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Dine In: Cranberry Brie Puffs


Cranberry Brie PuffsAre you throwing a holiday party this year? I am.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting a gathering for family or a fete for friends. It’s a good idea to have some delicious and distinctive treats on hand for this holiday season.

One of the most distinctive holiday flavors, in my mind, is the cranberry. It’s even lusciously red like Christmas!

Cranberries are most readily available during the holidays. This recipe calls for fresh, but you can buy flash-frozen, too. The tartness of the cranberries is offset by the mild and milky flavor of the brie cheese.

These bite-sized morsels are great to pass at a party or snack on Christmas afternoon, after opening presents. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of a Christmas afternoon full of appetizers, love and laughter.

Make sure the brie is COLD for this recipe to be successful!

Cranberry Brie Puffs

Ingredients:
For the cranberry filling:
1 cup fresh cranberries
3 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the puff pastry bites:
2 (10 x 10-inch) sheets puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
4 oz brie cheese, cold

Directions:
Prepare the cranberry sauce by combining the cranberries, orange juice, water, honey, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 10 minutes until the cranberries break down and thicken. Let cool.

Unfold the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. With a rolling pin, gently roll the pastry so that it is an even 10 1/2-inch square. With a 1 1/2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the pastry (24 rounds total).

Beat the egg in a small bowl, and then lightly brush each pastry. Top 12 of the pastry rounds with 1/4 teaspoon cranberry sauce and 1 small piece brie cheese, rind included.

Carefully place the remaining pastry rounds on top of the brie and cranberry, brushed egg-side down. Pinch the ends closed, and then gently crimp the edges with a fork to secure. Prick each pastry with a fork to allow the air to escape. Repeat with second pastry sheet.

Place a rack in the upper third section of the oven and preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pastries on the prepared sheet and brush lightly with egg. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until puffed and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 69, Calories from Fat: 42, Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 6 mg, Sodium: 50 mg, Potassium: 15 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Healthy Living: Crunchy Corn


Crunchy CornIt’s the season for candy corn. However, this is the Healthy Living blog, and we don’t recommend serving up a side of candy corn along with dinner. Yummy, yes. Healthy, no.

This roasted corn snack isn’t bad for your waistline, and it provides a big, bold taste and a satisfying crunch. I have a weakness for chips, and this is a great treat to have in place of calorie-laden potato chips or corn chips.

Of course, it’s gluten and dairy-free, as well.

Crunchy Corn

Ingredients:
2 cups dried corn
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Soak dried corn in water overnight and then cook in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes.

Pat corn dry well.

Heat a nonstick pan and add olive oil.

Toss in corn and sprinkle chili powder and salt over corn.

Roast corn over high heat until crunchy and golden, shaking the pan occasionally.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 512, Calories from Fat: 281, Fat: 31 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 2405 mg, Potassium: 862 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Dine In: Grilled Chicken Nachos


Grilled Chicken NachosI was sitting out on the back porch a few Thursday nights ago with my girlfriends. We’ve transitioned our weekly “Girls Night Out” to “Girls Night In.” It’s just less expensive – and more fun – that way. We love the back porch. It’s covered. I have a fan for when it’s hot and a chiminea for when it’s chilly, and, most importantly, I have a grill.

On Thursday nights, we usually cook out, so we can all stay in the same place and socialize. We’ve gotten pretty creative with our meals on the grill. That week, I really wowed the girls with Grilled Chicken Nachos.

My sons, who were not there for the Thursday festivities, were envious, so I made them again on Friday night.

Grilled Chicken Nachos
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 (24 oz) bag tortilla chips
salt and pepper, to taste
sour cream, for serving
salsa, for serving
guacamole, for serving
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup plum or cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 onion, diced and caramelized
1 Tbs taco seasoning

Directions:
Mix chicken with spices, salsa and tomatoes. Heat on stovetop until warm.

In a separate pan, heat the black beans and caramelize the onions.

Preheat the grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat. Spray grill pan with cooking spray.

Place a single layer of tortilla chips on the bottom of a grill tray. Sprinkle with cheese and then a layer of the chicken and other toppings, topping with more cheese.

Place grill tray on the grill over indirect heat. Cover for 5 minutes, then turn and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the grill and use a spatula to cut and serve. Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1252, Calories from Fat: 483, Fat: 54 g, Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 1210 mg, Potassium: 878 mg, Carbohydrates: 154 g, Fiber: 20 g, Sugar: 22 g, Protein: 46 g.

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Product Talk: Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes


Betty Crocker Cookie MixesWhen I was growing up, my mom made everything from scratch. Everything.

She never would have dreamed of using a mix for anything, and that’s how I learned to cook. She also woke up at some time well before the sun rose to accomplish some of the tasks, like baking and making things from scratch.

Thank goodness for Betty Crocker. She also gets up well before dawn to make sure I don’t have to. With Betty Crocker cookie mixes, my cookies taste like homemade, but I don’t spend a lot of time measuring out sugar and baking soda.

Betty Crocker Cookie Mixes come in a convenient pouch with all the dry ingredients already included. They come in a variety of flavors like chocolate chip, double chocolate chunk, molasses, oatmeal and peanut butter, as well as sugar and white chip macadamia nut. These could fool my mom, I’m telling you! All you do is add a few extra ingredients and bake!

With their limited edition holiday flavors as well, I’m set for the year.



Dine In: Oven Baked Feta Cheese Dip


Oven Baked Feta Cheese DipThere are so many Friday nights when, I admit it, I don’t want to cook.

I’m tired from working all week. My kids are tired. We’re all tired.

Sometimes that means pizza. Sometimes that means a snack dinner.

This recipe is simple and quick to put together. You can add chopped, grilled chicken to make it more of a main course.

Oven Baked Feta Cheese Dip

Ingredients:
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven at 400° F.

In a small oven-safe baking dish, layer the crumbled cheese, covering the entire bottom of the dish.

Sprinkle the minced garlic on top of the feta cheese.

Spoon the tomato sauce, covering the entire cheese and garlic mixture.

Mix together the mozzarella cheese and the cheddar cheese; layer on top of the tomato sauce.

Bake it in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Serve it warm with a side of flatbread or tortilla chips.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 203, Calories from Fat: 137, Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 56 mg, Sodium: 672 mg, Potassium: 110 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 13 g.

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Shop the Sale: Easter Ham


Stuffed HamEaster is this weekend, and traditionally, I always cook a ham. I use a friend’s recipe, slathering the spiral sliced ham with a good maple syrup then packing it in brown sugar, wrapping it all in foil and slow roasting it until the syrup and sugar marry in complete ham happiness.

However, this year I’m trying something new, or at least, I’m trying something in addition to the old favorite. I came across this ham recipe at work one day and decided I’d try it for Easter Sunday. I’m having a big crowd over, so two hams should do the trick.

Hormel spiral-sliced ham is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so you can plan your holiday meal to perfection.

Glazed Sweet Potato-Stuffed Ham

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 (7 to 9 lb) Hormel spiral-cut ham
1 (10 oz) jar apricot preserves
1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat the oven to 350° F.
Using a mandoline, slice the sweet potatoes very thinly. Place the ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan.
Carefully separating the layers of the ham, insert slices of sweet potato into each layer. Repeat this until every layer of the ham has been filled.
In a small bowl, stir together the apricot preserves and the black pepper; spread the mixture all over the surface of the ham. Bake for 2 to 3 hours, or until the ham is heated to 160° F at the center and the potatoes are tender. Allow the ham to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 400, Calories from Fat: 200 Fat: 23 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 110 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 31 g, Sodium: 1860 mg.

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Dine In: Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers


Buffalo Cauliflower PoppersSince my boys’ favorite vegetable is cauliflower and my favorite everything is buffalo-flavored, when I saw a recipe on my favorite blog, I knew it was going to be a hit at our house.

I was right because when Kevin Lynch from Closet Cooking posts a recipe, he’s never, ever wrong.

I like to say this one is healthy. Minus the bleu cheese or ranch dip, it’s extremely healthy. In fact, this would even be a great snack for the big game!

Buffalo Cauliflower Poppers
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup hot sauce
bleu cheese or ranch dressing for dipping (optional)

Directions:
Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil, salt and pepper; arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400°F oven until lightly golden-brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Toss cauliflower in the hot sauce and enjoy warm with bleu cheese or ranch dressing for dipping.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 48, Fat: 4 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (0.3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 400 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 1 g



DINE IN: SLOW COOKER HOT CHOCOLATE


Slow Cooker Hot ChocolateWe don’t have a fancy back porch, but we do have a large covered area, a nice table and chairs, and a chiminea that has housed many fall and winter fires.

One of our favorite things to do is have people over for the aforementioned porch parties. We grill, or bring snacks, light a fire and stay up way too late talking and laughing loudly.

I saw this recipe for slow cooker hot chocolate and know it’ll be a welcome addition to cold nights on the back porch.

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
Serves 6

Ingredients:
5 cups milk
1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup hot water

Directions:
Combine cocoa, sugar and hot water in a large pan. Stir and bring to a gentle boil. Transfer mixture to slow cooker and add milk. Stir, then cook on high for 2 hours (or low for 4 hours), or until hot. Pour into mugs then top with whipped cream and sprinkles.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 183, Calories from Fat: 46, Fat: 5 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 17 mg, Sodium: 99 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 26 g, Protein: 8 g.

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Dine In: Avocado Crab Dip


Avocado Crab DipI went to the beach last weekend for one last hurrah of summer. We spent the day lying on the sand, soaking up rays and frolicking with my friend’s young daughter in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Exhausted from a fun day of sun, sand and surf, we decided to go out to eat that night instead of cooking at home.

Our waiter suggested an avocado crab appetizer that was so fresh and delicious that it defined the meal for me. I’ll definitely be trying it again at home next weekend to capture that beach feeling in my own backyard.

Avocado Crab Dip
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup lump crab meat
salt and pepper to taste
tortilla chips

Directions:
Mash avocados with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with tomato and crab, and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 65, Calories from Fat: 51, Fat: 6 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 26 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Product Talk: Stubb’s BBQ Sauce


Stubb's Glazed Bacon-Wrapped ChickenI went to graduate school in Austin, Texas, home of the original Stubb’s Barbecue.

There was many a night my classmates and I sat in the small, enclosed yard, enveloped by hickory smoke and listening to bluesy jazz tunes, mellow folk music or contagious classic rock.

You might not be able to travel to Austin, but Brookshire’s brings Austin to you with Stubb’s barbecue sauces.

This chicken is totally drool-worthy and brings that taste of Austin right to your back yard. You won’t be singing the blues after you eat this, I promise.

Stubb’s Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Chicken
Serves 3

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Stubb’s Bar-B-Q rub
3 boneless chicken breasts
24-30 slices of bacon
1 bottle Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q sauce
2 oz honey
1 1/3 cups brown sugar

Directions:
Apply 1 tablespoon of rub to each chicken breast, spreading it evenly over both sides. Next, weave 8 to 10 slices of bacon together. Once you are done weaving the bacon, wrap it around one breast. Repeat the process for the other chicken breasts. Now, prepare your grill for indirect cooking. Cook at 280° F to an internal temperature of 165° F. This will take 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on your grill.

While your chicken is on the grill you can prepare your glaze. Combine 8 ounces of Stubb’s original, honey and brown sugar in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. The glaze should be applied during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Baste 2 to 3 times in that last 20 minutes of cooking.

NOTE: You can also prepare this dish in the oven. Cook at 300° F for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.

Nutritinal Information: Calories Per Serving: 1,653, Calories from Fat: 670, Fat: 75 g, Cholesterol: 296 mg, Sodium: 7761 mg, Carbohydrates: 143 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 122 g, Protein: 98 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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