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Dine In: Friday Night Delight (AKA Triple-Chocolate Bundt Cake)


Friday Night Delight (AKA Triple-Chocolate Bundt Cake)My sweetie showed me a picture on social media recently of a Bundt cake his friend had made, photographed and posted online for the world to revel in about the perfection of this cake.

“Oh, do you even like Bundt cake?” I asked, falling for his innocuous ruse, hook, line and sinker.

“I love Bundt cake,” he replied.

So, of course, I was going to have to make him a Bundt cake.

I went for triple-chocolate because he has a notable sweet tooth, and I figured that would satisfy all the senses.

I made mine from scratch, but you could sub in a boxed cake mix to save time. Bake this when you get home from work on Friday night, and it should be ready to eat by the time you’re ready for dessert. It’s such a sweet way to end the week.

Triple-Chocolate Bundt Cake 

Ingredients:
1 (18.25 oz) pkg Brookshire’s Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix
1 (3.9 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Combine the cake mix with the pudding mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs and water. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with a solid vegetable oil. Lightly flour the pan, tapping out the excess.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely in the pan (about 90 minutes) before inverting onto a plate.

Serves 12 Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Calories from Fat: 234, Fat: 26 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 62 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 34 g, Protein: 3

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Dine In: Mexican Chicken Bake


Mexican Chicken BakeLast Friday night, we took the boys out to dinner to a local Mexican restaurant.

They protested a little.

“We just WENT here,” they said.

Well, yeah, we like Tex-Mex food!

So, this Friday night, to prevent the abject horror of having to subject them to a meal out, I made something at home. This is a recipe I found on Pinterest and added some spices to make it my own.

We ate dinner on the patio that night under the solar lights, and we had a regular, relaxing fiesta.

We served this with a side of rice and chips with salsa, of course.

Mexican Chicken Bake

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Ro-Tel Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 lb Velveeta, cut into cubes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Sprinkle cumin, salt, pepper and garlic onto chicken breasts; rub in to set the seasoning.

Place chicken breasts in pan. Top with corn, black beans and tomatoes. Cover the dish with cubes of Velveeta.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until juices from the chicken run clear.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1091, Fat: 40 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 232 mg, Sodium: 2090 mg, Carbohydrates: 96 g, Fiber: 19 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein: 95 g.

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Dine In: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


Buffalo Chicken MeatballsToday, I made a mistake.

A huge mistake.

I sat down to eat leftover Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in front of my 14-year-old son, a.k.a., the Human Garbage Disposal.

“What’s that?” he asked because I had prepared them for the first time as a “test” on a night my kids were not home.

“Buffalo Chicken Meatballs,” I told him.

“Can I have them?” he asked.

“Well, these are mine, but you can have the other two that are left,” I said, feeling a little territorial over my lunch as he had just practically inhaled a Philly cheesesteak I’d come home from work to make him.

He inhaled the meatballs, too.

“Let’s make these again,” he said.

I agreed.

“How about Friday night?”

Done.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thick bleu cheese salad dressing, like Marie’s
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce, plus more for serving
1 egg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500° F, and line a baking pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined. Your mixture will feel a little loose, but they will bake into tender meatballs. Shape into 9 meatballs, and place them on the parchment paper. They will spread a little during baking.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with a drizzle of hot sauce and extra blue cheese dressing or ranch, if you prefer.

Makes 9 meatballs

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 176, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 313 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 17 g.

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Dine In: Tuscan-Roasted Asparagus


Tuscan-Roasted AsparagusOne of the things I’d love to do in life is live in Tuscany for several months and take cooking classes with people who speak nothing but Italian.

It’s on my bucket list, right near the top. Unfortunately, on top of another list is “braces for two.”

I might not get to Tuscany any time soon, but I can dream about it. My brief visits there have imprinted the smell of fresh basil, simmering tomatoes, fragrant lemon and earthy rosemary into my memory, and I’m determined to get back there someday.

In the meantime, I’ll distract myself with Tuscany-inspired recipes, using fresh ingredients! This dish would be a lovely side to a grilled main course or a perfect potluck dish to bring to a Fourth of July celebration. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.

Tuscan-Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs asparagus, woody ends removed
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lay asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place tomato slices on top of asparagus spears. In a small bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Drizzle over tomatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle basil and parmesan on top, and roast until cheese begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 98, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 9 mg, Sodium: 137 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Dine In: Ice Cream in a Bag


Ice Cream in a BagOne of my sons’ favorite things to do in school, mainly in the lower grades, was to make ice cream in a bag.

I know they did it in preschool, again in kindergarten and probably even in first grade since they both had the same wonderful, bubbly, creative teacher.

Ice cream in a bag sounds weird, but it’s super fun for kids (adults too!), and it is a tradition we repeat every summer on the back porch.

We’re going to do it again on Friday night after dinner.

Seriously, there’s nothing better than a good sit on the back patio with the dog chasing crickets around in the yard, the solar lights flickering and everyone I love gathered in one place.

You can add extra goodies to this recipe. Just be aware that it might alter the way it freezes a tiny bit. Each bag makes an individual serving.

Ice Cream in a Bag

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs sugar
4 cups crushed ice
4 Tbs salt
2 quart-sized zipper-lock plastic bags
1 gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic freezer bag

Directions:
Mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart-sized bags.

Seal the bag tightly, pressing out excess air. If you leave too much air in the bag, you might have a mess on your hands during the shaking process.

Place the quart-sized bag inside another of the same size to help prevent ice or salt from leaking into your mixture. Place the double-bagged mixture into the gallon-sized bag and fill with ice. Then, sprinkle salt on top.

Press out excess air and seal the bag. Wrap the bag in a towel; shake the bag vigorously for 5 to 8 minutes or until the “ice cream” has formed.

Pour into a chilled bowl and eat immediately.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 112, Calories from Fat: 23, Fat: 3 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 10 mg, Sodium: 58 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 17 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In, Kids


Shop the Sale: Rotisserie-Style Chicken


Rotisserie-Style ChickenIf I had a dime for every time I’ve made a recipe that calls for a rotisserie chicken, I’d have enough to buy a truckload of whole fryers and make rotisserie-style chicken myself.

Buying a whole fryer is one of the very best values I think you can get for feeding your family. You get white meat, dark meat, breast meat, legs, thighs, everything…because you get the whole shebang. This week, whole fryers are on sale, so take advantage and stock up. You can freeze them before you cook them, or you can freeze the meat after you prepare it rotisserie-style in your slow cooker, no actual rotisserie needed. The meat is great for tacos, enchiladas, casseroles, chicken salads and almost anything else you can imagine.

Even better, preparing rotisserie-style chicken is easy to do, and it won’t heat up your whole house. Goodness knows it’s hot enough in the South without turning on your oven.

Rotisserie-Style Chicken

Ingredients:
1 whole fryer, about 5 lbs
2 Tbs butter, softened
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs garlic salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Rinse fryer and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with butter. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, garlic salt, onion powder and pepper together. Sprinkle over the chicken, patting gently to help the spices adhere to the chicken.

Place chicken in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours.

Serve as a whole rotisserie chicken, or shred the meat for use in other dishes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 576, Calories from Fat: 217, Fat: 24 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 260 mg, Sodium: 266 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 83 g.

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Dine In: Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese


Cauliflower Mac and CheeseLast Friday night, I was craving a big, heaping bowl of mac and cheese like no one’s business. It was the only thing I could think about. I needed it. I wanted it. However, I didn’t want to go to the store and get macaroni (I’m lazy on Friday nights, what can I say?), so I had to find something else to use.

I had cauliflower.

I went online to find a recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese because I’d heard someone else doing it at some point, and I found that swapping noodles for cauliflower was pretty simple. Other than that, it’s simply the same recipe.

I had my heaping bowl of cheesy, creamy goodness and enough leftovers for several more meals!

Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

Ingredients:
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F, and spray an 8 x 8 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil, and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water until they are tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. They’ll continue cooking in the oven.

Drain the cauliflower, and pat dry with paper towels.

In the meantime, bring the cream to a simmer in saucepan. Whisk in cream cheese and mustard; stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of cheese, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder; whisk until the cheese melts. Add cauliflower to the pan; stir to coat. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 171, Calories from Fat: 115, Fat: 28 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 44 mg, Sodium: 1021 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 10 g.

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Dine In: Pesto Salmon Packets


Pesto Salmon PacketsI love a delicious, fresh, easy dish.

I love it more when cleanup and prep-work are minimal.

This pesto salmon in foil packets fits all the criteria.

You bake this dish in foil, which seals in the flavor and moisture, and it also makes cleanup minimal.

Salmon, which is naturally high in (good) fats, is enhanced exponentially by olive oil and pesto (which contains olive oil). Even though it already contains good fats, the olive oil makes the salmon moist and flavorful, with an added kick from the aromatic pesto.

You can make these in advance, store in the refrigerator, and pop in the oven or on the grill on Friday nights.

Pesto Salmon Packets

Ingredients:
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbs dried dill
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbs pesto, homemade or store-bought
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray 4 lengths of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Toss asparagus with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide into 4 portions onto foil, and layer in center of each piece. Season both sides of salmon with salt, pepper and dill. Layer salmon over asparagus, and then spread 1 tablespoon pesto on top. Drizzle 1 teaspoon lemon juice over each fillet. Toss tomatoes with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil; season lightly with salt. Spread over each salmon fillet. Wrap sides of foil in and roll, crimping edge to seal. Then, wrap ends upward to seal. Place foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake until salmon has cooked through, about 20 to 28 minutes. Open foil to vent and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 365, Calories from Fat: 188, Fat: 21 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 79 mg, Sodium: 179 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 38 g.

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Dine In: Barbacoa


BarbacoaWe went to a beautiful wedding this weekend. My friend and co-worker, Teresa, got married.

Teresa and her new husband, who are Hispanic, had a beautiful Catholic mass all in Spanish, followed by one of the best parties I’ve been to in a long time.

When we pulled up in the parking lot of the reception venue, we could smell dinner before we even tasted it.

On several large grills and pits, assorted meats were grilling and smoking. The smell was a celebratory, olfactory high-five to their new nuptials.

The taste didn’t disappoint either.

On a long table, set with assorted condiments like minced purple onion, shredded cabbage and chopped cilantro, were chafing dishes with steaming, freshly cut beef, a vat of simmering barbacoa and a chafer of seasoned ground beef. All the stuff taco dreams are made of.

The barbacoa was divine. Let’s be honest: true Mexican barbacoa is beef cheeks, but for this purpose, we used beef chuck roast. The result was still worthy of a celebration.

Barbacoa

Ingredients:
2 1/2 to 3 lbs beef chuck roast
1 cup white onions, sliced
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs garlic, minced
3 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
3 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup beef broth
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Spray the crockery of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together vinegar, garlic, chipotle peppers, lime juice, beef broth, cumin, oregano, cloves, salt and pepper. Pour half into slow cooker. Place chuck roast and onions in broth. Pour remaining half over chuck roast.

Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Shred with two forks. Place back in juices, and cook for 1 more hour.

Serve in tacos, enchiladas or any of your favorite dishes.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 716, Calories from Fat: 478, Fat: 53 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 195 mg, Sodium: 578 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 51 g.

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Dine In: Greek Slaw


Greek SlawI visited a new restaurant recently, and a side order of coleslaw came with my meal.

I’m pretty picky about my coleslaw. I like vinegar-based versions, but I don’t always like a lot of mayonnaise.

This Greek version alleviates that issue, and it will become my go-to recipe for a coleslaw. I love the crunchiness of the cabbage paired with the salty creaminess of the cheese. I think next time I make it, I’ll throw in a handful of chopped green or black olives.

We are fully into cookout and party season, so this is a wonderful addition to a backyard, back porch or back patio picnic or cookout. It would be wonderful with some grilled meats on a relaxed Friday night, under some fairy lights.

Greek Slaw

Ingredients:
1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp dried dill
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Chop cabbage; toss with feta cheese and green onions. In a small bowl, whisk red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil together. Add salt, pepper and dill; mix well. Pour over cabbage mixture, and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to let flavors blend.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 208, Calories from Fat: 165, Fat: 18 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 20 mg, Sodium: 270 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 2.5 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 5 g.

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

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Posted in: Dine In, Produce


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