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DINE IN: BACON CHEESEBURGER SLOW COOKER SOUP


Bacon CheeseburgerIf you’ve ever had kids, or picky eaters, you know that it’s not always easy coming up with variations of their favorite meals. I have cornered the market on pizza variations, and I’ve made more varieties of tacos than I can even count. Another family favorite are cheeseburgers. My younger son says I make the best cheeseburgers in the universe. I love him.

Anyway, I don’t want to eat cheeseburgers once a week, so I had to come up with something else. I found this recipe on Pinterest. I was a bit dubious, I have to admit, but I made it one Friday night not too long ago (because some Friday nights I’m too tired to blink, let alone cook).It was a huge hit. I love my slow cooker!

Bacon Cheeseburger Slow Cooker Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 cup onions, diced
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled 
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded
2 cups potatoes, cubed
8 oz cream cheese, cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 

Directions:

Brown ground beef and onions together over medium heat in a large pot until meat is no longer pink.

Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the shredded cheddar cheese, milk and flour.

Stir to combine ingredients. Place in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

When 10 minutes are left, whisk milk and flour until all lumps are gone; add to mixture with cheese.

Uncover crockpot and stir in shredded cheese and milk/flour mixture. Cover and cook for the remaining 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serves 6-8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 547, Calories from Fat: 308, Fat: 34 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 130 mg, Sodium: 1363 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 39 g



SHOP THE SALE: PORK CHOPS WITH CINNAMON AND APPLES


Pork ChopsWe’re fully into fall now, and when that happens, I tend to favor the savory smells of cooking inside. This combination of pork, apples and onions will make your house smell heavenly. I promise. The secret ingredient? The cinnamon butter! Trust me on this. With boneless pork chops on sale this week, you can make this twice!

Pork Chops with Cinnamon and Apples

Ingredients:
4 (3/4-inch thick) boneless pork chops (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar butter spread, such as Land O’Lakes
1 tart apple, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic

Directions:
Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Melt cinnamon sugar butter spread in a 12-inch skillet until sizzling; add pork chops. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until browned, turning once. Remove chops to serving platter; keep warm.

Place apple and onion slices in same skillet with pan juices. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; continue cooking 2-3 minutes or until garlic is softened. 

Return chops to pan; continue cooking 2-3 minutes or until internal temperature of pork reaches at least 145°F and is no longer pink.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 270, Fat: 12 g, Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 370 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 24 g



SHOP THE SALE: SALISBURY STEAK


Salisbury SteakWhen I was a little girl, I LOVED when my mom said we were having “Salisbury steak” for dinner. It sounded so exotic and was one of my favorite meals.

Then, I went through a phase where I thought it was gross. However, I found a more “grown-up” version of the 1970s version my mom made and fell in love with it all over again.

With a five-pound chub of ground beef on sale this week at Brookshire’s, it’s a great time to try this updated version for your family.

Salisbury steak with Mushroom Gravy

Ingredients
1/3 cup grated onion, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt2 garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp butter8 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp red wine
vinegar
cooking spray

Directions
Combine 1/4 cup onion, pepper, salt, garlic, Worcestershire and beef. Shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.

Melt butter in pan. Add mushrooms; sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in wine and remaining onion; cook for 2 minutes. Combine broth and flour; add to pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until thick. Add patties and vinegar to pan; cook for 2 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 192, Fat: 7.9 g (3.8 g Saturated Fat), Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7 g, Protein: 24.9 g, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0.7 g, Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 380 mg, Calcium: 20 mg, Iron: 2.3 mg



DINE IN: MEXICAN MEATBALLS


Mexican MeatballsWhile scrolling through a favorite blog recently, I read a new post that first had me thinking, “No way.”

It was a recipe for Mexican meatballs.

We all know meatballs are ITALIAN and should be made with MEAT (as opposed to the tofu version I saw not too long ago).

Being that my kids love anything Mexican OR Italian, I thought I’d give them a whirl for a fun Friday night. The original recipe called for wrapping the meatballs in bacon. That took so much time, and frankly, mine fell apart so I resorted to eating the bacon separately, which really wasn’t a bad thing. I changed it up in this version of the recipe, incorporating the bacon into the meatball itself. I also replaced the original breadcrumbs with panko because it’s lighter, crispier and, well, I like it better. However, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. That’s what cooking is all about.

Mexican Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 lb ground chuck
1 lb chorizo sausage, casings removed
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup panko or plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, finely diced
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Directions:
In a large bowl, incorporate all ingredients. Mix with your hands (my kids call it “mushing” it with your hands) until all ingredients are blended. Roll into 2-inch balls. Bake at 400°F for approximately 8 minutes, or until browned.

Serve with salsa and Mexican rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 521, Calories from Fat: 337, Fat: 38 g, Trans Fat: 0.2 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 163 mg, Sodium: 1311 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 33 g



SHOP THE SALE: BROOKSHIRE’S BACON


BaconBacon has almost a cult following these days, and I have to admit that I’m fully on the bacon bandwagon.
 
Brookshire’s bacon cooks up crisply and has a full, hearty flavor you’ll find crave-worthy.
 
Did you know you can cook bacon in the oven? Yes, siree you sure can. It prevents any bubbles in your bacon and also messy grease splatters on your stovetop. To bake bacon perfectly every time, line a baking sheet with foil and arrange bacon slices on top. 
 
Place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold ovenr. Close the door, turn oven to 400°F. Baket 17-20 minutes. As soon as the bacon is golden- brown, it’s done. Remove pan from the oven and transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the fat. 
  
Enjoy!
 
Brookshire’s bacon is on sale this week, so try out this technique with a bunch of bacon!


Shop the Sale: Luke’s Steak Sandwiches


Steak SandwichI try to let each of my kids choose at least one dinner per week. They go through phases with their favorites and we tend to repeat a lot. For a while, Curt’s choice was always tacos, and I nearly pulled my hair out trying to come up with different ways to make them: ground beef, shredded beef, shredded pork, shredded chicken, shrimp, tofu (yes, tofu…not a hit with my kids). You name it; we tried it. At least tacos can be a versatile meal.

Luke went through a phase where he wanted breakfast for dinner. I loved that one as it’s my personal favorite meal of the day.

Lately, Luke’s choice has been steak sandwiches. I love this one, too, plus you can switch it up quite a bit. Luke prefers a “Philly cheesesteak” version, while Curt likes a recipe I make with an Asian-inspired marinade. Either way, I use boneless top sirloin (I stock up when it’s on sale at Brookshire’s, like it is this week), grill it and slice it thinly across the grain. My kids devour it.

Luke’s “Steak Sandwich”

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless top sirloin
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 white onion, sliced
4 sandwich rolls of your choice
4 slices smoked provolone cheese

Directions:
Combine Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over boneless top sirloin. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Bring steak to room temperature. Prepare grill to high heat. Sear sirloin on both sides quickly, then move steak to indirect heat on the grill and continue cooking, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Remove steak from grill. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly across grain.

Sauté bell pepper and onion until soft.

Place meat on sandwich rolls, top with vegetables, and then add cheese. Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 626, Calories from Fat: 255, Fat: 28 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 121 mg, Sodium: 769, Carbohydrates: 43 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 48 g



Dine In: Beer Braised Bratwurst and Grilled Vegetables


A few weeks ago, I polled my Facebook friends to see what they liked to make on Friday nights at home. My friend Nicholas, a firefighter, loves grilled bratwurst and vegetables. I loved that idea! I asked him if he’d braised the bratwurst in beer before grilling and he hadn’t, but he said it’s on his list to try. I love cooking the German sausages this way – I think it adds a depth of flavor you can’t get from grilling alone.

 

Beer Braised Bratwurst and Grilled Vegetables

Ingredients:
6 bratwurst links
1 (12 oz) bottle lager beer
2 bell peppers, various colors
1 large white onion, cut into chunks
1 large purple onion, cut into chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into thick slices
1 zucchini, cut into thick slices
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions:
In a large sauce pan, bring sausages and beer to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sausage casings begin to stretch and split.

In the meantime, heat grill to medium heat. Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred. Increase heat on grill. Sear sausages quickly on each side. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 371, Calories from Fat: 246, Fat: 27 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 730 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 14 g



Product Talk: London Broil


I’m still blogging from my beach vacation. I know I’ve explained more than once already that in the big family group that congregates at Sandbridge Beach each year, each nuclear family takes a night to cook. For my night this year, I made a delicious and simple London Broil topped with an optional faux chimichurri (spinach instead of parsley, basil instead of oregano).  

“London Broil” is a fancy term for top round or flank steak. It’s really just a marinated cut of meat grilled, then cut across the grain into thin strips and served–easy and delicious.

A London Broil isn’t the most tender cut of meat so a marinade is necessary. This is the recipe I used this week and it was yummy. I was unsure about the honey at first, but the sugars help give your cut of meat a beautiful sear.

London Broil

Ingredients:
Large (2 lbs) London Broil
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Puree all ingredients (except London Broil) in a food processor or blender. Place meat in a zipper-locked bag or shallow pan. Cover with marinade. Place in refrigerator for several hours, turning several times.

Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Place over direct, medium heat and grill about 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare (a London Broil should be pink inside). Let stand for several minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 344, Calories from Fat: 90, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 998 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 52 g



Shop the Sale: Ground Chuck Empanadas


When I found out I was moving to Texas from Virginia all the way back in 1997 when I accepted a spot in the master’s program for journalism at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em!), my friend Wendy gave me a Tex-Mex cookbook. 

“Enjoy your adventures in the Lone Star State and learn to cook some yummy food,” she inscribed in the front cover.

Although my plan was never to stay in Texas after I graduated, I find myself still here 15 years later. I’ve had many adventures, and I’ve learned to cook some delicious food (tamales still elude me so if you want to teach me, please send us a message!).

Empanadas are one of my favorites. A little hand-held pie, an empanada can be either sweet or savory. I love this version with ground chuck and some surprise sweetness in the raisins. Delicious.

Ground Beef Empanadas (Picadillo)

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz ground beef chuck
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup drained green pitted olives, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomato puree or sauce
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
One 1-lb pkg frozen puff pastry
All purpose flour, for dusting
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 Tbsp water

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef chuck and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the olives, raisins, carrots and onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and cool to room temperature before filling the empanadas.

Grease a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out to 1/4-to-1/8-inch thickness. With a knife, cut out 4 equal squares measuring 4 1/2-by-5 1/2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooled beef mixture to the center of the square. Brush the edge of each square with some egg wash and fold to shape into triangles. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Makes 8 empanadas 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 172, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 640 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 12 g, Protein: 7 g



Shop the Sale: Sirloin Steak topped with Mustard Herb Butter


It’s hard to resist a good, top sirloin steak.

It’s also hard to resist cooking it over an open flame in the height of summertime.

One of the best things about a juicy, tender sirloin, in my opinion, is that you don’t need to do much to it for it to turn out perfectly. However, every now and then it’s fun to add something like this compound butter to enhance the flavor of the steak.

Compound butter is simply mixing different ingredients into your real butter of choice (I like salted sweet cream). The variations are endless, as with this mustard herb butter. I’d even throw in some garlic for good measure.

With top sirloin steaks on sale this week at Brookshire’s, you can even get enough for a midsummer party.

Sirloin Steak Topped with Mustard Herb Butter

Ingredients
2 boneless top sirloin steaks
2 oz salted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp finely chopped chervil
1 Tbsp finely chopped tarragon
2 tsp wholegrain Dijon mustard
cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions
Mix all the ingredients (except the steaks!) in a bowl. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and roll into a sausage shape. Chill the butter mixture for at least one hour. Remove just before serving on top of the steak and cut into rounds.

Cook the steaks to your liking and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes to allow the juices to run back into the meat.

Just before serving, place a couple of rounds/discs of mustard butter on top of the steaks and let melt.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1193, Calories from Fat: 817, Fat: 91 g (40 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 355 mg, Sugar: 0 g, Sodium: 418 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 88 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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