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Dine In: Queso-Smothered Chicken


Queso-Smothered ChickenFrequently on Friday nights, we go out for Mexican food.

There’s just something about warm rice and beans, soft flour tortillas and, of course, chips and salsa that’s a great way to end the week.

Eating out gets expensive, and this family is saving up for some big adventures in 2017. So, we’re eating at home more often on Friday nights.

That doesn’t mean we have to give up Mexican food, though. This chicken dish is smothered in cheese and served over orzo pasta, which you infuse with Mexican flavors. You could swap it out for rice if you wanted, and you can always serve with a side of beans.

Queso-Smothered Chicken

Ingredients:
1 bottle Lawry’s Baja Chipotle 30 Minute Marinade
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup orzo
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
8 oz Velveeta, diced
1 can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies

Directions:
Place chicken in a plastic, zip-top bag, and pour marinade over the chicken, turning to coat. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from marinade, and grill over medium-high heat until cooked through. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil until fragrant and shimmering. Stir in the orzo, cooking and stirring until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, tomato paste, chili powder and paprika; bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In another large saucepan, combine Ro-Tel and Velveeta over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until melted. To serve, scoop 1/4 of orzo onto a plate. Top with sliced chicken breast and queso. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 821, Calories from Fat: 322, Fat: 36 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 192 mg, Sodium: 3457 mg, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 19 g, Protein: 67 g.

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Dine In: Lemon Pepper Chicken


Lemon Pepper ChickenWe eat a lot of red meat in my house, but today I’m craving chicken. Specifically, a lemony chicken.

I polled my friends on social media to find a great recipe, and many of them suggested chicken piccata, which I love. However, it contains capers, and I know two out of my four boys will not eat capers or any dish capers have touched. They clearly don’t know what they’re missing.

So, chicken piccata was out.

This recipe, which involves lightly breading the chicken breasts, seems like it would be a hit. I’m going to serve it tonight over noodles, and I’ll probably double the amount of sauce and serve with some warmed lemon halves for extra lemon flavor. (If you microwave your lemons for about 30 seconds, you’ll get more juice out of them.)

Steamed carrots with more lemon and sprinkled with some dill would be a delightful side dish.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 3/4-inch thick
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbs lemon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter
4 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs parsley, chopped

Directions:
In a shallow bowl or pan, mix together flour, lemon pepper and salt.

Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, gently pressing mixture on to coat the chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the chicken; cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side until done. Remove the chicken to a plate, and tent with foil to keep warm.

Melt the butter in the pan drippings. Whisk in lemon juice; season with more salt, if necessary. Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 345, Calories from Fat: 153, Fat: 17 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 111 mg, Sodium: 1000 mg, Potassium: 54 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 36 g.

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Shop the Sale: Roasted Chicken


Roasted ChickenWhen you Google “secret to perfectly roasted chicken,” you’ll get 3,100,700 results and just as many different secrets.

Scroll through the pages, and you’ll read about brining, trussing, drying, rubbing, basting, steaming, no steam, butter, olive oil, rosemary, lemons, onions, salt, rock salt, sea salt, kosher salt and wine, just for starters.

Bottom line: there is no one secret to a great roasted chicken.

I try to keep my roasted chicken simple, with a few ingredients to impart great flavor. I fall somewhere in the middle of the steam versus no steam debate, as I don’t add liquid to my roasting pan. I do use lemon, onions and butter. (It’s argued that you shouldn’t add anything that will produce steam, resulting in a less crispy skin when you roast a chicken.)

Whatever you add, even if it’s just salt and pepper, all you really need is a hot oven and to make sure you cook the chicken all the way through (trussing DOES help).

Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:
1 (5 lb) chicken
1 Tbs salt
2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 lemon, halved
1 bulb garlic, peeled and halved
1 sweet onion, quartered
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 Tbs butter, softened

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F.

Rinse chicken and pat dry, removing giblets from cavity.

Place lemon, onion, garlic and rosemary in the cavity of the chicken, then truss. Rub chicken with butter; sprinkle with salt, pepper and Lawry’s.

Roast for 90 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and tent with foil; let rest for 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 987, Calories from Fat: 259, Fat: 29 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 467 mg, Sodium: 3326 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 165 g.

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Shop the Sale: New Year’s Brisket


New Year’s BrisketI probably say this every year, but I didn’t really know about New Year’s Day traditions until I was grown and out of the house. All of that to say, my family didn’t have the same traditions as most southerners experience.

In the South, we eat black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and brisket on New Year’s Day, so today is the perfect day to shop the sale items in preparation of the new year.

Peas represent coins, for prosperity in 2017. Greens also symbolize money; cook them up with pork (ham or bacon) to represent that pigs root forward (meaning that you’ll get ahead in the new year). In days gone by, our ancestors killed a fatted calf for a show of prosperity, thus the brisket.

New Year’s Day Brisket

Ingredients:
2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs salt
2 Tbs Worcestershire powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1 bay leaf, crushed
4 lbs beef brisket, trimmed
1 1/2 cups beef stock

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Combine chili powder, salt, garlic powder and onion powder, Worcestershire powder, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard and bay leaf. Rub brisket with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, and then massage spice rub into the meat. Place in a roasting pan; roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Add beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300° F. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil; continue cooking for 3 hours or until fork-tender.

Trim the fat, and slice meat thinly across the grain.

Serve with black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread.

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 399, Calories from Fat: 119, Fat: 13 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 180 mg, Sodium: 2607 mg, Potassium: 897 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 62 g.

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Shop the Sale: Christmas Roast Beast


Christmas Roast BeastMy favorite part of the legendary Christmas classic, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” was always when the Whos in Whoville passed the Roast Beast at Christmas dinner. I don’t know why this particular scene caught my fancy, but it never failed to elicit a giggle. Truth be told, it still does.

Every time I eat a roast, I have to call it a Roast Beast, much to the chagrin of my eye-rolling teenagers. When they are providing the roast, they can call it whatever they want, I think to myself.

This Christmas is a great time to make a showcase meal with a roasted boneless ribeye roast as the centerpiece. We all know that your wallet can use a little relief the week before Christmas, so enjoy this indulgence from Brookshire’s without feeling like The Grinch!

Mustard-Rubbed Roast Beef (Beast!)

Ingredients:
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs thyme leaves
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 Tbs
4 lbs boneless beef ribeye roast
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
kitchen string, for tying roast

Directions:
Remove roast from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before searing.

Preheat oven to 250° F.

Place mustard seeds, salt, pepper and thyme in a mortar and pestle; grind until powdery. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, use the powdered versions of the mustard and thyme with regular salt and pepper.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil, and continue to crush until well-combined. Stir in Dijon mustard until it’s all well-incorporated.

Rub roast with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, and sear beef for 1 minute on each side until browned. Remove roast from pan, and secure with kitchen string. Rub mustard mixture over beef. Place back in skillet or use a roasting pan; place beef in oven.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours for medium-rare (use a meat thermometer to cook to desired doneness).

Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 948, Calories from Fat: 472, Fat: 52 g (22 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 373 mg, Sodium: 1028 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 112 g.

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Dine In: Creamy Tortellini Ham Soup


Creamy Tortellini Ham SoupSo, you just cooked that fabulous Brookshire’s or Hormel sliced ham for your holiday meal (see December 14 entry). Now, it’s time to enjoy the leftovers!

I love leftover ham, better than leftover turkey or any other holiday main course actually. Ham retains its moisture and its flavor, and it’s so easy for leftovers.

You could make leftover ham sandwiches (on a King’s Hawaiian sandwich roll), or you could enjoy this fabulous, hearty soup!

Add some beans and tortellini, and you have a complete meal on a chilly winter’s night, without having to leave the comfort of your own fireplace.

Creamy Tortellini Ham Soup

Ingredients:
3 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup flour
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 cups ham, cooked and cubed
15 oz can Great Northern beans, rinsed and rained
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs chicken bouillon
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbs fresh)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb refrigerated cheese tortellini, uncooked
2 to 3 cups half-and-half

Directions:
Melt butter and olive oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté for about 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery; cook for 3 more minutes , stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until thick.

Heat chicken broth in microwave for about 2 minutes or until warm. Gradually stir 5 1/2 cups broth into vegetables. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch into remaining 1/2 cup broth, and stir into soup. Stir in ham, beans, mustard, bay leaves, bouillon, and all the remaining herbs and spices.

Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until carrots and celery are tender.

Add tortellini. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until cooked through and floating on the surface.

Stir in half-and-half; do not boil.

Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 718, Calories from Fat: 236, Fat: 26 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 74 mg, Sodium: 1481 mg, Potassium: 1313 mg, Carbohydrates: 87 g, Fiber: 14 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 35 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bourbon Molasses Glazed Ham


Bourbon Molasses Glazed HamHolidays are for ham!

I’ve made them in off seasons, but they always seem to taste best around a holiday table laden with family and friends.

It’s not easy to find variations on recipes for whole ham, especially when they’re so delicious precooked without having to do anything to them.

This simple recipe roasts in your oven while you enjoy companionship by opening gifts, sharing stories, laughing and enjoying each other.

Don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off. You’ll also have leftovers. The Hormel and Brookshire’s hams are on sale this week, so you can buy a few extra stocking stuffers!

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Ham

Ingredients:
2/3 cup bourbon
1 cup local honey
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup orange marmalade
nonstick cooking spray
1 (11 lb) sliced Brookshire’s or Hormel Ham
1/8 cup whole cloves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine bourbon, honey, molasses and marmalade in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Cook for 15 minutes until well-combined and sugars have dissolved. Set aside.

Score a diamond pattern on skin of ham with a sharp knife. Press cloves all over surface of ham. Pour half of bourbon glaze over ham. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, uncovered, until ham reaches 130° F internally.

While the ham cooks, baste occasionally with additional glaze. Remove ham from oven. Tent with foil. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1012, Calories from Fat: 386, Fat: 43 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 284 mg, Sodium: 6515 mg, Potassium: 1583 mg, Carbohydrates: 61 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 38 g, Protein: 83 g.

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Dine In: Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts


Spinach-Stuffed Chicken BreastsBack in my single days, my friends and I would go out to eat on Friday nights, and we’d almost always get an appetizer of bubbling, warm, cheesy spinach dip with pita chips.

We’d talk and laugh and eat so much spinach dip that we often weren’t hungry for dinner after we finished.

I still love to go out on Friday nights, but I also love to stay home, especially this time of year when the stores, restaurants and roads are packed to overflowing, and you sometimes wait as long for your meal, or to get a table, as it would just to make the same thing at home.

I tried to come up with something recently that would channel the flavors of the spinach dip that I loved in a date night dish that would be perfect for a Friday night at home.

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts, about 3/4 lb
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup fresh baby spinach
2 Tbs parsley, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
16 oz jar marinara sauce, or homemade
parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat until shimmery and fragrant.

Add spinach and parsley; sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook until spinach is wilted. Set aside.

Cut the chicken breasts lengthwise halfway through until they open like a book. Pound until each is about 1/4 inch thick. In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, Italian cheese blend and spinach mixture; add salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture onto the middle of the flat chicken breasts and roll, securing with a toothpick.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet until shimmery and fragrant. Brown chicken on all sides. Place in oven, and cook for 35 minutes. Pour marinara sauce over the chicken, and cook for another 10 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese, and broil for 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 843, Calories from Fat: 406, Fat: 45 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 190 mg, Sodium: 1339 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 20 g, Protein: 69 g.

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Shop the Sale: Chile Colorado Burritos


Chile Colorado BurritosThere’s nothing my family loves more than a Taco Tuesday unless it’s Tex-Mex Tuesday. Or Wednesday, or Thursday, as the case may be.

So, what if we have to take a few liberties with the name?

This dish is a cross between a burrito and an enchilada. Burritos aren’t baked with sauce. Enchiladas are baked, not broiled, a whole lot longer than the time it takes to melt the cheese. Thus the hybrid.

I love cheese, so I tend to add a layer of cheddar or Monterey Jack (which melts beautifully) over the refried beans before I add the meat.

Serve this with a side of Spanish rice and a tossed salad.

Chile Colorado Burritos

Ingredients:
1 1/2 to 2 lbs boneless top sirloin
1 large can mild red enchilada sauce (at least 19 oz)
2 Tbs cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs chili powder
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 can fat-free refried beans
1 cup onion, slivered
5 to 7 burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Place beef, cumin, garlic, chili powder, whole bouillon cubes (do NOT add water), onion and enchilada sauce into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or until meat is very tender. Shred beef in slow cooker. Add salt and black pepper if needed.

Heat refried beans until warmed through. Spread each tortilla with beans. Top with a heaping scoop of the meat mixture, using a slotted spoon to help drain juices. Place burritos side-by-side in a baking pan. Top with remaining juice from the slow cooker and all the cheese. Broil under high heat until cheese is bubbly serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 607, Calories from Fat: 130, Fat: 15 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 112 mg, Sodium: 662 mg, Carbohydrates: 78 g, Fiber: 28 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 57 g.

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Dine In: Slow Cooker Crustless Pizza


Slow Cooker Crustless PizzaTonight is our city’s annual Christmas parade, and I can’t wait to take my boys.

We’ve gone to the annual parade every year since we moved to this town, and it’s been a highlight of our Christmas season ever since.

Every year, we bundle up (or at least put on a festive Santa hat) and trek downtown to the square surrounding the county courthouse. It will be lit with white twinkle lights, and the buildings around the square will be festooned in holiday finery.

The parade, with marching bands, fire trucks, floats and, of course, jolly-old St. Nick, winds its way around the square in a cacophony of Christmas cheer. After the parade passes, the large and looming Christmas tree in the center of the square comes to life, the lever to light it up pulled by the Honorary Miracle Child of the year.

I hate to sound cliché, but it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s also a wonderful night to go home after the festivities to a meal that’s warm and ready to eat. True comfort food is a perfect end to the night.

Slow Cooker Crustless Pizza

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
2 Tbs garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs dried, minced onion
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1 (14 oz) jar pizza sauce
2 cups shredded pizza blend cheese
pizza toppings: i.e., pepperoni, black olives, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, ham

Directions:
Brown ground beef in a large, heavy skillet. When the meat is browned, drain the fat. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the beef and mozzarella cheese in the slow cooker and spread evenly across the cooking surface. Pour pizza sauce over meat mixture. Top with pizza blend cheese and the toppings of your choice. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 460, Calories from Fat: 143, Fat: 16 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 174 mg, Sodium: 561 mg, Potassium: 773 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 35 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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