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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.



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.

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



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.

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



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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Shop the Sale: Greek Grilled Pork Chops


Greek Grilled Pork Chops

When I first moved out of the house, one of my mom’s friends gave me a cast iron skillet.

Not only did this cooking vessel weigh enough to take up most of my allotted baggage weight with the moving company, but it came with strict instructions: DO NOT WASH THIS WITH SOAP EVER.

That seemed like one too many rule to me, plus not using soap was just plain gross.

Or so I thought.

My cast iron skillet sat, untouched and unseasoned (yet unwashed with soap) in my cabinet for years, until I had occasion to make a recipe that specifically called for a cast iron skillet. I called my mom.

“What am I supposed to do with this again?” I asked.

She guided me through rubbing it down with vegetable oil and placing it in a hot oven for a few hours, taking it out, letting it cool, rubbing it down with more oil, then using it.

I did all that.

I made something in it. I can’t remember now, but when I finished, there were bits stuck to the bottom of the gleaming cast iron.

I was going to have to use soap, or so I thought until I ran it under hot water and everything washed off easily, no soap required.

From then on, it was true love.

A co-worker is about to get married and, while I don’t know her that well, we threw a shower in her honor a few weeks ago. I decided to get her one of the things that I love most in my kitchen: a cast iron skillet.

Her eyes bulged when she took the bag.

“What do I do with this?” she wanted to know.

So I told her.

Never, EVER wash it with soap.

You can make these Greek-inspired pork chops in your cast iron skillet as well.

This week, boneless pork chops are on sale at Brookshire’s, your grocery oasis right near home, no road trip required and, let me tell you, the prices are great.

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops, about 1 1/2 lbs

Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp dried Greek oregano
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Whisk together marinade ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Greek oregano, garlic and black pepper. Pour into a zipper-lock plastic bag; place pork chops inside. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours, turning a few times.

When ready to cook, let pork chops come to room temperature in marinade. Preheat the grill pan to medium-high heat. Slap the pork chops onto the grill pan, and let them cook about 3 minutes. Then, rotate 45 degrees to get lovely cross-hatched grill marks. Cook an additional 3 minutes on the first side; flip and cook an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 361, Calories from Fat: 169, Fat: 19 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 124 mg, Sodium: 101 mg, Potassium: 763 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 45 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Spicy Fried Pork Chops


Spicy Fried Pork ChopsThat’s it! I clicked past this picture on Pinterest too many times, and I was just unable to resist opening the link to the crispy, juicy, gravy-smothered delight that was these pork chops.

I did not regret it.

Assorted pork chops are a seriously economical choice for dinner, especially when they are on sale at Brookshire’s.

They are a versatile meat. They can take a variety of seasonings, cooking methods and even sauces, and still come out the shining star of a meal, as they do here.

These pork chops are seriously crunchy and seriously spicy. You can reduce the amount of creole seasoning if necessary, but for those of us who love a spicy kick, have at it!

Spicy Fried Pork Chops

Ingredients:

Pork Chops:
10 (1/4-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 cups flour
1/2 cup hot sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbs creole seasoning
1/2 Tbs black pepper
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1/2 Tbs onion powder
1/2 Tbs paprika
cooking oil

Gravy:
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp creole seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
dash of hot sauce

Directions:
Start by removing pork chops from packaging and patting dry. Place pork chops in a large dish or shallow pan.

Mix creole seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Add 1 tablespoon of this mixture to the flour; stir to incorporate.

Beat egg; add hot sauce and remaining seasoning. Pour over pork chops until they are covered, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Add oil to a cast-iron skillet; heat to 350° F.

Remove pork from refrigerator, and pour off excess marinade.

Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour and place in hot oil. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from oil; drain on paper towels.

Place in oven heated to lowest setting to keep warm while remaining pork fries and gravy is prepared.

For the gravy, drain grease from cast-iron skillet. Add butter and olive oil to the skillet; whisk in flour. Stir for about 2 minutes until a thick roux is formed. Add spices and broth, continuing to stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Stir in cream and hot sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve over pork chops.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 372, Calories from Fat: 183, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 1153 mg, Potassium: 161 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 29 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Smoked Easter Ham


Smoked Easter Ham“What are we going to do for Easter?” my son asked me yesterday.

Do? What do you mean, do? We’re going to celebrate our eternal salvation through the sacrifice Christ made for us; that’s what we’re going to do, I told him.

But celebrate, how will we celebrate?, he wondered.

In past years, I’ve hosted Easter gatherings at my house for up to 40 people. We probably won’t do that this year, but we will celebrate with our family and some local friends.

There’s no need to remind you about my obsession with the smoker, but chances are, we’re going to smoke our ham this year.

Hormel or Brookshire’s spiral-sliced hams are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, just in time for Easter. Did you know that you can, indeed, smoke a precooked ham? Trust me, I plan to!

Since the ham is already precooked, you’re really just introducing it to the smoke and warming it through.

I think we’re going to use Applewood to add some sweetness, and probably fill the pan with apple juice instead of water, to help impart some flavor that way.

The ham has to be heated through to about 145° F. After that, it’s ready to eat!

You can use your grill over indirect heat if you don’t have a smoker, and set a pan of chips over the flame for that good, smoky flavor.



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