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Product Talk: Special K Protein Bars


While traveling, it’s important for me to pack snacks that travel well and can provide my kids with some level of nutrition AND keep them full, as much as that is possible these days.

Special K Protein Bars are the perfect solution. They come in so many different flavors: peanut butter, strawberry, double chocolate, chocolate caramel, honey almond and cranberry walnut, to name a few.

Special K™ Protein products are designed to increase daily intake of protein and fiber while managing caloric intake. Many people use the bars as a meal replacement plan. Diets high in protein (30 percent of total daily calories from protein) have been shown to help reduce hunger longer. Each bar has approximately 10 grams of protein to keep you fuller longer.

They’ll also make a great addition to a school lunch or a good after school snack. My kids love the peanut butter variety!

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Product Talk: London Broil


I’m still blogging from my beach vacation. I know I’ve explained more than once already that in the big family group that congregates at Sandbridge Beach each year, each nuclear family takes a night to cook. For my night this year, I made a delicious and simple London Broil topped with an optional faux chimichurri (spinach instead of parsley, basil instead of oregano).  

“London Broil” is a fancy term for top round or flank steak. It’s really just a marinated cut of meat grilled, then cut across the grain into thin strips and served–easy and delicious.

A London Broil isn’t the most tender cut of meat so a marinade is necessary. This is the recipe I used this week and it was yummy. I was unsure about the honey at first, but the sugars help give your cut of meat a beautiful sear.

London Broil

Ingredients:
Large (2 lbs) London Broil
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Puree all ingredients (except London Broil) in a food processor or blender. Place meat in a zipper-locked bag or shallow pan. Cover with marinade. Place in refrigerator for several hours, turning several times.

Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. Place over direct, medium heat and grill about 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare (a London Broil should be pink inside). Let stand for several minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 344, Calories from Fat: 90, Fat: 10 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 998 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 52 g



Product Talk: Checkers/Rally’s Famous Fries


I was walking through the freezer section at Brookshire’s not long ago, and I saw something out of the corner of my eye that stopped me dead in my tracks: Checkers/Rally’s Famous Fries in a bag in the freezer case.

I was instantly transported back to the early ’90s in Lynchburg, Virginia, where I went to college. There was a Rally’s fast food joint about two miles from campus. Sometimes on Sunday evenings, my best friend Amanda and I would walk to Rally’s and back for dinner. I guess we rationalized the walk negated the calories. Rally’s fries were the BEST. Seasoned, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, they were well-worth the four-mile round trip. I remember the hamburgers being really salty, but the fries were sublime.

Rally’s has long since closed, but knowing I can get the fries at Brookshire’s and bake them in my own oven without a four-mile walk, brings a priceless memory back to life!



Shop the Sale: Ground Chuck Empanadas


When I found out I was moving to Texas from Virginia all the way back in 1997 when I accepted a spot in the master’s program for journalism at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em!), my friend Wendy gave me a Tex-Mex cookbook. 

“Enjoy your adventures in the Lone Star State and learn to cook some yummy food,” she inscribed in the front cover.

Although my plan was never to stay in Texas after I graduated, I find myself still here 15 years later. I’ve had many adventures, and I’ve learned to cook some delicious food (tamales still elude me so if you want to teach me, please send us a message!).

Empanadas are one of my favorites. A little hand-held pie, an empanada can be either sweet or savory. I love this version with ground chuck and some surprise sweetness in the raisins. Delicious.

Ground Beef Empanadas (Picadillo)

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz ground beef chuck
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup drained green pitted olives, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomato puree or sauce
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
One 1-lb pkg frozen puff pastry
All purpose flour, for dusting
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 Tbsp water

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef chuck and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the olives, raisins, carrots and onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and cool to room temperature before filling the empanadas.

Grease a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out to 1/4-to-1/8-inch thickness. With a knife, cut out 4 equal squares measuring 4 1/2-by-5 1/2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooled beef mixture to the center of the square. Brush the edge of each square with some egg wash and fold to shape into triangles. Crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the empanadas to the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Makes 8 empanadas 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 172, Calories from Fat: 80, Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 640 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 12 g, Protein: 7 g



Product Talk: Philadelphia Cooking Crème


If you know me at all, you know I firmly believe cream cheese is a food group. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to all things cream cheese. I have a Philadelphia brand cream cheese cookbook at home, and I plan to someday write the definitive cream cheese cookbook.

So, imagine my delight when the Philadelphia brand (makers of all things cream cheese) came out with Cooking Crème. A more “pourable” version of cream cheese, Cooking Crème is perfect for sauces and soups. It comes in several flavors, leaving very little work for you to do when creating a delicious meal at home. Choose from Italian Herb, Savory Garlic, Creamy Pesto, Savory Lemon and Herb, or Santa Fe Blend.

Also, imagine my delight when I met a man who feels the same way about cream cheese that I do, earning him scads of points in my book. He also gets bonus points for being an adventurous eater and being more than willing to eat anything I whip up. This recipe was born on a night of “let’s see what’s in the fridge and pantry” and will become a regular meal in the rotation!

Italian Herb Cream Pasta

Ingredients:
12 oz linguine
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cups fresh spinach
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tub (10 oz) Philadelphia Cooking Crème in Italian Herb

Directions:
Boil water in a large pot. Add pasta; cook until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic, squash and bell pepper. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften. Add can of tomatoes and reduce liquid by half. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add Cooking Crème and heat through. Drain pasta. Toss with sauce and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 446, Calories from Fat: 143, Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 95 mg, Sodium: 583 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 17 g



Product Talk: Udi’s Gluten Free Lemon Streusel Muffins


Many people eat a gluten-free diet these days.

What’s gluten-free? It’s avoiding anything with gluten, a protein found in foods processed from wheat and related grains. That means bread, pasta, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, rolls, etc. Some people do it for health reasons because their bodies cannot process gluten. Other people say avoiding gluten just makes them feel better.

However, it’s not always easy to avoid your favorite gluten-laden treats. That’s why Udi’s Gluten Free is committed to providing delicious products that won’t wreak havoc on your stomach, including these muffins that caught my eye in the frozen foods section of your local Brookshire’s.

“Moist and delicious, our Lemon Streusel Muffins will definitely add lift to your morning routine. Indulge in the soft, harmonious balance of light citrus flavor and sweetness. Best served warm from the oven or microwave,” according to Udi’s Gluten Free .

I don’t eat gluten-free, but these muffins are delicious if you’re being health-conscious or just want a tasty treat.

 A package of four muffins costs $6.



Product Talk: Hot Pocket Paninis


We have hit the stage where my two boys have bottomless pits for stomachs, and I can’t keep enough food in the house.

Finding snacks for them between meals has gotten to be quite a challenge. They’ve usually gotten fruit or string cheese to tide them over between meals, but these days they need something a little more substantial.

Recently, we tried Hot Pockets Panini sandwiches, cousins of the Hot Pockets themselves and found in the frozen food section of your local Brookshire’s. We tried the Steak & Cheddar variety, but you can also choose from Bruschetta  Chicken or Deli-Style Ham & Swiss. They were ready in the microwave in just minutes, and the bread came out crispy and the fillings hot and melty, just like you’d expect from a panini you grilled yourself. The boys loved them, and they’re a quick and filling snack. You could also pair them with a tossed salad for a complete meal.

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Product Talk: Red Diamond Iced Tea


Here in the South, iced tea is practically a religion, and Red Diamond teas are worthy of the highest praise.

Red Diamond teas, sold at your local Brookshire’s, come in loose teas, bagged and ready to brew yourself, or come already prepared in the refrigerated section.

You can buy the tea to brew in regular, decaf or green varieties; in single-serving, family and group sizes. I buy the large size and brew gallons at a time! I love cold iced green tea with a touch of honey and stevia sweetener. I drink my regular iced tea un-sweet (GASP!), but the beauty of brewing your own tea is that you can make it as sweet, or not-so-sweet, as you’d like.

I always keep a gallon jug of prepared tea at work for an afternoon pick-me-up. It’s better than the diet soda I gave up six months ago.

Red Diamond makes a variety of tea and coffee products, and they’re all delicious, but start with the iced tea. I promise, it’s as good as grandma’s!

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Product Talk: Swai Fillets


Perusing the seafood counter at my local Brookshire’s tonight, I saw something I didn’t recognize: swai fillets.

Nope, not the latest dance craze, but a sweet, mild-tasting fish with a light, flaky texture that can be broiled, grilled or coated with bread crumbs and fried. It also tastes good with sauces.

Loosely, swai is a Vietnamese catfish. A 3.5-ounce serving of swai contains around 90 calories, 4 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 45 grams of cholesterol and 50 milligrams of sodium.

Plus it’s quite economical. Try it today!

There are so many recipes for Lemon Pepper Swai. This was a good one.

Lemon Pepper Swai

Ingredients
2 swai fillets
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Directions:
Wash fish fillets and pat dry with a paper towel.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Brush flour over both sides of the fish over a plate.
Season one side of each filet with lemon pepper and quickly flip them lemon pepper side down onto the skillet. Work quickly to ensure the butter does not burn but stays hot enough.
Season the top of the filets with lemon pepper and sprinkle lemon juice over them.
Fry each side about 4 minutes on high heat.Fish will be opaque and easily flaked with the spatula when done. The sides should both look golden and crispy.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 211, Calories from Fat: 70, Fat: 8 g, Cholesterol: 45 mg, Sodium: 257 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 17 g



Product Talk: Refrigerated Pie Crusts


Is a cheesecake a cake or a pie?

I saw that question posted on Facebook just this morning, as a matter of fact. The general consensus was that a simple cheesecake is a pie, not a cake (lacking flour and all that jazz). But this recipe, combining the all-American favorite apple pie with the debatable cheesecake, is definitely a pie.

I love homemade piecrust, but let’s face it; I don’t have a lot of time to make it. Refrigerated pie crusts, available in the freezer section of your Brookshire’s store, near the desserts, are delicious, quick and easy. I keep some in my freezer at all times. Not only are they good for sweet pies, but perfect for a savory pot pie or empanadas as well.

Since refrigerated pie crusts are so easy to use and so quick and convenient, I’m going to make this recipe tonight for work tomorrow.

Apple Cheesecake Pie

Ingredients:

Pie
1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
5 large apples, peeled, thinly sliced (8 cups)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Topping
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

Heat oven to 400° F. Line cookie sheet with foil; place in oven. Make piecrusts as directed on box for a two-crust pie using 9-inch glass pie plate.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the vanilla and almond extract with electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into crust-lined plate. In another large bowl, toss apples and lemon juice to coat; stir in brown sugar, cornstarch and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Spoon apple mixture over cream cheese mixture. Unroll second crust on lightly floured work surface. With 2 to 2 1/2-inch apple-shaped cookie cutter, cut out apple shapes. Reroll scraps and cut out additional apple shapes. Using pancake turner, gently arrange apple shapes on top of pie to cover most of filling. In small bowl, beat egg white and water until blended. Brush over apple shapes. In another small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle over apple shapes. Place pie on foil-lined cookie sheet in oven. Cover pie with sheet of foil to prevent excessive browning; bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack; refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve cold. Store covered in refrigerator. 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 560, Calories from Fat: 300, Fat: 33g (16g Saturated Fat), Trans Fat: 1/2 g, Cholesterol: 120 mg; Sodium: 490 mg, Carbohydrates: 59 g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 29g, Protein: 5g

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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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