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Family Matters: Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

Sometimes the hardest part of making time for a family dinner is not just finding the time, but also selecting a good recipe everyone will enjoy! If your children are anything like mine, then one usually does NOT want what the other wants, even if it’s just the general principle of disagreeing because they are brothers! If one son wants hamburgers, then I can bet you that the other one will often suddenly have an aversion to all things ground beef.

But I have had good luck with this super-easy Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie recipe a friend gave to me at a football game a few years ago (Yes I was trading recipes during the game). Several of us were discussing needing new ideas for the family weeknight dinner table, and this one was easy enough that I could remember it and make it the next night at our house. It was a big hit with everyone!

It’s the perfect recipe when you have left over cooked chicken, maybe from a rotisserie you’ve purchased at Brookshire’s, or if you’ve had time to bake chicken breasts ahead of time and are looking for new ways to serve them.

The refrigerated biscuit topping make this the all-time easiest way to make pot pie…it’s a great recipe for your kids to jump in and help you too, even if it’s simply popping the biscuit can open and stacking the dough on the pot pie.

All you need to complete the meal is “something green” as my mother used to always say. For our dinner plates to be complete, Mama made sure green beans, broccoli, asparagus, peas or a tossed salad was offered to us and “strongly encouraged” to enjoy! She thankfully helped us form good eating habits, and “something green” has now found its way to my sons’ plates every day too.


Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 Tbs flour
1/4 cup each carrots, yellow onions and celery (small diced)
1 cup chicken stock
1 lb shredded cooked chicken
1 7.5-oz tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (small-sized)

Preheat oven to 450⁰F. Over medium-high heat melt butter in large oven-proof skillet. With a wooden spoon, mix in flour until smooth and just begins to smell toasted. Add ¼ cup each small diced carrots, onion and celery add stir until combined. Stirring constantly add 1 cup stock and simmer until thickened. Add chicken and bring back to a simmer. Cover top with biscuits in a single layer. Bake 8-10 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 430, Total Fat: 20.2 g, Saturated Fat: 6.6 g, Sodium 1332 mg, Carbohydrates: 53.7g, Fiber: 1.3g, Protein: 8.5 g

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Family Matters: Lavender Baby Bath

As most parents know, multi-tasking becomes a way of life when you have small children, especially babies.

My boys are close together in age, about 18 months apart, so the ability to multi-task was critical to the smooth flow of our household.

Plus, as a new parent, I was tired. Did I mention, TIRED?  Luke, my younger son, needed to eat every 90 minutes, at most, for the first several months of life. I remember waking up to his hunger cries, incredulous that he was hungry again. But sure enough, he’d eat vigorously and fall back to sleep…until the next time his belly needed filling.

Needless to say, I was exhausted and more-than-a-bit stressed out those first months of both boys’ lives, but then I discovered a way to double up on a task and get much-needed-relaxation.

Enter Lavender Baby Wash – Brookshire’s carries several brands of the lavender scented-baby wash.

Each evening, I’d fill my large bath tub (it was such a blessing to have!) with warm water and add a capful of lavender-scented baby wash, which bubbled up just enough to entertain the babies.  I’d put the boys in the tub together and inhale the soothing, steamy scent of the lavender-scented bath water. Both boys were bathed at once and we’d take advantage of the comforting, tranquil properties of lavender at the same time.

Lavender, sometimes called the “Mothering Oil,” is known for its relaxing properties and is used to alleviate not only stress but also anxiety. The ancient Egyptians added it to their baths for extra relaxation. Lavender settles irritability and is gently sedating, restoring mind and body to a state in which healing – and rest – can take place.

In closing, I have a confession: my boys are now 8 and 10 years old and I will STILL buy lavender baby wash.

No, they don’t use it; it’s for me.

Family Matters: Hunting to become a vegetarian

Growing up, my father and brother hunted all the time. They still get out to our land as often as possible, although I think they are napping in the stands more than they are hunting these days.

Hunting is not for me, but I do love to shoot skeet. One day, when I was about 10 years old, my brother drove me out to our hunting land to shoot targets, not animals…so he said.

My first clue that my brother was up to something should have been when he told me—holding his deer rifle—that we needed to check out one of the stands and make sure it was all cleaned and ready for deer season.

We had not been there a minute or two when I saw a beautiful white-tailed doe walk across the field. I pointed her out to my brother like an idiot, and before you can say “Bambi,” the rifle was up and the deer was down.

It was a traumatic experience for me, one that involved hitting and kicking my brother for days, as well as not eating meat for a long time. I still like to take a step back from the butcher on occasion and fill my plate with other delicious foods instead of meat. I think the experts label people like me “less meatatarians.”

I don’t think I can ever give up meat all together, but I will say the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles require mindful eating. During the times when I was not eating meat, I realized that I couldn’t just run through a drive-thru window and grab a burger. This attention to my diet forced me to stop, plan, prepare and enjoy time in my kitchen more often. We ate more family dinners during that time than we ever had before.

Here’s our favorite vegetarian lasagna, and I promise your meat lovers will never miss the meat!

Vegetarian Lasagna

9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5-oz) can vegetable broth
1 (14-oz) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
1 (28-oz) jar purchased tomato pasta sauce
3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
4 oz feta, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook 8-10 minutes until done but not soggy. Drain water. Spray large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium. Sauté onion and garlic three minutes. Stir in broth.

Boil and add artichoke hearts and spinach. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Add pasta sauce and stir. Spread1/4 of artichoke and pasta sauce mixture on bottom of dish. Top with 3 cooked noodles. Sprinkle 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese over. Repeat layers twice, ending with artichoke mixture and Mozzarella. Top with crumbled feta cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes until bubbly. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving or cutting.

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Family Matters: Oobleck

On the last day of school one year, my older son, Curt, came home with a bag of slime.

No, it wasn’t the contents of a long-lost lunch bag, it was, as he explained to me in great detail, oobleck.

I watched him extract the green oobleck from the plastic bag, stretching it the length of his arm as he did so. Then he and his brother, Luke, proceeded to play with the oobleck for two hours.

Named for a slime in a Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew and Oobleck,” that had the power to gunk up a whole land, oobleck , besides looking like green gunk, has properties of both solids and liquids. Oobleck wiggles and jiggles like a liquid or jelly, but if you squeeze it in your hand, it will seem like a solid. In the scientific world, oobleck is called a dilatant, a substance that causes another to expand. If you slowly lower your hand into oobleck, it will sink, but it’s much, much harder to remove your hand without taking all the oobleck and its container with you. But in the real world, oobleck is just plain fun and easy to make with ingredients you probably have right in your pantry, perfect for a craft – or science experiment – on a hot summer’s day.


Corn starch
Food coloring (optional)

Mix 1 part water with 1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch. Start with 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch, then work in more cornstarch if you want a more ‘solid’ oobleck.

Mix for about 10 minutes to get the right consistency. If you mix oobleck in a plastic bag with a zipper lock, kids can “squish” it to the right consistency.

Mix in a few drops of food coloring if you want colored oobleck.

Try this:
Squeeze or punch the oobleck. The cornstarch particles will not move out of the way quickly, so the oobleck will feel solid.

Mold oobleck in a container, but when you remove the mold, watch the oobleck lose its shape.

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Family Matters: Summer Pupsicles!

When I picked up my German Shepherd, Duke, from the groomer one afternoon last week, I realized my dog was already wincing having to walk his paws across the hot parking lot.

The temperatures have already started their upward climb to triple digits, and we are all searching for relief from the scorching sun – including our beloved pets! Making homemade frozen dog treats can help make staying cool more fun! It’s an easy way to get your kids involved in a kitchen activity that is relatively easy and quick to prepare.

When Duke hears me opening the freezer, he comes running, even from a dead sleep! Often I just toss him an ice cube to cool off, which he seems to enjoy…although I think he deep down is hoping for one of his refreshing treats.

The ingredients are all natural and are actually quite healthy for your dog. You could use applesauce instead of the banana, or molasses instead of honey. Don’t use chocolate, though, as chocolate can be toxic to many of our pets.

These Summer Pupsicles are easy to make in large batches and keep on hand in your freezer. And they are a cost-effective way to provide a sweet summer treat for the dog days of summer!

Summer Pupsicles

1 mashed banana 
1 (32 oz) Vanilla yogurt 
2 Tbs honey 
2 Tbs creamy peanut butter

Blend all thoroughly in a blender or food processor until creamy and smooth. Place mixture into small paper cups and freeze until solid.  To serve, microwave the cups for three seconds to make the paper easier to release. 

Family Matters: Summer Camp At Last

Summer has arrived and kids are packing up for summer camps. My oldest child, Luke, has always loved going to camp. He has never had a problem being away from home for a week’s time. On the other hand, my daughter Grace, who is 10, has never had the desire to attend an overnight camp….not until this year. Grace has decided to attend camp as long she can take a friend and they can be bunkmates.

Packing a kid for camp can be a real challenge. Unpacking them from camp can be even more of a challenge. The last thing you want is your camper to come home with a sticky and wet suitcase. I am so thankful I had a good friend give me her tips to packing up little campers.

Packing For Camp – What You’ll Need:

6 extra-large resalable plastic bags
Sticker labels
Permanent marker

On each of five bags, or depending on how many days they are staying at camp, write the day of the week on the bag. Pack enough clothes for that day in each separate bag. You should include a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, and under clothes in each bag. On the sixth bag, write “Wet Clothes.” Tell your camper that this is the bag to put all their wet clothes in. This way their suitcase does not become a wet mess.

I have packed up my son’s clothes this way for several years now and, for the most part, it works pretty well. However, there were years he came home with only two of the bags ever being opened. I guess he wore the same clothes all week. I’m sure this system will work out perfectly for my daughter on her first overnight camp experience.  Hopefully, she will not be like her older brother and come home with none of her clothes having been worn.

Family Matters: Homemade Teething Relief

The months when a baby starts to grow his or her teeth are some of the most trying as a new parent. I can remember trying anything – from my own fingers and fancy refrigerated baby toys to all kinds of teething biscuits – to try and bring relief to my son’s restless little gums.

One thing I noticed was that many purchased teething biscuits contained palm oil (a saturated fat), as well as more sugar and preservatives than I wanted. One day, I decided to do a little research and find a recipe or two to make homemade biscuits that hopefully my teething toddler would like – and would be a bit healthier.

These are not very sweet, but because I did not have much added sugar in my child’s diet this early in life, he thought they tasted great….and it provided much-needed chomping!

Homemade Teething Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose or oat flour
1 cup dry infant rice or oat cereal
1 very ripe banana, mashed until smooth
2 Tbs canola oil
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs honey, optional

Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and cereal. In a small bowl, stir together the banana, oil, water and honey if using. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until dough comes together and is not too sticky. You might need to add a little more flour our water, depending on the ripeness and size of the banana.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/4-inch thick and cut into smooth circles. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely and store extras in an airtight container. You can also freeze up to two months.

Family Matters: School’s Out Celebration Picnic

My kids are home from school today, and we’re celebrating with three of their favorite summertime casual recipes! These are easy and delicious – and the pasta salad and lemon cookies pack nicely for summer picnics at the lake. If you want to take the sliders with you on a picnic, I suggest keeping the ingredients separate until you are ready to assemble and enjoy!

My younger son likes lime more than lemon, so I tried the cookies with fresh lime and lime zest and they are just as delicious!

Kids of all ages love picnics – even if you just throw down a blanket in your back yard and invite the neighbors over for food and an evening of flashlight tag!


BBQ Meatball Sliders 

24 purchased frozen meatballs
1 cup purchased barbecue sauce
3/4 cup sliced Mozzarella cheese
24 sliced dinner rolls, sized for one meatball
3/4 cup diced cooked bacon
24 bread and butter pickles (sliced)

Place meatballs in 9×13-inch baking pan and cover with barbecue sauce. Bake according to package directions until cooked through (cooking times vary with different meatball brands).  When ready to serve, place one slice of cheese on bottom of each roll. Top with meatball, bacon and one pickle slice. Top with other half of roll and serve. Tastes just as great served cold as well.  

Picnic Pasta Salad 

1 lb cooked rotini pasta
2 cups raw broccoli florets or diced zucchini
1 cup tomatoes, diced
6 oz sliced pepperoni, diced
1 (14 oz) can black olives, drained, sliced
1 1/2  cups Italian dressing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Combine all ingredients with pasta. Refrigerate until cold. Tastes better over time. 

Glazed Lemon Cookies 

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, plus more if necessary
1 tsp grated lemon zest 

With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and salt and beat to combine. Gradually add flour, mixing until just incorporated.  Divide dough in half and shape into 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350°. Slice logs into 3/8-inch-thick pieces and space them 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined or greased baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until it forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more lemon juice if necessary). Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and let set, about 15 minutes.

Family Matters: Smothered Steak & Potatoes Time

This is a meal that our family loves to make together. My two young daughters like to prepare the steak while I handle the potatoes. I believe they enjoy the “dipping” of the steak because of the mess it makes by the time they are finished cooking! Of course, they disappear when it comes time to clean up, but it is fun to watch them enjoy themselves while learning to cook… it gives them a sense of being needed and teaches them to be self-reliant.

By the time they leave our home they will be ready to cook for their families and hopefully remember all the fun, so they will choose to make these same kinds of memories with their own kids.

Smothered Steak with Brown Gravy

Tenderized round steak
Vegetable oil
2 packages Food Club Brown Gravy Mix

Take tenderized round steak and cut the pieces to individual portions.  Dip the steak in water and then in to a bowl of flour and repeat two times.  Place the steak in a shallow frying pan with oil (you do not want to cover the meat) and cook on medium heat until each side is brown on the outside.

Take all finished meat and put in a large glass cake pan.  Mix as directed two (2) packages of Food Club Brown Gravy Mix and pour over the meat, cover the pan with foil and cook at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes; then uncover for about 5 minutes.  Pull from the oven and cover until ready to eat.  The meat will be so tender it will melt in your mouth.

If you put two layers of meat in the pan you will need to add an additional package of Food Club Brown Gravy Mix to make sure the meat is completely covered.

Baked Sliced Potatoes

Russet potatoes
Garlic powder
Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning
Colby-jack cheese, grated

Peel as many potatoes as needed for your family. Rinse the potatoes and then slice in 1/4-inch thick, round circles into a large bowl. Sprinkle with garlic powder and Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning, and mix thoroughly so the seasonings get on all the potatoes.

Pour the slices into a glass baking dish, add small amount of water in the bottom and cover with foil.  Cook on 350 degrees until the potatoes are tender, then remove the foil and let the potatoes get slightly brown on top. Pull the pan out of the oven and add grated cheese; turn the oven on broil and place pan back in for just a few minutes until the cheese is melted and crunchy. You may enjoy them as is, or you can add bacon, sour cream, ranch dressings or chives to the potatoes once you get them on your plate.

Make a green salad (or green vegetable) to go with the meal and you are all set.

I hope you find the meal enjoyable while taking time this week to sit together at the table as a family. Savor the moments you have together. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family.

Family Matters: Will Eat For A Snow Cone

Meat, corn, carrots and fruit are all the foods my daughter will eat. That’s it! She will not eat bread, sandwiches, peanut butter, cheese, pasta, nuts—nothing else! Oh, do we have a challenge packing her lunch everyday for school.  On the other hand, my teenager son will eat everything on his plate and in the house!

Like other Moms, I come home from work and head straight to the kitchen to prepare dinner for that night. After slaving in the kitchen, I proudly sit dinner on the table thinking I have accomplished this grand task and that I’m truly an amazing Mom! Then out of her mouth comes the dreaded words, “I don’t like this, do I have to eat this, what is this stuff?” My self-accomplishment just went into the trash along with her dinner.

I knew I had to devise a plan to get my picky eater to start trying new foods or she would be eating meat, fruit and those two vegetables for the rest of her life.  So she and I sat down and developed the “Will Eat For A Snow Cone” picky eater plan.

Here’s how it works. For every new food she tries, she gets to put a sticker on a chart, when she earns 10 stickers, she get a reward. When earning 10 stickers becomes to easy for her, then we’ll raise the bar to 20 stickers for a reward. Right now her reward is walking the dog 2.5 miles round trip to the snow cone stand. She looks forward to this every weekend and is working hard to earn her 10 stickers so she doesn’t miss out on her snow cone treat and walking the dog adventure.

So in the future, I’ll keep preparing new foods for her to try. Hopefully she will find a few that she really likes. If not, I pray that when she becomes a teenager she’ll be somewhat like her older brother and eat everything on her plate too!

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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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