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Shop the Sale: Smoked Mojo Chicken Leg Quarters

Smoked Mojo Chicken Leg QuartersOne of the first things Paul made, when he got a smoker for his birthday, was a smoked whole chicken. I’ve been craving it again ever since.

This recipe uses leg quarters, which smoke beautifully and have great potential for presentation.

The chicken marinates in a bright, flavorful marinade full of citrus flavors with the heat of jalapeño peppers and the depth of spices including cumin and oregano. I’d recommend marinating it overnight or at least all day. That just gives you more flavor.

One of the things I really love about this recipe is that you don’t need a traditional smoker to make it work. The Applewood chips add smoke and a slightly sweet flavor to this chicken, a perfect complement to the sweetness in the chicken.

Pilgrim leg quarters are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and it might just be the perfect time to smoke some more chicken.

Smoked Mojo Chicken Leg Quarters

1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbs orange zest, loosely packed
1 Tbs lime zest, loosely packed
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
6 large garlic cloves
2 red jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 chicken leg quarters (about 5 1/2 lb)
6 cups Applewood chips

Combine the first 12 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 20 seconds, or until everything is finely chopped and incorporated. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the mixture for later use. Chill.

Place chicken in an extra-large, plastic zipper bag. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken, zip closed and let marinate overnight, or at least 8 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, place 3 cups dry Applewood chips in the center of a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold over to make a packet. Poke a few holes at the top of the packet. Make two packets, reserving one.

Preheat grill to 350° F, either leaving one side unlit on a gas grill or banking coals to one side on a charcoal grill. Place the packet of Applewood chips, hole-side up, on the lit side.

Drain marinade and discard. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Move Applewood chips to the unlit side of the grill, and replace with the chicken over the direct heat. Grill 4 to 6 minutes per side or until grill marks appear. Move to unlit side of the grill and the Applewood chips back to the lit side. Cover and cook, about 90 minutes, until the skin is golden-brown and chicken is cooked through.

You should replace Applewood chip packet halfway through the cooking process.

Warm reserved marinade and serve chicken with the sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 763, Calories from Fat: 500 g, Fat: 56 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 287 mg, Sodium: 1080 mg, Potassium: 115 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 65 g.

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Dine In: Dip for Dinner

Mexi-QuesoA few weeks ago, Paul and I ate at a popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Tyler. During the day, this establishment is packed to overflowing with business people, jurors, politicians and anyone who works downtown.

On a Saturday afternoon it was just about deserted, which was fine with me because I could take a little more time to enjoy the ambience and get some recommendations from our waitress on dishes to try. I must confess, as popular as that restaurant is, I’d never strayed beyond a few menu items. I think it’s because there are so many things to try, I get overwhelmed with the decision.

Paul decided we’d order the Choriqueso.

“What’s that?” I wanted to know.

Turns out it’s exactly what it sounds like: chorizo and cheese.

On the menu it says, “Mexi-sausage and mozzarella.” Oh really? Most queso dips I’d tried didn’t have mozzarella in them, especially at a Mexican food restaurant. I wondered what else was in it.

Nothing. Nothing else was in it. The waitress brought us a bowl of browned, spicy Chorizo sausage mixed with melted mozzarella cheese. It was served with chips.

Oh my goodness, it was delicious.

One recent Friday night, we decided to make our version of the dip, which you had to eat really, really, really quickly or the mozzarella cheese got stringy. We married the American version of queso with the restaurant’s concept and ended up with the best of both worlds.

Oh, and we ate it for dinner.


1 lb chorizo links, removed from the casings
1 16-oz box Velveeta, cubed
1 10-oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies

Brown sausage in a large skillet. Drain well. Pat with paper towels to remove excess fat.
Place into a slow cooker with cubed cheese and undrained can of tomatoes.

Cook on low until cheese melts. Serve with chips or tortillas.

Nutritional information: Calories: 285, Calories from Fat: 203, Fat: 23 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 60 mg, Sodium: 1079 mg, Potassium: 192 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 16 g.

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Family Matters: Back-To-School Time Savers

Busy Day Italian-Style Rump RoastIt’s back-to-school time, and we all know how busy school nights can be! With so much to do during the day, from getting kids up in the mornings and making the PTO meeting, to running them to soccer and dance after school, it’s easy to forget about making healthy meals—at least until it’s dinnertime!

For a lot of parents this can be an overwhelming time of the year. We send our kids off to school expecting them to keep up with all their classes and not lose any of their school supplies. Yet as we head to the kitchen to figure out what’s for dinner tonight, we begin to feel inadequate, unorganized and so wish we had a meal-planner genie!

As an out-of-the-home working Mom, I have found a few tricks that help me maintain sanity while putting a delicious meal on the table most nights of the week. For our family, mealtime is a wonderful time to sit down together, relax and talk about the day’s events.

Make a big pot of homemade soup, double the recipe of a casserole or lasagna and freeze half of it for a later evening when you have no time.

Prepare entrees you can mix together the night before, store in the refrigerator and then transfer to the oven right before dinnertime.

This has got to be the easiest way to have dinner ready the minute you walk in the door! There are hundreds of slow cooker recipes online to suit your family from chicken and beef recipes to appetizers and soups. Did you know you could even bake breads and desserts using a slow cooker?

One of my family’s favorite meals is a roast cooked in the slow cooker. With a boneless rump roast and your slow cooker handy, this meal is almost a no-brainer.

Busy Day Italian-Style Rump Roast
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

3 lbs boneless beef rump roast, well-trimmed
5 cups cut-up fresh vegetables, such as carrots, celery, onions and potatoes
1 package McCormick Slow Cookers Savory Pot Roast Seasoning
1 cup red wine or water

Place beef and vegetables in slow cooker. Mix seasoning mix and water until blended. Pour over beef and vegetables. Cover. Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Remove roast and vegetables to serving platter. Stir sauce before serving.

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Shop the Sale: Taco-Stuffed Baguette

Taco-Stuffed BaguetteMy younger son, Luke, has been all into cooking this summer. He wants to help in the kitchen every time I make a meal, and he’s mastered several dishes on his own (like his breakfast scrambled eggs or omelet) over the past few months as well.

While I LOVE cooking with him, he makes me nervous. He wants to wield my chef’s knife like Jet Tila and that makes me uneasy. So far (knocking on wood), so good; no injuries reported in our kitchen!

Last night we watched Food Network together and played along with the shows, describing what we’d make if we were in the contestants’ place. Luckily, Luke doesn’t have free reign of the kitchen (Laffy Taffy Cheesecake, anyone?), but he is a pretty creative cook.

We were eating dinner one night recently and he said something like, “Wouldn’t tacos be good with bread instead of shells?” I whole-heartedly agreed. Pretty much anything is better with bread.

We found this recipe on Pinterest together and he made it recently. It doesn’t require any sharp knives, and he loved scooping out the bread (and eating it) along the way. You could also make croutons or breadcrumbs with the bread you take out of the middle of the loaf.

Angus ground chuck is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so we made a double batch for big appetites!

Taco-Stuffed Baguette

12 oz Angus ground chuck
1 (4.5) oz can chopped green chilies
1 (1 oz) package taco seasoning mix (or make your own)
½ cup salsa
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 20-inch bakery baguette, fully-cooked
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Brown Angus ground chuck in a heavy skillet (we love cast iron) over medium high heat. Stir in taco seasoning and mix well. Drain grease and return the seasoned ground beef to the skillet.

Stir in green chilies and salsa.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, meat mixture, cilantro and both types of cheeses. Stir well to mix thoroughly.

Using a long serrated bread knife, slice the heels off both ends of the bread. Cut bread in half or into quarters for easy handling. Scoop out the soft, middle part of the bread, leaving about a ½-inch shell in tact.

Carefully fill each section of bread with the cream cheese mixture, being careful not to tear the shell of the bread.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic and sea salt.

Place bread on a large piece of heavy duty foil and brush with the butter mixture. Wrap completely. Place foil-wrapped bread in the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes until inside is fully melted and the bread is browned.

Cut into more slices and serve immediately.

Nutritional information: Calories Per Serving: 351, Calories from Fat: 259, Fat: 29 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 94 mg, Sodium: 737 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 16 g

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Shop the Sale: Bacon Beef Sushi

Bacon Beef SushiI have this magnificent practical joke working in my mind, and I hope Paul isn’t reading this right now.

I want to announce to him that we’re having homemade sushi for dinner.

I would love to see his face.

Paul wouldn’t want to be within 10 feet of sushi, at least not the traditional kind. He’d put on a brave face because he’s sweet and polite like that, but he’d probably offer to go pick up some barbecue or something.

Sushi purists will readily decry this recipe, but it certainly would be a fun play on sushi for the meat-lovin’ man. COOKED meat, at that.

I’m going to play this prank this week when Brookshire’s Thick Bacon is on sale. I might even make two because I know the boys would love it as well.

Bacon Beef “Sushi”

1 lb Brookshire’s Thick Bacon
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp seasoned salt
3 pieces mozzarella string cheese
1 cup barbecue sauce
French fried onions, optional

Cut a large piece of parchment paper.

Lay strips of bacon side-to-side, touching, on top of the parchment paper to form a square.

Spread lean ground beef on top of bacon to cover it. Layer should be thin. Sprinkle with pepper and seasoned salt.

Place three sticks of string cheese, end-to-end, along one edge of the meat. Starting at that end, use parchment paper to roll meat into a sushi log.

Press together. Use toothpicks to hold the “sushi roll” together, if necessary.

Heat grill to medium. Place sushi roll on grill. Grill about 1 minute on each side, turning twice. Baste with barbecue sauce. Grill another minute on each side. Repeat with sauce and grill time.

Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

Remove from grill. Roll into crushed French fried onions, if desired. Slice into sushi slices; serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 654, Calories from Fat: 351, Fat: 39 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 158 mg, Sodium: 2855 mg, Potassium: 827 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 55 g

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Shop the Sale: Beef Empanadas with Avocado Cream Sauce

Beef Empanadas with Avocado Cream SauceI used to work with a woman named JoAnne who made magical empanadas. Her doughs were light and flaky, and her fillings were extraordinary. It would make my day when JoAnne showed up at work with a huge, foil-covered plate.

I’ve never perfected her dough (she wouldn’t give me the recipe, family secret), so I gave up trying. However, I’ve gotten pretty close to one of her fillings using a slow-cooked rump roast, on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

You can make the beef ahead of time if you want, and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also use a pie crust cut into rounds with a drinking glass or your own dough for this recipe. My favorite part of this is the avocado cream sauce, which I’ve been known to use for dunking my empanada instead of drizzling the sauce on top. Adding jalapeño peppers to the beef mixture makes it spicier, and you can also add a few drops of hot sauce to the avocado cream.

Beef Empanadas with Avocado Cream Sauce

2 lb rump roast
1 white onion, diced
1 Tbs garlic, chopped
4 Tbs cilantro
1 cup salsa verde
1 pkg wonton wrappers
2 egg whites, beaten
1 avocado, mashed
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs heavy cream or milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Place rump roast in a slow cooker. Add in onions, garlic and cilantro. Top with salsa verde. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or until fork-tender. Shred meat. Drain MOST of the liquid, leaving enough so that the filling is not dry. Set aside to cool.

When meat is cooler, place 2 heaping tablespoons into the middle of 1 wonton wrapper. Fold in half once diagonally. Then, fold the edges up toward the middle, and fold the triangular edge toward the middle as well to make an envelope for the filling. Place on a baking sheet and brush with egg whites. Bake at 375° F for 10 minutes or until golden-brown.

Whip sour cream with avocado until well-blended. Thin the mixture with milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle on top of empanadas or use as a dipping sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 449, Calories from Fat: 215, Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 17 mg, Sodium: 267 mg, Potassium: 276 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 51 g

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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