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Dine In: Brisket Chili

Brisket ChiliPaul has very definitive ideas about chili, you know, being native Texan and all that.

He says in Texas there’s only one way to eat chili: meat, tomato sauce and spices. No beans, no onions, no beer, no vegetables or anything else. Texas-purist chili is the only way to go, he’ll tell me.

Well, I didn’t grow up in Texas. Any of the aforementioned items are fair game when it comes to chili for me. Let me just say it now, too. I like beans in my chili.

Have you recovered yet? Good, then let’s move on.

Last weekend, we smoked a brisket. A huge brisket. A brisket that fed four people three times, with some to spare.

I froze the rest of the smoked brisket, and it’s been burning a hole in my freezer ever since. I wanted to use it for chili.

Surprisingly, Paul agreed.

He agreed on the condition that it’s still only brisket, ground chuck, tomato sauce and spices. That’s all. No beans, no onions, no beer and no vegetables of any kind.


The chili was amazing (even without the beans). It simmered on the stove for a few hours and made the perfect Friday night meal!

Brisket Chili

1 lb smoked beef brisket, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 lb ground chuck
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 pkg Wick Fowler’s 2-Alarm Chili Kit
2 cups water

Brown the ground beef and drain the fat. Add brisket and stir until heated through. Add the tomato sauce, water and seasoning packets (except the ones labeled Red Pepper and Masa Flour.)

For hot chili, stir in the red pepper; for medium spice, use half the red pepper. For mild spice, omit the red pepper.

Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until meat is tender.

For thicker chili (the way I like it), stir in the Masa Flour. Simmer 15 to 20 more minutes (or a few hours).

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 189, Calories from Fat: 85, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 501 mg, Potassium: 218 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 21 g.

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Shop the Sale: Smoked Rosemary-Garlic Pork Loin Roast

Smoked Rosemary-Garlic Pork Loin RoastI’m slightly obsessed with the smoker. It has a place of honor on my back porch, and I tend to smoke something every weekend and sometimes on weekdays to boot. The smoker is almost like my slow cooker. I can fill it up when I run home at lunch or before I leave in the morning, and it’s ready to go at dinner time.

The other benefit of the smoker is that it smells so wonderful when you’ve got something cooking in it. Seriously, I prefer the smell of smoking meat to any scented wax cube they can invent. I’ll leave the windows cracked so the smell can waft into the house.

A boneless pork loin roast is one of my favorite things to smoke. It stays so moist and full of flavor. I love this recipe not only because it has two of my favorite spices, rosemary and garlic, but also because their value as aromatics is astronomical. This smells so good while smoking!

Of course, you can make this recipe in a traditional smoker, an electric smoker or on your grill over indirect heat.

With boneless pork loin roast on sale this week at Brookshire’s, there’s no reason not to run out and get this smoking!

Smoked Rosemary-Garlic Pork Loin Roast

4 cups apple or hickory wood chips
1 (2 1/2 lb) boneless pork top-loin roast (single loin)
2 Tbs fresh rosemary
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon or lime
aluminum foil

Soak the wood chips in water overnight. Drain chips after soaking (you can use the discarded liquid in the drip pan on the smoker for extra oomph.)

To make the rub, combine rosemary, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Massage into the pork loin.

Prepare your smoker. Place the boneless loin roast on the rack and spread rosemary sprigs over the wood chips. Cover and smoke about 2-3 hours or until the roast reaches 155 degrees.

Remove pork from the smoker; squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice over the meat. Tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 269, Calories from Fat: 98, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 112 mg, Sodium: 141 mg, Potassium: 536 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 39 g.

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Shop the Sale: Cheesy Bacon Tots

John Morrell BaconSometimes I feel like it’s impossible to get anything done efficiently anymore. I’m attending to one task, and then my attention is grabbed by something totally irrelevant.

Case in point: I’m hanging up wet laundry over the weekend. The vast majority of my clothes get line-dried instead of being tossed in the dryer. Sometimes this is a monumental process, and my laundry room often looks like a second closet. So, I’m hanging up laundry, and something on the laundry cart catches my eye. Hey! It’s that dog brush I forgot I had, the rubber one that gets all the dander off the dog and zaps shedding hair better than most brushes made for dogs. I grab the brush, the dog and drag him onto the back porch to get to work. The rest of the damp laundry sits in the purgatory of the basket, out of the washing machine but not yet hung (and totally defeating the purpose of hanging it when it’s damp to alleviate wrinkles).

Same thing happened online today. I set out to look for a new bacon recipe because John Morrell Bacon is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and we all need more bacon in our lives. However, I got distracted by a post about essential oils on Pinterest, which led me to reading about how to clean my diffuser, which lead me to cleaning my diffuser, which led me to remembering I needed to get this work finished, so I sat back down…and opened Facebook, where there was a lovely bacon recipe staring me straight in the eyes.

The only problem is…you can’t get distracted while defrosting the tots. You have to finish this recipe. Your family will thank you for it.

The original recipe came with a sauce idea as well, but my family isn’t big on sauces. If you’re so inclined, serve with a side of barbecue or ranch to dip.

Cheesy Bacon Tots

3 cups tater tots, thawed to room temperature
4 oz cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
16 oz John Morrell Bacon (each strip cut into thirds)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder

Set tater tots out to thaw. While they are coming to room temperature, preheat the oven to 400° F. When tots are thawed, cut them in half lengthwise, and place a cube of cheese inside. Press halves back together, and wrap with a piece of bacon.

Mix brown sugar and chili powder in a small bowl. Roll each bacon-wrapped tot in the brown sugar mixture.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place each tot, bacon seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Repeat until you run out of bacon.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tots over halfway through the baking process. Cook until bacon is crisp. Serve hot.

Makes about 24 tots

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 96, Calories from Fat: 58, Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 9 mg, Sodium: 224 mg, Potassium: 55 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Family Matters: Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Barbecue

Slow Cooker Pulled Beef BarbecueWhat’s for dinner is always the question of the day. I ask myself this question every day because I’m the one doing all the cooking for my family. Next to grilling, my second favorite way to cook is using my slow cooker. Dump everything in the slower cooker, turn it on and walk away – it’s that easy!

One of my family’s favorite slower cooker meals is Pulled Beef Barbecue. This beef is so yummy; I can just eat it straight from the slow cooker. However, it’s best piled on buns. This recipe makes so much that you can use this beef in many other recipes like soups, burritos, tacos, pastas or even to top off a pizza.

Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Barbecue
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Serves: 10

3 1/2 lbs boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into pieces
1 pkg McCormick® Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Place beef in slow cooker. Mix seasoning, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar and water until blended. Pour over beef. Cover.

Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Remove beef from slow cooker. Shred beef using two forks. Return beef to slow cooker; mix and heat with sauce. Serve on sandwich rolls, if desired.

Slow Cooker Tip: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 556, Fat: 37 g, Cholesterol: 157 mg, Sodium: 98 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 44 g.

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Shop the Sale: Open-Faced Beef Sandwiches with Gravy

Open-Faced Beef Sandwiches with GravyA few weeks ago, we went to an event in a small restaurant in an even smaller Texas town.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the choice of venues because certainly this town is not a dining destination.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

We pulled up to the restaurant on the downtown square in this little Texas town at twilight. The sun was setting behind the copper dome of the stately courthouse, and let’s be honest, no one does a courthouse like small Texas towns. The effect was majestic. The little restaurant was set into a strip of other small businesses, antique shops, an old-fashioned pharmacy, a boutique and a bookstore. The storefront was modest, but the aroma was intoxicating.

The menu was Southern comfort food at its finest: chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy; brown sugar ham with beans and cornbread; and macaroni laden with five different cheeses. Then, there was the open-faced beef sandwich. I didn’t order it, but I wish I had. Luckily, boneless chuck roast is on sale this week at Brookshire’s because I’ll be recreating this gem in my own kitchen.

Open-Faced Beef Sandwiches with Gravy

3 lb boneless chuck roast
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs David Wade Gourmet Worcestershire Powder
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups beef stock
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs parsley
8 slices good-quality sandwich bread

Remove roast from the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Rub the roast with salt, pepper and Worcestershire powder.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet. When the oil sizzles, add the chuck roast, browning quickly on all sides. Add the onions; sauté 1 minute.

Remove from the heat, and add the beef stock to the skillet, scraping up browned bits of meat and onions.

Place skillet in the oven, and roast until the chuck is falling apart, about 2 hours.

Remove from the oven, and shred the beef with two forks. Keep warm.

In the skillet on the stovetop, heat juices until bubbly. Mix together flour and water; stir into the beef stock on the stove. Let simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.

Sprinkle beef with parsley. Spoon beef over bread, topping with gravy. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 604, Calories from Fat: 382, Fat: 42 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 168 mg, Sodium: 299 mg, Potassium: 481 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 48 g.

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Family Matters: Easy Meal Idea

Easy Meal IdeaI recently prepared a meal for my family that was so easy to make, and it was delicious not only for dinner but it also made a great leftover meal for the next day.

Slow Cooker Pork Loin
Cut pork loin in 3/4” to 1” pieces, and dip in a milk and egg mixture to moisten the outside of the meat. Place pieces of pork loin in breadcrumbs (flip several times to make sure they are covered). Place the breaded pork loin in a slow cooker and seal off with cover. I put 3 layers of pork chops with no problem. Do not put any type of water or juice in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove from slow cooker, and you are ready to eat. Meat comes out crunchy and tender. If your family likes gravy, it would be great on top of the finished pork loin.

Baked Diced Potatoes
Wash whole potatoes thoroughly in warm water. Cut potatoes in half and then cut into small cube-shaped pieces (as large or small as you like). Place in a large bowl, rinse with cold water and then drain. Add olive oil in the bowl and mix potatoes until they are covered. Add at least 1 package of dry ranch dressing, and toss potatoes so the seasoning is mixed in well. Bake at 400° F for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and enjoy. Potatoes are soft, full of flavor and better for you since they are baked!

Try this easy meal idea and use the extra “free time” to enjoy your family or to do something special for yourself…you deserve it! Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family.

Shop the Sale: Honey-Butter Pork Tenderloin

Honey-Butter Pork TenderloinSometimes, the first thing that catches your eye is the thing that will stick with you.

It happened to me with my wedding dress. The first one I tried on was THE ONE. Although, I had to try on 97 more just to make sure. In the end, I went back to the first one.

The same thing happened as I was making dinner menus recently. I saw a recipe for a whole, boneless pork tenderloin that sounded delicious, but I had to read 76 more pork loin recipes only to decide I wanted to make the first one I’d seen.

I didn’t regret it.

Whole pork loin is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and this is probably the best deal on meat that ever exists. There are so many ways to break down a whole pork loin. Generally, when I buy one, I can get a roast and two tenderloins out of it, or about 24 servings. That’s a lot of value in one cut of meat.

For this recipe, you can break down the loin into a roast, a tenderloin and chops, and make this from the tenderloin, or you can double this recipe and use it for the whole loin, then make the leftovers into sandwiches or stir-fry.

Honey-Butter Pork Tenderloin

4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs local honey
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Heat the butter and honey over medium-high heat in a cast-iron (or other ovenproof) skillet until melted. Rub the pork loin with Cajun seasoning and black pepper. When the butter is hot and beginning to sizzle, brown each side of the pork loin for 5 minutes until seared. Lower the heat if the honey begins to brown.

Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer to the oven. Roast, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the pork to a large platter. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Add water to the skillet and stir over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the pan sauce is reduced slightly.

Slice pork on the diagonal and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 254, Fat: 11 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 103 mg, Sodium: 125 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 30 g.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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