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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

When 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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Product Talk: David Wade’s Worcestershire Powder

You’ve heard of Worcestershire sauce, but have you ever used Worcestershire powder?

Once you do, you’ll be hooked.

Invented by Texas celebrity chef David Wade, one of the original television chefs, Worcestershire Powder is delicious rubbed into any red meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables or Asian dishes. It’s also darn good in a Bloody Mary.

Essentially a dehydrated Worcestershire sauce, the product touts that it “permeates the food and magnifies its flavor to bring out the mouthwatering goodness of any dish.”

That it does. I promise you.

The first time my boyfriend cooked for me, he used it on the most beautiful steaks I’d ever seen. He had rubbed Worcestershire powder into the steaks well before I’d arrived that evening, so when I took my first bite, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Surely a man who could cook a steak like this was right up there in the celestial rankings. His secret, beyond the fact he’s just good at the grill, was Worcestershire powder. We’ve since had it on all cuts of steak and a prime rib, and I’m going to use it in some enchiladas shortly. It’s good stuff.

David Wade, who retired in Tyler, Texas, was an award-winning chef, newspaper columnist, radio personality, hymn singer, cookbook author, television fixture and cookbook author. He’s as known for his neat ascot and crested blazer as he is for his eloquence, showmanship and delicious Worcestershire powder.

Found on the aisle near the condiments and Worcestershire sauce, the distinctive brown paper packaging calls out to be used. Listen to it.

Product Talk: Owens Smoked Sausage Kolaches

Owens Smoked Sausage KolachesBack in my grad school days, I lived within striking distance of West, Texas. Not to be confused with the geographic region, West is a town as well-known for West Fest and The Czech Stop as it is for being the scene of a tragic fertilizer plant explosion a few years ago.

West, Texas, was settled by people of Czechoslovakian descent, and arguably the best food in town is to be had at The Czech Stop.

While it looks like a gas station (admittedly, it’s next to one), The Czech Stop serves up the very best authentic, homemade kolaches in the state of Texas.

Southerners call kolaches by different names: kolaches or pigs in a blanket, usually. The very best ones are in West.

I tried to duplicate them myself but failed miserably until I happened upon Bob Evans’ Owens Smoked Sausage Kolaches in the frozen foods aisle of Brookshire’s, near the breakfast foods.

A tender sausage link is encased in a mass of flaky doughiness for a heavenly treat that’s easy to heat in a toaster oven or microwave for a quick breakfast or snack. They could easily be a main dish or a party staple as well. Owens sausage, with its world-renown, gives these kolaches a full-bodied flavor that would be enviable in certain other cities.

My son eats them, along with Greek yogurt, every morning.

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Product Talk: Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces

Campbell's Slow Cooker SaucesI do my grocery shopping over the weekend, but I plan meals for the whole week. The weekly menu always includes at least one slow cooker meal, usually more than that.

My boys have their favorites: pork loin in a cheese sauce, chicken with a mushroom sauce and almost any soup I make, but I love to vary recipes and change things up on them, much to their chagrin.

However, when I discovered Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces on the aisle at Brookshire’s (they are near the marinades, not necessarily the soup), I knew I had to try them.

They can’t be any easier. Open the pouch. Pour over raw meat. Cook in the slow cooker. Done. That’s it.

They come in different flavors, like Shredded Beef Taco, Tavern Style Pot Roast, Sweet Korean BBQ, Moroccan Spiced Stew, Hawaiian Pork, Southern BBQ and Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork.

It really doesn’t get any easier, with a huge flavor impact.

Shredded Beef Panini with Cilantro Lime Spread


1 (12 oz) pouch Campbell’s® Shredded Beef Taco Slow Cooker Sauce
2 to 3 lb boneless beef chuck

2 cups warmed slow-cooked shredded beef
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
8 slices Pepperidge Farm® Farmhouse™ Sourdough Bread
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese (thinly sliced)
8 tomato slices
8 slices bacon, cooked and drained
1 cup packed baby spinach or arugula

Pour slow cooker sauce over beef in a 6-quart slow cooker; cook on low heat setting for at least 7 hours. Shred beef.

Heat a panini maker. Drain any excess liquid from the beef. Stir the mayonnaise, lime juice and cilantro in a small bowl.

Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixture on each bread slice. Layer 4 slices bread with 1 cheese slice, 1/2 cup beef, 2 tomato slices, 2 bacon slices and 1/4 cup spinach. Top with the remaining cheese and bread slices, mayonnaise-side down. Spray the sandwiches with vegetable cooking spray.

Add the sandwiches to the panini maker in batches, and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Note: If you don’t have a panini maker, prepare and cook as if making a grilled cheese sandwich.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 895, Calories from Fat: 383, Fat: 43 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 178 mg, Sodium: 2163 mg, Potassium: 695 mg, Carbohydrates: 63 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 62 g

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

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Product Talk: Mary B’s Dumplings

Mary B’s DumplingsAs we all know, foods are different in different parts of the country.

While I grew up in the South, my mother grew up in the Northeast (but still makes the best dang red beans and rice I’ve ever laid my taste buds on). As we were growing up, we ate chicken and dumplings her way: chock full of vegetables with fluffy, cloud-like dumplings.

When I moved to Texas, I was introduced to a different kind of chicken and dumplings. There were no veggies, and the dumplings were something like I’d never had before. I thought it was an anomaly that my friend who’d made them just did it differently. Nope, it turns out that I’m the one who made chicken and dumplings different from everyone else.

I made my version for a potluck dinner, and I’m ashamed to admit that it was hardly touched. I wallowed in that shame for weeks.

The next time I had to bring chicken and dumplings to an event, I decided to make them Texas-style, but I didn’t have time to roll out and cut dumplings.

Mary B’s makes frozen dumplings that taste just like the homemade ones my friend made. They call them “strip dumplings” (I liken them more to pasta than to the more cakey dumplings I’m accustomed to), and they can also be used as lattice on top of pies or in lasagna in place of the noodles.  The dumplings are wide and flat, and they can be dropped into a bubbling chicken mixture while frozen, no rolling or slicing required!

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Product Talk: Original Natchitoches Meat Pies

Original Natchitoches Meat PiesA few summers ago when driving from Texas to Virginia on vacation, we decided to take the road less traveled and take a slightly more meandering route to visit some places to have some experiences we might have missed staying on the highway.

We decided to stop in Natchitoches, Louisiana. We knew it was the oldest town in Louisiana. We knew it was the bed and breakfast capital of the state. I knew that the movie “Steel Magnolias” was filmed there. What we did NOT know was anything about the meat pies.

Original Natchitoches Meat Pies came into existence about 30 years ago as a hand-held treasure in a flaky crust. Most closely resembling an empanada, the meat pie originally contained ground beef or pork filling.

They are heavenly.

Brookshire’s carries these meat pies in the frozen foods section, so you can have a taste of Louisiana at your fingertips.

The original Natchitoches Meat Pie Company has expanded, creating new flavors to tempt the taste buds of loyal – and new – customers. Along with Original, Spicy and New Orleans Style, there are now the Crawfish Pie, described as “etoufee in a pie crust” and the Shrimp Pie. There are also breakfast varieties including Chorizo with Egg & Jalapenos, and Sausage, Egg & Cheese.

You can cook them up individually or make a box at a time! They are also sold in meal or appetizer sizes, which would come in handy for holiday parties!

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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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