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Family Matters: Zesty Strawberries


Zesty Strawberries  Looking for a simple, refreshing and absolutely delicious dessert for summer? This recipe is great for family gatherings, weddings, showers, church events…or just a special treat for your family. Fresh strawberries are in season, and though they are sweet by themselves, why not add a little zest to make them even more of a treat. This recipe is one that I recently enjoyed at an event and then decided to make for Mother’s Day, and they were a hit with the family and friends.

Summer is a great time to plan family gatherings or picnics for the important people in your life. Try this simple and easy recipe, and add some “zest” to your family gathering that they will not soon forget. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!

Key Lime-Filled Strawberries 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 Tbs lime juice
1 lb fresh strawberries
zest of 1 lime (optional)

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lime juice and lime zest. Place the creamed mixture in the refrigerator to chill. Carefully cut the strawberry tips and stems from the strawberries (be careful to not cut into the edges). Take a small spoon or metal 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon and hollow out the inside of the strawberries. Pipe or spoon the creamed filling into the strawberries and then refrigerate until ready to serve. These can be placed in the freezer for a few minutes to set the filling in case they tip over in the container. Additional lime juice may be added (up to 2 teaspoons) if more lime flavor is preferred.

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Shop the Sale: Campfire Burgers


Campfire BurgersFood always tastes better on a camping trip.

That’s my belief, and I’m sticking to it.

Last week’s camping trip was filled with mountain bike rides, a really long hike around the lake and one seriously long trek to the actual restroom facilities. Oh, then there was swimming and a paddle boat excursion, too.

I know two boys who were hungry. Ravenous, really.

The weather was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, warm sun and cool breezes. That plus a lot of physical activity made for a great day.

Then, there was dinner.

These “Campfire Burgers” are named as such for their smoky flavor and aroma.

I don’t know whether it was the starry night, the crackling fire or the ghost stories, but these tasted just about perfect.

If you want to get really fancy, add soaked hickory chips to your charcoal fire for an extra infusion of smokiness.

Angus ground chuck, which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, is perfect to pack in your camping cooler.

*Note: You can caramelize the onions in advance and pack them in your cooler. Just reheat them when you’re ready to serve. The sauce can also be mixed up in advance. You can cook the bacon up at home, or fry a bunch at the campsite and save it for the next morning’s breakfast, too.

Campfire Burgers
Serves 4

Ingredients:

Caramelized Onions:
2 Tbs olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Campfire Sauce:
1/4 cup regular mayonnaise
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/8 tsp liquid smoke

Burgers:
1 lb Angus ground chuck
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
4 hamburger buns

Directions:
Caramelized Onions:
Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; season with salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook for another 1­2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Campfire Sauce:
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and liquid smoke until creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Burgers:
In a large bowl, mix ground beef, cheese, bacon, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, salt and pepper until combined. Form into 4 equal-sized patties.

Preheat grill or skillet with olive oil over medium­-high heat. Add patties and cook for about 6­-7 minutes. Flip; cook for another 6-­7 minutes until cooked thoroughly.

Assemble burgers on toasted buns topped with caramelized onions and campfire sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 591, Calories from Fat: 263, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 128 mg, Sodium: 1324 mg, Potassium: 660 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 46 g

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Healthy Living: Best Pizza Sauce EVER


Best Pizza Sauce EVERThe other night, Paul and I made homemade pizza.

It was outstanding for many reasons, including the fact that we made our own crust, grew our own basil for garnish and topping, used fresh mozzarella for the cheese, and made a so-simple-you-won’t-believe-it-sauce for the fresh pie.

It all started when Paul gave me an autographed copy of a Julia Child cookbook. Autographed by hand not a stamp, mind you. I stroked the pages lovingly and did not let anyone touch it for days on end.

Until I wanted to read it, that is.

Paul got me the cookbook because he knew I LOVE cooking, and I LOVE to read cookbooks. This masterpiece was meant to be read.

The first recipe in the book was for pizza, an incredibly simple recipe that let all the ingredients shine.

Easiest of all was the sauce, which is a great base a child can have fun helping you make. It’s made with a can of fresh whole, peeled plum tomatoes with only a few extra ingredients. It’s bright, tasty, fresh and healthy.

This would also be good tossed with fresh pasta, ravioli or tortellini, or used on top of a bruschetta.

Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:
1 (48 oz) can peeled Italian whole plum tomatoes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions:
With your hands, crush tomatoes in a large bowl until pulverized. Add spices. Add olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Spread onto pizza crust; add toppings. Bake.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 149, Calories from Fat: 64, Fat: 7 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1231 mg, Potassium: 22 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 14 g

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Healthy Living: Zucchini Pizza Bites


Zucchini Pizza BitesI was browsing Pinterest over the weekend (I was looking for healthy recipes, and recipes for s’mores kept popping up. I’m not sure how that happened) and noticed something on my feed: There were six or seven pins for “Foods You Should Never Eat.” Each one pictured bread, then several of the remaining pins on the page were for foods you could substitute for breads or other heavy starches.

I love my bread, but I know that it’s often “empty calories,” especially if I’m eating white bread or something similar. I know a lot of people find it hard to escape the clutches of white flour and processed carbs.

Let’s take pizza, for example. I’ve made pizza with the cauliflower crust. It was delicious, but it wasn’t “real” pizza crust.

Still, though, I’d like to enjoy the taste of pizza without the carbs and calories from the crust.

These zucchini bites are the perfect solution. They give you the added benefit of fiber and the vitamins of veggies without the calories.

Plus, you can just pop ‘em in your mouth!

Zucchini Pizza Bites

Ingredients:
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 large zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella, finely grated
1/4 cup pepperoni minis
1 Tbs Italian seasoning

Directions:
Preheat oven to broil.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add zucchini and cook, flipping once, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place zucchini rounds onto a large baking sheet. Top each zucchini round with marinara, mozzarella and pepperoni minis.

Place into oven and cook until the cheese has melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with Italian seasoning, if desired.

Note: For some added texture, place the pepperoni minis on a paper towel; place in microwave and cook for 30 seconds. They’ll become crispy and render some of their fat onto the paper towel. Remove them from the paper towel, blotting grease before you add them to the top of the zucchini pizza bites.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 190, Calories from Fat: 125, Fat: 14 g, Trans Fat: 0.2 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 455 mg, Potassium: 222 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 12 g

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Product Talk: Simply Limeade


Simply LimeadeI don’t know how I’ve made it fortysomething years without having tasted a limeade, but I hadn’t had one.

All that changed today.

We slept in, as it was a Sunday, then decided to make breakfast. My sons wanted biscuits. I didn’t have any regular flour, so this was going to require a run to Brookshire’s. I threw on a sweatshirt (didn’t even wash my face) and ran down the street to the closest store.

When I got there, I realized I was running out of time, and if we wanted breakfast before church, I was going to have to go with refrigerated biscuits from the can. I was zooming over to the refrigerated section when I passed the refrigerated drinks.

There, I saw it: limeade.

Limeade from Simply is with the refrigerated teas, orange juices and lemonades in your neighborhood Brookshire’s.

I glanced at it but kept going, my mind on the biscuits and the biscuits on my mind.

I thought about limeade all morning.

As the biscuits were baking, I thought, “Wouldn’t a tall glass of icy limeade taste good right about now?”

I thought about limeade in church and while I was doing chores around the house. I thought about limeade obsessively.

When it was time to get lunch together, I couldn’t resist any longer. Under the guise of “forgetting” that I hadn’t bought chips to go along with the sausages we were grilling, a trip back to Brookshire’s became a necessity.

I left with not only limeade but raspberry lemonade by Simply as well.

Simply Limeade has the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. It’s made with real lime juice, not concentrate, and it tastes fresh, crisp and delicious. It’s oh-so-refreshing.

Simply also makes Orange Juice, Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Blueberry Lemonade, Orange Juice with Mango, and a whole other host of fruity beverages.

Check them out today.



Product Talk: Goldenbrook Farms Greek Frozen Yogurt


Goldenbrook Farms Greek Frozen YogurtI made a mistake recently, but it was one of those things Chef Emeril Lagasse calls a “happy mistake.”

In a rush on the way to a potluck, I ran into Brookshire’s for a carton of ice cream to go on top of the blackberry cobbler I was serving. In my haste, I grabbed the wrong carton.

When I got to the host’s home and was serving my dessert, I pulled the carton from her freezer to discover it was not vanilla bean ice cream as I thought, but Goldenbrook Farms Honey Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt instead.

“It’ll do,” I thought to myself.

What an understatement! The tart but rich, sweet flavor of the honey vanilla frozen yogurt complemented the blackberries perfectly. As the melting frozen yogurt flowed into the blackberry syrup, it was a marriage made in heaven.

I’ve since gone back to Brookshire’s, paying attention this time, to see what other flavors of the frozen Greek yogurt were in stock. They also have Black Cherry Chocolate and Blueberry. My goal this summer is to try all of them.



Dine In: Hot Chocolate Shots


Hot Chocolate Shots‘Twas the night before Valentine’s Day…and all through the house, I was prepping for a romantic Saturday night meal.

It doesn’t matter if you have a special someone or not, Valentine’s Day is all about the people you love. All of them.

This year, I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with my sweetie and my first loves – my two boys. We’ll have a special meal, and it will celebrate our love for each other. It will also be kid-friendly.

I did a trial run on these hot chocolate shots (no alcohol involved!) around Christmastime, and they were so popular that I decided to bring them back for Valentine’s Day.

The only problem with them is that you want several! I’m going to dip the chocolate rims of the glasses into red sprinkles before serving to add a Valentine’s flair.

Hot Chocolate Shots

Ingredients:
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate ice cream
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
whipped cream, orange zest and grated chocolate, for garnish

Directions:
In a saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, ice cream and baking chocolate until smooth. Whisk in the water and orange flavoring. Heat over medium-high heat, just until steaming. Serve with whipped cream, a sprinkling of orange zest and grated chocolate in chocolate-dipped shot glasses.

To chocolate-coat the edges of your shot glasses, microwave 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a small, microwave-safe bowl just until melted. (The chocolate should be smooth and melty but not hot. Overheating it will cause the chocolate to mottle as it cools and hardens, so be careful that you only just microwave it until it’s barely melted.) Dip the edges of each shot glass into the melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden before pouring hot cocoa into the glasses.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 194, Calories from Fat: 120, Fat: 13 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Potassium: 146 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 1.4 g, Sugar: 17 g, Protein: 2 g

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Shop the Sale: Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs


Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken ThighsEveryone loves bacon, but my friend Nick REALLY, REALLY loves bacon. He could be bacon’s biggest fan.

He even conducted an experiment recently where he cooked bacon several different ways to see which way produced the crispest, flattest bacon with the fewest fat bubbles. It was something about adding ice water to the skillet. I suggested he bake the bacon in the oven, but he wielded his cast-iron skillet in my general direction and told me that was blasphemy (it’s not…really…baked bacon comes out perfectly, in my opinion).

So, I’m not going to convert him to baking bacon, but I can aid him in his quest to eat all things bacon-related.

Right now, Nick is in Kansas, finishing his training to become an engineer with BNSF Railway. He’s been working hard, very hard, on this for a year now, first earning his conductor stripes and then applying to – and getting into – engineering school, which is apparently much more difficult than people might think. I’m super proud of him; he’s sacrificed a lot this year to make this plan a reality.

When he comes back next week, his friends are going to throw a party for him with plenty of his favorite Cajun foods, all bacon-wrapped, of course.

Chicken thighs and legs are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so I’m planning to make enough of these for a big party!

Bacon-Wrapped Smoky Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
8 slices bacon
2 tsp Smoky Spice Blend

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of Smoky Spice Blend, and then wrap each one in 2 strips of bacon. Sprinkle with the remaining Smoky Spice Blend and bake on a lined baking sheet for approximately 40 minutes. You could broil them for a few more minutes at the end to crisp up the bacon.

Smoky Spice Blend

Ingredients:
1 Tbs chipotle powder
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 Tbs onion powder 
1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs sea salt
1/2 Tbs black pepper

Directions:
Combine all spices in a bowl, and then store in a small container. You can use it for other recipes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 283, Calories from Fat: 170, Fat: 19 g, Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 655 mg, Carbohydrates: 0.4 g, Protein: 30 g

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Product Talk: David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder


David Wade’s Worcestershire PowderYou’ve heard of Worcestershire sauce, but have you ever used Worcestershire powder?

Once you do, you’ll be hooked.

Invented by Texas celebrity chef David Wade, one of the original television chefs, Worcestershire Powder is delicious rubbed into any red meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables or Asian dishes. It’s also darn good in a Bloody Mary.

Essentially a dehydrated Worcestershire sauce, the product touts that it “permeates the food and magnifies its flavor to bring out the mouthwatering goodness of any dish.”

That it does. I promise you.

The first time my boyfriend cooked for me, he used it on the most beautiful steaks I’d ever seen. He had rubbed Worcestershire powder into the steaks well before I’d arrived that evening, so when I took my first bite, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Surely a man who could cook a steak like this was right up there in the celestial rankings. His secret, beyond the fact he’s just good at the grill, was Worcestershire powder. We’ve since had it on all cuts of steak and a prime rib, and I’m going to use it in some enchiladas shortly. It’s good stuff.

David Wade, who retired in Tyler, Texas, was an award-winning chef, newspaper columnist, radio personality, hymn singer, cookbook author, television fixture and cookbook author. He’s as known for his neat ascot and crested blazer as he is for his eloquence, showmanship and delicious Worcestershire powder.

Found on the aisle near the condiments and Worcestershire sauce, the distinctive brown paper packaging calls out to be used. Listen to it.



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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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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

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Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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