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Ask Leigh


Question:  We ate at a restaurant recently where the salsa was just delicious. Our server said they roasted the tomatoes and jalapenos first. Do you have a recipe like this? 

Answer:  Definitely! This one is fairly spicy, so if you want a milder flavor, make sure you remove all the jalapeno seeds after roasting. 

 

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, preferably plum 
2 to 3 fresh jalapeño chiles, stemmed
½ white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick 
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 

Directions:
Heat the broiler of your oven to high. Lay the whole tomatoes and jalapeños on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Set the pan 4 inches below the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes, until darkly roasted — even blackened in spots — on one side. With a pair of tongs, flip over tomatoes and chiles and roast other side for another 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. 

Change the oven temperature to 425˚F. Separate onions into rings. Place onion and garlic on another baking sheet. Roast in the oven, stirring carefully every couple of minutes, until the onions are browned, and the garlic is soft and browned in spots, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. 

In a food processor, pulse the jalapeños with onion and garlic until moderately finely chopped, scraping everything down with a spatula as needed to keep it all moving around. Remove to a big bowl. Without washing the processor, coarsely puree tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Stir in enough water to give the salsa a spoonable consistency. Stir in the cilantro. Taste and season with salt and vinegar. Refrigerate it covered and use within 5 days. 

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Posted in: Produce


Healthy Living: Sweet Potatoes


I was thinking about my friend, Steve, today. He passed away recently…but this isn’t a sad post – it’s a happy one.

Steve had this obsession with sweet potatoes. I think he ate them several times a week. I never really understood the love of the orange potato, but I think that was because, until I met Steve, I’d never had them prepared any other way than mashed with marshmallows at Thanksgiving.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C. They are more nutritious if cooked in their skins.  Some people even refer to the sweet potato as “the perfect food.”

Steve could prepare a sweet potato any way you could imagine. Once when we had dinner, he pureed them with parsnips to make kind of a mashed potato mash up.

He was always posting pictures of his food on Facebook and he’d get dozens of comments of people clamboring for his recipes. Every time I found a sweet potato recipe that looked intriguing, I’d send it his way.  This was one I found that he made and gave “two thumbs up.”

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups (1/4-inch) cubed, peeled sweet potato
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 1 medium)
1 1/4 cups fat-free chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup evaporated skim milk
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of white pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg
Chopped leek (optional)

Directions:
Combine sweet potato, sliced leek, and 1/4 cup broth in a 1-1/2-quart casserole; stir well. Cover, and microwave at HIGH 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Place sweet potato mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except chopped leek; process 30 seconds or until blended. Garnish with chopped leek, if desired. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 136, Fat: 1 g, Protein: 5 g, Carbohydrate: 27 g, Fiber: 3 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Iron: 1 mg, Sodium: 416 mg, Calcium: 162 mg 



Dine-In: Filet Bourguignonne with Mashed Potatoes


You know how ‘they’ say never to try a new recipe on guests or for an important occasion? Well I never listen. 

My fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants method had never really failed me. Until I got cocky. “Sure, I’m a decent cook. What does it matter if I’m trying this recipe for the first time when I have eight dinner guests arriving in 45 minutes?” 

After all, how hard could it be to grill potatoes? 

Unless, ahem, you were supposed to parboil the potatoes first. But someone (not naming names) didn’t read the recipe carefully first. 

Let me tell you, raw potatoes just aren’t that tasty. 

I learned my lesson. Now I at least carefully study each recipe if I’m going to make it for guests or a special dinner. 

Valentine’s Day is about a month away and you probably want to make something special for your sweetie. Luckily, there are several weeks to get ready for that meal you’re sure to prepare. Friday nights are the perfect times to try out new recipes – makes the end of the week feel special and ensures no flub ups on the Big Night. 

This recipe is faster than the traditional version – perfect for making on a Friday night (or Thursday night if it happens to be Valentine’s Day). 

Filet Bourguignonne with Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 lb beef tenderloin, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
5 tsp butter, divided
1 bacon slice, finely chopped
1 (8 oz) pkg mushrooms, quartered
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp no-salt-added tomato paste
1/2 cup earthy red wine
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
2 Tbs water
2 tsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbs 2% reduced-fat milk
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional) 

Directions:
Place potatoes in a saucepan over high heat; cover with cool water. Bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Return potatoes to pan; keep warm. 

While potatoes cook, place onions in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with a paper towel. Microwave at high 4 minutes. Finely chop 1 (2-inch) cube of tenderloin, and set aside. Pat dry the remaining beef cubes with a paper towel; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add seasoned beef cubes; sauté 3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add finely chopped beef and bacon to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until mushrooms brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, chopped thyme, and sugar; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. 

Add onions and broth; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Combine 2 tablespoons water and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture to pan; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return browned beef cubes to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cooked to medium-rare or desired degree of doneness. 

Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, remaining 2 teaspoons butter, and milk to potatoes in saucepan; mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. Serve beef and sauce over potatoes; garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Serves 4 

Nutritional Information: Calories: 382, Fat: 13 g, Protein: 31 g, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Fiber: 3 g, Cholesterol: 91 mg, Sodium: 505 mg, Calcium: 65 mg. 

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



Product Talk: Parsnips


Parsnips might be one of those vegetables you overlook in the store or you’re not quite sure how to prepare it. So you slide by it in the produce section, trying not to make eye contact. 

But parsnips, a root vegetable, shouldn’t be passed over. They’re related to the carrot, but much paler in color and have a sweeter taste, especially when you cook them (I’m not a fan of the raw parsnip myself).

They can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups and casseroles.

In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root, and starch to thicken the dish. 


Find these in season in your local Brookshire’s right now!
 

Parsnip Fries with Rosemary
Serves 6 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs parsnips or carrots, peeled, cut into about three 1/2 inch strips
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 sprigs rosemary
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp (or more) ground cumin 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over.

Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and roast until parsnips are tender and browned in spots, 10-15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from rosemary sprigs over; discard stems and toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cumin, if desired.

Nutritional information: Calories: 180, Calories from Fat: 55, Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg,Carbohydrates: 20 g,Dietary Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein:  2 g, Sodium: 140 mg



Shop the Sale: Beef Kabobs


PHEW! Made it through the holiday season.

Yes, it was a time of great joy, great celebration and great reflection on the real reason we celebrate the birth of Christ, but it was also exhausting.

I might not speak for you, Dear Reader, but I know that for me and most of my friends, the holiday season was fairly draining.

I’m so blessed to have close friends, a precious family, the world’s most amazing children and I have so many things to be thankful for and look forward to in this new year.

But I’m tired.  The halls were decked then undecked. Cookies made and gobbled up. Feasts prepared then cleaned up. You know the routine. So now it’s time to simplify for awhile.

This easy recipe marinates overnight and then grills quickly. Plus, Boneless Top Sirloin Steak is on sale at Brookshire’s this week.

Enjoy! 

Beef Kabobs
Serves 8 

MARINADE:
Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 Tbs thinly sliced green onions
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs sesame seeds
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp minced garlic

SKEWERS:
Ingredients:
1 (3 lb) lean boneless beef top round or sirloin steak, cut in about twelve 1/2 inch thick pieces (about 30)
Fresh or canned pineapple chunks
2 large green peppers (seeded and each cut in sixteen 1-1/2 inch chunks)
2 large red peppers (same as above)
16 small mushrooms
4 onions, cut in chunks
8 (12 inch) metal skewers

Directions:
Mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add beef; cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight or up to 8 hours, stirring several times. Drain beef; reserve marinade for basting.

Alternately thread pineapple, beef, and vegetables on each skewer. Grill or broil 4 inches from heat source, turning and brushing with reserved marinade until vegetables are tender and beef is cooked to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for medium.

Nutritional Information:  Calories: 500, Calories from Fat: 105, Total Fat: 12 g, Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 1020 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 43 g, Dietary Fiber: 6 g, Sugars: 30 g, Protein: 56 g



Product Talk: Passion for Pomegranates


Pomegranates are considered one of nature’s “super foods,” thanks to the cancer- and disease-fighting properties of their juicy seeds. And this time of year, pomegranates make a powerful, delicious addition to your wintertime diet – whether you drink the juice or enjoy a snack of pomegranate seeds (which are completely edible).

A ripe pomegranate feels fairly heavy when you pick it up. You want to choose one that is not pale in color; Look for dark or bright red firm skin. And be sure to eat it as soon as you open the pomegranate. It’s easy for this super fruit to dry out, which won’t taste the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.

One of my favorite pomegranate recipes pairs the taste (and nutrition) of the fruit with toasted walnuts in a wonderful winter salad. It’s colorful and beautiful on your plate, not to mention great tasting and great for you!

Enjoy!

Winter Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranates

For the vinaigrette

Ingredients:
2 tsp shallots, chopped
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

For the salad
Ingredients:
2 lbs mixed salad greens
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and julienned
1/4 lb blue cheese
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:
To prepare the vinaigrette, place the shallot, vinegar, mustard and thyme in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Place salad greens, apples and blue cheese in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Add half the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, then toss again. Sprinkle the remaining seeds and walnuts over the salad. Serves 6.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 529, Fat: 40 g, Sodium: 347 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Protein: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 g

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



Healthy Living: Roasted Brussel Sprouts


Although it’s only early December, we probably all have a few more big meals under our belts than we’d want to.

I am also guessing that most of us are already thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and getting healthier, blah, blah, blah. Pass the shortbread.  But in all seriousness, there are so many delicious foods that are good for you, too.  And healthy.

Brussel sprouts are one of them.

NO! COME BACK! DO NOT NAVIGATE AWAY FROM THIS PAGE.

I’m being serious.

Brussel sprouts get a bad rep.

I’m not really sure how, to be honest, although they can be a little chewy if cooked improperly. Never fear, it’s time to make peace with this miniature member of the cabbage family.

Brussel sprouts, as with broccoli, contain sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of the anticancer compounds, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying do not result in significant loss.

Brussel sprouts and other brassicas are also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

They are loaded in vitamin K.

So eat some.

Now.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Dash salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbs olive oil
2-3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced in half 

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the olive oil until a dressing is formed.

Place the brussel sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the sprouts and gently toss to coat.

Bake for 25 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 44, Calories from Fat: 32,Total Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: l0 mg,Sodium: 6 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 3 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 1 g



Ask Leigh


Question:  Do you have any interesting recipes for avocadoes that are not just guacamole?

Answer:  The avocado is power-packed with more than 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E and folic acid. They are also packed with fat, but at least it’s the good kind. A really good, buttery avocado doesn’t need much adornment, but I do like this Blue Cheese Avocado Dip recipe a friend gave to me years ago.  Just combine 2 tablespoons chopped white onion and 2 ripe avocadoes with 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1 ½ cups sour cream and ¼ cup blue cheese. Puree it all together and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for one hour before serving with Fritos or raw vegetables.

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Posted in: Produce


Healthy Living: Orange and Kiwi Ambrosia


Orange you glad you read this blog today?

Bad puns from childhood aside, I’ve been a little obsessed with oranges lately.

Not only are they bursting into season with their juicy deliciousness, but they’re really good for you too. Oranges are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also a good source of thiamin, folate and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. In fact, one orange supplies 160 percent of the US recommended daily allowance for vitamin C.

So maybe it’s not an apple a day that keeps the doctor away!

Orange Kiwi Ambrosia
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 oranges, peeled, cut in cartwheel slices
1 Kiwi (or banana), peeled, thinly sliced
1/2 orange, grated zest
1 orange, juiced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup whole almonds
2 Tbs shredded coconut, toasted 

Directions:
In bowl, arrange orange and kiwi slices. Combine orange zest, juice and juice. Pour over fruit mixture, chill. Spoon onto individual dessert dishes, sprinkle with almonds and coconut.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 68 g,Calories from Fat: 14 g,Total Fat: 2 g,Cholesterol: 0 mg,Sodium: 1 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 14 g,Dietary Fiber: 2 g,Sugars: 10 g,Protein: 1 g



Product Talk: Cranberries


It’s cranberry season, and it’s time to try something new with these deliciously healthy berries! Most of us stick to our tried-and-true cranberry sauces and relishes for holiday meals, but this delicious Jalapeno Cranberry Salsa combines some of the best flavors I know to make a wonderful chunky salsa. You could easily use it as the relish for your turkey and dressing too!

And if you want to feel even better about adding real cranberries to your diet, scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Enjoy!

Jalapeno Cranberry Salsa
Makes 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 medium red onion, quartered
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and halved (use less for milder flavor)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
Dash kosher salt

Directions:
Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse 8 times, until coarsely chopped. Scrape sides of bowl midway through pulses. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Tastes great served with sweet potato chips!

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 86, Total Fat: 0 g, Sodium 114 mg, Carbohydrates 23 g, Protein: 0 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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