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Product Talk: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


I’m so glad ground chicken isn’t nearly as hard to find any more as it once was. I remember searching for it high and low – or having to special order it from the butcher counter – time and time again. Not so anymore; it’s readily available in the meat department of any Brookshire’s store.

You can use ground chicken for pretty much anything you’d use ground beef for. It’s versatile and healthy, with a lot less fat than ground beef, fitting into a leaner, healthier eating plan for many people. Simply made from ground chicken breasts, this can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, for burgers and for meatballs like these.

We’re going to have them tonight with carrot and celery sticks.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:

1/4 small red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg white
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbs dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast
4 oz block feta cheese, cut into 24 1/2-inch cubes (will have 6 leftover cubes)
4 Tbs butter
1 cup buffalo wing sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Add red onion, garlic, egg white, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and spices in a large bowl then stir with a fork to combine. Add ground chicken then mix until combined – do not over mix or meatballs will be tough. Divide chicken mixture into quarters, then each quarter into four balls. Press a cube of feta into the center of each ball then close mixture around cheese to seal. Place meatballs onto a buttered cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat then add buffalo wing sauce and stir to combine. Add cooked meatballs to skillet then use a spoon to coat in sauce. Place a lid on top and turn heat to low to keep warm.

Makes 16 meatballs

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 85 g, Calories from Fat: 45 g, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 256 mg, Carbohydrates: 2g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 8g



Product Talk: Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce


Last weekend I’d planned to barbecue some chicken. I thought I had a bottle of my favorite barbecue sauce on hand, but I was sadly mistaken and dinner was waiting. I ran to Brookshire’s, which, luckily, is only about a half mile from my house. I was searching for my favorite sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle. I love it on chicken; I love it on ribs.

Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The honey makes it sweet, but not too sweet, and the chipotle gives it a heat that strikes the back of your tongue and is oh-so-satisfying.

I used it for chicken wings for a party recently. It doesn’t get much easier than this, and they were devoured in the blink of an eye.

Honey Chipotle Wings

Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken wings
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Serve hot. 

Serves 4 as a meal, up to 16 as an appetizer portion 

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 221, Calories from Fat: 38, Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 50 mg, Sodium: 519 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Sugars: 26 g, Protein: 17 g

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Product Talk: Rotisserie Chicken


Is there anything easier than a rotisserie chicken, fresh and hot off the warming plate at Brookshire’s? I think not.

I love being able to run into the store to grab one of these fresh, hot-and-ready treats. My family loves the lemon pepper flavor, slow roasted right there in the store to seal in juices and make the skin golden and crisp. The traditional is good, too, and often the one I choose if I’m going to make something with the chicken.

That’s the beauty of the rotisserie chicken: You can serve it as is, with a side salad or compound salad right out of the Brookshire’s deli, or you can use it as a quick and easy starter for many other meals and main courses.

Either way, they’re delicious, fast and ready when you need one.

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Product Talk: Salmon


I was in Brookshire’s yesterday doing my weekly grocery shopping. I plan out my meals in advance, write my list according to the layout of the store, and stick pretty closely to what I’ve written down. I don’t often make impulse purchases.

Except for yesterday.

Wild salmon was on sale in the seafood department. I had a near Pavlovian response: mouth watering, mental images of my dinner that evening, hungry grumbles in my stomach. 

I tossed the list out the window for that night’s meal and promptly ordered a pound of that beautifully pink, silvery fish.  Brookshire’s offers a variety of salmon, from wild to farmed, fresh to frozen. I have tried them all and loved what I could do with each different type.

I didn’t want to mask the rich flavor or buttery texture of the fresh, wild salmon by overdoing it, so I decided to simply dress and grill it. Remember it’s always better to UNDERCOOK the salmon just a little than to overcook it and end up with a tough and rubbery fillet.

Simple Grilled Salmon

Ingredients:
2 lbs wild salmon fillet, skin on
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, sliced

Directions:
Prepare a grill to high heat. If using charcoal, bank your coals so that you can cook on one side over the flame and the other side of the grill using indirect heat.

Rub salmon generously on both sides with olive oil. Use more if necessary because you don’t want it to stick to the grill. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill; press lightly into the flesh of the fish.

Place fish, non-skin side down, on the grill. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes or until char marks appear on the fish and the first layer is opaque (cooked through).

If using a gas grill, reduce heat to medium. If using charcoal, move fish to indirect heat and flip, skin side down. Continue to cook for about 5 to 9 minutes, depending on thickness of fish and temperature of grill. Fish is ready when it’s still slightly pink in the center and flakes easily with a fork.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 527, Calories from Fat: 315, Fat: 35 g, Cholesterol: 143 mg, Sodium: 138 mg, Carbohydrates: 0g, Protein: 50 g



Product Talk: Zesty Bacon Ranch and Cheese Breakfast Muffins


I’m a little obsessed with breakfast foods.

To think, almost a dozen years went by with me foregoing what is now my favorite meal of the day. I stopped eating breakfast in high school. When you had to be out the door at 6:20 a.m. to catch your ride, every extra minute of sleep counted; there was no time for silly things like breakfast.

It was pretty much the same story in college. Get up 20 extra minutes before my 8 a.m. class to walk over to the dining hall? Nah! Sleep the extra 20 minutes, throw on some jeans and a college sweatshirt and hit the academic building.

Thinking back to when I started eating breakfast regularly, I can’t really pinpoint a time until I was pregnant with my first son. I developed gestational diabetes, a condition that went away as soon as my baby was delivered, but it became imperative to eat “the most important meal of the day” to stabilize my blood sugar.

I’ve been eating breakfast – and loving it – ever since. Over the past few years, portable breakfast has become a necessity because, once again, those precious minutes are often absorbed by packing school lunches for my kids or getting dinner in the slow-cooker for later. I still eat breakfast but often eat as I’m on my morning commute.

I LOVE these breakfast muffins. I can eat them in the car, and they are totally, as Emeril would say, “kicked up a notch” with Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning. If I’m making these for only me, I double the amount the recipe calls for. It adds the right amount of spice to these savory muffins. You can freeze these and reheat them in the microwave on the way out the door.  You can cut fat by using egg whites (2 Tbs), turkey bacon and reduced fat cheddar cheese. Adding a 4-ounce can of green chilies, drained, is yummy too.

Zesty Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients:

1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the egg, milk and oil together. Stir in the bacon crumbles and shredded cheddar cheese.

Add the dry ingredients, stirring as you go, incorporating just until blended.

Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400° F for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked all the way through. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from the muffin pan, placing on a wire rack to cool. Best when served warm.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 368, Calories from Fat: 198, Fat: 22 g, Cholesterol: 38 mg, Sodium: 484 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein 13: g
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Product Talk: Baking Soda


If baking soda isn’t a miracle ingredient, I’m really not sure what is.  

Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is a white solid that is often found in powder form. I was first introduced to baking soda in the form of a leavening agent in my mom’s chocolate chip cookies.

However, in ancient times, it was used more as soap.

It seems the uses for baking soda are endless.

It’s in toothpaste. It’s in homemade laundry detergent. It’s in deodorants, shampoos and can be mixed into a cup of warm water to drink to aid indigestion.

Aside from the bounty of baked goods, I love baking soda as a cleaning agent. I’ve used it to remove buildup from my bathroom vanity that gets a bit crusted with hair product. I’ve used it to soak my showerheads and remove build-up there, too. I make a paste of baking soda and water to clean my porcelain and lined bathtubs.

But, I really love to use it as a drain cleaner, and so do my boys. Anything that gets my kids to help me clean is a positive in my book.

The drain in my bathtub gets clogged easily but not in the boys’ bathroom…gee…I wonder why (as I twirl my very long hair around my finger).

I’ll pull out the drain stopper and remove the wadded up hair. (EEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW…that’s the part the boys won’t help me with). But then I run a little warm water down the drain and turn off the water. I pour about half a cup of baking soda into the drain, then let the boys pour in some white vinegar.

It bubbles and fizzes and is all kinds of fun.

Continue pouring small amounts of vinegar into the drain until it no longer fizzes. Let sit for about 15 minutes, flush with hot water and there you have it  – fast-running drains without chemicals to corrode your pipes.

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Product Talk: Brookshire’s Flowers


Just because it’s four days after Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that you should think “too late” on this post. Yes, flowers for your sweetheart on Feb. 14 are nice, but flowers on a RANDOM day the rest of the year are even better; at least to me.

Brookshire’s floral department never ceases to amaze me. I stopped in on the last day of school last year for gigantic bouquets of brilliant sunflowers for my boys’ teachers. I had a horrible migraine last week and I was the lucky recipient of a mixed bouquet of magenta blooms that are still fresh and vibrant over a week later. I’ve purchased green plants for offices and cheery arrangements of daisies, tulips, lilies and roses. I even gave someone a pepper plant as a gift once from the Brookshire’s floral department.

So just remember, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to give the gift of flowers. Just saying! 

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Product Talk: Lemongrass


Lemongrass is a sublime, delicious ingredient that I just started using regularly in my cooking.

It’s a bit more subtle than grating lemon zest, with an earthier flavor. I like to use the leaves to infuse flavor into a broth, much as you would a bay leaf. 

 You can also crush the stalk and steep into a pot of tea (heavenly!) or mince the leaves and toss it into the water to steam shrimp or shellfish. 
 
It’s so versatile it can be used in almost any cuisine. I can’t believe I didn’t use it much before!

Look for lemongrass that feels firm at the bulb end because that’s where the flavor is. Store it in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in plastic. It will keep for a week or more.

Lemon Chicken Broth 

(Sip on its own or use as a base for other soups – like chicken noodle)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

8 cups water 
2 lbs skin-on, bone-in chicken leg quarters 
3 stalks fresh lemongrass 
4 (1/4-inch) slices peeled fresh ginger 
1 Tbs chopped garlic 
1 tsp black peppercorns 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:

Combine 8 cups water and chicken leg quarters in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, skimming and discarding foam as needed. Reduce heat to low.

Trim and discard root end of lemongrass stalks; discard toughest outer leaves. Smash stalks with the flat side of a knife. Add lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and peppercorns to pan. Partially cover, and simmer 50 minutes, skimming and discarding foam as needed. Remove chicken from pan using a slotted spoon; reserve for another use.

Strain broth through a cheesecloth-lined colander; discard solids. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight. Skim solid fat from surface; discard.

Heat the broth in Dutch oven over medium heat, and stir in salt. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves.

Nutritional Information
: Calories: 19, Fat: 1 g, Protein: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Cholesterol: 12 mg, Iron: 0 mg, Sodium: 210 mg, Calcium: 2 mg 

 

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Product Talk: Going Gluten Free


A lot of people these days are finding they are intolerant to gluten. Others are just avoiding it because they feel better without it.

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

People with Celiac’s disease cannot process gluten and it causes all kinds of distress for their systems.

Luckily, the number of gluten-free products available at Brookshire’s these days is phenomenal.

This is a quick and easy snack recipe to make with a gluten-free product you can find on any grocery store shelf.

Gluten-Free Ginger Rice Crunch
Serves: 24

Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger or cardamom
6 cups Rice Chex cereal (gluten-free)
1 cup dried banana chips
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries or dried pineapple

Directions:
Heat oven to 250° F. Spray large roasting pan with cooking spray. In 1-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter, honey and ginger to boiling. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Into roasting pan, mix cereal, banana chips, almonds and coconut. Stir in brown sugar mixture until evenly coated.

Bake 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper or foil; cool about 15 minutes. Place in serving bowl; stir in cranberries. Store in airtight container.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 140, Calories from Fat: 70, Total Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Sodium: 85 mg, Total Carbohydrate: 18 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 10 g, Protein: 2g

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PRODUCT TALK: ASIAN PEARS


Walking through Brookshire’s last weekend, I spotted something I’d never seen, or heard of, before. And for me, that’s saying a lot. After all, I do eat voraciously. Wait! Did I say “eat?” I meant READ. I READ voraciously.

Ahem.

That little slip aside, the Asian pear is a sight to behold. Rounder than a traditional green pear, with a nutty-colored skin, the Asian pear has a texture more like an apple but a mild, subtle flavor.

The Asian pear is native to northern China but also grown in Japan.

A good-quality Asian pear is selected by smell rather than variations in firmness. Unlike other pears that yield to gentle pressure when ripe, Asian pears are ripe even when they are extremely firm. Select by their strong and sweet aroma. Asian pears, like green pears, are delicate and bruise easily. Ripen in a cool, dark place or refrigerate for a few days. They are meant to be eaten crunchy, not soft.

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Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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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