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Product Talk: Barilla Thin Spaghetti


Barilla Thin SpaghettiI love pasta.

I’d blame it on my Italian heritage, but I’m pretty sure I’d love pasta if I was from the North Pole.

There are so many delicious varieties on the market these days, and I think I’ve tried most of them.

I really love Barilla pastas, especially the thin spaghetti, which comes in a whole grain variety.

While thin, the whole grain flavor really holds up well to different sauces like marinara, arrabbiata or Alfredo.

Barilla whole grain pasta is made with 51 percent whole wheat in the form of durum wheat flour with semolina and oat fiber.

Each serving contains 6 grams of dietary fiber and 7 grams of protein, with 1.5 grams of fat and 200 calories.

We had it for dinner recently with a chunky marinara sauce made with fresh tomatoes from Brookshire’s, and it was heavenly.

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Product Talk: Food Club All-Purpose Baking Mix


Strawberry ShortcakeSometimes I love to make things from scratch and sometimes I like taking shortcuts.

This is where Food Club All-Purpose Baking Mix comes in handy.

On school mornings, or any morning, really, it’s so much easier to open a box of baking mix and add milk or eggs for pancakes or waffles than it is to measure out ingredients when I’m bleary-eyed and haven’t had my coffee yet. Come to think of it, that could be downright disastrous.

Baking mix is so versatile it can be used for waffles, pancakes, biscuits, chicken and dumplings, shortcakes and much more.

I’m going to use it tonight for strawberry shortcake.

Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:
2 1/3 cups Food Club All-Purpose Baking mix
3 Tbsp sugar
½ cup milk
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 cups whipped topping
3 cups strawberries, sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Combine baking mix and sugar; add milk and butter. Stir with a fork to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 20 strokes. Pat dough into ½-inch thick circle. Cut out six 3×3 inch biscuits. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool to room temperature. To serve, split each biscuit, top with 1/3 cup whipped topping and strawberries.

Nutritional Information: Calories 348, Calories from Fat 159, Total Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 33 mg, Sodium 643 mg, Potassium 225 mg, Total Carbohydrates 43 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sugars 17 g, Protein 5 g

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

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Product Talk: Sesame Oil


Rainbow Thai Chicken SaladSesame oil is exactly what it sounds like: an oil derived from sesame seeds.

Sesame oil, fragrant and pungent, is used as a cooking oil in South India and as a complimentary flavor in Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Korean and Southeast Asian cuisines. I would venture to guess that most Americans find the flavor too overpowering to use as a primary cooking oil, but it’s delicious as an added flavor in so many foods.

Some also use sesame oil as an alternative medicine. The antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats in sesame oil have been shown to help control blood pressure and relieve stress.

This recipe, which uses sesame oil in the dressing, might be the most visually appealing dish you’ve ever made. Along with a burst of flavor, it’s beautiful to look at, too.

Rainbow Thai Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

Thai Chicken Salad:
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
1 avocado, diced
1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 (large) carrot, julienned or shredded
1 red pepper, cored and julienned (or diced)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cashews or peanuts, chopped

Peanut Dressing:
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2-3 Tbsp hot water
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp sesame oil
juice of 1 lime
pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions

To Make The Salad:
Toss all salad ingredients together until combined. Drizzle with dressing or toss to combine, then serve immediately.

To Make The Dressing:
Whisk all ingredients together until combined. If the dressing is too thick, add hot water a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 415, Calories from Fat: 201, Fat: 22 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 54 mg, Sodium: 369 mg, Potassium: 562 mg, Carbohydrates: 26 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein: 30 g.

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

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Product Talk: Almond Milk Smoothie


Almond Milk“You’ve got to try this,” my friend said, handing me a glass with a suspiciously milky-looking substance in it.

Not that I have anything against milk: I grew up on 2 percent cow’s milk, and I think my mom served it at every meal until I left for college.

True story.

However, I can’t say it’s been my drink of choice since I moved out on my own. Still nothing against milk; it’s great for you and necessary for bone health, but I just don’t love it.

So, it was with great skepticism that I sipped from the glass she handed me.

It was good.

“It’s almond milk,” she said.

Milk? Out of almonds?

Exactly!

Almond milk is made from ground almonds and contains neither lactose nor cholesterol, which is another bonus for me as I’m trying to lower my total cholesterol.

It’s good for vegans and vegetarians, and it comes in flavors like vanilla or chocolate.

Although almond milk has less protein than cow’s milk, it is rich in nutrients including fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper and calcium.

Try this smoothie made with almond milk. It tastes just like a Wendy’s frosty!

Almond Milk Smoothie

Ingredients:
3/4 cup almond milk
about 15 ice cubes
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 of a banana

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until you’ve achieved desired consistency.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 467, Calories from Fat: 393, Fat: 44 g (39 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 29 mg, Potassium: 700 mg, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 6 g.

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



Product Talk: All Whites


Hash brown CasseroleI love eggs and could eat them at every meal. Every single meal, no joke.

However, my doctor told me to watch my cholesterol intake. Eggs don’t have a ton of cholesterol, but it’s enough when your doctor says to watch it.

Luckily, there are products like All Whites on the market. Found in a carton in the refrigerated section of Brookshire’s, All Whites is simply what it says: egg whites.

Three tablespoons, about the equivalent of one egg, is only 25 calories and zero cholesterol or fat.

Now, I use them for breakfast all the time!

Hash Brown Casserole

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1 small zucchini, cut in half crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup (8 oz) All Whites egg whites
1 cup milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Heat oven to 375° F. Butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Firmly press hash browns on bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook Italian sausage in a 10-inch skillet until browned. Drain fat. Combine cooked sausage, zucchini, red bell pepper, All Whites, milk and mustard in a large bowl; mix well. Pour All Whites mixture into crust.

Return to oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is set. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 188, Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 470 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 13 g, Calcium: 119 mg.

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

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Product Talk: Brookshire’s Deli Fried Chicken


Fried ChickenI was craving fried chicken the other day.

I never crave fried chicken or anything “fried,” usually.

One Sunday recently, I wanted chicken, egged on by my boys who spurred on my craving by suggesting an “old-fashioned” picnic in the park.

Who am I to say no to that?

I wasn’t going to make fried chicken (previous attempts have taught me to leave it to the experts), so we went to the Brookshire’s Deli to pick up a box of their fried chicken.

It was heavenly. It was crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned. The boys devoured several breasts a piece, and then lay on the picnic blanket in the sunshine, holding their bellies and groaning.

Brookshire’s fried chicken, at the deli counter, is prepared daily. You can get assorted pieces, like breasts, wings, drumsticks or thighs. Best of all, it’s affordable and delicious, and you don’t have to scrub down your kitchen afterward!

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Product Talk: Goldenbrook Farms Rocky Road Ice Cream


Goldenbrook Rocky RoadThe following is a true account of a night at my house:

6 p.m. – I walk through the door, drop my purse, my laptop bag and my lunch sack (the one with the smelly container from my leftover soup at lunch) onto the kitchen counter.

6:01 p.m. – My two boys run into the kitchen to give me a hug. They’d been playing a video game, which wasn’t allowed.

“Please turn it off,” I asked, nicely.

“BUT MOM,” came the immediate protest.

“Just turn it off,” I implored.

6:02 p.m. – “What’s for dinner?”

“I made chicken. It’s in the Crock Pot.”

6:03 p.m.  – I realize I don’t smell the chicken cooking. Usually when I use the slow cooker, the aroma of a finished dinner assaults me the minute I walk in the door.

6:04 p.m. – I touch the side of the Crock Pot, desperately feeling for warmth. Nothing. I look at the LED screen. I hadn’t turned it on that morning. The chicken was not only raw, but now it had been sitting out for 10 hours.

6:05 p.m. – “WELL, DARN IT,” I yelled.

Curt came running into the kitchen at my explanation.

CRASH.

He knocked my laptop off the kitchen counter.

CRACK.

6:06 p.m. – I locked myself in my room for a few minutes to calm down.

6:10 p.m. – I slapped peanut butter and jelly on some whole grain bread (to make myself feel better for serving PB&J for dinner) and called it a meal.

6:30 p.m. – “Hey mom, can we have dessert?”

*Sigh.

6:31 p.m. – I walked to the freezer. There, like an oasis in the dessert, was a half gallon of Goldenbrook Farms Rocky Road ice cream.

“How about this?” I asked.

Both boys agreed.

6:35 p.m. – There was silence in my house as the boys ate their ice cream.

6:40 p.m. – “Mom, this is the best ending to the day, ever.”

The End.

Note: No children or pets were harmed during the making of this blog post. The computer, however, did not fare as well.

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Product Talk: Prepared Salads


SaladI’m on the never-ending quest to eat healthier. (Aren’t we all?)

I usually always pack my lunch from home, but occasionally I’ll be out of leftovers or just not feeling inspired.

That’s when I run to Brookshire’s and grab one of their ready-made salads from the refrigerated case near the Produce Department or Deli.

My favorite is the Southwest Cobb. It has turkey, pepper jack cheese, corn and other veggies on a bed of lettuce with a spicy ranch dressing and crispy tortilla strips. I also love the one with bleu cheese, apples and dried cranberries. There’s a Grilled Chicken Caesar, which I haven’t tried yet, and also a Chef’s salad that looks delicious.

At just under $4, these are the best lunch around!

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Product Talk: Sucanat


SucanatI was writing a blog post for tomorrow, and it called for an ingredient that might not be as known to you as it could be. So, I figured today’s post would be a good time to introduce you to a product known as Sucanat.

Sucanat, or sugar cane natural, is a brand name for whole cane sugar introduced by Pronatec in 1978.

Unlike refined and processed white cane sugar and brown cane sugar, Sucanat retains its molasses content. In its purest form, it is basically dried sugar cane juice, which is extracted in the manufacturing process. However, unlike other brown sugars, all the vitamins, minerals and molasses in the juice are not displaced during processing.

You use Sucanat as a direct substitution for white or brown sugar in baking and cooking.

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Product Talk: Boca Soy Breakfast Links


Breakfast LinksI was strolling down the frozen food aisle at Brookshire’s recently, looking for something, and came across an old friend.

Boca products were a staple of my diet when I was a die-hard Weight Watchers chick. Now, I’m not. Ahem. I need to go back, so I started my journey by picking up a few Boca products that help cut calories while still satisfying my cravings.

The first thing I dug into was Boca Soy Breakfast Links. I love breakfast; it’s my favorite meal of the day, so I don’t skimp on first-thing foods.

I loved these! Besides being delicious (you cannot tell that they are not a pork product, I promise), they have 8 grams of protein in each link and zero cholesterol or fat. They’re 70 calories a pop.

So, for breakfast now I enjoy one hard boiled egg, one sausage link and a piece of fruit or a veggie. It’s a great way to start the day.

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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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