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Shop the Sale: Summer Salad


Summer SaladBack when I was growing up, we always ate dinner on our screened-in back porch during the summertime.

We had a long, wooden picnic table on the porch, and all seven of us would snuggle in with only minimal complaints of “He’s touching me” or “She kicked me when she got up!” By the time dinner rolled around on a summer evening, we were all pretty tired from an afternoon at the pool and a day of playing with the neighborhood kids in the fort my father built in the backyard.

Mom would set the table with a vinyl tablecloth, which we’d scour clean after every meal, and it was my job to lay out the plates, forks, spoons, knives and napkins in the proper positions. It was also my job to either “wipe” or “sweep” after each meal, alternating the task with the brother next in the birth order.

About once a week, Mom would bring a large bowl of “Summer Salad” to the table. Years later, I’ve realized summer salad was pretty much a very clever way to use a lot of leftovers from earlier in the week, and I learned that preparing dinner in the early morning hours before it got so hot was a chore, not a joy. Summer Salad had various combinations: pasta with ham from Sunday dinner, potatoes with bacon from breakfast or another type of pasta with leftover grilled chicken. Throw in the cold peas from Sunday supper or the steamed broccoli from Tuesday then add a little cheese and dressing, and you had yourself a main course meal in one bowl. It was cool, filling and refreshing on a hot, summer night.

Since we’ve had a big problem with not eating leftovers this summer, I think there’s a Summer Salad in my near future. You can use any pasta, any protein and any add-ins you want!

One thing that always tastes good in Summer Salad, no matter what else you put in it, is bacon! Brookshire’s Bacon is on sale this week. So, after you buy it, cook some for breakfast, and then crumble the extra into the salad. (Is there such thing as extra bacon? You probably should plan to cook a few extra slices!)

Summer Salad

Ingredients:

SALAD:
12 oz spiral pasta, uncooked
3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
6 pieces Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

DRESSING:
1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Cook pasta to al dente, and let cool completely. Combine chicken, bacon, tomatoes, zucchini and cheese in a large bowl with pasta.

Mix all dressing ingredients thoroughly. Pour dressing over the salad; toss to coat.

Refrigerate for several hours for flavors to blend.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 421, Calories from Fat: 192, Fat: 21 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 610 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 24 g.

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Dine In: Mexican Chicken Bake


Mexican Chicken BakeLast Friday night, we took the boys out to dinner to a local Mexican restaurant.

They protested a little.

“We just WENT here,” they said.

Well, yeah, we like Tex-Mex food!

So, this Friday night, to prevent the abject horror of having to subject them to a meal out, I made something at home. This is a recipe I found on Pinterest and added some spices to make it my own.

We ate dinner on the patio that night under the solar lights, and we had a regular, relaxing fiesta.

We served this with a side of rice and chips with salsa, of course.

Mexican Chicken Bake

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Ro-Tel Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 lb Velveeta, cut into cubes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Sprinkle cumin, salt, pepper and garlic onto chicken breasts; rub in to set the seasoning.

Place chicken breasts in pan. Top with corn, black beans and tomatoes. Cover the dish with cubes of Velveeta.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until juices from the chicken run clear.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1091, Fat: 40 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 232 mg, Sodium: 2090 mg, Carbohydrates: 96 g, Fiber: 19 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein: 95 g.

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Shop the Sale: Steak with Cuban Marinade


Steak with Cuban MarinadeI’m fascinated by the thought of going to Cuba.

When I was in second grade, we got a new kid in class, a boy from Cuba. At that point, Cuba might as well have been in outer space. You just didn’t hear about kids from Cuba or anyone from Cuba, for that matter.

That all changed at the beginning of 2013, when the Cuban government made it easier for people to travel out of and into Cuba.

Cuba, located just 90 miles south of the tip of Florida, has a rich island culture flavored with the influences of both Spain and Africa.

The cuisine is based on both cultures, with a heavy dose of Caribbean influence as well. A typical meal could include sweet plantains, savory black beans and fragrant rice with shredded beef, pork with onion and tropical fruits. Meat dishes are generally slow-cooked with light sauces, heavy with garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaves.

Sirloin steak is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, and summer is the perfect time to blend the flavors of the Caribbean with staples we already have on hand. If we can’t go to Cuba this summer, at least we can bring Cuba to us.

Steak with Cuban Marinade

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs boneless sirloin strip steak
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp oregano
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
juice of 1/2 fresh lime
grated lime zest

Directions:
Combine all ingredients, except beef, together in a bowl. Mix well.

Place the steak in a zip-top bag. Add the marinade, and turn to coat both sides.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, preferably longer as the steak will absorb more flavor.

Grill the steak on medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers 145° F.

Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Fat: 12 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 101 mg, Sodium: 76 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 35 g.

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Dine In: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


Buffalo Chicken MeatballsToday, I made a mistake.

A huge mistake.

I sat down to eat leftover Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in front of my 14-year-old son, a.k.a., the Human Garbage Disposal.

“What’s that?” he asked because I had prepared them for the first time as a “test” on a night my kids were not home.

“Buffalo Chicken Meatballs,” I told him.

“Can I have them?” he asked.

“Well, these are mine, but you can have the other two that are left,” I said, feeling a little territorial over my lunch as he had just practically inhaled a Philly cheesesteak I’d come home from work to make him.

He inhaled the meatballs, too.

“Let’s make these again,” he said.

I agreed.

“How about Friday night?”

Done.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup thick bleu cheese salad dressing, like Marie’s
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce, plus more for serving
1 egg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500° F, and line a baking pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well-combined. Your mixture will feel a little loose, but they will bake into tender meatballs. Shape into 9 meatballs, and place them on the parchment paper. They will spread a little during baking.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with a drizzle of hot sauce and extra blue cheese dressing or ranch, if you prefer.

Makes 9 meatballs

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 176, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 313 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 17 g.

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Shop the Sale: Creole Chicken Thighs


Creole Chicken ThighsChicken thighs are easily the most underrated protein you could possibly cook. They’re inexpensive and full of flavor. They also stay juicy, and they’re so versatile.

They’re on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so you can’t go wrong with picking up a package (or three) to feed your family for a few meals.

Chicken thighs are considered a dark meat, but to me, they don’t have the same flavor as, say, the leg. They’re a lighter dark meat, if that’s really possible.

Chicken thighs cook quickly on a grill, in a stew or soup, or in your oven.

This recipe practically bursts with Creole flavor. Cook the chicken with the skin on; it will seal in the juices and flavor. I love the white pepper in this recipe. You can really taste the latent heat after you take a big bite!

Creole Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken thighs (about 5 to 6 pieces)
2 tsp Creole or Cajun spice, like Tony Chachere’s
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475° F.

Rinse chicken thighs, and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the spices and mix well.

Sprinkle both sides of each chicken thigh with a generous amount of the spice mixture, and gently rub into the skin. Place chicken thighs on a baking sheet. If you wish, place them in the refrigerator overnight; it is not necessary to cover them.

Bake chicken thighs in preheated oven starting at 475° F for the first 20 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 400° F.

Bake until the skin is crispy, the thighs are no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes or until chicken is 165° F internally.

Serves 5 to 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 438, Calories from Fat: 152, Fat: 17 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 202 mg, Sodium: 558 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 66 g.

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Shop the Sale: Rotisserie-Style Chicken


Rotisserie-Style ChickenIf I had a dime for every time I’ve made a recipe that calls for a rotisserie chicken, I’d have enough to buy a truckload of whole fryers and make rotisserie-style chicken myself.

Buying a whole fryer is one of the very best values I think you can get for feeding your family. You get white meat, dark meat, breast meat, legs, thighs, everything…because you get the whole shebang. This week, whole fryers are on sale, so take advantage and stock up. You can freeze them before you cook them, or you can freeze the meat after you prepare it rotisserie-style in your slow cooker, no actual rotisserie needed. The meat is great for tacos, enchiladas, casseroles, chicken salads and almost anything else you can imagine.

Even better, preparing rotisserie-style chicken is easy to do, and it won’t heat up your whole house. Goodness knows it’s hot enough in the South without turning on your oven.

Rotisserie-Style Chicken

Ingredients:
1 whole fryer, about 5 lbs
2 Tbs butter, softened
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs garlic salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Rinse fryer and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with butter. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, garlic salt, onion powder and pepper together. Sprinkle over the chicken, patting gently to help the spices adhere to the chicken.

Place chicken in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours.

Serve as a whole rotisserie chicken, or shred the meat for use in other dishes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 576, Calories from Fat: 217, Fat: 24 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 260 mg, Sodium: 266 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 83 g.

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Shop the Sale: Cheesy Pork Chop Bake


Cheesy Pork Chop BakeA one-pan meal is a delicious solution to a Wednesday night meal. A lot of folks go to church on Wednesday nights. Or, this time of year, you might be at baseball, at the pool or just tired of the school year grind.

This dish, with boneless pork chops on sale this week at Brookshire’s, can be prepared in advance and popped into the oven for a satisfying meal, all in one pan. Serve with a side salad, add some chopped broccoli to the dish or add additional veggies.

I know that last Wednesday after a swim party, a long day at work and a long day for my kids, this was an easy dish to prepare for dinner. If you make it in advance, make sure the potatoes are coated in the soup mixture before you pop the pan in the fridge, or they’ll turn brown. Alternately, you could toss them in olive oil before you layer the casserole.

For a bit of bite, chop jalapeños or chili peppers, and mix into the soup before pouring it on top of the pork chops and potatoes.

Cheesy Pork Chop Bake

Ingredients:
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 (6 oz) boneless pork chops
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4 potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high-heat until oil is fragrant and shimmering. Sear the pork chops quickly on each side. Remove from pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk soup, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder together. Arrange the potatoes and onions in the baking dish. Place the seared chops over the potatoes and onions. Then, pour the soup mixture over all.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with cheese, and bake for 30 more minutes.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 688, Calories from Fat: 478, Fat: 53 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 169 mg, Sodium: 729 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 45 g.

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Dine In: Barbacoa


BarbacoaWe went to a beautiful wedding this weekend. My friend and co-worker, Teresa, got married.

Teresa and her new husband, who are Hispanic, had a beautiful Catholic mass all in Spanish, followed by one of the best parties I’ve been to in a long time.

When we pulled up in the parking lot of the reception venue, we could smell dinner before we even tasted it.

On several large grills and pits, assorted meats were grilling and smoking. The smell was a celebratory, olfactory high-five to their new nuptials.

The taste didn’t disappoint either.

On a long table, set with assorted condiments like minced purple onion, shredded cabbage and chopped cilantro, were chafing dishes with steaming, freshly cut beef, a vat of simmering barbacoa and a chafer of seasoned ground beef. All the stuff taco dreams are made of.

The barbacoa was divine. Let’s be honest: true Mexican barbacoa is beef cheeks, but for this purpose, we used beef chuck roast. The result was still worthy of a celebration.

Barbacoa

Ingredients:
2 1/2 to 3 lbs beef chuck roast
1 cup white onions, sliced
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs garlic, minced
3 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
3 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup beef broth
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Spray the crockery of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together vinegar, garlic, chipotle peppers, lime juice, beef broth, cumin, oregano, cloves, salt and pepper. Pour half into slow cooker. Place chuck roast and onions in broth. Pour remaining half over chuck roast.

Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Shred with two forks. Place back in juices, and cook for 1 more hour.

Serve in tacos, enchiladas or any of your favorite dishes.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 716, Calories from Fat: 478, Fat: 53 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 195 mg, Sodium: 578 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 51 g.

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Shop the Sale: Salisbury Steak Meatballs


Salisbury Steak MeatballsWe’ve been eating a lot of red meat in my house these days.

First of all, Paul likes it. (Well, we all do!). Secondly, I’m always pretty seriously anemic, which means I have low iron counts in my blood. Red meat is a great source of iron and so is spinach. It’s a good thing that it’s my favorite vegetable. So, I eat a lot of both. I mix spinach into my eggs whites in the morning for a delicious scramble, and we toss a lot of meat on the grill.

However, I don’t want grilled meat every night. (Did I REALLY just say that?) On nights we don’t grill, I often employ the cast-iron skillet. (The iron from the skillet is said to transfer into your cooking and add nutrients to your food as well.)

This dish is a delicious and easy way to get your iron, enjoy your Angus ground chuck (which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s), and enjoy a meal the whole family is sure to love.

I’ve mentioned before that my sons can live off of rice, so serve this over a bed of white or brown rice,  or mashed potatoes. A side of spinach never hurt, either.

Salisbury Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs Angus ground chuck
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2 rounds
2 Tbs all purpose flour
1 pkg brown gravy mix
1 1/3 cups cold water

Directions:
Heat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Mix Angus ground chuck with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Form into large meatballs.

Place meatballs into the center of the skillet and surround with onion slices. Drizzle the meat and onions with Worcestershire sauce. Sear meatballs, turning frequently to brown all sides. Stir onions while meat is browning so they do not burn.

Slide meat and onions to one side of the pan, and add flour to drippings on other side of the pan. Whisk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to make a thick roux.

In a small bowl, combine gravy mix and water. Add a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Pour into skillet; stir into the meat and onion mixture. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through and the gravy is bubbly. If you don’t have a cover for your cast-iron skillet, place a baking sheet over the skillet.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 117, Calories from Fat: 41, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 703 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 8 g.

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Shop the Sale: Brookshire’s Bacon Dip


Brookshire’s Bacon DipA few weekends ago, my parents were invited to go boating with my sister and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend owns a boat, which he keeps moored in a marina in a wide, deep river near their home. I wish my sister lived closer for lots of reasons, weekends on the boat notwithstanding.

I have to admit that I was a little envious of my parents’ visit and boat ride. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than being on the water, and while I know owning a boat requires lots of hard work and dedication, the payoff of spending the day with the sun sparkling on the water seems to be a great payoff.

I couldn’t wait to hear about the trip. When I talked to my mom, she told me all about the cool breezes, the little crab shack downstream where they stopped for lunch and how fast the boat could go. She also told me that there are places on the river where the boats will just stop to drop anchor, and all the boat people will visit and hang out. It sounded heavenly. What my mom really couldn’t stop talking about was an appetizer dip my sister had made for snacking on the boat ride. Super simple, super easy and super delicious, make this a few hours ahead of time to let the flavors meld. Of course, if you’re bringing it on a boat (or on a picnic, to the lake or to a party), keep it chilled.

Brookshire’s bacon is on sale this week, just in time for the holiday weekend and lots of cookouts and celebrations.

Brookshire’s Bacon Dip

Ingredients:
8 oz Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
4 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve with celery, carrots, pita chips or crackers.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 253, Calories from Fat: 191, Fat: 21 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium: 718 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 10 g.

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



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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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