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Healthy Living: Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

Zucchini Lasagna RollsI may have mentioned (97 times) that I’m eating low-carb.

I resisted trying to modify any kind of pasta dish because, let’s face it, pasta is pasta, and I’m Italian and we don’t mess with pasta.

However, this dish is an exception. I didn’t really go into it thinking of it as a pasta dish; I went in with the full knowledge I was eating a vegetable, not a piece of pasta. I also knew that swapping out the pasta for a veggie was so much healthier for me.

I grilled my zucchini on the grill instead of in the grill pan because I love the smoky flavor that you get from a grill. You can do either. I also rewrote the original recipe will full-fat ingredients. If you want to substitute lower-fat ricotta, cottage and mozzarella cheeses, you can certainly do that as well.

Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

8 oz ricotta cheese
4 oz cottage cheese
3 Tbs parmesan cheese
2 Tbs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs fresh basil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
black pepper, to taste
2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 8 (1/4-inch thick) slices
1 mild Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

For the filling, stir together ricotta, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, salt, garlic, red pepper and black pepper. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

For the zucchini, spray slices with nonstick cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Prepare grill pan to medium heat. Grill zucchini for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until flexible but still firm. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Spray a casserole or other dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Spread 1/4 cup marinara evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Blot zucchini dry. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the zucchini, and spread in an even layer. Top with a tablespoon of cooked sausage crumbles. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Place seam-side down in prepared pan.

Top with remaining marinara and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 184, Calories from Fat: 97, Fat: 11 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 33 mg, Sodium: 597 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 14 g.

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Shop the Sale: Grilled Chicken Peach Salad

Grilled Chicken Peach SaladSummer is prime time for a salad supper, which is super easy when Fresh Express Salad mixes are available at Brookshire’s today. For $6, you get three bags of crisp, fresh lettuce mixes, and you have the base for three fabulous summer salads.

I love to offer this meal at parties. Make up three salads, and let guests mix and match. It keeps guests cool and keeps prep work simple.

I was picking up a few Fresh Express salad mixes recently when a Brookshire’s employee in the produce department gave me a helpful tip.

When buying Fresh Express salad mixes, choose the flattest bags. That means most of the air was squeezed out of them at processing for the crispest, freshest leaves inside.

Thanks for that!

Grilled Chicken Peach Salad


3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

10 oz Fresh Express Spring Mix or Spinach
1 lb peaches, sliced (about 3 small)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup) and soaked in ice water for 30 minutes to remove harshness
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

For the marinade, whisk olive oil, basil, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl, muddling the basil as you stir to help flavor seep from the leaves.

Place chicken breasts between sheets of waxed paper, and pound each to about 1-inch uniform thickness. Place chicken breasts in a zipper-lock bag, and pour marinade over chicken. Place bag with chicken in refrigerator, and let it marinade at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest. When chicken is well-cooled, slice into strips or dice.

Blend all vinaigrette ingredients well. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. This can be made ahead of time.

In a large serving bowl, toss Spring Mix, peaches, pecans, onions and chicken together. Sprinkle with vinaigrette, and top with goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 5

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 534, Fat: 37 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 215 mg, Carbohydrates: 16.5 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 12 g, Protein: 36 g.

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Family Matters: Berry-licious BlackBerries

Skinny Blackberry MuffinsSummer is the perfect annual permission slip for lazy Saturdays, staying in your pajamas all day, breakfast at 11am, hanging out around the pool with friends and eating blackberries. Yes, blackberries! My family just loves blackberries, and on lazy Saturday mornings, their request is for blackberry pancakes, blackberry muffins or even blackberry smoothies.

To try and fulfill their blackberry requests, this year we planted a few blackberry bushes of our very own! Sadly, we’ll have to wait about two years before they produce their first harvest. Oh well! In the meantime, Brookshire’s carries local Texas blackberries that are delicious and perfect for my recipes.

Being the health-nut mom that I am, I always try to twist recipes to be a little “better for you” than the traditional recipes our moms baked up for us. So, if you are feeling the lazy summer Saturday, bake up these Skinny Blackberry Muffins the night before, so you can sleep in and enjoy your lazy summer Saturday!

Skinny Blackberry Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 12

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp Brookshire’s Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup Brookshire’s Sugar or Splenda
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blackberries tossed in 2 Tbs flour

Preheat oven to 425° F. Spray a 12-cup regular muffin pan with cooking spray. Dust pan with flour; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to combine and set aside.

In another large bowl, combine egg, sugar, almond milk, oil, yogurt and vanilla; whisk until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring gently until smooth and combined without over-mixing. Add blackberries, folding in gently.

Evenly distribute batter into cups of prepared pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 5 minutes. Lower temperature to 375° F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tops are set and lightly golden. Allow muffins to cool in pan on top of wire rack for about 10 minutes.

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Shop the Sale: Summer Salad

Summer SaladBack when I was growing up, we always ate dinner on our screened-in back porch during the summertime.

We had a long, wooden picnic table on the porch, and all seven of us would snuggle in with only minimal complaints of “He’s touching me” or “She kicked me when she got up!” By the time dinner rolled around on a summer evening, we were all pretty tired from an afternoon at the pool and a day of playing with the neighborhood kids in the fort my father built in the backyard.

Mom would set the table with a vinyl tablecloth, which we’d scour clean after every meal, and it was my job to lay out the plates, forks, spoons, knives and napkins in the proper positions. It was also my job to either “wipe” or “sweep” after each meal, alternating the task with the brother next in the birth order.

About once a week, Mom would bring a large bowl of “Summer Salad” to the table. Years later, I’ve realized summer salad was pretty much a very clever way to use a lot of leftovers from earlier in the week, and I learned that preparing dinner in the early morning hours before it got so hot was a chore, not a joy. Summer Salad had various combinations: pasta with ham from Sunday dinner, potatoes with bacon from breakfast or another type of pasta with leftover grilled chicken. Throw in the cold peas from Sunday supper or the steamed broccoli from Tuesday then add a little cheese and dressing, and you had yourself a main course meal in one bowl. It was cool, filling and refreshing on a hot, summer night.

Since we’ve had a big problem with not eating leftovers this summer, I think there’s a Summer Salad in my near future. You can use any pasta, any protein and any add-ins you want!

One thing that always tastes good in Summer Salad, no matter what else you put in it, is bacon! So, after you buy it at your local Brookshire’s, cook some for breakfast, and then crumble the extra into the salad. (Is there such thing as extra bacon? You probably should plan to cook a few extra slices!)

Summer Salad


12 oz spiral pasta, uncooked
3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
6 pieces Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 pkg dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta to al dente, and let cool completely. Combine chicken, bacon, tomatoes, zucchini and cheese in a large bowl with pasta.

Mix all dressing ingredients thoroughly. Pour dressing over the salad; toss to coat.

Refrigerate for several hours for flavors to blend.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 421, Calories from Fat: 192, Fat: 21 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 610 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 24 g.

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Healthy Living: Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Garlic-Parmesan Roasted BroccoliI LOVE broccoli, but I get so tired of just steaming it and plopping it onto my plate.

Broccoli is super healthy. It’s rich in vitamin D, which helps keeps our metabolism in balance. It’s also rich in vitamins A and K.

Broccoli helps the body detox. We all want that unwanted sludge out of our bodies, don’t we? Broccoli helps move unwanted contaminants from our systems. It’s a great antioxidant with its concentrated vitamin C. Broccoli has the most vitamin C of any of the cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli also has concentrated lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.

If you steam or roast broccoli, the fiber provides a benefit against cholesterol. Using heat to start to break down the fibers helps your body use it more effectively than if you eat it raw.

It’s great for your heart as an anti-inflammatory and how it lowers cholesterol. It’s also good to support eye health and to help regenerate sun-damaged skin.

Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

24 oz (about 5 cups) broccoli florets
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 425° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with oil or coat with nonstick spray.

Spread broccoli florets in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan and lemon juice, and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 162, Fat: 11 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 14 mg, Sodium: 213 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Shop the Sale: Strawberry Crumble Muffins

Strawberry Crumble MuffinsStrawberries are available today at Brookshire’s, but I may have overdone it just a bit.

I’m not sure how we’re humanly going to eat all of these strawberries, so I polled my kids, asking “What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?” and thinking I’d get creative in the kitchen.



That was their answers.

My younger son’s BFF, who happened to be sitting at my kitchen table when I asked, chimed in with “Chocolate-covered!”

Well, that wasn’t helpful.

My favorite way to eat strawberries is with sour cream and brown sugar. Yes, I said SOUR cream, not whipped cream. Just try it, I promise you.

Back to what I was going to do with pounds and pounds of strawberries…

My mom makes a blueberry crumble that I adore, so I went in search of a similar recipe using strawberries. I found a strawberry crumble muffin recipe instead, and it’s sufficient to say that a good portion of our strawberry haul was happily devoured in this form!

Strawberry Crumble Muffins

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced

1/4 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or coat thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. (The liners are more effective.)

Cream butter and sugar together in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and the egg.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in half the strawberries.

Fill muffin liners with about 2 heaping tablespoons batter. Top with remaining strawberries.

To make the crumble, combine all topping ingredients until mixed. Spoon over each muffin. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and immediately put muffins in the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 215, Calories from Fat: 75, Fat: 8 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 34 mg, Sodium: 169 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 21 g, Protein: 3 g.

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

Healthy Living: Cinnamon Apple Chips

Cinnamon Apple ChipsSo far this summer, I’m losing the battle with my kids and fruit consumption, and this practically breaks my heart. There is nothing better than summer fruits.

It also begs the question: If my kids aren’t eating the abundance of fruit I’m leaving in the basket on the kitchen counter, what do they do with the fruit I pack them EVERY DAY in their school lunches? I’m not sure I want to know.

Since I’m often gone in the morning before they wake up for the day, I leave a note. Every day, the note says, among other things, “Eat some fruit. Drink a lot of water!”

My kids aren’t listening. I had to resort to a toddler tactic: turn the fruit into a fun snack.

They helped me make these, and they devoured them. That figures.

Sometimes, though, it’s whatever it takes!

Cinnamon Apple Chips

4 apples, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 to 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tsp granulated sugar, if needed
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 200° F. Slice the apples and place them in a large bowl. Toss with cinnamon and sugar, if using. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the apples on the pan in a single layer, so they are not touching.

Bake 2 to 3 hours until the chips are dry but soft. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag for up to 4 days.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 210, Calories from Fat: 6, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 4 mg, Carbohydrates: 56 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 42 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Dine In: Tuscan-Roasted Asparagus

Tuscan-Roasted AsparagusOne of the things I’d love to do in life is live in Tuscany for several months and take cooking classes with people who speak nothing but Italian.

It’s on my bucket list, right near the top. Unfortunately, on top of another list is “braces for two.”

I might not get to Tuscany any time soon, but I can dream about it. My brief visits there have imprinted the smell of fresh basil, simmering tomatoes, fragrant lemon and earthy rosemary into my memory, and I’m determined to get back there someday.

In the meantime, I’ll distract myself with Tuscany-inspired recipes, using fresh ingredients! This dish would be a lovely side to a grilled main course or a perfect potluck dish to bring to a Fourth of July celebration. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.

Tuscan-Roasted Asparagus

1 1/2 lbs asparagus, woody ends removed
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Lay asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place tomato slices on top of asparagus spears. In a small bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Drizzle over tomatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle basil and parmesan on top, and roast until cheese begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 98, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 9 mg, Sodium: 137 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 9 g.

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Blueberry-Raspberry Smoothie

Blueberry-Raspberry SmoothieBreakfast is very important to me, and sometimes I don’t get the nutrition I intended. Smoothies, though packed with nutritional value, can be very expensive to purchase themselves. I love making them at my house, varying the ingredients each time to see what comes out of it. This particular smoothie I’ve made repeatedly because it’s so good (and friends keep requesting it).

Blueberry-Raspberry Smoothie

1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 dollop whipped cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups soy milk
1 handful fresh baby kale or spinach
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 cups ice

Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy!

Calories Per Serving: 153, Fat: 5 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 6 mg, Sodium: 95 mg, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 6 g.

Serves 3

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Dine In: Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

Cauliflower Mac and CheeseLast Friday night, I was craving a big, heaping bowl of mac and cheese like no one’s business. It was the only thing I could think about. I needed it. I wanted it. However, I didn’t want to go to the store and get macaroni (I’m lazy on Friday nights, what can I say?), so I had to find something else to use.

I had cauliflower.

I went online to find a recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese because I’d heard someone else doing it at some point, and I found that swapping noodles for cauliflower was pretty simple. Other than that, it’s simply the same recipe.

I had my heaping bowl of cheesy, creamy goodness and enough leftovers for several more meals!

Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375° F, and spray an 8 x 8 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil, and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling water until they are tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. They’ll continue cooking in the oven.

Drain the cauliflower, and pat dry with paper towels.

In the meantime, bring the cream to a simmer in saucepan. Whisk in cream cheese and mustard; stir until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of cheese, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder; whisk until the cheese melts. Add cauliflower to the pan; stir to coat. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and bake until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 171, Calories from Fat: 115, Fat: 28 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 44 mg, Sodium: 1021 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 10 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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