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Product Talk: Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese Singles


Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese SinglesMy 11-year-old is on this mac and cheese kick that can’t be stopped. He wants it for his snack every day after school. Every. Single. Day.

That’s fine. Mac and cheese and a piece of fruit tide him over until dinner.

I was making big batches of mac and cheese on the weekends and letting him heat up a serving in the afternoon, but then I saw individual serving containers at Brookshire’s. They are the perfect amount for a hungry guy in the afternoon, and best of all, he can make them himself in the microwave.

All he does is open the container, fill it with water to the marked line, microwave, and then stir in the pouch of cheese sauce. He loves being able to do it himself, and he loves the creamy, cheesy flavor of Velveeta.

It reminds me of my college days when my best friend, Kathy, and I used to make Velveeta Shells and Cheese in our hot pot in our dorm room every Tuesday because our class schedule kept us from making it to the dining hall for lunch.

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Product Talk: Trail Mix


Brookshire's Trail MixI get the mid-morning tummy grumbles something fierce. Mid-afternoon, too, if we’re being honest.

I don’t want a lot to eat. A piece of fruit is always a good choice but so is Brookshire’s Trail Mix.

The Cajun mix is my favorite, with Sweet Chips and Nuts coming in a close second.

The Cajun mix has nuts, sesame sticks and all kinds of spicy, crunchy goodness. The only problem with that is that I can’t eat just one handful. I have to hide the bag from myself sometimes.

The Sweet Chips and Nuts mix has peanuts, raisins, milk chocolate and peanut butter chips, almonds, cashews and dried cranberries.

There’s Traditional (with M&M’s!!!) and Tropical (I trade my kids the banana chips for the dried mango chunks.), too.

The best thing is that the trail mixes are a healthier snack than eating a cookie or chips. It’s filling, satisfies sweet and salty cravings, and is delicious!

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Product Talk: Red Diamond Tea


Red Diamond TeaWhere’s a girl to get unsweet tea around these parts?

Brookshire’s, of course.

I know I might be the only person in the Lone Star State who doesn’t drink sweet tea, but I like my tea crisp and devoid of any kind of sweetener.

At Brookshire’s, I can get Red Diamond Tea already brewed in a gallon or in a 12-ounce bottle (I pack those in my lunch.) without having to worry about it being sweet.

Of course, if I wanted it sweet, Red Diamond has that, too.

Red Diamond is freshly brewed right before it’s bottled for a clear, distinct flavor. The tea always tastes fresh and is never muddy.

I even love grabbing a bottle on-the-go from the refrigerated section near the juice and drinking it on the way home.

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Product Talk: Talenti Gelato


Talenti GelatoI’ve told you before that I lived overseas for almost four years after I graduated from college.

While I lived in a small hamlet in Germany, I was able to travel extensively.

One of the places I loved the most was Italy. I think it’s genetic; my maiden name is “Brocato,” after all. My dad’s family is from Sicily; my mom’s family is scattered around Northern Italy. I’ve got all kinds of Italian heritage.

My ancestry really is neither here nor there; anyone can enjoy Italy (and should!). In fact, there’s a grotto restaurant on the Mediterranean Sea that I want to bring my boyfriend, Paul, to someday. He’s Irish. Again, that doesn’t matter.

One of the most magnificent things about Italy (aside from the ancient architecture, history, landscapes, art and culture) is the food. I could die happy if I could spend a year in Tuscany learning authentic Italian cooking. I could also probably die happy just eating there.

I will never forget my first visit to Florence. It was there, in the shadows of the Ponte Vecchio on a medieval arch bridge over the Arno River, that I experienced gelato for the first time. Gelato is a combination of ice cream and sherbet in a light, airy, rich and creamy frozen dessert. It was heavenly. I had an espresso flavor and marveled over the dichotomy of light and rich.

Brookshire’s has recaptured that moment for me, in the form of Talenti Gelato. Found in the frozen section (duh), the gelato conjures up that warm spring afternoon on the bridge in Florence. Talenti Gelato is made from scratch with only the finest ingredients imported from around the world, according to the company’s website. They start with fresh milk straight from the farm and fine, pure cane sugar – absolutely never high-fructose corn syrup. They hand-pour the sugar from large sacks, blend in the milk and add the finest ingredients sourced from all around the world to craft their 26 flavors of gelato and sorbetto, their website confirms.

My taste buds confirm this is true.

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Product Talk: Frozen Meatballs


Frozen MeatballsThis year, for the first time in a long time, I was invited to a Super Bowl party. I’m not sure if the invites tapered off because (1.) I’m not a huge football fan, (2.) I’m known to fall asleep before 8pm or (3.) because I’m not a good cook and no one wants my potluck dish.

Okay, we can eliminate No. 3, but No. 1 and 2 are viable reasons.

However, I was invited this year (I didn’t fall asleep and I knew which two teams were playing), and I brought a delicious antipasto platter that was scarfed up immediately.

My friend, Mathilda, made a dish that took the basic cocktail meatball to a whole new level, though. These bite-sized appetizers were delicious.

I can’t wait to try them myself.

Cheesy Meatball Cups

Ingredients:
2 (8 oz) cans crescent rolls
flour, for dusting
5 oz queso fresco, crumbled
16 frozen meatballs
1/2 cup garlic spaghetti sauce
1 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Prepare two muffin tins (16 molds total) with nonstick cooking spray.

Extend dough on a lightly floured surface. Pull apart dough triangles and press each inside a muffin mold, covering the bottom of mold and pressing up the sides.

Sprinkle each dough cup with 1 teaspoon shredded cheese. Place a meatball on top of cheese, lightly pressing into the dough.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with 1 teaspoon of sauce and 1 teaspoon shredded cheese. Place back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until dough is golden-brown and the cheese bubbles.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 170, Calories from Fat: 86, Fat: 10 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 465 mg, Potassium: 10 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 6 g

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



Product Talk: Smart Ones Breakfast Quesadillas


Smart Ones Breakfast QuesadillasI have high standards for my breakfast.

First of all, it has to be delicious.

Second, it has to be portable. I eat in the car. Not ideal, but such is life.

Third, it has to be nutritionally sound. I never know what my day is going to bring, so I have to have the proper fuel for whatever comes my way.

Enter Smart Ones Breakfast Quesadillas.

They are delicious. I love how the egg and the cheese get all warm and melty, and the turkey bacon provides a nice textural contrast. The red and green peppers are pretty, too.

I can eat them in the car without trashing my vehicle. No crumbs, no mess, no spills. They also only take a little over two minutes in the microwave, so I can grab it as I’m walking out the door.

They are nutritionally sound. Each quesadilla contains 230 calories with 7 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein.

Really, what more could you ask for?

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Product Talk: Sister Schubert’s Parker House Style Rolls


Sister Schubert’s Parker House Style RollsParker House Rolls are admittedly one of those things I usually only think about during the holidays. However, today I knew I had a package in the freezer that were left over from Thanksgiving, so I decided to pull them out to serve with the beef stew had slow cooking.

They were as delicious today as they would have been in November.

A Parker House roll is a bread roll made by flattening the center of a ball of dough with a rolling pin so that it becomes an oval shape and then folding the oval in half. They are made with milk and are generally quite buttery, soft and slightly sweet with a crispy shell. They were invented at the Parker House Hotel in Boston during the 1870s.

The Sister Schubert Company has prepared Parker House Rolls in a quick-baking, frozen method to make life easier on us.

Sister Schubert’s Parker House Style Rolls have zero trans fats, no preservatives and no artificial flavors. In other words, they taste homemade. You simply take them out of the plastic packaging and leave them in their foil pan. Just bake for a few minutes until heated through. You get the homemade taste without the homemade work!

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Product Talk: White Pepper


White PepperWhen my boyfriend said he was making dinner on Christmas Eve, he brought everything he needed with him. He’s good that way.

He even brought the spices he needed, including one I didn’t have: white pepper.

White pepper is also from the pepper plant (like black pepper), but this outer layer of the plant is removed before or after drying, leaving only the inner seed. (For black pepper, the fruit is left on the plant until ripe and sun-dried.)

White pepper tastes hotter than black but is less complex with fewer flavor notes. Often used for aesthetic reasons like to avoid “specs” in mashed potatoes, white pepper is often used in French cooking.

We used it in mashed potatoes. I liked the depth of flavor the white pepper adds; it gives the dish a heat that takes a minute to register on your palate. While I don’t care about “specs” in my food, it does make it taste delicious, and that’s all that really matters.



Product Talk: Smithfield Bacon


Smithfield BaconI just realized that I write about bacon a lot.

However, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like, OK, LOVE, bacon.

Smithfield Bacon with Sea Salt is one of my favorite brands. Nestled in the refrigerated case at Brookshire’s, the Smithfield Bacon with Sea Salt still has a salty flavor with less sodium than regular cured bacon.

I will admit being partial to this product because the company was founded in 1936 in Smithfield, Virginia, as a small meat-packing company along the James River.

Well, I’m from Virginia, and Smithfield isn’t that far from my hometown of Richmond. Every year, when we drove east to go to the beach on summer vacation, we’d pass through Smithfield where the company is still thriving and the backbone of the town. It smells SO GOOD when you drive through. The smell of smoky meats just hang in the air in Smithfield no matter the time of day. You might also have heard of Smithfield hams, perhaps the most famous of the company’s pork products.

The bacon cooks up to crisp perfection.

Grab some today.

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Product Talk: Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread


Ryvita Dark Rye CrispbreadYou call it a cracker; we call it crispbread.

I kind of like the way “crispbread” sounds, don’t you?

Basically, Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbreads are savory crackers full of flavor that you can find in the frozen foods section at Brookshire’s.

Ryvita Crispbread is known for its naturally crisp texture, mild nutty taste and excellent nutritional value. (They’re chock full of fiber.) Ryvita products are all made with rye, are kosher-certified and are low in fat, sugar and salt. Ryvita is baked using pure natural ingredients with no added artificial preservatives, additives or chemicals.

A fun alternative to a traditional cracker, these are great topped with cheeses, meats, fruits, spreads and anything else you can imagine. The texture really sets them apart from other crackers, and the taste is much more robust.

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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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