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Product Talk: Fresh Cranberries


Seasonal, fresh cranberries are one of my favorite things ever. They’re tart, tasty and so good for you.

You’ve probably already seen all of the amazing things you can do with cranberries in the November/December issue of Celebrate Cooking, but did you know how good they are for you as well?

Often referred to as a superfood, cranberries are rich in antioxidants and only contain 25 calories per one-half cup. Studies have shown that the nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function and decreased blood pressure.

Cranberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K. They also contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), an antioxidant that may help prevent a range of diseases.

There are so many ways to incorporate cranberries into your dishes. Here’s a tasty one!

Apple-Cranberry Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup apple, chopped
1/4 cup cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbs light mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbs parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Combine chicken, celery, apple and cranberries in large bowl. In smaller bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently fold dressing mixture into the chicken mixture. Chill to blend ingredients.

*Chef’s Tip: Use leftover holiday turkey in place of the chicken.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 625, Fat: 13 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 286 mg, Sodium: 324 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 9 g; Protein: 108 g.



Shop the Sale: Homemade Tater Tots


Homemade Tater Tots width=Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Who doesn’t love tater tots? Seriously. Everyone loves tater tots, and now you can make them yourself with our homemade tater tot recipe! We’re not going to lie and say they’re completely healthy, but with no saturated fat and sans the artificial flavors and preservatives that often come with the store bought kind, these tater tots give you the flavor you crave without the guilt. And with Russet Potatoes on sale, you can feel good about making more than one batch.

Ingredients
Canola oil, for frying
4 russet potatoes, peeled
1 1/2 Tbs salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions
In a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, pour enough oil to come halfway up sides of pot. Heat to 375° F. Finely shred potatoes on fine box grater. Season potatoes with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Wait for 5 minutes. Put potatoes in kitchen towel, and squeeze out excess liquid.

Put potatoes in medium-sized bowl along with egg; mix well. Add flour; stir to combine. Stir in cayenne, paprika and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste. (The mixture should be workable but dry.)

Form potatoes into balls or tots. Fry in batches until golden-brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from fryer; drain on paper towel-lined tray. Immediately season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter or bowl to serve.

Calories Per Serving: 224, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium: 2645 mg, Carbohydrates: 47 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 7 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Chef Tips

The Humble Potato Is Healthier Than You Think
Potatoes – especially white potatoes – get a bad rap. Yes, they’re a high-glycemic carb. Yes, the way most people eat them smothered in butter and sour cream or fried makes them bad for you, but on their own, they’re actually pretty healthy. First they’re high in fiber, fat free and cholesterol free. They’re also low in sodium and high in vitamin C and potassium, and a good source of many other vitamins and minerals. Plus, if you eat enough of them, they can provide all of the amino acids and protein you need in a day.

Healthy Potato Options
While tater tots are a delicious treat to be enjoyed occasionally, there are many other ways to enjoy potatoes without the added fat. A simple, quick way is to microwave or bake potatoes in the oven and top with salsa or other low calorie toppings. You can also bake them (with or without other veggies) for a healthy side, or try them mashed or boiled. Potato salad made with oil and vinegar can also be a healthier alternative to the mayo version.



Product Talk: Brookshire’s Baby Cucumbers


Brookshire’s is now carrying baby cucumbers in the produce section.

Packaged in stay-fresh bags, these greenhouse-grown, smaller-sized cucumbers are perfect for healthy snacking.

They are sweeter and more crisp than your common garden cucumbers, with more tender skin and sized perfectly for single servings.

My kids love these in their lunches, with hummus to dip. They’re also nice sliced into salads or spears, and less work to do so.

Baby cucumbers, aptly named because they are only five or six inches in length, are also seedless and “burpless,” making them easier on your stomach.

Choose a bag that has firm cucumbers that are bright green, without soft spots.

Hummus-Stuffed Lunchbox Cucumbers

Ingredients:
1 lb baby cucumbers (about 4)
8 Tbs prepared hummus
4 Tbs feta cheese, crumbled
4 Tbs green olives, diced

Directions:
Slice a wedge lengthwise from baby cucumbers without cutting all the way through. Spread hummus into wedge; sprinkle with feta and green olives. Wrap with plastic wrap, and send in school lunches for a healthy treat.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 101, Fat: 6 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 346 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 5 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



Shop the Sale: Arroz Con Pollo


Arroz Con PolloPrep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

It might sound plain with a name like “rice with chicken”, but trust us, this traditional Spanish dish is anything but. Simmered with onion, bell pepper and garlic in a tomato and chicken broth with a bunch of herbs and spices, this is a chicken dish sure to be on regular rotation. Start this week while Sanderson Farms Chicken Thighs are on sale.

Ingredients
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lbs), rinsed and patted dry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped
1 tsp hot paprika
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup basmati rice or long-grain rice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp saffron threads
3 cups chicken broth
Hot sauce
2 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions
Season chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In large cast-iron or straight-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sear chicken thighs (turning once) until golden-brown, about 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; set aside.

Drain half of oil from pan; return pan to heat. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes, paprika and bay leaves. Cook (stirring often) until onions begins to caramelize, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Cook (stirring constantly) until it begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add rice, cumin, coriander and saffron. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Place chicken thighs skin-side up in rice. Keep skin above rice to keep it crispy. Cook, partially covered with foil, until rice has absorbed liquid and chicken is cooked through (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Remove bay leaves. Sprinkle cilantro over rice; gently stir to incorporate. Serve directly from pan with hot sauce.

Calories per Serving: 464, Fat: 27 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 98 mg, Sodium: 470 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 22 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Chef Tips

A Little Arroz Con Pollo History
Similar to paella, this is a traditional dish with different names and variations across Spain and Latin America. Where it originates is often hotly contested, but today, many countries and even regions have developed their own take on this longtime favorite. While the ingredients may change, one thing that doesn’t is the rich flavor of chicken and rice gently simmered to perfection.

Cooking Rice at Any Elevation
If you’ve ever tried to cook at high altitude, you’ll know that cooking rice that’s not under or overcooked can be one of the biggest challenges. Water boils at a lower temperature at higher elevation, which means you need to increase the amount of water and the cooking time to compensate. But by how much? That depends on the altitude. Rule of thumb is to follow standard directions below 5,000 feet, but for higher locations, add ¼ cup of water and around five minutes of cooking time.



Product Talk: Golden Beets


Golden BeetsI recently posed a query on social media: “How do you prepare beets?”

It was an innocent question. I didn’t grow up eating beets, so aside from the pickled varieties I’d tasted on salad bars, I’d never eaten this amazing root vegetable.

Well, after more than 300 responses later, I had more options for eating beets than I can probably pursue in my lifetime.

Of course, there was a generous sprinkling of “just don’t eat beets” answers, but now that I’ve done some experimenting for myself, I’ll ignore all of those.
Beets are such a wonderful, earthy fall vegetable.

You can just tell by their deep, rich colors that they’re full of flavor and packed with nutrients. In fact, beets are a veritable storehouse of B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium and potassium. They also contain a wealth of health-boosting nutrients that aren’t common in other veggies.

They can help lower blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease, improve your stamina, boost your brain power, detox your liver, clean your colon, and help you fight chronic disease.
Plus, they’re delicious!

The first time I tried them, I followed a suggestion a friend gave me and roasted large red beets that I rubbed with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. They were lovely and delicious (Pro tip: peel them first, unless you want pink fingers for days on end.)

Next, I saw golden beets in Brookshire’s, and I figured they might not stain my fingers as badly (I was correct). I peeled those first, rubbed those with olive oil, sprinkled them liberally with white pepper to cut out a bit of the sweetness, and grilled them. They were amazing.

Then, I tried this recipe with golden beets, and I’m hooked.

Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs golden beets, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or wedges
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest, freshly grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F.

Position rack in lower-third of oven.

In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add beets; toss to coat. Spread the beets on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast, stirring once or twice, until the beets are tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Spritz the finished beets with fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 322, Fat: 5 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 773 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 12 g, Sugar: 52 g; Protein: 11 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



Shop the Sale: Bacon Arugula Apple Bites


Prep Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2

Easy, peas-y lemon squeeze-y. Seriously, it’s that easy! Ready in just 15 minutes, this quick and tasty snack is just what you need to banish the afternoon munchies. At just over 250 calories, it will keep you going until dinner with plenty of protein and fiber to help fill you up. And with Fuji apples on sale this week, getting your apple a day is easy too!

Ingredients
1 McIntosh or Fuji apple, sliced (any apple will work)
1 lemon, cut into halves and juiced
1 pkg garlic and herb spreadable cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 handful baby arugula sprigs
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions
Toss apple slices in lemon juice; pat dry. Spread each with about 2 teaspoons spreadable cheese. Top with bacon, arugula and pepper.

Calories per Serving: 258, Fat: 18 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 44 mg, Sodium: 477 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 8 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Chef Tips

Don’t Just Eat Your Greens – Enjoy Them!
If you’re getting sick of your go-to greens, let Arugula kick up the flavor of your favorite meals! At just 5 calories in an entire cup, this peppery-flavored cruciferous vegetable is not only good for your waistline, it’s good for you. Packed with vitamin A and vitamin K, it’s also a good source of vitamin C, calcium and folate. Plus, it’s high in nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure. Perfect as a stand-alone salad green or in a mix, added to sandwiches, pizza, pasta or noodle dishes, this versatile green also does well in sauces and a number of vegetable sides.

An Apple A Day
The Fuji apple is a hybrid of the Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties. Developed by Japanese growers in the 1930’s, this crisp, sweet apple is now one of the most popular varieties. This late season favorite is ideal for desserts like apple pie and cinnamon apples, or served with pork, salads, warm brie or for adding a sweet crunch to grilled Paninis.



Product Talk: Hatch Green Chiles


If you’ve been to your local Brookshire’s lately, you’ve probably seen and smelled something amazing, especially if you’ve wandered in through the entrance closest to the produce department.

Have you noticed the big, black-iron barrel, turning, spitting and sending forth fragrant aromas of a roasted vegetable?

If so, you’ve noticed our stores roasting Hatch green chiles.

Hatch green chile season runs through the end of the month, and we’ve taken advantage of these fiery hot peppers from New Mexico in all kinds of ways in our store.

From freshly roasting them for our customers right in the store to selling them fresh from the vine, this spicy product of the Hatch Valley is known for its heat but also its subtly sweet, smoky, crisp flavor.

Hatch chiles are most commonly roasted, either in a cylindrical barrel or over an open flame. Their skin blisters, making them easier to peel. Then, you’re left with a smoky, flavorful, hot pepper to use in a variety of ways.

I love using them for a fresh, bright, spicy salsa. Use this salsa as a dip for chips, as a topping for enchiladas, as a taco sauce, or in a soup or stew. You can even mix it in with queso or sour cream for another kind of chip dip.

Hatch Green Chile Salsa

Ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 jalapeño
4 to 5 tomatillos, peeled
juice of 1 lime
3 fresh Hatch chiles
1 Tbs cumin
2 Tbs white vinegar
pinch of salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Spread jalapeño, tomatillos and Hatch chiles on a baking sheet. Roast, turning a time or two, until skins blister and char. Remove from oven. Place in a brown paper bag; seal and let cool.

Remove seeds from all peppers. Roughly chop onions, pepper and tomatillos. Add all ingredients to a food processor; pulse until a salsa consistency. Refrigerate to let flavors blend.

Makes 2 cups

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 82, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 72 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 3 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Chef Tip:

You can always buy your Hatch chiles pre-roasted fresh from our store. If you don’t want to roast them in the oven, you can roast them over a gas flame on your stovetop or grill as well. Simply set the flame to high, hold your chile in a set of long grilling tongs, and rotate over the flame until your pepper achieves desired char. When the skin bubbles, place in a brown paper bag. Let cool, and then peel. You might want to consider wear food-handling gloves to peel and seed your peppers; they’re pretty hot!



Product Talk: Onions


Yellow OnionsOnions are one of those amazing products that taste great all year long, are always plentiful, are economical, are healthy, and can be used for so much more than cooking.

Did you know that you can clean your grill with an onion? It’s a great way to get stubborn cooking residue off your grill grates while also seasoning it without using harsh chemicals or too much elbow grease. Rub a halved onion, cut-side down, on a heated grill grate to remove grime and grit. (You might have to go over it a few times.) Then, let the grill sit at warm for a few minutes to let the scent of onions burn off. (It actually smells wonderful.)

While you’re burning off that onion scent, you’re also repelling mosquitoes! They hate the scent of onion, so enjoy your outdoor space while cleaning your grill. For further insect repellant protection, rub raw onion on your skin for a natural barrier from bugs.

If you have already been bitten, onion is a natural analgesic. Rub raw onion into a bug bite to help soothe the sting and itch.

You can also use it to help alleviate the pain from burns. Again, just gently rub raw onion onto the burn to help ease the pain.

Sore throat? Onion can help that, too! Boil chunks of onion (you can use the peels and all) in water on the stovetop. Strain the solids out. Let cool, and sip away.

If your kitchen knives have gotten a little rusty, revive them by plunging them into a whole onion repeatedly until they’re clean.

There are so many things to do with onions, and you can eat them, of course!



Shop the Sale: Grilled Asparagus with Garlic Butter


Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Serves: 4-6

Everything’s better with butter! Spruce up your next barbeque or family dinner with a healthy and delicious side of garlic-buttery grilled asparagus. Grilled to caramelized perfection, this is asparagus that will melt in your mouth. Pro tip: don’t forget to scrape your grill before cooking once it’s heated (it’s easier to do it hot). And look out for Brookshire’s Butter on sale this week for extra savings!

Ingredients
3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
3 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 to 2 lbs thick asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1/4 tsp table salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for greasing grill
Parsley, for garnish
Lemon slices, for serving

Instructions
Combine butter and garlic in small bowl. Brush asparagus with butter mixture. Sprinkle with salt; season with pepper to taste.

When grill is medium-hot, scrape grill grates clean with grill brush. Brush oil on grill grates. Grill asparagus, turning once, until just tender and caramelized, about 2 to 5 minutes per side. (Move asparagus as needed to ensure even cooking.) Transfer asparagus to platter. Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Calories Per Serving: 107, Fat: 9 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 23 mg, Sodium: 212 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 3 g

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Chef Tips

Butter Up
While butter isn’t exactly good for you (on account of all the saturated fat), it’s not all bad either. It’s actually vitamin rich for one thing. Vitamins A, D, E, B12 and K2 are found in high amounts in butter. Butter is also loaded with Butyrate, an anti-inflammatory for the digestive tract and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a fatty acid that may reduce body fat and help with certain health conditions. But, that’s not a free pass to go out and eat all the butter. Use your butter wisely to make healthy dishes (like our grilled asparagus!) and enjoy the best of both worlds.

How to Choose the Best Asparagus
First of all, size doesn’t matter when it comes to asparagus. Thick or thin stalks are more about preference than quality. The main thing to look out for is the appearance of the stalks. They should be firm and straight, with a vibrant green color. Also, look at the tips to make sure they’re closed and not dried out. When selecting fresh white asparagus, watch for the same qualities sans the rich green hue.

Once you get them home, trim the ends and either wrap them in a damp paper towel, place the asparagus in a plastic bag and refrigerate or stand them upright in a jar with an inch of water, cover with a plastic bag and store like a bunch of fresh flowers.



Product Talk: Rhubarb


RhubarbRhubarb is often thought of as a fruit, but it is actually a vegetable. Rhubarb pairs perfectly with both sweet and savory flavors. Due to its tart flavor, it is often paired with fruits such as berries and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Rhubarb is also delicious paired with chicken, pork and lamb.

Pick rhubarb that has long, thick and bright stalks. Rhubarb leaves are toxic, so make sure to cut off all leaves and discard. Trim rhubarb ends, wash and dry. Store rhubarb in a crisper drawer up to 2 weeks. Rhubarb is very easy to freeze. Wash and trim rhubarb, and boil for 1 minute. Place boiled rhubarb in cold water; dry and place in a container that seals to freeze.

Rhubarb is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and manganese. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin K. Vitamin K can help prevent osteoporosis, and it plays a role in blood clotting.



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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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