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Product Talk: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas


I adore buffalo chicken. I mean, LOVE the stuff. I even have a board on Pinterest called “Ode to Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese.” I like it that much.  So when I was browsing through my local Brookshire’s lately and saw a new product on the shelves, I stopped short.

Knorr has a new Rice Sides flavor called (you guessed it) Buffalo Chicken.  Oh. Happy. Day.

I grabbed it off the shelf and immediately began fantasizing about what I could do with it as soon as I got it home. It didn’t take me long to figure out I was going to make enchiladas with the rice, which cooks in just seven minutes.  I suppose rice isn’t a traditional ingredient in enchiladas, but I like the texture and it helps stretch the recipe to make it more budget-friendly. I like my buffalo chicken spicy, but you can adjust the amount of hot sauce you use according to your taste. Sometimes I actually prepare two batches of filling – one that is spicy enough for me, another that won’t cause complaints from my two boys. I just mark my enchiladas in the pan with tooth picks.

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

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 package (8) Mission 96% Fat-Free Medium Flour Tortillas
1 1/2 lbs Brookshire’s Chicken Breast Tenderloins, trimmed
2 stalks celery, washed and diced
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 5.3 oz package Knorr Rice Sides, Buffalo Chicken flavor
8 oz Food Club cream cheese
1/2 cup Food Club Chicken Wing Sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles 

Sauce:

1 1/2 Tbs Food Club unsalted butter
3 Tbs Food Club all-purpose flour
1‑1/2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
4 tsp Food Club dry ranch-style salad dressing mix
1/4 to 1/2 tsp white pepper
2 cups (8 oz) Food Club 2% mild cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside to cook.

In a medium sauce-pan pan coated with non-stick cooking spray, cook the onion, celery and chicken tenderloins until the chicken is cooked through.  When the chicken is cooked, drain fat and add cream cheese to the pan. Return to low heat until cream cheese is soft and melted. Stir in the wing sauce, blue cheese crumbles and rice. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Fill all 8 flour tortillas with chicken mixture, roll and place seam-side down in a 9x 13 baking dish, also sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Using wire whisk, stir in milk; bring to a boil. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in dressing mix and pepper.

Pour over enchiladas in pan. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. 

Nutritional Information: Calories 436;  Calories from Fat 205;  Total Fat 22.8g;  Cholesterol 116mg; Sodium 961mg; Total Carbohydrates 24.3g; Dietary Fiber 1.9g; Sugars 4.5g; Protein 31.9g.



Product Talk: Naturally Nutritious Pistachios


Pistachios are addictive, but the good news is that among nuts, pistachios are one of the most nutritious. A one-ounce serving of pistachios, gives you a variety of different vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, potassium and fiber. But if you are like me, I have a hard time stopping once I get started popping those little nuts into my mouth. 

At 170-calories a serving, if I am not careful I might have several servings before realizing what I’ve eaten! This past weekend, I tried to think of some new ways to enjoy my cravings for pistachios while making sure I don’t eat the whole bag! This delicious recipe for Chicken with Pistachio Pesto Pasta uses one cup of pistachios, spreading out the calories and fat without sacrificing any flavor. It’s different and perfect served warm…and tasted equally as good when I ate it cold straight from the fridge late one night when I needed a bedtime snack.  It would also be great for your summer picnic table. 

Enjoy! 

Chicken with Pistachio Pesto Pasta
Serves 4-6 

For the pesto: 

Ingredients:
1 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup crushed pistachios
1/2 cup olive oil
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup packed parsley leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 

For the chicken and pasta: 

Ingredients:
16 oz uncooked bowtie pasta
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped 

Directions:
For the pesto, combine Parmesan cheese, pistachios, olive oil, garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper in a food processor and process to a thick paste. Set aside ½ cup of the pesto for this recipe and freeze the rest for future use.

For the chicken and pasta, cook bowtie according to package directions, and drain. Combine olive oil, vinegar and garlic salt in a skillet. Add chicken and cook until cooked through and no longer pink. 

Combine pasta and chicken in a large serving bowl. Add pesto and toss to coat well. Serve immediately. 

Nutritional Information:  Calories per Serving: 790, Fat: 41.6 g (8.4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 517 mg, Carbohydrates: 64.8 g, Fiber: 5.2 g, Protein: 42.6 g.



Product Talk: Cream Cheese


I love cream cheese.

I REALLY love cream cheese. In fact, I consider it a food group unto itself. I even have a board on Pinterest titled, “Ode to Cream Cheese.”

Someday, I plan to write the definitive cream cheese cookbook. There’s no time like the present to get started.

Cream cheese is made from un-skimmed milk enriched with additional cream. In the refrigerated section of Brookshire’s stores, you can find full-fat, one-third less fat and fat-free varieties of the lovely white stuff. It comes flavored, whipped, herbed and fruited. You can buy it in a brick or in a tub. The options are endless but the taste is ever-so-delicious.

Of course I like to eat cream cheese on a bagel (sesame, toasted). I also like to use it as a party spread, simply placing a block of cream cheese on a chilled platter and topping it with hot pepper jelly and serving with crackers. I use a thin spread of cream cheese in place of shredded cheese on a grilled pizza, under fresh tomato and fresh basil. And I cook with it every chance I get. My kids’ favorite slow cooker meal uses cream cheese: Place four frozen chicken breasts, one can of drained black beans, one 12-ounce bag of frozen corn, one jar of salsa, one jar of salsa verde and one block of cream cheese in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours. Serve over rice.

But usually my favorite cream cheese recipes involve desserts. I made this dish for a cook-out last weekend. Keep it refrigerated until time to serve and it’s even better the second day.

Cream Cheese Dream

Makes one 9×13 pan
Serves one (if it’s me), or about 12

Crust:
Ingredients:
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick Food Club butter, softened
1 cup Food Club all purpose flour

First Layer:
Ingredients:
1 cup Food Club powdered sugar
1 cup Food Club whipped topping (from a large container)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

Second and Third layers:
Ingredients:
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
2 cups milk

Directions:
Mix together first three ingredients and press in ungreased 9 x 13 glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Mix together next three ingredients and spread on cool crust.

Beat together vanilla pudding and one cup milk  and chocolate pudding and one cup milk and spread on as two creamy layers.

Cover top with the rest of the whipped topping. Refrigerate.

Variations:
•Use pistachio and chocolate puddings.
•Top layer of whipped topping with Heath Bar bits, crushed Butterfinger candy bars, mini-chocolate chips, peanuts, sprinkles or whatever you like.
•Substitute chocolate-flavored whipped topping for regular on top of the dessert.
•Use chocolate milk for an extra chocolate kick.
•Add a third layer of pudding in your choice of flavor.



Product Talk: Summer Refresher


Bananas might not be the first ingredient you think of using when it comes to making a refreshing batch of frozen margaritas, but after my first one last month, I’m a big fan!

Our corporate chef, Glenn Terrell, is a magician when it comes to creating wonderful flavor combinations, such as his Cucumber-Jalapeno margarita and this delicious Banana Margarita.

The ingredients in this recipe are not classic margarita flavors, as Glenn has added the creaminess of coconut milk and a hint of vanilla to make it more of an island-inspired tequila concoction.

I served these wonderful drinks with fish tacos and homemade chips and guacamole. It was the perfect end to a summer day!

Enjoy!

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

Banana Margarita

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 vanilla bean
3 oz tequila
2 oz triple sec
2 oz coconut milk
4 large bananas
1/2 (12 oz) can frozen limeade concentrate
6 cups ice
Coarse sugar for rimming glasses

Directions:
Scrape vanilla bean into blender along with remaining ingredients, except sugar and 1 banana for garnish. Blend until frozen consistency. Add sugar to rims of glasses. Pour margarita into glasses and garnish with a sliced banana.

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Product Talk: Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil


I have a confession to make: I have lived in Texas for 15 years and I lived in parts of Louisiana for four years as a child and I have NEVER been to a shrimp boil.

Since it’s almost an official state pastime, I’ve been more-than-a-little embarrassed over my lack of shrimp-boiling prowess. I decided summertime was the perfect time to rectify that problem.

First stop: Brookshire’s for Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil, gorgeous 16/20 shrimp in the shells, earthy red potatoes and bright ears of corn on the cob. Let me just tell you, I love me some Zatarain’s. And while I’m at it, I have another confession: I always thought my mom’s red beans and rice was the best in the universe, but Zatarain’s Red Beans and Rice gives it a run for its money! (Please don’t tell my mom). So it was practically a no-brainer to use a Zatarain’s product for my first shrimp boil.

Second stop: My very own kitchen to dig out my beautiful blue and white enamel stock pot, the one I’d use if ever called upon to cook for a small army.

I was ready.

The Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab boil is exactly as its name promises: a concentrated, spicy blend of red pepper, bay, clove, black pepper, thyme, marjoram and other spices. It comes in an 8-ounce bottle and you really only need a capful per two quarts of water, unless you really want to spice up your party. It’s easy to use and you don’t need any other spices or flavorings.

A shrimp boil is an extremely quick, easy party meal and fun for the whole family. I’d recommend spreading newspaper out on your table so you can dig in and enjoy your shrimp and not worry about the mess!

Southern Shrimp Boil

Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
2 Tbs salt (optional)
2 lbs large shrimp with shells on (21 to 30 count)
4 ears of corn on the cob, shucked and sliced in half
8 red potatoes, whole
1 lb cooked smoked sausage (optional)
2 tsp Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil

Directions:
Bring water and salt to boil in large stock pot.
Add potatoes and corn, cook for about 5 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Stir in shrimp, sausage if using, and Zatarain’s Concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil. Return to boil; cover. Cook 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain well. 



PRODUCT TALK: Blueberry Crumble


Blueberries are bursting with flavor and are in peak season across the South right now.

When my boys were younger, we’d go pick blueberries straight from the bushes, eating as many as we bagged to bring home (blueberry bushes are naturally insect repellent, so farmers rarely use pesticides on them and you can eat while you pick). These days, I live within walking distance of a Brookshire’s store, so at the beginning of the summer, I walk straight to the store and buy pints of the beautiful, juicy berries.

One of my favorite things to make with them is a blueberry crumble. I have to admit, I love the brown sugar crust almost as much as the sweet, gooey filling. My mom had the best crumble recipe. In fact, I remember emailing her, asking for it, the day before I ran my first staff meeting as the supervisor to three other employees, some 11 years ago. I planned to serve it warm, with a healthy dose of re-organization.

She emailed back the recipe, adding, “You’re a good boss, Amy.”

I didn’t know about all that. My strategy was to earn my way into their professional hearts through their stomachs. It must have worked; we remain friends to this day and when I left the company some time later, they all paid me kind compliments that had nothing to do with my culinary skills. Apparently the Blueberry Crumble – or the massive reorganization of the department – must not have been too bad. 

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

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE 

Ingredients:
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbs lemon juice
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup butter
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Spread blueberries in square, 8 x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix remaining ingredients, sprinkle over berries.

Heat oven to 375 F. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is light brown and berries are hot. Delicious served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.



Product Talk: Cilantro, Pesto-Style


People seem to have a love-hate relationship with cilantro, with very few people I know having the opinion of “take it or leave it” when it comes to how they feel about its distinct taste. 

I definitely fall in the category of those who adore the flavor of the vibrant green herb also known as coriander or Chinese parsley. But until recently, I only thought of adding fresh cilantro to my Tex-Mex or Asian recipes, brightening my salsas, salads and stir-fry dishes. 

Cilantro is much more versatile than I realized until recently when a good friend introduced me to the delicious taste of cilantro pesto. She had replaced the traditional basil in pesto with an abundance of cilantro from her garden and served  it drizzled over grilled salmon. The flavor combination was amazing, and it opened my eyes and palate to many possibilities of cooking with cilantro that I had been overlooking.

Fresh cilantro doesn’t last long at all, but this recipe for Cilantro Pesto stores well in your refrigerator. If the olive oil in the pesto hardens, just return to room temperature or heat and stir before using. Pecans also taste great instead of walnuts…and I’ve now experimented with adding a handful of shelled pumpkin seeds or “pepitas” when I happen to have some in the pantry. Enjoy! 

Cilantro Pesto 

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and dried well
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Directions: 

In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, walnuts and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and blend into the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches desired consistency. Store in refrigerator up to two weeks.

Serving Ideas:
Serve over cream cheese with crackers for an instant appetizer. 

Toss with hot, cooked bowtie pasta. 

Drizzle over grilled salmon or shrimp. 

Serve as a dipping sauce with grilled chicken tenders. 

Spread over pizza crust instead of traditional tomato sauce. 

Spread thin layer inside corn tortillas when making cheese enchiladas. 

Spoon a little into tomato or tortilla soup.



Product Talk: The Year of the Baguette


If you are like me and enjoy reading food and cooking magazines, then you have to have noticed that this month’s covers are covered in baguettes. I’ve seen these crusty French bread loaves on at least three major magazines, and being that the baguette is probably my favorite way to enjoy bread, I’m thrilled.

Of course, you can always make your own baguettes at home, but to be honest, I don’t see the point unless you are a well-trained baker and you have all the right ingredients and pans. It used to be that only the best boutique bakeries in our towns offered authentic baguettes, but these days it’s easy to find a notable selection at your local Brookshire’s.

I love to bake my French bread to a hard crusty crunch, breaking off bites and dipping them in cold butter sprinkled with sea salt. If I’m not careful, I can eat the entire loaf before realizing what I’ve done. There are many nights I am content to enjoy French bread and some good cheese and want nothing more for dinner.

Baguettes are also my go-to ingredient for appetizers. It’s so easy to slice the loaf in thin slices, toast for about 10 minutes at 350°F and then top with all kinds of delicious spreads and salsas.

Here are a few of my favorites: Honey Goat Cheese with Strawberries:

Baguette Topping: Honey Goat Cheese with Strawberries

Ingredients:
6 oz soft goat cheese
2 Tbs honey
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly but leaving tops intact
16 to 20 toasted baguette slices

Directions:
Stir goat cheese and honey together in a small bowl; spread about 1 tablespoon onto each bread slice.

Place strawberries on bread fanning strawberry over cheese. Repeat with remaining bread slices. 

Baguette Topping: “Smashed” Tomato and Olive Bruschetta 

Ingredients:
1 cup cherry tomatoes (I love using multi-colored tomatoes)
1/2 cup black olives
4 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
1 Tbs dried oregano
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
1/2 loaf French baguette, cut into slices and toasted with 1 clove garlic rubbed into one side of each slice Fresh Parmesan cheese, for shaving.

Using your hand, carefully smash the tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl.  On a cutting board, gently smash the olives as well, removing any stones. Add olives to tomatoes and toss.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add oregano and basil leaves and mix gently.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  To serve, top each baguette slice with tomato topping and finish with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.



Product Talk: HOLY MOLY GUACAMOLE


Guacamole was probably the first dish I ever taught myself to make. I was about 14, and had recently moved to East Texas with my family from Corpus Christi. I really missed the authentic Mexican food I grew up on in South Texas, and one day, when I was craving guacamole, I figured I could just make it myself. Avocados, lime juice, a little pico de gallo–how hard could it be?

I wish I could say that’s the day I knew I would become a chef, but that’s not exactly true. Eventually, I did graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, and set out to cook my way across North America. I worked in restaurants, hotels, and gourmet markets in New York, San Francisco, Dallas, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Cozumel and Fort Worth before joining Brookshire’s in 2008.

But, that first guacamole turned out pretty good, and that small success did jumpstart my interest in the kitchen, encouraging me to try to cook more. Lucky for me, I picked a first dish that’s pretty forgiving, and can be as simple as you want it to be.

Good guacamole depends on just one main thing– avocados that are perfectly ripe. Too hard, and they won’t mash up smooth and creamy. Too ripe, and the guac may taste bitter or “off.”  From there, the only must-haves in my book are fresh lime juice and salt. Everything else is up to you–tomatoes, fresh cilantro, jalapeños, onions, garlic, or your own secret ingredient.

Now, as Brookshire’s corporate chef, I develop recipes for a living–I create most of the recipes you see in Celebrate Cooking every month, as well as work to bring you new, interesting, and delicious foods in all our Brookshire’s stores.

But the simple recipe I’ve created here for guacamole isn’t all that far off from the one I remember making in my parents’ kitchen in East Texas so many years ago. It’s creamy, bright and fresh, and when I eat it, it makes me think of home.

Ingredients:
2 perfectly ripe avocados
1 Tbs red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small jalapeño, minced
2 Tbs fresh cilantro leaves,chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
1 Tbs lime juice 

Directions:
Halve avocados, remove pit, and scoop flesh into medium bowl. Using fork or potato masher mash lightly with onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and kosher salt until just combined, but still chunky. 

Sprinkle lime juice over and mix lightly with fork until combined. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and serve. Can be covered with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto surface of mixture, and refrigerated up to one day. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.  

Nutritional Information:  Calories per Serving: 109, Fat: 10 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 199 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 1 g 



Product Talk: The Season for Spring’s Sweet Onions


It only takes a bite to realize that not all onions taste the same. There are differences – sometimes subtle but sometimes huge – among yellow, white and red onions. Here are a few of the basic things to remember about which onion you want to choose in your cooking:

White Onions: Milder than the yellow onion, used frequently in Mexican cuisine, not powerful in flavor

Red Onions: Best eaten raw, perfect in salads and sandwiches, cooking will diminish most of the flavor

Yellow Onions: Most popular for cooked dishes, higher sulfur content makes your eyes water, pungent and difficult to enjoy raw

This time of year, sweet yellow onions are coming into play, and I find myself looking for any reason at all to add their delicate flavor to all kinds of recipes! I have been making pots and pots of French Onion Soup right now for this reason alone. Thankfully, my family loves it!

One of my favorite recipes to make right now is a sweet onion dip using Greek yogurt as the base instead of sour cream. Caramelizing the yellow onion mellows and sweetens their flavor even more. Greek yogurt is a bit tangier than sour cream, so if you don’t want this added zing, use half sour cream alongside the yogurt. 

Sweet Onion Dip

Ingredients:
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 Tbs salted butter
2 medium sweet yellow onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 (16 oz) container of plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 tsps light brown sugar
salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large pot, add olive oil and butter over low heat. When melted, add chopped onions, garlic and salt, stirring until all onions are well coated in the oil/butter mixture. Cover the pot and cook for approximately 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and cook 5 minutes, until onions are caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and caramelized onions, stirring in additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with potato chips, sweet potato chips, fresh vegetable sticks or pita chips. Also wonderful as a substitute for mayonnaise on hamburgers! Makes 2 cups. Store in refrigerator.



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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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