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Dine In: Veal Milanese

Veal MilaneseOver the weekend, we tried a new-to-me restaurant in our town where my boyfriend, Paul, used to be a regular. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Tyler, Texas, for seven years and had not been to this restaurant yet (especially with my love of eating out), but I hadn’t. When Paul suggested it for a pre-symphony feast, I readily hopped on board.

The Italian restaurant, in an unobtrusive commercial location, strikes the perfect balance between traditional and kitschy, with homage to the red-checked tablecloths that have come to mean Italian dining, juxtaposed with pictures of famous movie stars and singers that lend a slightly pretentious suggestion of connections to a bright, bold and flashy world. The lounge singer who came on while we were there was the perfect touch.

Kitsch aside, the waitstaff and the food were impeccable. The bread, freshly out of the oven, was crisp on the outside, and chewy and hot on the inside. The house Chianti was fragrant and fruity, and the meatballs were just like the ones my mom makes.

I indulged in the Veal Milanese because it’s a dish I would rarely make at home, except for maybe a special Friday night every once in a while. A traditional milanesa is a breaded veal cutlet. This version featured a lemon wine sauce, but what set it apart, other than the fact you could tell it was fresh and homemade, was the capers. The capers were plump and bright, and lent a burst of acidity to the rich dish.

This dish also works if you substitute chicken for veal.

Veal Milanese with Lemon Wine Caper Sauce

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup flour
2 lbs veal, portioned into 4 parts and pounded to about 1/2 inch thick
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 Tbs butter
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup capers
1/2 lemon, juiced
chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Mix salt, pepper and flour in a shallow dish.

Pound veal cutlets to thin and even dimensions.

Dredge the veal cutlets in the flour mixture. Shake off excess; set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons olive oil with the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the veal and brown on both sides. When cooked through, remove from pan and tent with foil to keep warm. Deglaze the pan with white wine and swirl, scraping the bits of browned veal up into the sauce. Add the chicken stock; cook until the liquid has thickened. Add 1 tablespoon more olive oil, capers, lemon juice and parsley. Stir over high heat for about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over the veal. Garnish with sliced lemons and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 687, Calories from Fat: 305, Fat: 34 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 250 mg, Sodium: 886 mg, Potassium: 853 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 59 g.

Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Beef and Rice

Slow Cooker Beef and RiceI’ve made no secret of the fact that my younger son is obsessed with rice. Anything he can eat with the rice is A-OK in his book.

I’ve also overshared about my love of the slow cooker. Seriously? How did we get through life without this invention? Oh yeah, we didn’t work full-time, have second jobs, have to be at soccer practice by 7pm, but before that, homework, chores, more homework and, oh yeah, dinner.

I wouldn’t survive Tuesday nights without my slow cooker; it’s as simple as that. Dinner is ready when we walk in the door. Anything extra that has to be cooked, like rice, can be done during homework. We eat at a reasonable hour so no one is getting a stomachache at soccer practice, and we can get out the door (reasonably) sane.

I also love it when meat is on sale at Brookshire’s because then I can stock up for my meat-and-potatoes (or rice) guys!

Slow Cooker Beef and Rice

4 cups beef broth
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce1 onion, chopped
2 lbs rump roast, cut into small chunks 2 to 3 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup cold water
3 Tbs cornstarch
4 to 6 cups white or brown rice, cooked

Mix broth, Worcestershire sauce and chopped onions in slow cooker. Add beef. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. (I’ve found this works better on low.)

Just before serving, drain juices into a large pot; bring to a boil. Whisk together cold water and cornstarch. Add to pot and stir until thickened. Put gravy back in the slow cooker; stir. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 494, Calories from Fat: 139, Fat: 15 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 1970 mg, Potassium: 264 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 76 g.

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Shop the Sale: Mexican Steak Salad

Mexican Steak SaladThe days are getting shorter, dusk is coming earlier and my new solar-powered porch lights are making me want to spend more evenings on the back patio. Well, that and it’s not 100 degrees every night any more.

As much as I can complain about the summer heat in Texas, I do love the more mild autumns and winters. I REALLY love the fact you can comfortably grill outside all year long in the South, minus maybe a handful of days.

I like this steak salad because it combines my favorite food group, steak, with a more healthy salad, making it a hearty meal. The acid from the lime juice offsets the rich fattiness of the steak and the queso fresco provides a pop of flavor without a lot of added fat.

I also like this steak salad because boneless sirloin strip steak is on sale this week at Brookshire’s. The boneless sirloin really benefits from the marinade, so don’t skip that step!

Mexican Steak Salad

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs cumin
2 Tbs garlic, minced
1 lb boneless sirloin steak strips
1/4 small red onion, sliced
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tsp
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn
1 small head butter lettuce, torn
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
3 Tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Mix the soy sauce with cumin and garlic. Marinate the steak in the soy sauce mixture for 30 minutes. At the same time, soak the red onions in ice water for 30 minutes. (It takes away the “bite” of the onion.)

Preheat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the steak 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes, and then slice against the grain. Follow the same directions for a gas grill.

Toss the steak with the romaine, butter lettuce, cilantro, queso fresco, onions and avocado. Whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil with the lime juice, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour over salad and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 384, Fat: 26 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 52 mg, Sodium: 663 mg, Protein: 29 g, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Sugar: 2 g, Fiber: 5 g, Iron: 3 mg, Calcium: 140 mg.

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Product Talk: Swiss Steak

Swiss SteakLast Saturday night, Paul said those words I love to hear, “I’ll cook tonight.”

I mean, I love cooking, but I really love when he cooks. Everything he makes is mouthwatering.

Last weekend, he said he was going to make Swiss Steak. I’d never had it before, nor have I ever cooked with tenderized cube steak. Also called tenderized round steak, this meat is sold packaged in your butcher shop at Brookshire’s, or the butcher can tenderize it for you. It’s simply a round steak or sirloin made tender with some serious pounding. My boys called it “the meat with holes” when they were younger. The holes don’t go all the way through, mind you, but you can still see those indentations where it’s been tenderized. It’s usually sold in filets or cutlets, and is good for a myriad of recipes!

Back to the Swiss Steak. It came together quickly and simply, and it was so delicious! We had enough for leftovers the next day (and the next). This is a great recipe for fall as it’s warm, hearty, savory and economical.

Paul’s Swiss Steak

2 lb cube steak, tenderized
4 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup white onions, chopped
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes

Remove cube steak from packaging. Sprinkle liberally with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and black pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron skillet until it shimmers and begins to pop. (Make sure to get the oil hot enough, so your meat doesn’t just absorb it all.) Place steak in the pan and brown quickly, no more than 2 minutes per side. Remove steak to a platter lined with paper towels to drain. This might take several batches.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place steak in a pan (can be in a single layer or doubled up). Top with slices of white onions; cover with tomatoes. Cover pan with lid or wrap tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 1 hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or something similar to catch all those delicious juices.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 291, Calories from Fat: 85, Fat: 9 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 89 mg, Potassium: 380 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 35 g.

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Shop the Sale: Beef and Broccoli

Beef and BroccoliConsidering my son’s current affinity for white rice, I try to work it into as many dishes as humanly possible. While Luke is a sweet boy, he’s a picky eater. He likes rice, approximately two vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and meat.

That doesn’t always make cooking easy.

This dish satisfies all his requirements AND is made in the slow cooker (which makes me happy). In addition, chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so really, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Beef and Broccoli

1 lb boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef stock or beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tbs sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 (12 oz) bag frozen broccoli florets
white or brown rice, cooked

Whisk together the beef stock, soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic in the crockery of a slow cooker. Place beef strips in the sauce, tossing to coat. Cook on low setting for approximately 6 hours.

When your beef is almost finished, remove about 4 tablespoons of the sauce from the slow cooker, and whisk it with cornstarch. Stir it back into the slow cooker and add broccoli. Turn heat to high; let cook for about 30 more minutes, or until sauce is thickened and broccoli is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 563, Calories from Fat: 316, Fat: 35 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 117 mg, Sodium: 2090 mg, Potassium: 402 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 14 g, Protein: 34 g.

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Dine In: Steak Shish Kebabs

Steak Shish KebabsOne of the things Paul and I love to do together is cook. Specifically, grill. If it’s a Friday or Saturday night, you can pretty much guarantee we’re on the back porch grilling.

We love steak, but that’s just not practical every single time we grill. However, there are great ways to stretch a sirloin into a date-night meal without stretching your budget.
Enter Steak Shish Kebabs.

They cook up quickly, and the juices from the steak flavor the other ingredients on the skewers. They’re a meal right on a stick, so to speak.

Last Friday night, we made some with steak, tomatoes, Noonday onions and Honey Gold potatoes. We sat on the back porch, watched the hummingbirds flock to the newly-filled feeder, and enjoyed some good company, sizzling sounds and succulent smells.
To me, that’s the best kind of date night.

Steak Shish Kebabs

1 1/2 lb sirloin steak, cut into large pieces
2 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 lb Honey Gold potatoes, parboiled and cut into large chunks
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 large sweet onions, cut into large chunks
wooden skewers

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes, so they don’t burn when placed on the grill.

Season steak with Lawry’s and black pepper. Toss parboiled potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Thread steak, potatoes, tomatoes and onions onto skewers, alternating items.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, turning three times.

Carefully remove from grill. Enjoy.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 309, Calories from Fat: 86, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 101 mg, Sodium: 90 mg, Potassium: 681 mg,
Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 37 g.

Shop the Sale: Bacon and Egg Cheese Ball

Bacon and Egg Cheese BallEverywhere I go, there are eggs on the food.

Eggs on pizza, eggs on burgers, eggs on noodles, eggs on sandwiches of any kind.

They’re easily the “it” ingredient of 2015.

What goes well with eggs? Well, bacon, of course.

Eggs and bacon clearly aren’t just for breakfast anymore, but when I was asked to bring a dish to a potluck brunch recently, I didn’t have to look much further than the classic breakfast staples. This cheese ball, a classic party food, makes breakfast so much fun. The trick is the soft-boiled egg. I’d probably soft-boil a few, just in case the first one doesn’t work out. Just remember to handle with care!

Use Brookshire’s Bacon for this recipe. On sale this week in your local Brookshire’s store, Brookshire’s Bacon stays crisp, even when cooked a few hours before you need it. This cheese ball lets you enjoy the creamy richness of the egg yolk with its best complimentary flavors: bacon and cheese!

Bacon and Egg Cheese Ball

8 oz aged cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 slices Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 soft-boiled egg
crackers of your choice

Partially spread cream cheese on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Place your soft-boiled egg gently in the center of the softened cream cheese, and use your hands or a small spatula to mold cream cheese around the egg, forming a ball.

Roll your ball of cream cheese in the shredded cheddar cheese until it’s covered, and then press bacon into the cheeseball, covering the bacon.

The cheese ball is now ready to serve, but you can also refrigerate it for a few minutes to encourage it to hold its shape.

Serve with crackers.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 336, Calories from Fat: 258, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 759 mg, Potassium: 189 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 18 g.

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

Shop the Sale: Buffalo-Style Pork Chops

Buffalo-Style Pork ChopsNeed I mention my well-documented love of all things buffalo? Probably not. You know this by now.

However, I’ve never tried it on pork chops.

The hot sauce is a bold complement to juicy pork chops, as pork can stand up well to the tang of the sauce. When you mix it with butter, you almost think you’re eating a hot wing with less mess, of course.

When I actually made this recipe, I used bleu cheese crumbles in addition to the provolone cheese to make it feel more like buffalo chicken. I just sprinkled them on top of the provolone and completed the directions as written. It didn’t disappoint. Now, one of my kids likes bleu cheese; it’s too stinky for the other’s taste. Either way, it’s an optional way to jazz up this dish.

One of the things I love about cooking these chops in a cast iron skillet is that the butter/hot sauce combo caramelizes on the chop, creating more of a crust than a sauce.

Boneless pork chops are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so take a chance and spice up your pork with this recipe.

Buffalo-Style Pork Chops

2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs Frank’s Hot Sauce
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) boneless pork chops (about 10 oz each)
4 thin slices provolone cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Season each pork chop with salt and pepper. Set aside to rest.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the Frank’s Hot Sauce in the melted butter and cook until it bubbles. Toss pork chops into the bubbling butter mixture, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat; place a slice of provolone cheese on top of each chop. Place a lid or a baking sheet over the cast iron skillet until cheese is melty. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 531, Calories from Fat: 192, Fat: 21 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 237 mg, Sodium: 539 mg, Potassium: 1225 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 78 g.

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

Healthy Living: Greek Chicken Pita

Greek Chicken PitaFueled by the introduction of two new restaurants in my city recently (one Greek and one Mediterranean), I’ve been cooking with lots of fresh flavors this summer.

Lots of cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, basil from my garden, lemon, red onion and meals that are more “small bites” instead of heavy feasts.

It reminds me of my visits to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The air is clean, the water is clear, the views are stunning and the food is some of the best in the world, in my opinion. Breakfast one morning was figs drizzled in local honey with whole-grain bread, freshly baked of course, and a selection of local cheeses. Then, lunch was a platter of olives, cured meats, cheeses, grapes and crostini. But dinner! Oh my! Dinner was a roasted chicken, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with just-picked oregano leaves, a block of feta cheese topped with slivered onions and drizzled with olive oil and lemons picked from the trees in the grove next to the hotel. It was sublime.

This dish reminds me of that meal, and even better, you can pack it for lunch.

Greek Chicken Pita

1 (6 1/2-inch) whole-wheat pita, cut in half to make pockets
3 oz cooked chicken breast, boneless, skinless and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup cucumbers, chopped
1 Tbs red onions, chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
2 Tbs crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 oz)

Combine chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a large bowl. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice to combine. Add oregano and stir. Fold into chicken mixture and gently add cheese. Stuff into pita halves with romaine lettuce. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 245, Calories from Fat: 99, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 302 mg, Potassium: 269 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 18 g.

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

Dine In: Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites

Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel BitesSchool started this week, and that calls for a celebration, you know, before the weeks wear you out so much that you can only muster delivery pizza on Friday nights.

My boys LOVE this recipe, and I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan as well. This is a great recipe for kids to help with, as they can roll pretzel balls to their heart’s content. You can swap out the filling ingredients. We’ve tried ham and Swiss with chopped pickles, roast beef with provolone, pepperoni and mozzarella, and scrambled eggs with ham and cheese. Did I mention we like this recipe?

The secret to the pretzel texture of the dough, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, is the boil-then-bake approach. Don’t skip this step, although it is a bit more labor-intensive. The result is well worth it.

Serve with a salad, and these back-to-school bites make a great meal.

Steak and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel Bites

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil, for bowl
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 to 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups rare roast beef, coarsely chopped
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbs water

In the large bowl of your electric mixer, mix warm water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water, no need to mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes foamy.

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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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