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Dine In: Cheeseburger Hand Pies

Cheeseburger Hand PiesOne of our favorite family activities is to go to the drive-in movies on a Friday night.

We get there early, spread out a few picnic blankets, set up camping chairs and unpack the cooler. We have dinner there in the fading light and pack extra snacks for the movie, of course!

Having dinner at the drive-in is the best. I’ve often said food tastes the most delicious outdoors, and on a picnic blanket in front of a huge screen is no exception. After we eat, we usually kick around a soccer ball or throw a tennis ball until the sun sinks over the horizon and the big screen crackles to life.

One of the best parts is that we’re so busy enjoying each other, that phones and other electronics get left inside the car!

When the movie starts, we pile blankets in the trunk and settle in under the stars. It’s really a perfect Friday night.

I found that I can make these Cheeseburger Hand Pies ahead of time and heat them up before we go, storing them in an insulated bag to keep them warm until we’re ready to eat.

Cheeseburger Hand Pies

1 lb 80/20 ground beef
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 cup dill pickles, finely chopped
1 (8 ct) pkg refrigerated biscuits
8 slices American cheese
mustard and ketchup, to taste
olive oil

Mix ground beef with seasoned salt and pickles. Form 8 burger patties. Grill or pan-fry until cooked through to desired doneness.

Preheat oven to 350° F, and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the biscuits from the package. Place on baking sheet, carefully separating biscuits into two pieces horizontally.

Press bottom biscuit to flatten. Top with a burger, cheese, mustard and/or ketchup, if desired. Press the other half of the biscuit on top; fold edges of the bottom biscuit piece up to seal.

Repeat with all burgers and biscuits.

Brush with olive oil. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden-brown and burgers are heated through.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 392, Calories from Fat: 187, Fat: 21 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 68 mg, Sodium: 1527 mg, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 24 g.

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Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Ragu

Slow Cooker RaguWhen I was visiting Italy, one of my favorite meals, not only of the trip but of all time, was a slow cooked ragu over polenta.

A ragu is simply a meat sauce, slow-cooked until the meat is fork-tender and melts in your mouth, with tomatoes and spices.

In fact, most “sauces” you see in Italy are more a ragu than the marinara we know well in America.

You can make a ragu with almost any meat. I’ve had pork ragus and beef ragus. They’re delicious if you leave the bone in your meat during the cooking process, but it’s just as tasty if you use a boneless cut of meat, like this boneless rump roast on sale at Brookshire’s this week.

The trattoria where I ate my ragu in Italy was on a cobbled side street in Venice with a small garden with a tiny view of the water, covered in a pergola weighted down with flowering vines.

The whole street was resplendent with the smell of cooking meat and spices.

You can serve this over pastas or mashed potatoes, but the polenta provides a bit of bite that complements the heavy sauce.

Slow Cooker Ragu

2 Tbs olive oil
3 lbs beef rump roast or round roast
1/2 cup white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano Whole Tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Wait until it is fragrant and starting to bubble, then add rump roast. Sear on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

Place rump roast in the slow cooker with onions, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, basil, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with a fork and remove bay leaves.
Serve over polenta, a hearty pasta or mashed potatoes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 461, Calories from Fat: 189, Fat: 23 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 1099 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 31 g.

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Dine In: Steak and Cheddar Quiche

Steak and Cheddar QuicheSunday is Mother’s Day and while perusing recipes for this blog post, I came to realize one consistent truth: Mother’s Day is about brunch.

I love brunch. I seriously love brunch. The combination of breakfast and lunch is glorious.

This mama wants a steak for Mother’s Day though.

Then, I got to thinking. How can I have steak at brunch?

Well, I could just grill one and serve it aside fluffy scrambled eggs, or grill a steak and slap a fried egg on top and let the golden yolk smother the steak in velvety goodness.

Or, I could embrace the Mother’s Day brunch and make a breakfast full of steak, eggs and cheese, pretty much all my favorite things!

The beauty of this recipe is that you can grill a HUGE steak on Friday or Saturday night, enjoy it as a meal, and then use the leftovers for this quiche. Or, when you’re grilling your Friday night steak, throw an extra cut on the flames in preparation for this recipe.

You can never have too much steak. Just don’t tell my cardiologist.

Steak and Cheddar Quiche

1 lb grilled steak, diced
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 medium white onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs butter
8 oz Cabot Sharp Cheddar, shredded
16 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs dry mustard
sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 single-crust, deep-dish pie crusts

Separate pie crusts, and defrost while oven preheats to 375° F. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet. Sauté onions, garlic and mushrooms until softened. Add spinach, and heat until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Whisk eggs and heavy cream together in a large bowl. Season with mustard, salt and pepper; thoroughly combine. Spread half of the grated cheese in the bottom of each pie crust, and then top with the vegetables. Layer the steak on top of the vegetables in each pie pan. Pour the egg mixture on top of the steak, dividing by half.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown and the filling is set.

Serves 16
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 254, Calories from Fat: 136, Fat: 15 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 206 mg, Sodium: 238 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 21 g.

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Product Talk: Grub Rub

Gordon’s Grub RubToday, we are smoking pork ribs, and there’s only one thing Paul wants to put on them: Grub Rub.

Gordon’s Grub Rub is a seasoning, tenderizer and marinade all in one delicious blend of spices. Seriously, you can use it for anything.

Gordon’s Grub Rub is an old family secret, and according to their website, their claim to fame is that their rub doesn’t RUB off of meats and veggies, excuse the bad pun. The website says that as soon as the rub becomes damp, it clings to the meat, a claim we’ve definitely found to be accurate. Because it clings so much better, it not only flavors and tenderizes the meat, but it forms a beautiful crust as the meat is cooking.

Made in Katy, Texas, Grub Rub is sold on the spice aisle of your local Brookshire’s in a 13-ounce shaker. It contains 3 calories for 1/3 teaspoon, 87 milligrams of sodium and zero fat. They don’t really give away the blend in the ingredients listing, though, or on the website. The label simply reads “sugar, salt, pepper, spices, garlic, onion and tenderizers.”

Grub Rub is gluten-free, has no preservatives, and has no MSG.

As they say (it’s true!), “there’s no need to add anything else.”

Shop the Sale: John Morrell Bacon Egg Salad

John Morrell Bacon Egg SaladWhen I was little, my favorite sandwich was egg salad.

I used to have it in my lunch on Fridays usually (because we didn’t eat meat most Fridays, not just during Lent), and this was back in the days before we packed school lunches in insulated bags with ice packs. Believe it or not, I survived the five-hour-old egg salad sandwich.

I also loved egg salad because it meant I got to help my mom make it and use her nifty harvest-gold colored egg slicer. The little guillotine wires sliced the egg into perfect little rounds, and then I could turn the egg sideways and slice again, cutting it into tiny little pieces.

That’s how I still slice my eggs, although my egg salad has evolved beyond the mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Now, I add bacon to my egg salad because bacon makes everything better. John Morrell Bacon is on sale this week at Brookshire’s. This crisp, smoky bacon adds a nice hickory flavor to the egg salad, and if you wait to stir it until just before serving, a great pop of texture, too.

Try this for breakfast on a whole-grain bagel thin or in your lunch, refrigeration recommended.

Bacon Egg Salad

3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
6 strips John Morrell Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup red onions, diced
1 Tbs green onions, chopped
8 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Mix together the Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper.

Gently stir in the bacon, red onions and green onions. Carefully fold into the eggs until they’re completely coated with the dressing.

Chill well.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 395, Calories from Fat: 248, Fat: 28 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 376 mg, Sodium: 1418 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 32 g.

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Dine In: Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

Philly Cheesesteak SlidersThis weekend, Paul made us dinner (twice, actually), and with one of the meals, he served King’s Hawaiian Rolls.

The meal itself was magnificent, but what was totally devoured without a leftover in sight? The Hawaiian rolls. Clearly, all three of my guys love these things.

As for me, I love to make dishes they love, so I searched for more recipes using the rolls. We’ve already done the ham and cheese baked Hawaiian rolls (and they are well-loved, I assure you), but I was looking for something different.

I came across a recipe for Philly Cheesesteak Sliders, so we gave those a whirl last Friday night. They’re quick and delicious, and (you guessed it) they were gone in a heartbeat.

Next time, I might have to make two pans.

Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

1 pkg King’s Hawaiian Rolls
1 box Steak-umm thinly sliced steak strips
1 green pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 white onion, sliced in thin strips
6 slices provolone cheese
2-3 Tbs mayonnaise
3 Tbs butter, melted
2 Tbs dried onion
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Melt butter in a small pan; stir in dried onion. Set aside to cool and let onion soften.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Carefully holding the rolls in one sheet, carefully slice through the center, horizontally. Place the bottom of the rolls in 9 x 13 baking dish.

Prepare Steak-umms according to package directions. Remove from skillet. Add onion and pepper; sauté until just tender. They will finish cooking in the oven.

Spread mayonnaise on the bottom of the Hawaiian rolls. Top with beef, onions, peppers and slices of provolone cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Top with the remaining half of the rolls.

Pour butter and onion mixture over the sandwiches. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from oven; cut into 12 sliders and serve immediately.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 400, Calories from Fat: 263, Fat: 29 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 74 mg, Sodium: 484 mg, Potassium: 56 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 13 g.

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Dine In: Caprese Chicken

Caprese ChickenI decided to bring someone new to date night: chicken.

We don’t eat much chicken, to be honest; Paul likes red meat. A girl can’t live on red meat alone though (actually, I could, but it’s not the most healthy option), so every once in a while, I have to work chicken in the rotation.

I love this caprese version because it brings in all the best flavors of springtime: basil from the bountiful pot on my back porch and fresh Roma tomatoes from the Brookshire’s produce aisle. Splurge on some fresh mozzarella cheese for this delightful dish, but if you can’t find it, it’s fine to get a package of cheese slices from the deli, too.

You can sear these chicken thighs in a pan and then roast in the oven, but you can also grill them. If you use the grill, place the cheese and tomatoes on at the last minute, covering the grill until the cheese is melty and then topping with the basil and sauce before serving.

I love this with a fresh salad and grilled flatbread.

Caprese Chicken

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar, packed
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 Tbs unsalted butter
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.

Combine olive oil, basil and oregano. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Using a pastry brush, work the olive oil mixture onto both sides of the chicken.

Melt butter in cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is bubbling, add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. After the chicken is seared, place on a baking sheet in the oven; roast until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella cheese; broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven. Top with tomatoes and fresh basil; drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 337, Calories from Fat: 221.4, Fat: 24.6 g, (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 91 mg, Sodium: 239 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 20 g.

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Shop the Sale: Sirloin Steak Tips Au Poivre

Sirloin Steak Tips Au PoivreI think sirloin steak is one of the most underrated cuts of beef.

You can grill it, for sure, but you can also use it in stir-fries, stroganoffs, stews and other dishes like this delicious French-inspired dish that brings up the flavor of the meat with crushed whole peppercorns.

For a long time, I confess, I really thought steak tips were the tip of a particular cut of meat. They aren’t. Steak tips are usually just a sirloin strip steak cut into bite-sized pieces. The name will fool you, or at least it did me.

You get a burst of pepper in this dish, as you press the peppercorns into the meat and sear it that way. The sauce is the perfect complement to the dish, especially when you serve it over rice to soak up all the juices.

This is definitely a meal that your family would love, or a definitive date night dish. Sirloin strip steak is already economical, but it’s on sale this week at Brookshire’s, too.

Sirloin Steak Tips Au Poivre

4 (6 to 8 oz) sirloin strip steaks
kosher salt
2 Tbs whole peppercorns
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp cognac
1 Tbs whole-grain mustard
1 cup heavy cream

Bring steaks to room temperature on the kitchen counter, about 1 hour prior to cooking. Cut into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Crush the whole peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or with the flat side of a large chef’s knife. Spread the peppercorns into a shallow plate or baking dish. Toss with the steak pieces, turning to coat and pressing peppercorns into meat. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. As they become fragrant, place steak in the pan (being careful not to overcrowd), and stir until browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate or bowl; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Remove pan from heat. Drain excess fat, but do not scrape the pan. Add 1/3 cup cognac to the pan; ignite with a long lighter. Gently shake the pan until the flames die. Return the pan to the heat, and add mustard and cream. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, whisking constantly. Add the remaining teaspoon of cognac and salt. Add the meat back to the pan; mix with the sauce and heat through. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 752, Calories from Fat: 516, Fat: 57 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (26 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 217 mg, Sodium: 183 mg, Potassium: 765 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 55 g.

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Shop the Sale: Greek Grilled Pork Chops

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

When I first moved out of the house, one of my mom’s friends gave me a cast iron skillet.

Not only did this cooking vessel weigh enough to take up most of my allotted baggage weight with the moving company, but it came with strict instructions: DO NOT WASH THIS WITH SOAP EVER.

That seemed like one too many rule to me, plus not using soap was just plain gross.

Or so I thought.

My cast iron skillet sat, untouched and unseasoned (yet unwashed with soap) in my cabinet for years, until I had occasion to make a recipe that specifically called for a cast iron skillet. I called my mom.

“What am I supposed to do with this again?” I asked.

She guided me through rubbing it down with vegetable oil and placing it in a hot oven for a few hours, taking it out, letting it cool, rubbing it down with more oil, then using it.

I did all that.

I made something in it. I can’t remember now, but when I finished, there were bits stuck to the bottom of the gleaming cast iron.

I was going to have to use soap, or so I thought until I ran it under hot water and everything washed off easily, no soap required.

From then on, it was true love.

A co-worker is about to get married and, while I don’t know her that well, we threw a shower in her honor a few weeks ago. I decided to get her one of the things that I love most in my kitchen: a cast iron skillet.

Her eyes bulged when she took the bag.

“What do I do with this?” she wanted to know.

So I told her.

Never, EVER wash it with soap.

You can make these Greek-inspired pork chops in your cast iron skillet as well.

This week, boneless pork chops are on sale at Brookshire’s, your grocery oasis right near home, no road trip required and, let me tell you, the prices are great.

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops, about 1 1/2 lbs

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp dried Greek oregano
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Whisk together marinade ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Greek oregano, garlic and black pepper. Pour into a zipper-lock plastic bag; place pork chops inside. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours, turning a few times.

When ready to cook, let pork chops come to room temperature in marinade. Preheat the grill pan to medium-high heat. Slap the pork chops onto the grill pan, and let them cook about 3 minutes. Then, rotate 45 degrees to get lovely cross-hatched grill marks. Cook an additional 3 minutes on the first side; flip and cook an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 361, Calories from Fat: 169, Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 124 mg, Sodium: 101 mg, Potassium: 763 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 45 g.

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Product Talk: Sirloin Strip Steaks

Sirloin Strip SteaksYesterday afternoon, we went to Brookshire’s to pick out something for dinner.

We didn’t have anything particular in mind (except that I wanted mashed potatoes as a side dish), but we tend to lean toward red meat. Specifically, we tend to be ribeye folks.

Yesterday, salivating over the meat case in Brookshire’s, we saw some lovely sirloin strips.

A sirloin strip, also called the Kansas City Strip steak, is a cut of steak from the short loin around the back midsection of the cow. This particular muscle does little work, producing a tender cut of meat, although not quite as tender as a ribeye or tenderloin.

As far as fat content goes, it’s somewhere in between the aforementioned two cuts.

There is no bone in this cut of steak, just some slight marbling and enough fat to add flavor to the meat. As always, you want to bring it to room temperature before grilling or cooking. Season with salt, pepper and, our favorite, David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder.

For a less expensive price, it was a delicious steak, juicy, tender and full of flavor.

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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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