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Shop the Sale: Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Skillet


Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Skillet‘Twas the night before vacation, and I realized I still had a refrigerator full of food that would have gone bad by the time we returned from our trip. I HATE wasting food. Granted, I hadn’t planned very well the week before, but life happens sometimes, you know?

I pulled out Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage, a ton of vegetables, milk, cheese, grapes and eggs.

Now, clearly I wasn’t going to use all of those ingredients together (although that might have made a good episode of “Chopped”), but I did some Googling and found a recipe that made good use of most of what I had.

I had beautiful locally-grown zucchini and grape tomatoes (which are pretty much a staple in my house) and some savory smoked sausage, which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

It didn’t take much effort to combine all that into a one-dish meal that cooked up quickly in my cast iron skillet.

Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage Skillet
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 Tbs butter or olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 lb Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces
1 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Heat butter or olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

When the oil or butter becomes fragrant, add the diced onion; stir and cook until onions are soft and opaque. Toss in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the slices of smoked sausage.

Cook until sausage is browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, tomatoes, squash and seasonings; cook another 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve over steamed rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 428, Calories from Fat: 337, Fat: 37 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 75 mg, Sodium: 1102 mg, Potassium: 226 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 15 g

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Shop the Sale: Jalapeño Popper Sliders


Jalapeño Popper SlidersI wrote recently about going to the beach with my family. As I sit and write this, there are 23 of us crowded around two big breakfast tables, from my six-month-old niece and nephew to my parents, the patriarch and matriarch of this big, crazy, loud family.

I also mentioned that we all take turns making dinner. When it was our turn, my son Luke suggested that we make sliders, so we made a version that combined Italian sausage with ground beef. They were so delicious that my nephew Ben said it was the best meal we’d had all week, and that’s a pretty tall compliment.

No one was assigned dinner tonight, so we’re going with sliders again, by popular demand. My nieces and nephews are adventurous eaters, as are their parents, so we’re going to spice things up a bit with jalapeño popper sliders.

When you have to feed a crowd, a 3-pound chuck chub from Brookshire’s, on sale this week, is the perfect way to get the job done.

Jalapeño Popper Sliders

Ingredients:
3 lb chuck chub
2 Tbs seasoned salt
1 jar pickled jalapeño slices
8 oz cream cheese, cut into 24 cubes
12 slices cheddar cheese
24 slider or dinner rolls

Directions:
Mix meat with seasoned salt and 2 tablespoons juice from the jar of pickled jalapeños. Combine well. Form into 24 slider burgers. Insert 1 cube of cream cheese into the center of each slider, covering it with meat. Grill until desired doneness. Immediately top with a half slice of cheddar cheese and more jalapeños. Serve on slider rolls.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 502, Calories from Fat: 226, Fat: 25.1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (6.2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 1002 mg, Potassium: 145 mg, Carbohydrates: 45.2 g, Fiber: 1.7 g, Sugar: 4.9 g

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Shop the Sale: Stir-Fried Pork Spare Ribs


Stir-Fried Pork Spare RibsRibs are a staple of summer, but I rarely run across recipes that call for anything but grilling or baking.

Then, I found this one, which calls for stir-frying the ribs. Sounds different, doesn’t it? It also sounded delicious.

The quick fry gives these ribs a beautifully caramelized exterior, sort of crispy, with a juicy interior. My boys could eat ribs 10 times a week and twice on Sundays, so I had to try this version. I was a little leery of how they’d like the fish sauce and oyster sauce, but they didn’t realize it was anything other than “barbecue” sauce and ate it right up!

Pork spare ribs are on sale this week, so it’s a good time to give this recipe a try!

Stir-Fried Pork Spare Ribs

Ingredients:
2 lb pork spare ribs

For the marinade:
1 Tbs oyster sauce
1 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs palm sugar (or white granulated sugar)
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
peanut oil or vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:
Wash the spare ribs, and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut them into 1-inch pieces and place them into a bowl.

Make the marinade, and then pour it over the ribs. Allow them to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Into a hot skillet (on medium-high heat), add in the ribs and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer for 5 more minutes.

Remove lid, stir and then turn heat up to medium-high. Continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and sugar has caramelized. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 434, Calories from Fat: 255, Fat: 28 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 111 mg, Sodium: 882 mg, Potassium: 32 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 41 g

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Shop the Sale: Lemon-Basil Pork Chops


Lemon-Basil Pork ChopsI think I mentioned recently that I’m pretty much obsessed with anything citrus. In a previous post, I was talking about desserts. This time, I’m talking about a main course!

Citrus is a great accompaniment to proteins because it helps break down connective tissue in the meat, rendering it tender and flavorful.

Citrus, combined with little fat (in this case, olive oil) makes for a delicious marinade. I usually leave my meat marinating twice the amount of time a recipe calls for to impart extra flavor.

Lemon is delicious with pork as it brightens and lightens the meat. I have a beautiful crop of fresh basil in my yard this year, and this is the perfect recipe to highlight two of my favorite ingredients. Pork chops or loins are on sale right now at Brookshire’s, and you can use this marinade for either cut of pork.

Lemon-Basil Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 thick-cut, boneless pork loin chops
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
3 Tbs garlic, minced
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp pepper

Directions:
Add olive oil, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a bowl and mix well.

Spread both sides of the pork chops with the mixture, and let the chops set for about 20 minutes.

Grill chops over direct heat for about 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145° F.

Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 619, Calories from Fat: 445, Fat: 49 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 146 mg, Sodium: 591 mg, Potassium: 647 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 39 g

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Shop the Sale: Ribeyes in Red Wine Sauce


Ribeye Steaks in Red Wine SauceThere is no such thing as too much steak unless you ask my doctor, of course. So, yes, we’ve cut WAY BACK on the red meat, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like to indulge in moderation.

A good steak, like the family pack of ribeyes on sale this week at Brookshire’s, doesn’t need much done to it. A little salt and pepper, a perfect sear and you’re good to go. However, every once in awhile while you’re indulging, it’s nice to kick it up a notch with a savory sauce that perfectly complements your meat.

This recipe is best prepared in a cast-iron skillet, in my opinion.

Ribeye Steaks in Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients:
4 (1/2-inch thick) boneless ribeye steaks (2 lb total)
2 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
3 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 Tbs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions:
Pat steaks dry, then sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total).

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Then, sauté steaks in 2 batches, turning once (about 4 minutes per batch for medium-rare). Transfer to a large plate and cover with foil.

Pour off fat from skillet; sauté garlic in remaining tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add wine and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add water, soy sauce and any meat juices from plate; boil until reduced by half, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time until slightly thickened. Stir in parsley and pour sauce over steaks.

Nutritional Information: Fat: 61 g, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 42 g, Sodium: 226 mg, Fiber: 0 g, Cholesterol: 177 mg

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Shop the Sale: Cocoa and Chile-Rubbed Pork Loins


Cocoa and Chile-Rubbed Pork LoinI truly believe that whole, boneless pork loins are one of the best values for your money in the meat department, especially on weeks like this one when they are on sale at Brookshire’s.

They are so versatile and delicious, and I manage to get about four meals out of a whole, boneless loin.

This weekend, we’re grilling a cocoa and chile-rubbed pork loin, then I’ll use the leftovers as tacos later in the week.

The addition of cocoa powder to a rub might sound odd, but don’t forget that it’s not sweet until you add sugar to it for dessert purposes.

I love the savory blend of cocoa and chile. You do use a little sugar because that will caramelize beautifully on the grill, but it won’t make it taste like dessert, I promise.

Cocoa and Chile-Rubbed Pork Loin

Ingredients:
1 whole boneless pork loin (about 2 1/2 lb)
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp ancho chile powder (or regular chili powder)
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 Tbs olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 limes, halved

Directions:
Mix together cocoa powder, ancho chile powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Rub pork loin with olive oil; rub with spice mixture. Grill on high heat on all sides until seared. Reduce heat and cook until pork reaches an internal temperature of 160° F. Remove from grill. Squeeze lime juice over pork loin. Let rest. Serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 365, Calories from Fat: 195, Fat: 22 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 113 mg, Sodium: 386 mg, Potassium: 623 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 40 g

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Shop the Sale: Mexican Stew


Mexican StewI know what you’re thinking: It’s too hot for soup or stew for dinner tonight.

However, the fresh flavors of this Mexican-inspired stew, brightened and finished off with lime, infuse a fresh summer taste. I also liked the added slices of radishes, which also taste like summertime to me.

Use whole pork butt roast, on sale this week at Brookshire’s, for the protein in this dish.

If you want, serve with a dollop of sour cream and buttermilk cornbread.

Mexican Stew

Ingredients:
2 lb whole pork butt roast, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups white onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 Tbs ground cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3 (15.5 oz) cans hominy, drained and rinsed
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
4 cups unsalted chicken cooking stock, divided
2 dried ancho chiles
lime wedges, for garnish
sliced radishes, for garnish
fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:
Sauté pork in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 6 minutes. Place pork in a 7-quart slow cooker. Stir onions, next 8 ingredients and 2 cups stock into slow cooker with pork.

Microwave remaining 2 cups stock in a microwave-safe bowl on high setting for 3 minutes or until boiling. Add dried chiles and let stand 10 minutes. Remove and discard tops of chiles. Process broth and chiles in a blender until smooth. Stir chile mixture into pork mixture. Cover and cook on low setting 7 to 8 hours or until pork is very tender. Serve with lime wedges, radishes and cilantro.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 517, Calories from Fat: 211, Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 73 mg, Sodium: 2460 mg, Potassium: 1416 mg, Carbohydrates: 55 g, Fiber: 12 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 27 g

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Shop the Sale: Grilled Marinated Rump Roast


Grilled Marinated Rump RoastThis is the time of year I want to grill meat, not slow-roast it in the oven.

However, for rump roast, you want to not only marinate it but also cook low and slow to thoroughly tenderize the meat. With this recipe, you can have the best of both worlds.

The beer helps break down the connective tissue in the meat, making it more tender (don’t worry, any alcohol burns off in the cooking process).

This is the perfect recipe for a lazy summer afternoon on the back porch. Grab a tall glass of tea, relax in a hammock or lounge chair, and enjoy the smell of roasting meat wafting from the grill.

Grilled Marinated Rump Roast

Ingredients:
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chili sauce, or your favorite barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (12 oz) can or bottle beer
1 (3 1/2 to 4 lb) rolled beef rump roast
2 cups hickory wood chips

Directions:
In a 1-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions and garlic in oil until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chili sauce, salt, pepper and beer.

Place beef in shallow glass or plastic dish, or resealable food-storage plastic bag. Pour beer mixture over beef; turn beef to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag. Refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours, turning beef occasionally.

Cover wood chips with water; soak 30 minutes. If using charcoal grill, place drip pan directly under grilling area and arrange coals around edge of firebox. Heat coals or gas grill for indirect heat.

Remove beef from marinade; reserve marinade. Insert spit rod lengthwise through center of beef; hold firmly in place with adjustable holding forks. Insert barbecue meat thermometer so tip is near center of beef but not touching spit rod. Drain wood chips. Add about 1/2 cup wood chips to medium-low coals or lava rock.

Cover and grill beef on rotisserie over drip pan 4 inches from medium-low heat about 2 hours for medium doneness (160° F), brushing occasionally with marinade and adding 1/2 cup wood chips to coals or rock every 30 minutes. Remove spit rod, holding forks and thermometer. Discard any remaining marinade. Cover beef with foil and let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 275, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 310 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 40 g

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Dine In: Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Sauce


Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom SauceMy cooking at home can be heavily influenced by something I’ve tried in a restaurant or at someone else’s house. I taste something delicious and can’t wait to get home and recreate it.

Last weekend, my devastatingly handsome date and I went to a gala in Dallas. Not just any gala but Wish Night, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You’ll probably see a few of the recipes from the night’s meal appearing on this blog, as everything was delicious and I couldn’t wait to make it again at home. The event was held at the Hilton Anatole in downtown Dallas, a sprawling, sophisticated, gorgeously-appointed luxury hotel.

The evening was amazing, from the luxurious table centerpieces of white hydrangeas and roses to the cleverly-folded napkins, perfectly appointed waiters and, of course, the amazing cause.

The food was superlative. It’s not easy to cook for 1,300 people at once, but clearly the expert staff at the Hilton Anatole pulled it off flawlessly.

This beef dish was the first thing I wanted to try to cook myself at home. We cook beef (a lot), but this version had a porcini mushroom crust. It melts in your mouth. I’m glad my gown had a flowy skirt because I ate every single last morsel.

Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 1/2 oz), divided
1 (3 1/2 lb) center-cut beef tenderloin
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp white pepper, divided
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray
2 cups boiling water
2 Tbs chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place 1/2 cup mushrooms in a blender; process until finely ground. Trim fat from tenderloin. Sprinkle beef with ground mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef; cook 1 minute on all sides or until browned. Place tenderloin on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert meat thermometer into thickest portion of tenderloin. Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 145° F (medium-rare) to 160° F (medium).

Place tenderloin on a platter and cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes.

Combine boiling water and 1 cup mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a medium saucepan, reserving soaking liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms. Bring reserved soaking liquid to a boil and add chopped mushrooms. Reduce heat; simmer until reduced to 1 cup (about 12 minutes). Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and butter, stirring with a whisk until butter is melted. Serve with tenderloin.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 226, Calories from Fat: 48%, Fat: 12 g (5 g Saturated Fat, 4 g Monounsaturated Fat, 1 g Polyunsaturated Fat), Protein: 25 g, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 0.6 g, Cholesterol: 79 mg, Iron: 3 mg, Sodium: 303 mg, Calcium: 8 mg

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Shop the Sale: Grilled Garlic-Parmesan Drumsticks


Grilled Garlic-Parmesan DrumsticksGrowing up, my mom cooked chicken drumsticks pretty frequently. I have to admit that I didn’t eat chicken drumsticks for years after moving out of the house. Ours were never seasoned (it’s hard to cook for seven people, it really is!) and usually broiled in the oven, not my favorite way to eat chicken.

This recipe changed my mind.

Chicken drumsticks are an economical choice, even more so when they’re on sale like they are this week at Brookshire’s. They’re juicy because they’re still on the bone, and they’re full of flavor. As I came to realize in my later years, what’s not to love?

I love this recipe because it’s perfect for patios, porches and picnics. Chicken on the bone is so much easier to eat outside. The delicious sauce seals in the juices and elevates the drumstick to a veritable feast.

Grilled Garlic-Parmesan Drumsticks
Serves 10

Ingredients:

Drumsticks:
5 lb chicken drumsticks
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp paprika

Garlic-Parmesan Sauce:
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, seasoning salt and paprika. Then, rub this mixture into the chicken drumsticks, making sure to get under the skin to season the chicken.

Grill the chicken on 425° F for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the garlic-parmesan sauce.

When the chicken is done cooking, spoon the garlic-parmesan sauce on top of the chicken and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 556, Calories from Fat: 275, Fat: 31 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 208 mg, Sodium: 753 mg, Potassium: 473 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Protein: 66 g



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