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Product Talk: Corn Tortillas


I seriously love corn tortillas. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure why anyone would choose a corn tortilla over a chewy, delicious flour variety. Then I tasted one. I was hooked, and now I’ll choose corn over flour any day.

Corn tortillas are made from ground maize and actually pre-date the flour variety. They are also higher in nutrients and B vitamins than tortillas made from white flour. Given their versatility, there’s not much you can’t use a tortilla for: as a sandwich wrap, for tacos and burritos, for a pizza crust, a soup binding, a chip and much, much more.

You know I love my slow cooker, so here’s a recipe I tried recently. My kids LOVED it.

Slow Cooker Beef Tamale Casserole

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
1 (4 oz) can chopped mild green chiles
1 (11 oz) can Mexican-style corn, drained
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
9 (6 inch) corn tortillas
6 (3/4 oz) slices white American cheese

Sour cream, if desired
Sliced green onion, if desired
Salsa, if desired

Directions: 

Spray 4-quart slow cooker with no-stick cooking spray; set aside. 

Cook ground beef and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink; drain, if necessary. Stir in green chiles, corn and enchilada sauce. 

Place 3 tortillas in bottom of slow cooker and top with 1 1/3 cups of the meat mixture and 2 cheese slices. Repeat layers twice except last 2 cheese slices.

Cover; cook on low heat setting 3 to 4 hours or high heat setting 2 to 3 hours, or until bubbly. Turn off heat. Top with remaining 2 cheese slices. Cover; allow cheese to melt.

Dollop each serving with sour cream; top with sliced green onion and salsa, if desired.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 299, Calories from Fat: 114, Fat: 13 g, Cholesterol: 87 mg, Sodium: 620 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 28 g

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Product Talk: Zucchini


My garden is planted, and it’s full of tomatoes, cucumbers and, one of my favorites, zucchini.

I can’t wait until my garden grows to enjoy one of my favorite vegetables.

Zucchini is a squash and is stocked on the produce shelves at Brookshire’s year-round. However, it’s summertime when zucchini, with its deep green skin and mild, earthy flesh, is at its peak.

The options with zucchini feel limitless: it can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as soups. It can also be baked into bread or mixed into a cake. Zucchini flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep fried, as tempura.

I love to slice zucchini lengthwise and grill it with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Recently I discovered these crisps, which my boys LOVE.

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Ingredients:

1 lb zucchini or squash (about 2 medium sized)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan (heaping)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.

Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.

In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.

Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.

Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip them during baking – they crisp up on both sides as is.)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 102, Calories from Fat: 53, Fat: 6 g, Cholesterol: 6 mg, Sodium: 304 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 5

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Product Talk: Eggland’s Best Eggs


Eggs are all the rage.

Thank goodness those days of too much chol-egg-sterol are behind us. We now realize an egg a day can keep the doctor away. And Eggland’s Best eggs should almost DOUBLE that estimate.

Found on the refrigerated shelf at Brookshire’s, Eggland’s Best eggs contain 10 times more vitamin E than ordinary eggs and twice the vitamin D, which helps our bodies absorb calcium and helps to form and maintain strong bones. It is also important for maintaining muscle strength, healthy body fat levels and body tissue health.

Eggland’s Best eggs have three times more vitamin B12 than ordinary eggs. It aids in metabolism, as well as provides cognitive, cardiovascular and nervous system health benefits.  Vitamin B12 is needed for the process of converting carbohydrates, fats and proteins from food into energy. 

As far as chol-egg-sterol goes, each Eggland’s Best egg has 175 milligrams of cholesterol. According to the Eggland’s Best website, clinical tests have shown that people on a low-fat diet who ate 12 Eggland’s Best eggs a week did not increase their serum cholesterol level.

What more reason do you need?

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Product Talk: Brookshire’s Best Coffee (Ancho Chili Coffee Rub)


Did you know coffee isn’t just for drinking?

No siree, Bob. Coffee is an amazing ingredient to bring a depth of flavor to desserts, sauces and barbecues, too.

Brookshire’s Best coffee allows you to buy coffee either in whole bean or ground varieties. If you can buy it by the bean, you can grind it yourself to make this amazing rub, which is optimal on steaks or ribs. If not, just use the ground variety and make sure you mix it well.

Ancho Chili Coffee Rub

Ingredients

1 1/2 Tbs ancho chile powder
1 1/2 Tbs Brookshire’s Best coffee, finely ground
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Store in a cool, dry place. Rub onto steak or ribs before cooking.

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Product Talk: Marie Callender’s Pot Pies


April is Autism Awareness Month, something I’ll touch on more in tomorrow’s blog post about a gluten-free, casein-free banana bread.

But for today, I want to talk about how people with autism spectrum disorders usually (99.99999999 percent of the time) have sensory issues – they hate tags in their clothing, can’t stand the sound of an emergency siren or can’t eat certain foods because of taste, smell or especially texture issues.

I have a son with autism. I have a dear, dear friend who has a daughter with autism (boys are affected 10-to-1 over girls). This little girl, who has bright blue eyes, hair like cornsilk and an infectious giggle, loves Marie Callender’s Pot Pies.

When you have a child with autism, who will happily go for days without eating before touching something that’s crunchy or cold (for example), you are thrilled beyond belief to have a home-style option for your child to nosh on.

Marie Callender’s Pot Pies, found at Brookshire’s, have so many varieties to choose from. You can select down-home Chicken Corn Chowder Pot Pie, Creamy Parmesan Chicken Pot Pie or Cheesy Chicken & Bacon Pot Pie. Each of these meals is contained in a flaky, buttery crust and only takes minutes to prepare, perfect for your child with autism who is about to have a meltdown because you’re running late or any neurotypical child who is worn out and needs dinner quickly.

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Product Talk: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


I’m so glad ground chicken isn’t nearly as hard to find any more as it once was. I remember searching for it high and low – or having to special order it from the butcher counter – time and time again. Not so anymore; it’s readily available in the meat department of any Brookshire’s store.

You can use ground chicken for pretty much anything you’d use ground beef for. It’s versatile and healthy, with a lot less fat than ground beef, fitting into a leaner, healthier eating plan for many people. Simply made from ground chicken breasts, this can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, for burgers and for meatballs like these.

We’re going to have them tonight with carrot and celery sticks.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Ingredients:

1/4 small red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg white
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbs dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast
4 oz block feta cheese, cut into 24 1/2-inch cubes (will have 6 leftover cubes)
4 Tbs butter
1 cup buffalo wing sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Add red onion, garlic, egg white, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and spices in a large bowl then stir with a fork to combine. Add ground chicken then mix until combined – do not over mix or meatballs will be tough. Divide chicken mixture into quarters, then each quarter into four balls. Press a cube of feta into the center of each ball then close mixture around cheese to seal. Place meatballs onto a buttered cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat then add buffalo wing sauce and stir to combine. Add cooked meatballs to skillet then use a spoon to coat in sauce. Place a lid on top and turn heat to low to keep warm.

Makes 16 meatballs

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 85 g, Calories from Fat: 45 g, Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 32 mg, Sodium: 256 mg, Carbohydrates: 2g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 8g



Product Talk: Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce


Last weekend I’d planned to barbecue some chicken. I thought I had a bottle of my favorite barbecue sauce on hand, but I was sadly mistaken and dinner was waiting. I ran to Brookshire’s, which, luckily, is only about a half mile from my house. I was searching for my favorite sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle. I love it on chicken; I love it on ribs.

Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The honey makes it sweet, but not too sweet, and the chipotle gives it a heat that strikes the back of your tongue and is oh-so-satisfying.

I used it for chicken wings for a party recently. It doesn’t get much easier than this, and they were devoured in the blink of an eye.

Honey Chipotle Wings

Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken wings
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Serve hot. 

Serves 4 as a meal, up to 16 as an appetizer portion 

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 221, Calories from Fat: 38, Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 50 mg, Sodium: 519 mg, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Sugars: 26 g, Protein: 17 g

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Product Talk: Rotisserie Chicken


Is there anything easier than a rotisserie chicken, fresh and hot off the warming plate at Brookshire’s? I think not.

I love being able to run into the store to grab one of these fresh, hot-and-ready treats. My family loves the lemon pepper flavor, slow roasted right there in the store to seal in juices and make the skin golden and crisp. The traditional is good, too, and often the one I choose if I’m going to make something with the chicken.

That’s the beauty of the rotisserie chicken: You can serve it as is, with a side salad or compound salad right out of the Brookshire’s deli, or you can use it as a quick and easy starter for many other meals and main courses.

Either way, they’re delicious, fast and ready when you need one.

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Product Talk: Salmon


I was in Brookshire’s yesterday doing my weekly grocery shopping. I plan out my meals in advance, write my list according to the layout of the store, and stick pretty closely to what I’ve written down. I don’t often make impulse purchases.

Except for yesterday.

Wild salmon was on sale in the seafood department. I had a near Pavlovian response: mouth watering, mental images of my dinner that evening, hungry grumbles in my stomach. 

I tossed the list out the window for that night’s meal and promptly ordered a pound of that beautifully pink, silvery fish.  Brookshire’s offers a variety of salmon, from wild to farmed, fresh to frozen. I have tried them all and loved what I could do with each different type.

I didn’t want to mask the rich flavor or buttery texture of the fresh, wild salmon by overdoing it, so I decided to simply dress and grill it. Remember it’s always better to UNDERCOOK the salmon just a little than to overcook it and end up with a tough and rubbery fillet.

Simple Grilled Salmon

Ingredients:
2 lbs wild salmon fillet, skin on
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs dried dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon, sliced

Directions:
Prepare a grill to high heat. If using charcoal, bank your coals so that you can cook on one side over the flame and the other side of the grill using indirect heat.

Rub salmon generously on both sides with olive oil. Use more if necessary because you don’t want it to stick to the grill. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill; press lightly into the flesh of the fish.

Place fish, non-skin side down, on the grill. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes or until char marks appear on the fish and the first layer is opaque (cooked through).

If using a gas grill, reduce heat to medium. If using charcoal, move fish to indirect heat and flip, skin side down. Continue to cook for about 5 to 9 minutes, depending on thickness of fish and temperature of grill. Fish is ready when it’s still slightly pink in the center and flakes easily with a fork.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 527, Calories from Fat: 315, Fat: 35 g, Cholesterol: 143 mg, Sodium: 138 mg, Carbohydrates: 0g, Protein: 50 g



Product Talk: Zesty Bacon Ranch and Cheese Breakfast Muffins


I’m a little obsessed with breakfast foods.

To think, almost a dozen years went by with me foregoing what is now my favorite meal of the day. I stopped eating breakfast in high school. When you had to be out the door at 6:20 a.m. to catch your ride, every extra minute of sleep counted; there was no time for silly things like breakfast.

It was pretty much the same story in college. Get up 20 extra minutes before my 8 a.m. class to walk over to the dining hall? Nah! Sleep the extra 20 minutes, throw on some jeans and a college sweatshirt and hit the academic building.

Thinking back to when I started eating breakfast regularly, I can’t really pinpoint a time until I was pregnant with my first son. I developed gestational diabetes, a condition that went away as soon as my baby was delivered, but it became imperative to eat “the most important meal of the day” to stabilize my blood sugar.

I’ve been eating breakfast – and loving it – ever since. Over the past few years, portable breakfast has become a necessity because, once again, those precious minutes are often absorbed by packing school lunches for my kids or getting dinner in the slow-cooker for later. I still eat breakfast but often eat as I’m on my morning commute.

I LOVE these breakfast muffins. I can eat them in the car, and they are totally, as Emeril would say, “kicked up a notch” with Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning. If I’m making these for only me, I double the amount the recipe calls for. It adds the right amount of spice to these savory muffins. You can freeze these and reheat them in the microwave on the way out the door.  You can cut fat by using egg whites (2 Tbs), turkey bacon and reduced fat cheddar cheese. Adding a 4-ounce can of green chilies, drained, is yummy too.

Zesty Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients:

1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the egg, milk and oil together. Stir in the bacon crumbles and shredded cheddar cheese.

Add the dry ingredients, stirring as you go, incorporating just until blended.

Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400° F for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked all the way through. Cool for 5 minutes and remove from the muffin pan, placing on a wire rack to cool. Best when served warm.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 368, Calories from Fat: 198, Fat: 22 g, Cholesterol: 38 mg, Sodium: 484 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein 13: g
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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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