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Shop the Sale: Steakhouse Soup


Steakhouse SoupOn a recent sunny day, we drove through my boyfriend Paul’s East Texas hometown.

The drive was punctuated with observations, “That used to be Goodman’s department store” or “That lot was vacant for the longest time.” Most of his sentences started with “I remember when that was {insert memory here}.”

It was an interesting drive, to say the least. We didn’t spend a lot of time exploring because we were driving through on our way somewhere else, but we hit all the highlights on the main drag.

I was particularly intrigued by an old restaurant, now vacant. It looked like a rustic old barn, but there was a large stained glass window front and center. The two didn’t seem to go together, but it made a striking contrast.

Among other things, the space was a steakhouse where, according to Paul, they had some of the best soup he’s ever had.

Of course, once he said that, I felt the challenge to recreate the soup he loved.

He wrote the former owner to see if we could get the recipe, but he hasn’t heard back yet. Fingers crossed he’ll send it.

Until then, we have been experimenting with different recipes, and we think we have it close. Maybe, when top sirloin is on sale this week, we’ll try it again!

Steakhouse Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb top sirloin steak, cut into cubes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs flour
1 onion, diced
6 red potatoes, finely diced
5 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
1 (46 fluid oz) bottle tomato-vegetable juice
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs paprika

Directions:
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear sirloin cubes until browned and cook through. Sprinkle in flour; stir until browned. Add 1/2 cup water. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Stir in beef stock and tomato juice; mix well.

Add onions, potatoes, carrots and green beans. Stir in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Calories from Fat: 57, Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium: 517 mg, Potassium: 1058 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 19 g.

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Dine In: Basil Garlic Chicken


Basil Garlic ChickenThe first time I went to Italy was around this time of year. It was cold and gray in Germany where I lived, and almost at the spur of the moment, a friend and I decided to flee south to what we hoped were warmer temperatures and sunny skies.

We got one out of two.

Crossing the Alps, chugging through Switzerland on an overnight train, lulled to sleep by the swaying rhythm of the wheels on the tracks as we lay in our tight berths, we doubted we’d ever be warm again. The snow-capped mountains didn’t give us much hope of warmer weather in Italy.

It wasn’t much warmer in the northern part of the country, but it was sunny.
We stopped first in Milan, the fashion capital of the country, if not of Europe itself.

After sightseeing all day in the cold while fairly sleep-deprived, we found a little trattoria tucked down a side street near our hotel. The lights were bright, the fireplace was blazing and the long, planked benches were crowded with festive folks.

We ordered this chicken dish, which warmed us from the inside out. The matron insisted the secret was the butter, which she probably churned herself.

I don’t churn my own butter, but I certainly enjoy making this dish at home. When tomatoes aren’t in season, you can substitute a can of diced tomatoes. Don’t skip the butter, though.

Basil Garlic Chicken

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 to 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil, shredded
1/4 cup salted butter
8 oz whole-wheat spaghetti

Directions:
Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Pound to an even thickness using a mallet, about one-inch thick.

Remove the chicken from the paper, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Dice the tomatoes, mince the garlic and shred the basil.

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet. When the oil is fragrant and shimmering, add the chicken and pan fry until golden-brown on each side. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pan.

Cool pan slightly. Add tomatoes and simmer until they’ve cooked down and are releasing juices. Add the garlic and butter; combine until butter is melted. Add the chicken back to the pan and baste with the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is well-coated.

Just before serving, stir in the basil.

Drain pasta; serve with chicken and sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 571, Fat: 25.9 g, (9.5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 113.3 mg, Sodium: 64.7 mg, Carbohydrates: 49.4 g, Fiber: 3.9 g, Sugar: 5.6 g, Protein: 34.9 g.

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Shop the Sale: Country-Style Ribs


Country-Style RibsCountry-style ribs fool me every time because there’s no bone in them to have to gnaw! For YEARS, I didn’t eat ribs in public, and I still don’t CHOOSE to do so very often. They’re just…messy. Good, but messy.

Not so with country ribs.

Country-style ribs are the meatiest variety of pork ribs, and are cut from the sirloin or rib end of the pork loin. You eat them with a knife and fork, or only a fork if they’re tender enough.

The ones we made last weekend certainly fit the bill, and we didn’t even have to do much to them. A good spice rub, a hot sear and then some slower cooking on the grill were all they needed. You could even marinate or brine them to infuse them with more flavor before you cooked them.

Country-style ribs are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so don’t be afraid because you won’t get messy.

Country-Style Ribs

Ingredients:
6 country-style pork ribs (about 2 1/2 lbs)
juice from 1 lime
2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Bring country-style ribs to room temperature. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and massage into meat. Combine cumin, red pepper, black pepper and salt. Rub into all sides of the country-style ribs.

Preheat grill to high heat. Sear ribs on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Turn heat down to low; cook until ribs are cooked through (145° F) and tender. Remove from grill; let rest until they reach 150° F internal temperature.

Serves 3

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 489, Calories from Fat: 160, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 186 mg, Sodium: 1491 mg, Potassium: 78 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 81 g.

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Shop the Sale: Smoked Pork Roast


Smoked Pork RoastAs I’ve mentioned recently, Paul’s shiny red smoker has come to live on my back porch. He brought it over on Thanksgiving, and I’m hesitant to return it. He says it can stay, since we mostly cook at my house, and I’m probably going to hold him to that.

There is seriously nothing better than the smell of meat slow-cooking all day on the smoker. Why don’t they make a cologne and bottle that scent? Until then, I’ll just make Paul stand downwind of the smoker when we’re cooking!

Pork roast is definitely one of my favorite things to smoke, and it stands up so well to slow-cooking. Now, you might want to brine a boneless roast before you smoke it to keep it moist. This step probably isn’t so critical with a pork shoulder or something fattier, but I’d definitely take the extra time to do it with a boneless roast. Plus, it imparts some good flavor. You can get creative with the brine, too. Instead of apple juice, you can use plain water, beer or orange juice. Stick to something with a bit of acid in it, in my opinion. You can also add in whatever spices you want, as long as you keep the salt (that’s what makes the brine a brine).

Enjoy this recipe while boneless pork roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week.

Smoked Pork Roast

Ingredients:
7 lb boneless pork roast

BRINE:
2 quarts apple juice
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp thyme
5 whole cloves
1 tsp black pepper

RUB:
4 Tbs Worcestershire powder
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs pepper
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs brown sugar

Directions:
Combine brine ingredients in a large roasting pan on the stove. Bring to a boil. Cool and submerge roast in brine. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove roast from brine. Rinse and pat very dry.

Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub over pork roast, pressing into meat for more flavor.

Prepare smoker to 200° F to 225° F. Add wood chip flavoring. Smoke for about 8 hours or until internal temperature of pork roast reaches 150° F. Remove from heat. Let rest until pork reaches 155° F.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 577, Calories from Fat: 127, Fat: 14 g, Trans Fat: 4 g, (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 290 mg, Sodium: 1100 mg, Potassium: 1696 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 104 g.

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Shop the Sale: Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites


Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken BitesPhew!

What a week!

Did you all have a great Christmas? I did! My parents were in town visiting from out of state. I got to go to sleep and wake up Christmas morning with my kids and my love, and life is pretty much great.

I’m sad to see Christmas go, but I’m also ready to celebrate 2016. The past year brought so much joy and so many beautiful changes. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2016. I’m looking forward to great things.

We’re going to ring in the new year quietly, as usual, but surrounded by family and close friends and, of course, good food.

This dish could be an appetizer or a main meal. It’s great because it’s easily doubled or tripled, which is great timing considering that boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders are on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

I think it’s always a good idea to serve a hearty protein at a party, and this dish is perfect for New Year’s Eve!

Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

Ingredients:
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
4 (4 oz) skinless chicken breast tenders
8 slices thin-cut bacon, cut into halves
2/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:
Combine chili powder, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge chicken in the spice mixture to coat well. Press the spices into the chicken if necessary to help it adhere.

Wrap each strip of chicken in two slices of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Roll the bacon-wrapped chicken in brown sugar until well-covered.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (for easier clean-up) and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 378, Calories from Fat: 117, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 77 mg, Sodium: 924 mg, Potassium: 284 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 28 g, Protein: 33 g.

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Shop the Sale: Butter-Basted Ribeye Steak


Butter-Basted Ribeye SteakThis year, I’m not going to have a big crowd for Christmas dinner. In addition, none of the guests I will have really care if the meal is “traditional” or not, so we’re going with “not.” However, you can’t go wrong with any meal at any time with ribeye steak, on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

Beautifully marbled and full of flavor, ribeyes are my favorite cut of steak. My sweet boyfriend, Paul, usually grills them outside, but you never know just what the weather will be doing on Christmas. This year, we plan to cook them inside in the cast iron skillet. I can almost smell it now! I grow rosemary from my back porch so that will be fresh too, and the smell of browning butter combined with the sound of sizzling meat can’t be beat.

When I first read this recipe, I thought you’d actually spoon melted butter over the steaks to baste it, and while you don’t really do that, you COULD. That would also be delicious, so I changed the recipe to reflect that. Don’t add the herbs until the second stage, as they’ll get burned and bitter.

Enjoy these steaks for your Christmas dinner, or any other meal, because you really can’t go wrong with ribeye!

Butter-Basted Ribeye Steaks

Ingredients:
4 boneless ribeye steaks, about 1 lb each
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbs butter
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
2 rosemary sprigs

Directions:
Bring the ribeyes to room temperature. Drizzle with olive oil, and rub with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet until the oil shimmers and gives off a nutty smell.

Add the steaks and cook over high heat until the steaks are crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes.

Flip the steaks and add butter, thyme, garlic and rosemary.

Continue to cook over high heat, spooning the butter, garlic and herbs until steaks are cooked to desired doneness.

Remove steaks from the pan, and let them rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into them.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1279, Calories from Fat: 957, Fat: 106 g, Trans Fat: 4 g, (40 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 271 mg, Sodium: 904 mg, Potassium: 13 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 81 g.

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Shop the Sale: Maple Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey


Maple Pomegranate-Glazed TurkeyMy friend – let’s call her “Erma” – is looking for something different to make for Christmas dinner this year.

I can’t use her real name because she doesn’t want her mother-in-law to know she’s looking for a new recipe. You see, every year since she’s been married (all 23 of them) her mother-in-law bakes the turkey for Christmas dinner. And every year (all 23 of them) Erma’s holiday dinner is dry and flavorless.

“She doesn’t put anything on it,” Erma laments. “She just plops it in the pan and sticks it in the oven! Plus, she cooks it too long.”

But this year, Erma is hosting Christmas dinner for the first time. Her mother-in-law is relinquishing the kitchen, her only request being that they still have turkey for Christmas dinner, as is family tradition.

Erma is more than happy to oblige, but is looking for a way to liven up the Yuletide bird.

She found this recipe on the Honeysuckle Turkey website when she searched “Christmas turkey recipes.” Coincidentally, Honeysuckle turkeys are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so it’s the perfect time to buy one for your Christmas dinner.

Using the juice and the sweet syrup should make this bird juicy and flavorful! Maybe it’ll even start a new tradition.

Maple Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey

Ingredients:
1 12-lb Honeysuckle White® Fresh All Natural Whole Turkey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Unwrap the turkey in the sink and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the neck, giblets and any excess fat from the turkey; discard.

Coat the outside of the turkey with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour.

Combine the chicken broth, pomegranate juice and maple syrup in a non-stick skillet and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 30 minutes.

After 1 hour of roasting, begin basting with the glaze. If the bird gets too dark, cover loosely with foil. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the breast reaches 165° F.

Transfer the turkey to a platter, tent with foil and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipe from honeysucklewhite.com

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 927, Calories from Fat: 240, Fat: 27 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 354 mg, Sodium: 447 mg, Potassium: 1792 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 25 g, Protein: 134 g.

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Shop the Sale: Smoked, Glazed Spiral Christmas Ham


Smoked, Glazed Spiral Christmas HamAre you making ham for Christmas this year?

I wasn’t going to until I found this recipe that explains how to smoke a spiral-sliced ham to glazed, grilled goodness.

Hormel and Brookshire’s spiral-sliced hams are precooked, but that lends them to being perfectly smoked before serving them on Christmas Day!

This year, I have guests coming for Christmas, so it won’t be just the four of us, which is a great excuse to get a big ham. I never really need an excuse to grill or use the smoker, but Christmas and company are an added benefit. Plus, Paul’s smoker recently came to visit my back porch, and it hasn’t left yet. So, I’m going to take as much advantage of it as I can before he decides he wants it back at his house. If you needed further convincing, using the grill or smoker for your ham frees up your oven for things like cherry pies, bouche de noel or Christmas cookies!

Smoked, Glazed Spiral Christmas Ham

Ingredients:
1/2 cup apricot jam (or grape jelly)
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ancho chile powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sage
1/16 tsp ground cloves
1 (8 lb) spiral-sliced ham

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, except the ham.

Place the ham in a heavy-duty aluminum pan, and slightly separate the slices. Brush between each slice with the glaze, and coat the outside of the ham generously.

Cover the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Preheat the smoker or grill with a side for indirect grilling.

Place the pan over indirect heat. Cooking time is about 12 to 13 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 140° F to 150° F.

Baste ham with the glaze about every 20 minutes during the cooking process.

Remove the ham from the smoker when it reaches 140° F; let stand, covered, until it reaches 150° F.

Serves 12 to 14

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 676, Calories from Fat: 326, Fat: 36 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 148 mg, Sodium: 3336 mg, Potassium: 35 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 31 g, Protein: 53 g.

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Shop the Sale: Chili and Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Chops


Chili and Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Chops“Let’s have pork chops for dinner” was the battle cry from my son during a recent meal-planning weekend.

“But we just had pork chops Wednesday night,” I replied.

“That’s okay; you can never have too many pork chops,” he said.

Ok, well then, we’ll have pork chops.

He’s right in a way, as pork is such a versatile meat. We’d had them smothered the previous week, so I was looking to do something a little different that time. I grill them frequently, but I was still searching for something different.

This rub, a mix of savory chili powder and cocoa, is usually found in sweet dishes and lends the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. The addition of some brown sugar doesn’t make it overly sweet, but instead it caramelizes on the chop during the cooking process.

The boys loved these, and I thought they’d be delicious with a pinch of cayenne added, too.

Chili and Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Chops

Ingredients:
2 boneless pork chops
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbs olive oil
pinch of sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine chili powder, cocoa and brown sugar until well-blended. Divide mixture into two; rub half on each side of both pork chops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add pork chops and cook for 5 minutes on the first side, covered. Flip chops and cook a few more minutes until cooked through and caramelized.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 246, Calories from Fat: 105, Fat: 12 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 83 mg, Sodium: 92 mg, Potassium: 559 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 30 g.

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Shop the Sale: Turkey in a Paper Sack


Turkey in a Paper SackThis will be our second Thanksgiving together, and this year, Paul is cooking the turkey his way. I mean, mine was good and all that, but Paul never steers me wrong, especially when it comes to cooking meat.

Late celebrity chef David Wade from Dallas was not only a great chef, but he was a personal friend of Paul’s, so Paul makes his Thanksgiving turkey the way David Wade prepared his: in a brown paper grocery bag.

What?

Yep, a brown Brookshire’s bag works just fine.

Is it okay if it has ink on it? Yep, that’s perfectly fine, too.

What you must NOT do is deviate from this recipe. The turkey has to be 12 pounds or larger, or it won’t cook right. Don’t use more than a cup of peanut oil, or you’ll have a fire on your hands. It must be peanut oil, which has a high heating point. Other than that, it’s a simple and delicious recipe, and I look forward to not basting the bird or wrangling with the hot oven.

Buckley Farms turkeys are on sale now, so grab one (or two), ask for paper bags at the checkout and enjoy a fuss-free Thanksgiving.

Turkey in a Paper Sack

Ingredients:
1 (12 lb) Buckley Farms turkey, room temperature
3 Tbs paprika
1 cup peanut oil (no substitutions)
2 Tbs salt
2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs Worcestershire powder
1 heavy, brown paper Brookshire’s grocery bag

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F.

Inspect brown paper bag thoroughly for any holes. Bag cannot have any holes or tears.

Wash turkey and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix paprika, salt, pepper and Worcestershire powder together in a small bowl.

Rub turkey with about 1/2 cup of peanut oil, inside and out. Then, massage seasonings into bird. Pour remaining oil into the brown paper bag, completely coating the surface. Place turkey inside the bag, breast-side up, and place the bag into a large roasting pan.

Seal the end of the bag tightly using twine. Make sure the top of the bag does NOT touch the top or sides of the oven.

Bake 10 minutes per pound without opening the bag.

When time is up, remove from the oven. Carefully slit the top of the bag, allowing steam to escape. Allow to vent, and then remove the bag.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 937, Calories from Fat: 368, Fat: 41 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 343 mg, Sodium: 1488 mg, Potassium: 1397 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 133 g.

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