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Healthy Living: Chimichurri Hummus


Chimichurri HummusMy friend Paula is the one who introduced me to hummus while I was living in Germany, of all places.

Paula, of Middle Eastern descent, made all kinds of foods that were exotic to me: baba ganoush, tabouli, falafel. I loved them all.

While I’ve always loved food of any kind, the years I lived overseas really solidified my adventurous taste buds. It’s almost a necessity when burgers and pizza aren’t available on every corner.

Paula also introduced me to the benefits of a healthier Middle Eastern diet, much like the Mediterranean way of eating, full of whole foods and healthy oils.

Hummus was, from early on, my favorite thing she made.

Fast forward about 20 years (I’m not saying exactly how many!), and I still love hummus. I love to add different flavors into the base recipe and use it as a dip for my veggies.

I always hear people asking if they can skip the tahini (sesame paste) in hummus recipes. No, you cannot. It’s what gives the hummus that extra depth of flavor, umami, if you will, that makes it positively addictive.

This healthy recipe can be eaten in large quantities.

Chimichurri Hummus

Ingredients:
2 cups garbanzo beans, cooked or canned
1 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Drain beans thoroughly.

Chop parsley and basil so that stems are removed.

Place beans, parsley, basil, tahini and shallots in a food processor and blend until smooth. Drizzle in oil and pulse until well incorporated. Add remaining ingredients except chili flakes and black pepper.

Blend until you reach the desired consistency, smooth and thick.

Top with chili flakes and black pepper.

Makes 2 to 3 cups

Serves 8 to 11, as an appetizer or snack

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 273, Calories from Fat: 118, Fat: 13 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 10 g

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Product Talk: Brookshire’s French Fried Onions


Brookshire’s French Fried OnionsI can neither confirm nor deny that one year I had to make a Thanksgiving Day run to the local convenience store for more French Fried Onions. You see, I may, or may not, have eaten most of the can before they went atop the green bean casserole.

Luckily, Brookshire’s stocks extra French Fried Onions early in the season (although you can also find them on the shelves all year long), so now I’ve learned to make more than just the Thanksgiving green bean casserole with French Fried Onions.

French Fried Onions are exactly that – crunchy little bits of fried onion. Like an onion ring, but crunchier. They’re great for topping a casserole, a salad, as a coating for chicken or pork, or eating straight out of the can, or so I heard.

I’d buy more than one can, if I were you.



Family Matters: Halloween Parties


Halloween Parties Somehow my boys talked me into having a Halloween party this year.

We were in a local Halloween store, and my older son was begging me to buy a fog machine.

“We don’t need a fog machine,” I reasoned. Who sits around the living room enveloped in fog?

“We could use it for a Halloween party,” he said.

“What Halloween party?” I fired back.

Then, I got to thinking about it: My boys LOVE Halloween. We’ve never had a Halloween party, so why not?
Good, solid logic, I decided.

We didn’t buy the fog machine (my best friend has one I can borrow), but we will have ambiance at the party.

The boys are so excited.

They’ve even sat with me, and we browsed Pinterest boards to plan for the big event. They want the fog machine, of course. We’ll string spooky spider webs up around the covered porch in the backyard and replace the lightbulbs on the front porch with black lights.

We’ll hang paper lanterns from the big tree out back, which will also be festooned with scary spider webs and glow-in-the-dark spiders.

The food table will feature grilled sausages spilling out of a stuffed shirt, which will be attached to a bowl of potato salad for the “head” (grapes for eyes, pimentos for a mouth) and a pair of stuffed jeans for legs. The spooky specter’s hands will be food service gloves stuffed with popcorn and candy corn fingernails.

I wanted to put out bowls of peeled grapes and cold spaghetti for eyeballs and brains, but they declared that “so last century.”

“You probably did that when YOU were growing up, Mom,” they said.

Well, yes. Yes, I did, and I loved it.

They will love having friends over. We’ll light a fire in the chiminea on the porch and maybe bob for apples because some things that are so last century are still fun today. We’ll play some scary music, give the costumed guests glow necklaces and bracelets, and the kids will have a memory to take with them for the rest of their lives.

When they’re parents, they can tell their sons that fog machines and spider webs are SO 2016.



Healthy Living: Dill Cucumber Bites


Dill Cucumber BitesDill is one of those spices that I think is highly underrated.

I remember when we had a guest for dinner who ended up taking over the kitchen (which does not sit well with me, by the way) and coating our beautiful ribeyes with dill.

As much as I didn’t like his interference, it was delicious.

Now, I will admit that I didn’t pursue the use of dried dill on my steaks, but I do use it liberally on salmon, in potato salad and in other savory dishes. Dill has a fresh, earthy flavor that reminds me of clean, summer grasses and bright flavors.

This snack is low in carbs, but it is high in protein and flavor. The fat from the cream cheese keeps you satisfied, and the tomato adds a bright burst of summer flavor.

Dill Cucumber Bites

Ingredients:
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1 Tbs dried dill
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Whip cream cheese with dried dill. Slice cherry tomatoes into halves. Toss with sea salt and pepper. Place a dollop of dilled cream cheese onto each cucumber round, and top with a cherry tomato half. Chill and serve.

Makes 12.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 20, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 80 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Product Talk: Canada Dry Ginger Ale


Canada Dry Ginger AleThe entire first trimester of my second pregnancy, you’d never see me without a glass of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. I had to sip it from a glass (don’t even TRY to give it to me in a plastic cup). It had to have a straw, and it had to have three ice cubes. Not four, not two, not crushed ice. Three ice cubes. Three.

Pregnancy neuroses aside, Canada Dry Ginger Ale has been an enduring favorite.

It was always what my mom brought to my bedside to sip on during my sickly days as a child.

It sees me through many a baby shower, bridal shower or brunch where some sort of fabulous, fizzy punch drink is required.

It’s also great to settle the stomach of a couple of guys who get overheated or eat too fast.

Canada Dry Ginger Ale is made with 100 percent real ginger. It was first made in Canada over 100 years ago. It became popular in the United States during Prohibition, and its popularity has been going strong ever since.

Gold Coast Punch

Ingredients:
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cans orange juice, frozen concentrate
2 quarts Canada Dry Ginger Ale
1/4 cup maraschino cherries

Directions:
Combine lemon juice, pineapple juice and concentrated orange juice. Mix well. Pour over ice in punch bowl. Fill the bowl with ice-cold Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Serves 25

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 44, Calories from Fat: 1, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 7 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 0 g.

Recipe from Canadadry.com

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Product Talk: Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup


Brookshire’s Pancake SyrupI tiptoed through the darkened house this morning, dodging pillows, stepping over sleeping boys and crunching rogue Doritos under my feet. It must have been a really good party. Sleepover, that is, as Luke keeps reminding me. “It’s NOT a SLUMBER PARTY, Mom!”

Oops. Note to self: Only girls call a sleepover a slumber party.

I made my way to the kitchen to start breakfast. Luckily, I had read my son and his friends the riot act before retiring to my room last night. They knew it would not be good if I woke up this morning, and they had not gone to bed yet. That’s what happened last time these kids got together, and it made for a really, really long day that day. I hated to return two boys to their parents without any sleep. Truth be told, I think they learned their lesson, as they retired at a reasonable hour last night.

Before I left them alone to play video games, eat Doritos and Hot Tamales, and laugh a lot, one of my son’s friends asked, “Are we having pancakes for breakfast?”

Well, yes! The last time they were here, we went through two pounds of bacon and more pancakes than I could keep up with at the griddle for breakfast.

So, I popped the bacon into the oven (best way ever to cook an entire pound at one time) and heated up the griddle.

Of course, there was Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup to douse over the pancakes.

As the boys were preparing their plates with the usual jocularity and good-natured ribbing, I heard my son ask, “Are you going to drown that pancake in syrup?”

I looked over and his friend had more Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup on his plate than actual food.

“I like it this way!” he said.

Brookshire’s Pancake Syrup has a rich, maple flavor and a thick consistency that clings to your pancakes to enhance them with the perfect flavor.

I’d better buy more for the next SLEEPOVER.



Shop the Sale: Boneless Glazed Pork Chops


Boneless Glazed Pork ChopsMy son returned home from spending the night at a friend’s house (apparently boy moms are NOT supposed to say “sleepover”), and after a two-hour nap, he couldn’t stop chatting about the great time he’d had with his school buddy.

They stayed up all night (of course) playing video games, flashlight tag, soccer, hide-and-seek, and slept on the living room floor in a blanket fort. They had pigs-in-a-blanket and doughnuts for breakfast, and for dinner, they’d had balsa wood pork chops.

Wait, what?

What is a balsa wood pork chop, I asked him, thinking maybe they smoked the pork chop over balsa wood, although I’d never heard of this and knew that balsa wood is super soft and probably doesn’t lend itself well to smoking. My mom used to craft dollhouse furniture out of balsa wood and could use a small craft knife to slice through it. More importantly, I had no idea how balsa wood would taste!

He set me straight pretty quickly.

You know, he said, that brown stuff that you pour on the pork chops, and it makes them taste good.

I wracked my brain.

They were really juicy, he offered. Kind of spicy, too.

It was driving me crazy. I went to the pantry, opened it and figured it out immediately.

Balsamic vinegar? I asked.

I opened the bottle, he smelled it and immediately, the mystery was solved.

That’s it, he said.

Boneless Glazed Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:
In a bowl, combine brown sugar with balsamic vinegar and all the spices until a paste forms. Rub boneless pork chops with the olive oil, and then rub with the paste.

Heat your grill to medium-high heat, and grill chops about 5 minutes per side, only flipping once and keeping the lid closed between turns.

Remove pork from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 150° F; let rest until internal temperature reaches 160° F.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 625, Calories from Fat: 444, Fat: 49 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 146 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Potassium: 611 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 39 g.

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



Dine In: Merry Christmas


Cranberry ChutneyMerry Christmas!

It’s one of my favorite days of the year. Not only do I get to wake up to the squeals of excited boys, but my parents are here visiting from Virginia. My heart is full to overflowing.

Growing up, we always had a big Christmas breakfast. Mom would start the day before, making cinnamon roll dough from scratch. It would rise twice and then she’d roll it out, covering it liberally with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. The rolls would rise again overnight and be ready to be popped into the oven Christmas morning then topped with a warm, gooey glaze as they were served. We had those with Little Smokies sausages. Seriously, I could have eaten those out of the pan. We never seemed to have them any other time but Christmas, so I took full advantage when they were simmering on the stove.

The rest of the day, we usually snacked. It was such a novelty not to have to sit at the table and eat a well-balanced meal three times that day that we all loved it! Often, “lunch” would be one of the many varieties of Christmas cookies my mom had baked: sugar (which we decorated, another family tradition), snowballs (or Mexican wedding cookies, my favorite), peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies (peanut butter is a viable lunch, right?) or a peanut butter chocolate swirled roll-up cookie that I also loved.

Sometimes she’d set out bowls of nuts or plates of appetizers like cheese and crackers or an appetizer dip.

I think I’m going to do the same thing today. We’ll grill steaks later, but for midday, it sounds like the snacks have it!

Merry Christmas and happy eating!

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup water
12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, finely diced
3 Tbs prepared horseradish
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
assorted crackers

Directions:
In a heavy pan, stir water and sugars together to mix. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in cranberries; return to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir in apple, horseradish and mustard.

Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Place a block of cream cheese on a decorative plate and surround with assorted crackers. Spoon a heaping mound of the cranberry chutney on top of the cream cheese to cover it.

Scoop the cranberry cream cheese mixture on top of a cracker and enjoy.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 178, Fat: 8 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 25 mg, Sodium: 114 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Family Matters: Birthday Hot Chocolate Bar


Classic Hot ChocolateNothing says “comfort” during the cold months more than a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and that’s just what we enjoyed for my daughter’s birthday.

This year, we hosted Grace’s 14th birthday party at our home and let her invite a few friends over for a Tacky Christmas Sweater Birthday Party. We prepared a hot chocolate bar along with a batch of Christmas sugar cookies and a Christmas birthday cake. I prepared the hot chocolate on the stove and then transferred it to a slow cooker to keep it warm so the girls could dip it out for themselves.

The best part of the hot chocolate bar was all the delicious and fun toppings. Our bar consisted of marshmallows, peppermint bars, chocolate chips, chocolate dipping spoons and candies, of course!

The girls had a fun time making their custom hot chocolate, and then they all went outside to enjoy the colder weather with hot chocolate in hand. It was a perfect birthday party, and the hot chocolate bar must have been a success because they didn’t leave a drop for Mom! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to our Lord and Savior.

Classic Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

1 quart Brookshire’s Whole Milk
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Reddi-wip®, mini marshmallows and cocoa powder, for garnish

Warm about 1/3 of the milk with chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until chocolate is melted. Whisk in remaining milk, heating until mixture is warmed through. Use whisk to mix hot chocolate until completely smooth. Serve very warm, garnished with Reddi-wip®, mini marshmallows and sprinkled cocoa powder.

Calories Per Serving: 570, Fat: 33 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 274 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 12 g.

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Dine In: Meatball Sub Bites


Meatball Sub BitesIt’s Christmas party season, and I have two to go to this weekend!

I love good holiday party food. I mean….a good holiday PARTY. Family, friends, food. Did I mention the food? I love the food.

Party food is just fun, and I love gatherings where guests bring their favorite dish. There’s never a shortage of delicious and varied treats.

I also just love a good party atmosphere, too. Laughing, talking, mingling and reconnecting with family and friends make the season bright for me.

I try to make something different when it’s up to me to bring a dish to share. I’m going to bring these Meatball Sub Bites to a party this Friday night. I have a little extra time on Fridays to bake these, as the workday ends a few hours early on Fridays. I’ll probably triple the recipe, too.

Meatball Sub Bites

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
12 frozen meatballs
1 1/4 cup marinara sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.

Roll crescent roll dough into a rectangle; press seams together. Cut dough into 12 squares, and press each square into muffin pan.

Mix cream cheese with Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Place a heaping spoonful of the cheese mixture on top of dough in each muffin cup. Top with a meatball. Drizzle with desired amount of marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden-brown.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 306, Calories from Fat: 158, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 37 mg, Sodium: 718 mg, Potassium: 133 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 14 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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