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Shop the Sale: Creamy Sausage and Tortellini


Creamy Sausage and TortelliniOne of my memories growing up was that whenever we visited my grandparents’ house, at some point my grandfather would bring out a plate of sliced smoked sausage speared with colored toothpicks. It was such a treat.

I’m not sure whether this was really his personal snack and I was honing in on it like a vulture or whether it was intended to share, but whatever the intent, I certainly probably ate the lion’s share and felt like it was a special thing.

I still love smoked sausage. Whenever my kids want hot dogs, I grill smoked sausage for myself.

I made this recipe at first with leftover grilled smoked sausage, but you can certainly do it the way the recipe directions call for as well.

Eckrich Smoked Sausage is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so pick up a few packages: one to grill now and another for this delicious dish.

Creamy Sausage and Tortellini

Ingredients:
1 lb Eckrich Smoked Sausage
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup onions, diced
20 oz pkg refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
28 oz can whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup chicken stock
pinch of sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbs cream cheese
2 cups shredded jack and cheddar cheeses

Directions:
Sauté onions in butter over medium-high heat until translucent. Add sliced sausage; cook through until the sauce is browned.

Add chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Add tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

Remove from heat and add cheeses, reserving about 1/2 cup for the topping. Cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 763, Calories from Fat: 385, Fat: 43 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 131 mg, Sodium: 1526 mg, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 37 g.

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Shop the Sale: Cheesy Pork Chop Bake


Cheesy Pork Chop BakeA one-pan meal is a delicious solution to a Wednesday night meal. A lot of folks go to church on Wednesday nights. Or, this time of year, you might be at baseball, at the pool or just tired of the school year grind.

This dish, with boneless pork chops on sale this week at Brookshire’s, can be prepared in advance and popped into the oven for a satisfying meal, all in one pan. Serve with a side salad, add some chopped broccoli to the dish or add additional veggies.

I know that last Wednesday after a swim party, a long day at work and a long day for my kids, this was an easy dish to prepare for dinner. If you make it in advance, make sure the potatoes are coated in the soup mixture before you pop the pan in the fridge, or they’ll turn brown. Alternately, you could toss them in olive oil before you layer the casserole.

For a bit of bite, chop jalapeños or chili peppers, and mix into the soup before pouring it on top of the pork chops and potatoes.

Cheesy Pork Chop Bake

Ingredients:
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
6 (6 oz) boneless pork chops
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
4 potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high-heat until oil is fragrant and shimmering. Sear the pork chops quickly on each side. Remove from pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk soup, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder together. Arrange the potatoes and onions in the baking dish. Place the seared chops over the potatoes and onions. Then, pour the soup mixture over all.

Bake for 30 minutes. Top with cheese, and bake for 30 more minutes.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 688, Calories from Fat: 478, Fat: 53 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 169 mg, Sodium: 729 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 45 g.

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Shop the Sale: Salisbury Steak Meatballs


Salisbury Steak MeatballsWe’ve been eating a lot of red meat in my house these days.

First of all, Paul likes it. (Well, we all do!). Secondly, I’m always pretty seriously anemic, which means I have low iron counts in my blood. Red meat is a great source of iron and so is spinach. It’s a good thing that it’s my favorite vegetable. So, I eat a lot of both. I mix spinach into my eggs whites in the morning for a delicious scramble, and we toss a lot of meat on the grill.

However, I don’t want grilled meat every night. (Did I REALLY just say that?) On nights we don’t grill, I often employ the cast-iron skillet. (The iron from the skillet is said to transfer into your cooking and add nutrients to your food as well.)

This dish is a delicious and easy way to get your iron, enjoy your Angus ground chuck (which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s), and enjoy a meal the whole family is sure to love.

I’ve mentioned before that my sons can live off of rice, so serve this over a bed of white or brown rice,  or mashed potatoes. A side of spinach never hurt, either.

Salisbury Meatballs

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs Angus ground chuck
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, sliced into 1/2 rounds
2 Tbs all purpose flour
1 pkg brown gravy mix
1 1/3 cups cold water

Directions:
Heat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Mix Angus ground chuck with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Form into large meatballs.

Place meatballs into the center of the skillet and surround with onion slices. Drizzle the meat and onions with Worcestershire sauce. Sear meatballs, turning frequently to brown all sides. Stir onions while meat is browning so they do not burn.

Slide meat and onions to one side of the pan, and add flour to drippings on other side of the pan. Whisk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to make a thick roux.

In a small bowl, combine gravy mix and water. Add a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Pour into skillet; stir into the meat and onion mixture. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or until meatballs are heated through and the gravy is bubbly. If you don’t have a cover for your cast-iron skillet, place a baking sheet over the skillet.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 117, Calories from Fat: 41, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 703 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 8 g.

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Shop the Sale: Brookshire’s Bacon Dip


Brookshire’s Bacon DipA few weekends ago, my parents were invited to go boating with my sister and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend owns a boat, which he keeps moored in a marina in a wide, deep river near their home. I wish my sister lived closer for lots of reasons, weekends on the boat notwithstanding.

I have to admit that I was a little envious of my parents’ visit and boat ride. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than being on the water, and while I know owning a boat requires lots of hard work and dedication, the payoff of spending the day with the sun sparkling on the water seems to be a great payoff.

I couldn’t wait to hear about the trip. When I talked to my mom, she told me all about the cool breezes, the little crab shack downstream where they stopped for lunch and how fast the boat could go. She also told me that there are places on the river where the boats will just stop to drop anchor, and all the boat people will visit and hang out. It sounded heavenly. What my mom really couldn’t stop talking about was an appetizer dip my sister had made for snacking on the boat ride. Super simple, super easy and super delicious, make this a few hours ahead of time to let the flavors meld. Of course, if you’re bringing it on a boat (or on a picnic, to the lake or to a party), keep it chilled.

Brookshire’s bacon is on sale this week, just in time for the holiday weekend and lots of cookouts and celebrations.

Brookshire’s Bacon Dip

Ingredients:
8 oz Brookshire’s Bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled
4 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and chill. Serve with celery, carrots, pita chips or crackers.

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 253, Calories from Fat: 191, Fat: 21 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium: 718 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 10 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bacon-Mushroom-Swiss Slow-Cooked Chicken


Bacon-Mushroom-Swiss Slow-Cooked ChickenIn a house with two picky eaters, one dieter and one kid who eats everything but the kitchen sink (and that’s only because I’ve never put hot sauce on it and put it on a plate), dinner can sometimes be a challenge to put together without repeating the same dishes over and over.

One kid doesn’t like mushrooms. One man doesn’t like white cheese or white sauce. One dieter doesn’t eat carbs.

Does anyone else feel my pain?

Luckily, bacon makes everything better, especially John Morrell Bacon on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

For whatever the reason (likely the bacon), this dish passed muster with everyone in my house. (I’ll just pretend I didn’t see one kid picking out the mushrooms).

This is delicious served over rice (cauliflower rice if you’re the low-carb dieter) with a side of steamed green beans or a fresh salad.

The bacon gives this dish a smoky flavor and pulls all the flavors together.

Bacon-Mushroom-Swiss Chicken

Ingredients:
3 slices John Morrell Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pint fresh button mushrooms
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
6 slices Swiss cheese

Directions:
Spray the crock of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Top with mushrooms and cream of chicken soup. Cook on low for 8 hours. Top with Swiss cheese, and cover lid until cheese begins to melt. Sprinkle with bacon and serve.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 484, Calories from Fat: 200, Fat: 15 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 175 mg, Sodium: 890 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 63 g.

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Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Ragu


Slow Cooker RaguWhen I was visiting Italy, one of my favorite meals, not only of the trip but of all time, was a slow cooked ragu over polenta.

A ragu is simply a meat sauce, slow-cooked until the meat is fork-tender and melts in your mouth, with tomatoes and spices.

In fact, most “sauces” you see in Italy are more a ragu than the marinara we know well in America.

You can make a ragu with almost any meat. I’ve had pork ragus and beef ragus. They’re delicious if you leave the bone in your meat during the cooking process, but it’s just as tasty if you use a boneless cut of meat, like this boneless rump roast on sale at Brookshire’s this week.

The trattoria where I ate my ragu in Italy was on a cobbled side street in Venice with a small garden with a tiny view of the water, covered in a pergola weighted down with flowering vines.

The whole street was resplendent with the smell of cooking meat and spices.

You can serve this over pastas or mashed potatoes, but the polenta provides a bit of bite that complements the heavy sauce.

Slow Cooker Ragu

Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
3 lbs beef rump roast or round roast
1/2 cup white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano Whole Tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Wait until it is fragrant and starting to bubble, then add rump roast. Sear on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

Place rump roast in the slow cooker with onions, garlic, tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste, basil, oregano, bay leaves, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with a fork and remove bay leaves.
Serve over polenta, a hearty pasta or mashed potatoes.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 461, Calories from Fat: 189, Fat: 23 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 1099 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 31 g.

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Shop the Sale: Oven-Baked Dill Salmon


Oven-Baked Dill SalmonMy favorite thing to do on Monday nights, when I’m home alone, is to stop by Brookshire’s on my way home from work to pick up a piece of fresh salmon from the seafood counter. Last time I was there, I didn’t even have to say anything, and the gentleman working behind the counter already knew my order.

“Salmon for one?” he asked.

You betcha.

I eat salmon alone because my family members aren’t fans, no matter how perfectly I cook it. That’s fine. I didn’t like salmon much growing up either. It really wasn’t until a few years ago that a family friend told me to never, EVER overcook fish, and that made all the difference in the world. Instead of a hunk of dry and tough fish, undercooking it just a bit gives you a light, flaky, velvety texture.

Yes, it’s safe to eat.

Dill and lemon, to me, are the perfect pairings with salmon.

If you don’t want to bake this, you can pan-fry it or grill it as well.

Salmon is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so you’ll see me there more than just on Monday night.

Oven-Baked Dill Salmon

Ingredients:
4 (5 oz) salmon fillets
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs dill, dried
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F, and spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. When oven is preheated, rub the salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Rub with dill, salt and pepper. Place in the baking dish, skin-side down. Top with lemon slices. Bake for 25 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork and is opaque. Do not overcook. Serve with extra lemon.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 253, Calories from Fat: 143, Fat: 16 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 647 mg, Potassium: 586 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 28 g.

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Shop the Sale: John Morrell Bacon Egg Salad


John Morrell Bacon Egg SaladWhen I was little, my favorite sandwich was egg salad.

I used to have it in my lunch on Fridays usually (because we didn’t eat meat most Fridays, not just during Lent), and this was back in the days before we packed school lunches in insulated bags with ice packs. Believe it or not, I survived the five-hour-old egg salad sandwich.

I also loved egg salad because it meant I got to help my mom make it and use her nifty harvest-gold colored egg slicer. The little guillotine wires sliced the egg into perfect little rounds, and then I could turn the egg sideways and slice again, cutting it into tiny little pieces.

That’s how I still slice my eggs, although my egg salad has evolved beyond the mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Now, I add bacon to my egg salad because bacon makes everything better. John Morrell Bacon is on sale this week at Brookshire’s. This crisp, smoky bacon adds a nice hickory flavor to the egg salad, and if you wait to stir it until just before serving, a great pop of texture, too.

Try this for breakfast on a whole-grain bagel thin or in your lunch, refrigeration recommended.

Bacon Egg Salad

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
6 strips John Morrell Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup red onions, diced
1 Tbs green onions, chopped
8 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Directions:
Mix together the Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper.

Gently stir in the bacon, red onions and green onions. Carefully fold into the eggs until they’re completely coated with the dressing.

Chill well.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 395, Calories from Fat: 248, Fat: 28 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 376 mg, Sodium: 1418 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 32 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bacon Brussels Sprouts Skewers


Bacon Brussels Sprouts SkewersI posted on social media recently that I’m obsessed with Brussels sprouts. I was surprised at the number of people who “liked” my post and commented in agreement. I guess I thought that because we didn’t eat Brussels sprouts growing up that no one else did, either.

This is also a testament to the power of the parent who does most of the cooking. My mom didn’t like Brussels sprouts, so we didn’t eat them. I eat anything, so my boys pretty much get exposed to all kinds of food. More often than not, it’s one of them who doesn’t like something that is served. One in particular, I should say.

Back to Brussels sprouts… I eat them roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I want my boys to like them as well, so I found a simple recipe with everyone’s favorite ingredient: bacon.

Brookshire’s Bacon always cooks up crisply, with a bold, meaty flavor and beautiful, caramel color. It has a deep, rich flavor that showcases the meat, not the fat, and is versatile in any recipe.

After we tried this, I’m not sure one son was bowled over by Brussels sprouts, but he did eat the bacon.

Brookshire’s Bacon is on sale this week, and Brussels sprouts are at the peak of flavor. So, this quick, simple recipe should go on your menu list, for sure.

Bacon Brussels Sprouts Skewers

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
1/2 lb Brookshire’s Bacon
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
wooden skewers

Directions:
Soak your wooden skewers in a shallow pan of water for at least 30 minutes before preparing this dish.

Trim ends off of fresh Brussels sprouts and remove loose leaves. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Separate bacon into strips. Thread one end of the bacon onto a skewer, and then place a Brussels sprout on the skewer. Wrap the bacon over one side of the sprout; thread through the skewer. The bacon will make an “S” pattern around the sprouts. Repeat until the skewer is full. Repeat with remaining sprouts and bacon.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers on the grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and grill another 5 to 7 minutes. If the bacon is causing flare-ups, move to indirect heat and grill until browned and toasty and bacon is cooked through.

These can also be roasted in a 400° F oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 417, Calories from Fat: 280, Fat: 31 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 1920 mg, Potassium: 786 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 25 g.

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Shop the Sale: Sirloin Steak Tips Au Poivre


Sirloin Steak Tips Au PoivreI think sirloin steak is one of the most underrated cuts of beef.

You can grill it, for sure, but you can also use it in stir-fries, stroganoffs, stews and other dishes like this delicious French-inspired dish that brings up the flavor of the meat with crushed whole peppercorns.

For a long time, I confess, I really thought steak tips were the tip of a particular cut of meat. They aren’t. Steak tips are usually just a sirloin strip steak cut into bite-sized pieces. The name will fool you, or at least it did me.

You get a burst of pepper in this dish, as you press the peppercorns into the meat and sear it that way. The sauce is the perfect complement to the dish, especially when you serve it over rice to soak up all the juices.

This is definitely a meal that your family would love, or a definitive date night dish. Sirloin strip steak is already economical, but it’s on sale this week at Brookshire’s, too.

Sirloin Steak Tips Au Poivre

Ingredients:
4 (6 to 8 oz) sirloin strip steaks
kosher salt
2 Tbs whole peppercorns
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp cognac
1 Tbs whole-grain mustard
1 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Bring steaks to room temperature on the kitchen counter, about 1 hour prior to cooking. Cut into bite-sized pieces, and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Crush the whole peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or with the flat side of a large chef’s knife. Spread the peppercorns into a shallow plate or baking dish. Toss with the steak pieces, turning to coat and pressing peppercorns into meat. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. As they become fragrant, place steak in the pan (being careful not to overcrowd), and stir until browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate or bowl; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Remove pan from heat. Drain excess fat, but do not scrape the pan. Add 1/3 cup cognac to the pan; ignite with a long lighter. Gently shake the pan until the flames die. Return the pan to the heat, and add mustard and cream. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, whisking constantly. Add the remaining teaspoon of cognac and salt. Add the meat back to the pan; mix with the sauce and heat through. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 752, Calories from Fat: 516, Fat: 57 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (26 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 217 mg, Sodium: 183 mg, Potassium: 765 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 55 g.

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