-the-go. (You know, 14-year-old girls will take as much time in the bathroom getting ready as you will allow them!) Luckily, I had a Brookshire’s Blueberry Pancake Mix, 2 eggs (and 2 eggs is all I had in the refrigerator) milk and maple syrup. So, blueberry muffins from a pancake mix is what’s for breakfast this Sunday morning.

One-by-one, the girls grab a blueberry pancake muffin and head out the door to church with a Bible in one hand and a muffin in the other. It’s so nice when Sunday mornings can come together like this!

This recipe is super easy, and you are in and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes.

Pancake Bites

Ingredients:
2 cups Brookshire’s Complete Blueberry Pancake Mix
2/3 cup Brookshire’s Milk
1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F, and spray your mini-muffin tin or paper baking cups lightly with Brookshire’s Cooking Spray. Mix all ingredients until just combined. Fill the cups of the tin 1/2 full with the batter. Bake until lightly golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

Makes 12

You can also use regular Brookshire’s Pancake Mix, and add your own choice of toppings like fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sugar or any other yummy delights you can think of! If you have time to sit down for breakfast, serve with maple syrup, honey or butter then enjoy!

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Shop the Sale: Steakhouse Soup


Steakhouse SoupOn a recent sunny day, we drove through my boyfriend Paul’s East Texas hometown.

The drive was punctuated with observations, “That used to be Goodman’s department store” or “That lot was vacant for the longest time.” Most of his sentences started with “I remember when that was {insert memory here}.”

It was an interesting drive, to say the least. We didn’t spend a lot of time exploring because we were driving through on our way somewhere else, but we hit all the highlights on the main drag.

I was particularly intrigued by an old restaurant, now vacant. It looked like a rustic old barn, but there was a large stained glass window front and center. The two didn’t seem to go together, but it made a striking contrast.

Among other things, the space was a steakhouse where, according to Paul, they had some of the best soup he’s ever had.

Of course, once he said that, I felt the challenge to recreate the soup he loved.

He wrote the former owner to see if we could get the recipe, but he hasn’t heard back yet. Fingers crossed he’ll send it.

Until then, we have been experimenting with different recipes, and we think we have it close. Maybe, when top sirloin is on sale this week, we’ll try it again!

Steakhouse Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb top sirloin steak, cut into cubes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs flour
1 onion, diced
6 red potatoes, finely diced
5 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
1 (46 fluid oz) bottle tomato-vegetable juice
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs paprika

Directions:
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear sirloin cubes until browned and cook through. Sprinkle in flour; stir until browned. Add 1/2 cup water. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Stir in beef stock and tomato juice; mix well.

Add onions, potatoes, carrots and green beans. Stir in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Calories from Fat: 57, Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium: 517 mg, Potassium: 1058 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 19 g.

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Product Talk: Rotel Diced Tomatoes


Rotel TomatoesRotel Tomatoes are for more than just queso dip.

Stop the presses!

I know! I know! It’s hard to beat gooey cheese and zesty tomatoes on a tortilla chip, but Rotel is so much more versatile!

Rotel, distributed by ConAgra Foods, is a delicious, healthy way to incorporate some vitamin C into your diet and get a huge bang-for-your-buck flavor.

Their signature blend includes vine-ripened tomatoes and diced green chilies, but there are also habanero pepper, chunky-style, Mexican-style and specifically-formulated for chili varieties. Ingredients are packaged at the peak of freshness to preserve flavor and nutrients.

Named for the original owners, the Roetteles, the veggies have been produced in Texas since 1943.

Chicken Burrito Skillet
(Recipe from conagrafoods.com)

Ingredients:
2 Tbs Pure Wesson® Canola Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbs taco seasoning mix (from 1.25-oz pkg)
1 (15 oz) can Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel® Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
1 cup shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
chopped cilantro, optional

Directions
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and taco seasoning; cook 2 more minutes. Stir in black beans, undrained tomatoes and water; bring to a boil.

Stir in rice. Cover and reduce heat; simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and cilantro, if desired.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 338, Fat: 14 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 672 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 26 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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