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Dine-In: Stir-Fry Friday

We eat a lot of Asian stir-fries in our home. They are easy to throw together with whatever meats and vegetables I have on hand, and I always have rice or noodles in the pantry to serve alongside.

Hoisin Beef is one of my teenage boys’ favorite stir-fries, and I usually also stir-fry broccoli to add something healthy and green to our plates. I’ve also had this dish served with steamed and then stir-fried sweet potatoes.

Made from a combination of fermented soy, garlic, vinegar, chilies and some sort of sweetener, hoisin sauce is dark and thick with a strong salty and slightly sweet flavor. I dilute it here with a bit of water, as it can overpower the dish otherwise.

You can make homemade Hoisin Sauce, but I haven’t found that it’s any better than what you can find on the Asian aisle at Brookshire’s. And using purchased hoisin sauce makes this dish even easier on a Friday night after a long work week. In about the time it takes you to cook your rice, dinner is on the table, and your weekend can begin!

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Hoisin Beef

1 cup white rice
3/4 cup purchased hoisin sauce
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
4 Tbs canola oil
3 Tbs chopped green onion
2 Tbs finely chopped garlic
1 lb flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup snow peas

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

In a small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, ½ cup water, soy sauce and brown sugar. In a small pan, heat    1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onion and garlic and sauté 20 seconds. Add hoisin mixture, and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens a bit, about 1½ minutes. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat through. Add steak and stir-fry until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-high, and wipe out inside of wok with a paper towel. Add remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add snow peas and cook for 1 minute more.

Increase heat to high, and add the sauce to the wok. Add the steak, and stir-fry until warmed through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice.

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.

Shop the Sale: Boneless Beef Short Ribs

Last week, I wrote about “The Return of the Slow Cooker” for our company’s blog. We had such a big response from readers that I thought I would send you another one of my favorite slow cooker recipes for Boneless Beef Short Ribs. These ribs are on sale this week in all Brookshire’s, so it’s the perfect time to try something new!

I used to always serve mashed potatoes with these short ribs, as it just seems to be the perfect pair. One night when the ribs were almost ready to serve, I realized I had forgotten the potatoes and didn’t have time to go to the store. I have teenage boys who need some sort of carbohydrate on their plates or they feel like they are on a diet, so I opened the pantry and started thinking creatively.

Growing up in the South, grits weren’t just for breakfast. We eat them at supper time with our shrimp, quail and grillades, which is just a fancy way of saying smothered steak or veal. It had never occurred to me to try my favorite grits with short ribs, but I thought, “Why not?” In fact, the more I thought about it, I realized how often the Italian version of grits, polenta, is served now in nicer restaurants as one of their side dish choices.

I’m including my favorite recipe for Creamy Grits. I admit it’s not the healthiest recipe, but it’s really the best. If you want, you can use half-and-half instead of the cream, but the grits will be a bit thinner than if you used cream. Either way, it’s delicious and easy to prepare alongside the Slow Cooker Short Ribs.

We would love to hear what slow cooking recipes you enjoy making and share them with our other readers to enjoy. Please send these recipes to Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Boneless Beef Short Ribs

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1/4 cup butter
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup beef broth
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce (a garlic chili sauce on the Asian aisle)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large plastic resealable bag. Add the short ribs, and seal the bag. Shake to make sure all ribs are well-coated with flour mixture. 

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter, and add ribs. Turn ribs occasionally to make sure they are browned on all sides. Place the ribs in the slow cooker and cover. 

Using the same skillet, add onion, broth, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, Sriracha sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and chili powder.  Stir well to combine. 

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure you have the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Pour over the ribs. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, until meat falls apart when pierced with a fork. 

Creamy Grits 

1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup grits (not instant)
2 chicken bouillon cubes 

In a medium saucepan, melt butter in the cream over moderate heat, but don’t let it boil. Add grits and bouillon cubes. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until grits are done.

Dine-In: Mongolian Beef

Some things are worth the wait, but a table at a crowded restaurant is rarely one of them.

The food and experience has to be outstanding if I am going to wait more than 10-15 minutes to be seated. Sure, there are a few restaurants in Chicago, New Orleans and New York where I have gladly waited for a table, but who wouldn’t wait patiently for one of Rick Bayless’ blood orange margaritas at Frontera in the Windy City? Or the fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House in Nola? Worth the wait every time. Otherwise, you’re going to find me at home on a Friday night, cooking away the week’s stresses and relaxing into a weekend groove.  It’s not easy for me to shift from work week to weekend, and I’ve found that time in the kitchen helps, especially if it involves lots of chopping.

Tonight we’re making my older son’s favorite: Mongolian Beef. Will requests this recipe more than anything else I make.  It does take a bit of prep work, but it’s the perfect time to pour a glass of wine, turn on some music and let the kitchen do its magic.

Much nicer than a loud, crowded restaurant, wouldn’t you say?

Mongolian Beef
Serves 4 

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 pounds flank steak
1/2 cup cornstarch
4 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal 

For the sauce, add oil to a medium saucepan over low to medium heat. Don’t let the oil get too hot before adding the ginger and garlic to the pan.  Stir for 5 seconds and quickly add soy sauce and water. You want the oil to capture the flavors of the garlic and ginger, but if you’re not careful the garlic will burn and turn bitter. 

When heated, add the brown sugar and raise the heat to allow the sauce to boil for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Set aside. 

Slice the flank steak by tilting your knife at a 45° angle against the top of the steak. This allows you to get wider, flatter pieces of meat. Dip each piece into the cornstarch, allowing just a thin layer to adhere. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a wok or skillet until hot, but not smoking. 

Add steak to the oil and flash sauté for no more than two minutes. Do not overcook. Flank steak is tough when well done, and these thin pieces don’t take long at all. Remove steak from wok or skillet using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Discard hot oil properly. 

Return the wok and steak to the stove. Add the sauce and stir-fry for one minute until well coated and heated through. Add green onions and cook 1-2 more minutes.  

Serve immediately over hot cooked rice.

Healthy Living: Feeding teenage boys

In my house of teenage boys, quantity is just as important as quality when it comes to getting food on the table each night. I had no idea how much they can eat!

The other night I fed them flank steak, sweet potatoes, green beans and rolls. I went to bed before them, and when I woke up the next morning, I found pasta leftover in the refrigerator and pots and pans strewn everywhere.

It seems the two of them decided to make spaghetti as a midnight snack and ate almost the entire batch. The boys can eat more in one meal than I do in three days!

Trying to fill them up without fattening them up is not easy to do. We are on the go so much with baseball and football, and unfortunately, fast food is part of our life at times. When we are home, I really want to make sure their meals are as nutritious as possible, while also being delicious!

This meat loaf recipe is not only healthier for you, I can happily tell you it is teenage boy-approved! No one noticed the changes, and no one felt like they were being deprived from their usual weeknight favorite. I also love the recipe because it makes enough for leftovers or midnight snacks!

Meat Loaf Made Healthier

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, preferably whole-wheat if available
2 tablespoons Food Club low-fat or fat-free milk
1/2 cup ketchup, divided
2/3 pound extra-lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 pound lean ground pork or chicken
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning herbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a regular-sized loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl. Let sit 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the ketchup and all remaining ingredients Stir to combine well.

Shape meat mixture to fit loaf pan. Spread remaining ketchup over top of meat loaf. Bake for 1 hour or until a thermometer registers 160°F.

Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into 10-12 slices and serving.

Dine-In: Taking back the chicken nugget

Now to be clear, I’m not talking about the heavily breaded “parts is parts” chicken nuggets you get through your car window from fast-food joints. My love comes from the homemade kind – big chunks of white-meat chicken carefully dipped and double-dipped before frying to make a crispy, juicy one-bite wonder. There’s just something about the miniature size, along with homemade dipping sauces, that make chicken nuggets a fun food for all ages to enjoy.

But at my house, I try not to fry our food very often, unless it’s okra season of course and then all bets are off.  Otherwise, I have worked to turn my traditional fried recipes into baked ones without sacrificing any flavor or texture.

My family’s favorite baked chicken nugget (or tender if you prefer a bigger size) uses a triple-dip process to get the crispy crunch without having to fry in oil. The flour, egg and breadcrumb coating also seals in the chicken’s delicious juices.

I love serving these with spicy ketchup or a jalapeno Ranch-style dressing.

Baked Chicken Nuggets

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped dried herbs of your choice (such as parsley, rosemary or thyme)
Coarse salt to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine Panko with Parmesan, herbs and a dash of salt. Drizzle oil over and stir well to combine. Place flour and eggs in two separate dipping bowls as well.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Dip each chicken nugget in flour, egg and Panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on baking sheet and bake 7 minutes. Flip and bake an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauces.


Dine-In Friday: Dr. Pepper-Marinated Flank Steak Nachos

I’m not a sports fan unless someone I love is playing in the game. This limits me to my sons’ school events and a lot of t-ball and church-sponsored basketball, which just might be the best of all there is to see. When the idea of getting a snowcone is more important than running up the score, I definitely become a big fan. 

But the reality is I live in a house with three sports nuts and ESPN is our home’s background soundtrack a lot of the time. And try as a might, the only time ESPN interests me is when they get up close and personal with the players, telling us their favorite foods, where they volunteer, and how they fell in love with their wife of 35 years and spend all their free time with their 2.5 shiny children.  

On a side note, ESPN is missing out on a huge opportunity to reach a larger audience by not having a sports show from a sappy woman’s point of view. Just saying. 

Right now we’re in the throes of the basketball championships, and our TV is on 24/7 getting ready for the Final Four. There’s no game on tonight, but it doesn’t matter.  We’ll be home watching because the sports channels are as good as the political pundits when it comes to filling hours upon hours with color commentary. 

I may not watch the game, but I am definitely in charge of concessions – which is a huge job in a house of teenage sons. Tonight, I’m making these flank steak nachos marinated in Dr. Pepper.  

Dr. Pepper was created in Waco, Texas, which just happens to be home to a women’s team I do love. Sic ‘em! 

Dr. Pepper-Marinated Flank Steak Nachos 

1 lb flank steak
1 (24 oz) Dr. Pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
4 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
Large, flat corn chips
2 cans refried black beans
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups shredded cheese
Garnishes: Sour cream, jalapenos, salsa, guacamole

Combine flank steak and Dr. Pepper or Coca-Cola in a large Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least 6 hours.

When you’re ready to make the nachos, heat your grill to high. Combine salt, brown sugar and black pepper. Remove steak from marinade, and rub spices into steak. Grill steak 3-4 minutes on each side until medium-rare. Do not overcook. Let steak rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain into ½-inch wide strips and again into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Place corn chips on cookie sheet in one layer. Combine black beans with cumin. Spread small amount of black beans over each chip. Sprinkle cheese over chips. Top with flank steak. Bake 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Remove and serve with sour cream, jalapenos, salsa and guacamole.

Healthy Living: New Nutrition Labels

Have you ever wondered how much saturated fat is in your ground beef?  Or which has more protein_ ground chicken or ground turkey?

Until recently, if you wanted to answer these questions you had to dig in and do your own research. But now all you have to do is pick up a package at the grocery store.

For decades, virtually all packaged foods sold in the U.S. have been required to have a nutrition label, indicating ingredients and content of fat, protein, fiber and nutrients. This is due to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. Restaurant meals and some fresh foods were exempted.

But now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made it mandatory that 40 of the most popular cuts of meat also include a nutrition label on the package or the package display.

The label will allow you to pick meat based on the amount of calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, protein, sodium and iron. It will also serve as a reminder for the proper serving size of meat.

The most important part of the nutrition label is not how much fat is in the product or how many calories it has – it’s the serving size. The serving size lets you how much of a product you can have for x amount of calories. Many of us forget a serving of meat is only 4 ounces. Seeing the numbers will allow you to see how important that serving size is for weight management.

The part of the label that really helps open my eyes is seeing the % Daily Value. Let’s take a look at 80% lean ground beef’s nutrition facts panel.  There are 9 grams of saturated fat in a serving. Not so bad, right? Well,  if you slide your finger over you will see that is 43% of the daily value of saturated fat you can have during a single day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Seeing the % Daily Value really opens your eyes to what you are eating.

Now there is no need to guess how many calories are in your meat. You can look at the labels right in the store to make an informative choice for your family.

Product Talk: Picnic Fried Chicken Gets a Makeover

It’s amazing how much weather affects our feelings. I don’t know how people in places like Buffalo or Chicago survive their winters, rarely glimpsing the sunshine or enjoying outdoor fun several months of the year.

I love the fact that in our part of the country it’s not unusual to be in shorts in the middle of January, and by March, my kids are ready to swim.

One of the first things we like to do when the sun hits the sky is to eat outdoors as much as possible. We might pack a picnic for the lake or simply sit on the patio with friends and enjoy the first blue skies and gentle breezes of spring.

I grew up in a time when warm-weather picnics meant fried chicken – no questions asked…but these days, fried food is not something I want to feed my family very often. We still have my cast-iron, buttermilk-brined fried chicken every now and then in the summertime during fried okra season, but otherwise, I have tried to find healthier ways to enjoy the crunch and juiciness of good ol’ picnic fried chicken.

This fried chicken recipe is actually baked, but you won’t miss a thing. It’s the perfect recipe when you have half a bag of corn chips left in the pantry and need to use them before they get stale. Don’t leave out the cumin and chili powder…you’ll love the flavor and aroma.

And just like the real deal, these drumsticks are also delicious the next morning when you open the fridge looking for that one piece of leftover cold fried chicken, although from experience, I can tell you that you might want to double the recipe if you’re planning on enjoying any leftovers.

Tortilla Chip Crusted Chicken Drumsticks

8 ounces corn tortilla chips
4 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 6)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place corn chips, 2 teaspoons chili powder, cumin and salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, then transfer to a shallow dish. Whisk egg and remaining 2 teaspoons of chili powder together in a bowl big enough to hold one drumstick. Dip drumsticks in egg and allow excess to drip back into the bowl. Coat with crumbs, turning and pressing crumbs to help them stick. Place on baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Easily doubled.

Shop the Sale: Orange Glazed Pork Chops

Dinner in a Dash:

I would like to pretend that I get dinner on the table for my family every night…and on time. But if your  life is anything like mine, then there are simply some evenings that supper arrives in a sack through my car window. It’s just the way it is.

But I don’t want to be a fast-food family all the time.  Yes, it takes some planning on my part, and yes, some nights don’t go as I hope and I end up alone in the kitchen with nothing but dirty words and dirty dishes.

These are the nights I try to remember how cute my teenagers were before they decided that I know nothing about anything.

But for the most part, I have found that some my family’s best conversations and laughter happen around our dinner table. One of my family’s favorites is this quick, delicious recipe for Orange Glazed Pork Chops.  This week, the Hormel Pork Chops and Food Club Orange Juice are on sale in all Brookshire’s, making this an even better deal for your family.

The sauce is delicious on hot, cooked rice, and I usually just steam some fresh broccoli to serve with it…which happens to also be on sale this week.

There’s something about coming together at the end of our day in a place where we can let our guard down and enjoy a good meal together that gives us all a much-needed sense of security in this crazy world.

Orange Glazed Pork Chops
Serves 4

4 Hormel boneless pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup Food Club orange juice
2 tablespoons honey or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspooon crushed red pepper, optional
Hot cooked rice

In a bowl, combine orange juice, brown sugar, marmalade, vinegar and crushed red pepper. Set aside. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil to medium-high and brown pork chops on both sides. Remove to a plate and drain excess grease from skillet. Return pork chops and skillet to heat. Pour orange juice mixture over pork chops. Cover and simmer on low heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until pork chops are tender. Remove pork chops to a warm platter. Spoon additional sauce over pork chops. Serve pork chops over hot cooked rice. 

Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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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