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Product Talk: Soba Noodles

Soba NoodlesAsian food is one of my all-time favorite cuisines. It’s mostly healthy, light and easy to cook. I make a lot of dishes with rice, substituting brown rice for white rice, but I’ve also been experimenting with noodle dishes lately as well.

I love udon noodles, which are thick, buckwheat noodles, but I’ve also become a huge fan of udon’s lighter cousin, soba.

Soba noodles are also made out of buckwheat and resemble a thin spaghetti. Commonly found in Japanese cooking, soba noodles can be served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a soup.

This treatment uses them in a stir-fry.

Soba Noodles

2 Tbsp sliced almonds
8 oz soba (Japanese-style noodles)
kosher salt
1 Tbsp plus 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz skirt or flank steak
freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp grated peeled ginger
2 heads baby bok choy, quartered
1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 head broccoli, florets removed
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread out almonds on a small, rimmed baking sheet. Toast almonds, tossing occasionally, until golden-brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain; rinse to cool and set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook until charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. Thinly slice steak against the grain.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites, garlic and ginger. Stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add bok choy, broccoli and carrots. Cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Add to vegetables; bring to a simmer. Fold in scallion greens and reserved almonds and noodles. Serve steak with noodle stir-fry.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 57, Fat: 22 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 30 mg, Carbohydrates: 59 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 13 g, Protein: 34 g, Sodium: 1420 mg

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

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Product Talk: Sweet P Cookies

Sweet P CookiesI’m not usually big on sweets, but there’s one treat in the Brookshire’s bakery I cannot resist: Sweet P Cookies.

You know those big, soft, fluffy sugar cookies with the thick topping of frosting and usually sprinkles? Yes, those.

We just had some for Valentine’s Day, with pink icing and a blanketing of heart-shaped jimmies. Brookshire’s has them for pretty much every holiday and even all the days in between. Pastels for Easter, patriotic colors for the Fourth of July, orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas and fun colors for every time in between.

My boys love these cookies. Every time I bring a box home, which come in a package of 10, they’re gone within a few days. I limit myself to one at a time, but I could probably make a meal out of them.

They’re also great for school parties and to brighten up dreary days at the office.

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Product Talk: Amy’s Enchilada Verde

Amy's Enchilada VerdeI get into lunch ruts.

I eat at my desk and work through lunch 99 percent of the time, and I generally pack leftovers from dinner the night before. Honestly, I get tired of being the one to clean out the fridge and eat the leftovers, so occasionally I peruse Brookshire’s for something out of the ordinary for me.

Last week, I discovered Amy’s Enchilada Verde meal. They’re in the frozen section, but if you took this dish out of its microwavable tray and put it on a porcelain plate, you’d never know it was once frozen!

Amy’s offers a wide selection of organic frozen foods, from burritos to pizzas to pot pies and Indian meals!

I tried the Enchilada Verde because it boasted two of my favorite things: spinach and cheese.

Amy’s website describes this deliciousness in this way: “Organic tomatillos are cooked and blended with authentic Mexican spices to create this delicious sauce bursting with flavor. Organic brown rice with organic vegetables and our traditional organic black beans complete the meal.”

I describe it as “YUM.”

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Product Talk: Grits

Southern Shrimp and GritsGrits are one of those things that I’d heard about growing up but never tasted. My mom didn’t like them, so logically, we never really had grits around the house (although, she also hated lima beans but we still ate those).

So, when I finally did taste them, I had a “where have you been all my life?” moment.

Grits are basically ground corn. Native American in origin, they’re commonly eaten as a “porridge” type of breakfast food. (Is anyone else flashing to Goldilocks?) They’re also popular in Southern cooking. Modern grits are commonly made of alkali-treated corn known as hominy.

All that to say, they’re delicious!

Grits come in different varieties. There are some quick-cooking versions and some that take a tad bit longer to cook. There are even “instant” varieties that cook in a minute or two in the microwave. They also come in flavors, like butter.

I tend to use the quick-cooking type, and I add my own butter, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese for a delicious warm breakfast dish.

I also love grits at other times of the day, like at dinner. I tried this recently and it was a huge hit in my house.

Southern Shrimp and Grits

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (3 oz)

Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in shrimp mixture, broth and 1/4 cup green onions; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and salt. Serve shrimp mixture over grits; sprinkle with cheese and remaining green onion.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 408, Fat: 13 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Protein: 33 g, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Fiber: 2 g, Cholesterol: 246 mg, Iron: 5.1 mg, Sodium: 890 mg, Calcium: 154 mg

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Product Talk: Far East Couscous

Far East CouscousI just love the word “couscous,” don’t you?

Couscous (pronounced koose-koose) is made from tiny grains of pasta and is a staple of cuisines around the world.

Near East makes couscous that only takes minutes to cook on your stovetop and provides 8 grams of protein per serving.

It comes in so many flavors, too! Of course, there is original. My favorite is Parmesan, but there’s also Broccoli and Cheese, Mediterranean Curry, Herbed Chicken, Toasted Pine Nut, Tomato Lentil, Mushroom and Herb, and more.

Couscous is a great side dish to pork chops, steak, chicken and seafood, or it’s great in cold salads, too.

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Product Talk: Red Curry Paste

Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle SoupI’ve been at my current job almost three months now, three months of torture several times a week as my co-workers carry brown paper bags into the newsroom at lunchtime.

The aromas drifting from those bags are nothing less than heavenly.

Finally, I just asked and was told that there was a little Thai restaurant about two blocks from our office building that is pretty much frequented by EVERYONE who works downtown, plus more. I was also told to call at least an hour in advance if I wanted food because this tiny restaurant stays so busy.

Once I tried it, I knew why the wait was so long! The owners are from Thailand, so the food is as authentic as it comes.

I’d rather go eat there, but when I’m at home, it’s fun to make my own Thai food, too.

One of the ingredients in a lot of Thai cooking is red curry paste.

Red curry paste is basically a blend of roasted red chilies, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, onion, tomato and some other seasoning to make a very flavorful blend. It’s spicy, so you can adjust the amount you use in recipes as needed. You’ll find it with the other Asian foods on your Brookshire’s grocery shelves!

Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Soup

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1/4 cup red curry paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 cup sweet potato or butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp fish sauce or soy sauce
2 Tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
6 oz rice noodles
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 green onions, sliced

Heat the thick part from the top of the can of coconut milk in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the curry paste and blend until fragrant, about a minute

Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, chicken, sweet potato, peanut butter, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sweet potato is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the soup. Shred or slice it and optionally puree the sweet potato with a hand blender before returning the chicken to the soup.

Add the mushrooms, red bell pepper and rice noodles, and cook until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes.

Mix in the bean sprouts; remove from heat and serve garnished with cilantro, chopped peanuts and green onions.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 513, Fat: 31 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 37 mg, Sodium: 1622 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 31 g

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

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Product Talk: Cheese Ravioli

Fried Cheese Ravioli

My kids love to eat out. We don’t do it often, but when they do, they like to go whole hog: appetizers, dinner and dessert. Well, I have to draw the line somewhere, and they usually choose appetizers over desserts. They’ve loved mozzarella sticks for as long as I can remember, but the last time we went out they chose something new: fried ravioli.
Oh. My. Gosh. Sooooo good.
On New Year’s Eve, we did an “appetizer” dinner, and I made our own fried ravioli using the Brookshire’s recipe. I was amazed how easy it was using a package of frozen cheese ravioli found in the freezer section of your local Brookshire’s. The boys LOVED it and are already asking for them again.

Fried Ravioli

2 Tbsp Brookshire’s Whole Milk
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 (25 oz) pkg frozen cheese ravioli, thawed
1 (16 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
vegetable oil, for frying
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, combine milk and the egg. Place bread crumbs and salt in a shallow bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture and coat with bread crumbs. In a large saucepan, heat spaghetti sauce over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce heat to simmer. In a large heavy pan, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches.

Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately with hot marinara sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 691, Fat: 16 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 99 mg, Sodium: 7108 mg, Carbohydrates: 113 g, Fiber: 13 g, Protein: 30 g

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


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Product Talk: Arnold Sandwich Thins

Arnold Sandwich ThinsEveryone’s trying to get healthier this time of year, so many of us are searching for products that will assist with that goal.

Arnold Sandwich Thins help me with that! I don’t cut carbohydrates (you need carbs for energy), but I do try to scale back where I can (pun intended).

Arnold Sandwich Thins are cholesterol-free, and they have no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. They’re thin enough that they don’t overpower your sandwich or burger but sturdy enough to support something delicious.

They are low in fat and contain at least 8 grams of whole grains, which makes them heart healthy, and they are a good source of fiber. They’re also a great source of vitamins A, D, E and calcium.

Arnold Sandwich Thins come in Honey Wheat, Flax & Fiber, Whole Grain White, Multi-Grain, Seedless Rye and 100% Whole Wheat.

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Product Talk: Nutella

NutellaWhen I lived in Germany back in the mid-1990s, a hazelnut spread called Nutella was all the rage. It wasn’t unheard of in the United States, but it certainly wasn’t as mainstream as it is now.

There would be pastries filled with Nutella. You’d eat Nutella on toast or as a sandwich (They would. I never went that far). Nutella was everywhere, which makes sense as it has European origins, Italian to be exact. Nutella hazelnut spread was first imported from Italy to the U.S. over 25 years ago by Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. Think of those decadent gold-wrapped orbs of chocolately goodness. (Ferrero Rocher, anyone?)

Nutella is simply a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a tiny bit of cocoa. Many mistake it for a chocolate spread, but the richness of the hazelnuts makes it seem that way.

Try Nutella for your s’mores next time you make them! Substitute Nutella for the chocolate bar and enjoy a rich, gooey treat.

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Product Talk: Zatarain’s Dirty Rice

Zatarain’s Dirty RiceEvery afternoon while I’m on my way home from work, and my boys are on their way home from school, they text me to ask what we’re having for dinner.

It’s not lost on me that whenever I respond “dirty rice” the series of  happy emoticons they send back is the vast opposite from the silence I get whenever I mention peas or mashed potatoes (neither of which they like).

Last night was such a night.

I got party hats, fireworks, exclamation points and heart emoji when I said two of their favorite words: dirty rice.

We love the Zatarain’s Original Dirty Rice (yes, I buy the family size for just the three of us). I brown one pound of 93/7 ground beef, drain the fat, add 3 ¾ cups water (I omit the extra oil, I don’t think you need it) and voila! About 25 minutes later dinner is served.

Traditional homemade dirty rice is made with chicken livers and gizzards, which gives the dish it’s name. However, I’m not sure I’d get the same happy emoji if I tried to sneak chicken livers into dinner. We’ll stick with Zatarain’s. My older son loves, loves, loves spicy food (he gets that from me) and he adds extra hot sauce to his portion. My younger son doesn’t like anything that “spices his tongue” but the blend of seasonings in the Zatarain’s Dirty Rice mix is just perfect.

Everyone is happy.

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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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