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Dine In: Jalapeño Sausage Balls


Jalapeño Sausage BallsI tend to get stuck in a pattern for Friday night meals. When I lived overseas in Germany, my best friend Susan and I walked down to our favorite Greek restaurant every single Friday night.

When I had kids, I continued a tradition that my mom started by serving pizza on Friday nights.

Now, I tend to use the smoker for Friday night festivities. I run home at lunchtime to put dinner on to smoke (or prep it in the morning, depending on what we’re smoking), and it’s done by the time we’re home from work and relaxing on the back porch.

I saw a smoked dish on Instagram that I wanted to try, and it only takes about two hours on the smoker. Even if you don’t have time to run home at lunch on a Friday, you can still enjoy this on your porch on Friday evening.

You can switch up the fillings, too. I have one person in my family who doesn’t like cream cheese, so he just gets cheddar. I have another who doesn’t like jalapeños, so he just gets cheese pressed into the middle of the sausage ball. I like bleu cheese, so I’ll mix that in with mine. The sky is the limit.

Jalapeño Sausage Balls

Ingredients:
12 jalapeño peppers, tops removed, seeded and pithed
6 Tbs whipped cream cheese
6 Tbs sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tbs white onion, finely minced
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 lbs Owens Pork Breakfast Sausage
12 strips bacon, uncooked

Directions:
Remove the tops from the jalapeño peppers. Slice a slit through lengthwise, not cutting all the way through. Remove pith and seeds.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onions and cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stuff each pepper with a heaping tablespoon full of the cream cheese mixture.

Using your hands, mold sausage around pepper, forming a ball and completely covering the pepper. Wrap sausage ball with two strips of bacon; secure with toothpicks.

Prepare smoker. Place sausage balls on rack, and smoke for about 2 hours or until cooked through. Alternately, place on the grill over indirect heat (the bacon will cause flare-ups if it’s not indirect) and cook through, several minutes on each side.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 460, Calories from Fat: 330, Fat: 36 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 1576 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 29 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Bacon Brussels Sprouts Skewers


Bacon Brussels Sprouts SkewersI posted on social media recently that I’m obsessed with Brussels sprouts. I was surprised at the number of people who “liked” my post and commented in agreement. I guess I thought that because we didn’t eat Brussels sprouts growing up that no one else did, either.

This is also a testament to the power of the parent who does most of the cooking. My mom didn’t like Brussels sprouts, so we didn’t eat them. I eat anything, so my boys pretty much get exposed to all kinds of food. More often than not, it’s one of them who doesn’t like something that is served. One in particular, I should say.

Back to Brussels sprouts… I eat them roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I want my boys to like them as well, so I found a simple recipe with everyone’s favorite ingredient: bacon.

Brookshire’s Bacon always cooks up crisply, with a bold, meaty flavor and beautiful, caramel color. It has a deep, rich flavor that showcases the meat, not the fat, and is versatile in any recipe.

After we tried this, I’m not sure one son was bowled over by Brussels sprouts, but he did eat the bacon.

Brookshire’s Bacon is on sale this week, and Brussels sprouts are at the peak of flavor. So, this quick, simple recipe should go on your menu list, for sure.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Skewers

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
1/2 lb Brookshire’s Bacon
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
wooden skewers

Directions:
Soak your wooden skewers in a shallow pan of water for at least 30 minutes before preparing this dish.

Trim ends off of fresh Brussels sprouts and remove loose leaves. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Separate bacon into strips. Thread one end of the bacon onto a skewer, and then place a Brussels sprout on the skewer. Wrap the bacon over one side of the sprout; thread through the skewer. The bacon will make an “S” pattern around the sprouts. Repeat until the skewer is full. Repeat with remaining sprouts and bacon.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers on the grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and grill another 5 to 7 minutes. If the bacon is causing flare-ups, move to indirect heat and grill until browned and toasty and bacon is cooked through.

These can also be roasted in a 400° F oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 417, Calories from Fat: 280, Fat: 31 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 1920 mg, Potassium: 786 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 25 g.

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



Healthy Living: Fruit Salsa


Fruit SalsaOne of my very favorite things to bring to a summer cookout is fruit salsa.

It’s bright, it’s beautiful, and it’s so good for you. You can get an entire day’s serving of fruit in a few scoops of this delicious concoction.

Also, because it doesn’t have anything that can spoil, it’s great for an outside picnic or cookout.

We like to mix up the varieties of fruits we use, but we also use raspberry preserves to bind it all together. They’re our favorite. You can find the sugar-free variety at Brookshire’s to make it healthier, too.

We serve this with toasted cinnamon pitas, but you can also eat it on top of grilled meats or simply as a side salad with a spoon.

Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 lemon
1 cup kiwi, diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
1 lb strawberries, stems and leaves removed then sliced
1/2 lb raspberries
1/2 lb blueberries
6 Tbs raspberry preserves

Directions:
Slice, dice and half all fruit; toss gently in a large bowl to mix.

Place lemon in microwave, and cook on high for 20 seconds. Roll lemon on the countertop, pressing with the heel of your hand. Slice down the middle horizontally; squeeze over the fruit. Add preserves, and stir gently to coat. Refrigerate for several hours.

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 134, Calories from Fat: 6, Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 7 mg, Potassium: 302 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 22 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



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

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

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



Product Talk: Green Onions


Green OnionsRaw onions were not my jam.

However, there have been certain events recently that have changed my mind.

I’ve been buying green onions because Paul loves them. Me? Not so much.

Until I got a wild hair and sprinkled them on my baked potato one night.

What had I been missing all my life?

Green onions are long and stalky. You can use the green parts and the white parts. Heck, you can eat them all the way down to the roots if you wish. Green onions are more mild than larger bulb onions. Available year-round, green onions should be chosen for their bright green, firm stalks and fresh scent.

Store them upright in the refrigerator and use them within several days.

I’ve been using them on baked potatoes, in salads, in soups, in my deviled eggs for Easter, in the brine for my Easter ham, sprinkled on tacos and even on my bagel thins on top of a schmear of whipped cream cheese.

The really cool thing about green onions is also a really cool activity to do with your kids. After you’ve chopped off the green parts of the onion, place the white bulbous base, with root pieces still attached, in a glass of shallow water and put it on a windowsill. The green parts will start to rapidly return, and you can get another use or two of the onions without losing flavor. Plus, it’s just fun to watch.



Healthy Living: Store Your Food Safely


Store Your Food SafelyI know I’m guilty of it, and I’m guessing you are, too.

I go to the fridge looking for something for lunch, pull out a container and realize the leftover chili has been in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

While it was stored properly for a short time, it’s not going to be safe to eat after two weeks.

There are right – and wrong – ways to store your food.

A store-bought loaf of bread, for example, is perfectly fine stored in your dry pantry for a week, but a loaf of freshly baked bread might not make it longer than a day or two.

I could have stored that chili in the freezer for two weeks, but I wouldn’t risk eating it out of the refrigerator from that same time period.

On the Counter
You can safely store some foods out on your kitchen counter. These include garlic, onions, shallots, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, citrus and melons. Make sure they aren’t in direct sunlight or exposed to moisture. You can also keep cakes and pies out for up to a week, wrapped tightly with aluminum foil or sealed in a food storage container or zipper-lock bag. Move fruit pies to the refrigerator after two days.

In the Pantry
Most unopened dry goods can be stored in your pantry for up to six months. After a package is opened, seal it in a food-safe container. Brookshire’s offers lots of options for long-term food storage. Your pantry is the best place for all of your spices, as it is probably dark and should be dry. Spices can last up to a year. After that, they start to lose their potency and flavor.

In the Refrigerator
Dairy must be kept refrigerated. Use the upper shelves, where temperatures stay more constant. This includes eggs, even though many manufacturers create an egg shelf on the door. The refrigerator door is the warmest place in the appliance, so save it for things like condiments and preserved foods.

Keep fruits and veggies that aren’t able to sit out on your counter in the crisper drawer, where it should be the least humid.

Cheeses should be stored wrapped in wax paper or something else porous.

Meats are best stored in the bottom of the refrigerator where it is the coldest. Remove retail packaging and rewrap the meat in foil to extend its shelf life. However, you should try to use it within four days of purchase or put it in the freezer. Fish will keep for two days wrapped in waxed paper, also on the bottom shelf, but give it the sniff test first. If it smells excessively fishy, err on the side of caution.

In the Freezer
When you do want to store things like meat for a long time, the freezer is the best option. For the freezer, leave it in its original packaging and try to remember to use it within six months.

Any time you use the freezer, make sure foods are cooled to room temperature (or put them in the fridge first), and then seal them in a way that eliminates any extra air. Some foods, like cheeses and fruits or vegetables, will change texture after being frozen, so experiment with the best ways to store these foods long-term.



Healthy Living: Avocado Toast


Avocado ToastSo, according to every other Instagram post, Avocado Toast is a thing now, a pretty big thing, judging by the sheer volume of Avocado Toast art.

It’s so deliciously simple. Toast a piece of bread of your choice, and smear it with smashed avocado when it’s fresh out of the toaster. The buttery texture of the avocado is a perfect complement to the crisp toast. Of course, you can adorn this in other ways, too, like with a piece of center-cut bacon, scrambled egg whites, tomato, slivers of onion or smoked salmon. You name it; the combinations are endless.

Aside from the wonderful play of avocado and toast, this is a great, healthy way to start your day (or for a light lunch that won’t leave you dragging).

Avocado is full of protein and good fats to help keep you full longer.

It’s packed with 20 vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin E.

They’re also loaded with fiber.

Eating avocados regularly can lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

There are so many great things about avocados that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, so grab some today.



Mi Blog Hispano: ¡La Delicia de los Aguacates!


¡La Delicia de los Aguacates!¡Me encantan los aguacates!  Son sabrosísimos y muy versátiles.  Puede cortarlos de mil maneras, mezclarlos, licuarlos, o comerlos enteros.  Si busca recetas de aguacates en la red le sorprenderá la cantidad de deliciosas formas en la que puede comerlos.  Son extremadamente populares en todo el mundo y tienen muchos beneficios.

¿Sabía que la mayoría de aguacates que compra en nuestras tiendas de Brookshire’s son de México?  Me da gusto que Brookshire’s traiga este producto aquí para nosotros, y más aún que orgullo que esta delicia venga desde allá.

Tengo en mi memoria recuerdos muy vivíficos de mi mama sirviendo aguacate en la mesa cuando era niña.  Recuerdo como era tan importante escoger el aguacate perfecto en la tienda, y luego la manera tan perfecta en que mi mama cortaba el aguacate.  Siempre había diferentes formas en que lo comíamos – en pico de gallo, en salsa, en guacamole, en tortas, en tacos, etc.  Y siempre ha sido una delicia comer.

El otro día estaba leyendo diferentes planes de dietas y casi todos incluyen aguacates como productos recomendados para comer.  Si a usted le gusta comer grasas, le recomiendo sustituirlas por grasas monoinsaturadas.  La grasa monoinsaturada es un tipo de grasa saludable que ayuda absorber los nutrientes del producto.  Esta grasa se encuentra en productos como el aceite olivo, almendras, aguacates, y nueces de macadamia.  Por ejemplo, usar aceite de olivo en lugar de manteca o aceite regular es más saludable.  Otro ejemplo es sustituir el aguacate por la mayonesa.  Así que, aparte de deliciosos, los aguacates son nutritivos.

Aquí les comparto una receta que es sencilla, un poco diferente pero riquísima, y muy rápida para hacer.

Ingredientes:
Pan plano (como el pan de pita)
Limón
Aguacate
Un huevo
Aceite olivo
Queso fresco en boronas
Sal y pimienta

Caliente el pan plano un poco.  Aplaste el aguacate y úntelo en el pan.  Póngale un poco de limón, sal, pimienta, y un poco de aceite de olivo.  Cocine el huevo estrellado a su gusto.  Póngalo sobre el pan y aguacate.  Agréguele el queso.  ¡Listo para disfrutar!



Product Talk: Fresh Express Sweet Butter Lettuce


Fresh Express Sweet Butter LettuceSalads are a big mealtime staple in my house.

It’s the boys’ favorite way to eat vegetables, and while sometimes we don’t get much variety in our weekly menus, we definitely get variety in our salads, adding different vegetables, fruits and nuts for added nutrients, as well as colors, textures and flavors.

My favorite “base” to the salad is Fresh Express Sweet Butter mix. It’s a blend of green butter lettuce and red leaf lettuce. Green butter lettuce has a sweetness to it that I just love. I also love the crisp, soft texture.

This mix is a great source of vitamins A and K, and also chock full of folate. I’ll often mix this in with Fresh Express Baby Spinach for a punch of iron, too.

Fresh Express bagged salad mixes come in a stay-fresh bag, so your lettuce is crisp and clean when you are ready to eat. There’s no washing, tearing or chopping required, so it really is as simple as just opening the bag and pouring it into a bowl.

I especially like to use mandarin orange sections with sweet butter lettuce; I think the two flavors complement each other well.

You can find Fresh Express Sweet Butter mix and other varieties refrigerated near the produce section of Brookshire’s.



Healthy Living: Salads in a Jar


Salads in a JarMy sister-in-law, Lesley, takes healthy to a whole new level. Her eating is as clean as it gets, and she puts a massive amount of time and effort into taking good care of her family’s health. She has my brother and her three sons eating super-duper healthy as well, which shows! They are an active, lean, happy family, and she takes great care of them inside and out!

Recently, Lesley hosted a salad-making party. Each guest brought one ingredient for a salad, along with five large Mason jars, and Lesley provided the leafy greens.

They set up everything they brought in salad-bar style. Guests started by placing any salad dressing they wanted (including vinegar and oil) in the bottom of their Mason jar. When you’re making these, keep dressings and wet ingredients on the bottom.

Next, add heavy ingredients like black beans, kidney beans or chick peas, or any proteins like chunks of chicken, tuna packed in water or grilled lean meats. On top of that, layer other fruits and veggies like strawberries, yellow peppers, cucumbers or tomatoes. Then, nuts, sunflower seeds or other grains are added. Finally, pack the jar with leafy greens like romaine or spinach. Cap the jar tightly, and store in the fridge for up to one week. Grab a jar each morning on the way out the door.

Turn it out onto a large paper plate, and your salad lunch is ready to go with the dressing already on top.

Enjoy!



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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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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