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Shop The Sale: Pork Spareribs


Pork SpareRibsLast weekend, I went to one of the best events I’d EVER been to in the city where I live: the Red Dirt & Barbecue Festival. Brookshire’s provided all the sodas for the event…provided all the sodas which were FREE, I might add…and they were certainly welcome on such a warm spring day in Texas.

The Red Dirt & Barbecue Festival was exactly what it sounds like – a day featuring four Red Dirt bands and 15 (yes, 15) different barbecue restaurants from all over the South giving out samples of their best meats.

We were in hog heaven, pun slightly intended.

We spent the afternoon sampling ribs, sausages, brisket, potato salad, beans, chicken and steak. Everything was so delicious, and I didn’t have a bad morsel of food the entire event.

I really enjoyed sampling the ribs. Ribs aren’t something I make at home very often so any chance I get to eat them, I grab it! I quickly got over my awkwardness about gnawing on a rib bone in public and even got to the point of licking my fingers after I finished a meaty morsel. There were beef ribs, short ribs, pork ribs, and spareribs; you name it, it was at the festival!

My boyfriend loved the ribs, too, but he and I disagree on one thing: He doesn’t like any sauce on his ribs, only a dry rub, while I love a tangy sauce to complement the savory meat. Which do you prefer?

In honor of Red Dirt & Barbecue (which should take place in April next year, as well), here’s a recipe for pork spareribs, on sale this week at Brookshire’s. Of course, all the big barbecue joints had massive smokers and grills, but you can make these right in your oven.

Pork Spareribs

Ingredients:
4 to 5 lb pork spareribs
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp chili powder

Directions:
Cut ribs into serving-size pieces; place in a shallow roasting pan, bone-side down. Bake, uncovered, at 350° F for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat.

Add onion and celery; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.

Simmer for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Drain fat from roasting pan. Pour sauce over ribs. Bake 45-60 minutes longer, or until ribs are tender.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 318, Fat: 17 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 94 mg, Sodium: 478 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 27 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Rolls


Breakfast RollMy boys go through phases with breakfast. They only want to eat one thing. These phases can last for weeks, usually months, and even a year in the case of the younger son being obsessed with Toaster Strudels. Don’t judge.

We’ve gone through the pancake phase, the waffle phase and the scrambled egg phase.

Recently, they discovered a yummy frozen breakfast product at a friend’s house. I bought them once, but I’ll be honest, they were a little pricey for my budget. So, I had to come up with an alternative that would mimic the food they loved and be a little easier on my wallet. 

This recipe fit the bill perfectly. I’m not sure which I like more: the fact I can make these in bulk and freeze so all I have to do is reheat them later or the fact that Cracker Barrel bacon is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, making this economical and tasty!

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Rolls

Ingredients:
1 (12 oz) pkg Cracker Barrel bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 large eggs
2 Tbsp cold water
salt and pepper, to taste
2 (8 ct) pkg refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
Cook the Bacon:
Preheat skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally to avoid burning. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease. Set aside.

Scramble the Eggs:
While the bacon is cooking, scramble the eggs. Melt the butter in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cold water, and salt and pepper. Once the butter is melted, swirl the pan so the butter covers the bottom surface. Pour the eggs into the pan and let cook while scrambling with a spatula, for 5-8 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through and golden.

Assemble the Breakfast Rolls:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Working with one crescent roll package at a time and leaving the other in the fridge until ready to assemble, remove the dough from the packaging. Unroll the 8 triangles onto a clean work surface. Pile about 1 tablespoon each of the cooked bacon, scrambled eggs and shredded cheese into the middle of each triangle. Gently roll the triangle up from the wide end to the skinny end, using your thumbs to keep the filling from spilling out. Enclose the sides and pinch shut as you roll. 

Place the filled crescent rolls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. While the first batch is baking, prepare the second batch with the second package of crescent rolls. Remove from the oven and let set for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a serving platter. Bake the remaining 8 rolls. Serve warm.

Refrigerate Leftovers: Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat in the microwave or 350°F oven until heated through.

Freeze Leftovers: Once completely cooled, freeze in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes. Transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat, thaw overnight and bake at 350°F until heated through.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 342, Calories from Fat: 239, Fat: 27 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 165 mg, Sodium: 1057 mg, Potassium: 264 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 21 g.

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Shop the Sale: Avocado Chicken Salad


Avocado Chicken SaladSpring salads and grilled chicken just seem to go together. I adore this version with an abundance of veggies, tangy vinaigrette, salty feta, savory chicken and fresh garlic.

I feel like I get lazy in the spring and summer. I want to come home from work and plop on the patio and not slave over the stove. 

For this salad, I chop the vegetables in advance. I also usually grill more chicken than we need for a weekend meal, then parcel out the rest for my lunch or weeknight meals to save time.

This recipe calls for pipette pasta, but any short tube pasta, macaroni or farfalle would work.

Avocado Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
1/3 cup bottled vinaigrette salad dressing
6 oz uncooked pipette pasta, or your favorite pasta
1 lb cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sweet red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup green bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup red onions, cut into small, thin strips
1/2 cup pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 avocado, pitted, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Place in large bowl and pour the vinaigrette over the pasta. Toss and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Once pasta is at room temperature, add cooked chicken, both peppers, onions, olives, garlic and parsley. Toss to combine.

Gently add avocado and toss. Top with feta cheese and serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories per Serving: 533, Calories from Fat: 213, Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 145 mg, Sodium: 743 mg, Potassium: 672 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 45 g.

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Shop the Sale: Italian Grilled Cheese


My mom used to pack salami and mustard sandwiches on white bread in my school lunch when I was growing up.

If we’d been allowed to get up and change seats during lunch, I’m quite sure my table would have defected immediately. Good thing there was no getting out of your seat or I’d have been the smelly lunch pariah of the universe.

Good thing salami is a whole lot more sophisticated now that I’m a grown-up.

I rediscovered salami on a trip to Italy, but the salami I met there wasn’t even related to the salami I’d eaten growing up. Italian salami is practically an art form, with different flavor profiles taking center stage in different salami recipes.

This grilled cheese recipe captures the flavors of Italy using a very American product, Oscar Meyer salami, which is on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

Italian Grilled Cheese

Ingredients
4 slices Ciabatta bread (or two rolls)
4 mozzarella slices
2 Tbsp butter
8 slices Oscar Meyer salami
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, well drained
1/2 cup marinara sauce (for dipping)

Directions:
Cut a Ciabatta roll into two, butter each inner side and grill on pan until golden-brown.

With browned inner sides of the rolls facing up, layer slices of mozzarella, salami and finally roasted red bell peppers on top of bread.

Place in the oven with broiler on high heat until cheese is melted.

Combine the two sides; cut and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1057, Calories from Fat: 617, Fat: 69 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (29 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 162 mg, Sodium: 3329 mg, Potassium: 330 mg, Carbohydrates: 54 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 44 g.

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Shop the Sale: Easter Ham


Stuffed HamEaster is this weekend, and traditionally, I always cook a ham. I use a friend’s recipe, slathering the spiral sliced ham with a good maple syrup then packing it in brown sugar, wrapping it all in foil and slow roasting it until the syrup and sugar marry in complete ham happiness.

However, this year I’m trying something new, or at least, I’m trying something in addition to the old favorite. I came across this ham recipe at work one day and decided I’d try it for Easter Sunday. I’m having a big crowd over, so two hams should do the trick.

Hormel spiral-sliced ham is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so you can plan your holiday meal to perfection.

Glazed Sweet Potato-Stuffed Ham

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 (7 to 9 lb) Hormel spiral-cut ham
1 (10 oz) jar apricot preserves
1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat the oven to 350° F.
Using a mandoline, slice the sweet potatoes very thinly. Place the ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan.
Carefully separating the layers of the ham, insert slices of sweet potato into each layer. Repeat this until every layer of the ham has been filled.
In a small bowl, stir together the apricot preserves and the black pepper; spread the mixture all over the surface of the ham. Bake for 2 to 3 hours, or until the ham is heated to 160° F at the center and the potatoes are tender. Allow the ham to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 400, Calories from Fat: 200 Fat: 23 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 110 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 31 g, Sodium: 1860 mg.

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Shop the Sale: Bell Peppers


ShopSale_BellPepperSlaw_228x173

My mom used to grow the most magnificent garden.

I say this in past tense, but she really she still grows a garden, I just don’t live close enough to benefit from it.

I remember summers spent going out to her garden to harvest fresh green beans, cucumbers, corn and bell peppers for dinner. I don’t think I can choose a favorite, but her stuffed bell peppers made from fresh produce straight out of our back yard was pretty delicious.

I have loved bell peppers ever since. I love the earthy flavor of the green ones and the sweet flavor of red, yellow and orange varieties. I make stuffed peppers frequently, but I also found this slaw recipe last summer. I’m not a huge coleslaw fan, but this side dish is positively delicious! Bell peppers are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so try this today.

Bell Pepper Slaw

Ingredients:
1 (10 oz) bag angel-hair slaw mix
1 large red bell pepper, julienned
1 large green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 large red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano

Directions:
Place slaw mix, peppers and tomatoes in a large glass jar with lid. Shake to combine; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, basil and oregano, whisking well. Pour mixture over peppers. Close lid and shake well to coat.

Serve slaw from jar, if desired. Store covered in the refrigerator. Slaw is best when made a day before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 242, Calories from Fat: 157, Fat: 17 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 490 mg, Potassium: 595 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 14 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Shop the Sale: Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon


Hasselback PotatoesI had to do a little digging to find out the origin of the Hasselback potato.

Google didn’t yield information as quickly as I’d hoped for, but I finally found an entry that read, “Named after the Stockholm restaurant that first introduced them, Hasselback potatoes have been adopted widely by other European cuisines. They are known as ‘accordion potatoes’ in Ireland’s version of the dish.”

So, there you have it.

These potatoes are so thinly sliced, although not all the way through, that they collect the buttery goodness and other flavors between the velvety slices for a flavor that runs deeply through the dish. This version has bacon!

Great with a steak or as a side dish for a crowd, try this version while potatoes are on sale at Brookshire’s.

Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon

Ingredients:
4 slices thick-cut bacon, each cut crosswise into 9 pieces
kosher salt
12 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 stick unsalted butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped 

Directions:
Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Using a sharp knife, make crosswise cuts in each potato (about 1/8 inch apart), stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom.

Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly. Pat the potatoes dry, then insert 3 pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 5 tablespoons butter, and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp (about 2 hours), basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter.

When the potatoes are almost done, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and mix with the scallions, parsley and garlic. Spoon over the potatoes and roast 5 more minutes. Transfer to a platter and season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 204, Calories from Fat: 75, Fat: 8 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 22 mg, Sodium: 487 mg, Potassium: 745 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 4 g.

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Shop the Sale: Angus Ground Chuck Sliders


SlidersThis is the time of year that I can’t get enough of the outside. I want to live on the back porch, excluding the pollen, of course.

There’s something about the warm sunshine, cool air and buds on the trees that give me hope and remind me that God is constantly renewing our earth and our spirits. When I hear the chimes ringing, the birds singing and the trees rustling, I know life is good.

Life is also good when I can grill out on the back patio with my friends or with my boys. Sometimes I don’t want a huge burger or we make an assortment of foods, so sliders are the perfect size for a lighter meal or to go with other courses.

The aged cheddar and caramelized onions on these make them quite the tasty bite.

Sliders with Aged White Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:
1 lb Angus ground chuck
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic salt
6 slices aged white cheddar cheese
1 large white onion, sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 small dinner rolls or slider-sized buns

Directions:
Mix the Angus ground chuck with Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt until thoroughly combined. Form into 6 equal-sized patties.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and cook slowly until caramelized but not browned or scorched, about 25 minutes. Remove from pan; drain excess oil.

Prepare grill to medium heat and cook sliders, about 4 minutes per side for medium. Turn off heat. Cover each slider with a slice of aged white cheddar. Let melt slightly. Place on bun, top with caramelized onions and other condiments of choice. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 452, Calories from Fat: 280, Fat: 31 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 84 mg, Sodium: 429 mg, Potassium: 113 mg, Carbohydrates: 19 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Protein: 23 g.



Shop the Sale: Strawberry Pavlolva


Strawberry PavlovaPavlova creates a Pavlovian response in me.

Don’t get the two confused.

One is a light, airy meringue. The other is a conditioned response.

My conditioned response to the light, airy meringue is to eat as much of it as I can, especially when the weather warms up and my eating gets a bit healthier as well.

I love that these meringues pack so much flavor but don’t weigh you down. I also love how they don’t have to look absolutely perfect.

You can put almost any kind of topping on these once made, but I love fresh strawberries in the springtime. With strawberries on sale this week, you can make enough of these to share.

Strawberry Pavlolva

Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
4 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
zest and juice of 2 limes
2 cups heavy cream
seeds scraped from 1/4 vanilla bean
Directions:
Preheat oven to 250° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar with the cornstarch; set aside.

Directions:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until peaks begin to form. Add remaining granulated sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the cornstarch mixture. Add vinegar and vanilla extract; beat 1 minute, or until meringue is glossy and stands in peaks.

Form 12 meringue shells by spooning six 3-inch mounds onto each baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of each mound.

Place in oven and reduce temperature to 200° F. Bake until meringues are firm and begin to color, about 2 hours. (They will be dry on the outside and chewy in the center.) Cool on baking sheets set on wire racks.

Meanwhile, combine strawberries, 6 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar, and lime zest and juice in a bowl. Set aside to macerate 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, beat heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds until stiff.

To assemble, spoon whipped cream into meringues. Spoon strawberries over the cream. Dust with remaining confectioners’ sugar and serve.
Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 265, Calories from Fat: 69, Fat: 8 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 27 mg, Sodium: 45 mg, Potassium: 190 mg, Carbohydrates: 49 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 45 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Shop the Sale: Gulf Brown Shrimp


ShrimpI’m still not sure how I wasted so much of my life not loving seafood. 

Beyond the fish sticks we ate every Friday night during Lent, I never loved seafood of any kind. Actually, now that I think about it, it was probably because of those fish sticks that I didn’t like seafood. Sorry, Mom, I’m just speaking the truth.

Rest assured, I’ve spent the past few years trying to make up for lost time. I’ve eaten shrimp by the pound. I’ve decimated a dozen Maryland blue crabs in one sitting. I’ve embraced raw oysters. My boyfriend makes a sea bass that’s out of this world, and I cook salmon as often as it goes on sale at Brookshire’s.

I find myself cooking with shrimp most frequently, so I love that Gulf brown shrimp is on sale this week.  An old friend of mine, Pete, for whom fishing is more an obsession than just a hobby, always told me never to overcook fish. The same goes for shrimp. It can still be slightly pink when you stop cooking it, and it will pretty much finish itself even after you take it off the burner. If you overcook shrimp, it becomes tough and chewy.

Enjoy this pasta dish; the garlic brings out the flavor of the shrimp beautifully.

Shrimp and Garlic Pasta

Ingredients:
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more for finishing
3 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
8 oz medium Gulf brown shrimp, peeled and deveined or large shrimp, halved
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
8 oz dried fettuccine or spaghetti
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for cooking the pasta. In a large skillet over low heat, combine the olive oil and garlic. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is just fragrant and beginning to turn golden, about 2 to 4 minutes; don’t let it brown or crisp. Add the shrimp and zest; season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high, and sear the shrimp quickly just until they turn bright pink, about 1 minute on each side. They don’t need to be cooked through at this point. Add the wine and let it simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until heated through. Set aside over very low heat if the pasta is not ready yet. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until just tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta, leaving drops of water clinging to it. Add the pasta and half of the reserved cooking liquid to the skillet. Gently simmer for a few minutes so the flavors meld and the pasta can drink up the sauce. Stir in the parsley, taste for salt and pepper, and serve warm with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Nutritional information: Calories Per Serving: 900, Calories from Fat: 290, Fat: 32 g (4 g Saturated Fat, 21 g, Monounsaturated Fat, 4 g Polyunsaturated Fat), Protein: 42 g, Carbohydrates: 108 g, Sodium: 1050 mg, Cholesterol: 170 mg, Fiber: 10 g.

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