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Shop The Sale: Ground Chuck


A burger’s a burger, right? Actually, no. The type of beef that makes up your burger has a big impact on how it’s going to taste. Extra-lean, ground sirloin, ground beef, ground chuck….which to choose?

 It might surprise you, but the really-really lean beef isn’t the best for a basic burger. You see, burgers need a little bit of fat to maintain juiciness. If you get 97% lean beef, you’ll end up with a lean but tough sandwich.  Ground chuck is the way to go. There’s a bit of fat, but not so much that you have burger shrinkage to deal with.

And you know what else is great about chuck? Factoring in the fat that cooks out, chuck is a better deal than cheaper ground beef! If you take a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground chuck, cook and drain, you’ll have more usable meat left at the end if you use the chuck. Pretty nifty!

Brookshire’s has ground chuck on sale this week, so take advantage of the great price and stock the freezer. You can brown up several pounds of it, divide among freezer bags, and be ready for last-minute casseroles. And this time of year, that’s always a smart move!



Shop The Sale: Split Chicken Breasts


Don’t you love it when you find a great sale, stock up, and can eat cheaply for weeks and weeks? Well, here’s your chance!

This week Brookshire’s has chicken split breasts on sale. A split breast is the kind of chicken that has the bone still in. And it’s split because what we call chicken breasts are really breast halves—a full breast has two big meaty sections.

Being big pieces of chicken, with bones still in, split breasts take longer to cook. If you freeze them as they are, they’ll also take a while to thaw. So to best use this sale, you might want to think ahead and do a little prep work. Here are a couple ideas:

Cook in advance. Place split breasts in a single layer on a baking sheet—as many as you can fit in the pan. Bake about 45 minutes at 375° F.—until the chicken is done. Now you can shred or chop this cooked meat, put in individual-sized freezer bags and fill your freezer with ready-to-use chicken meat. That’s more convenient than a rotisserie chicken! Enchiladas, soup, stir fries, you name it: just add the other ingredients and you’re good to go!

Season in advance. Take several split breasts (however many you need for one meal) and season them—sprinkle on fajita seasoning, or a roasting blend of thyme, basil and rosemary. Slide these pieces in a freezer bag, add a few chopped onions and peppers and stash in the deep freeze. Now, when you’re ready to cook, you’ve got the prep work all taken care of! Just bake and serve.

Use them now. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it really works out to your advantage. Make soup: place several split breasts in a pot of water with onions, carrots and celery; simmer until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and cut the meat up. Add more veggies, some noodles…….and you have soup!

And the same goes for roasted breasts. Fix some for dinner, but fix twice as much as you need. Freeze the rest, or save a day or two to use as a second dinner.

When you get a great price on chicken, you’re smart to take advantage of it. What’s your secret for getting maximum mileage out of split breasts?



Shop The Sale: Turkey


It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey, would it? But sometimes, turkey is a lot of hassle. It’s big, it’s complicated, it takes up a lot of room in your fridge—but you know, once you get the hang of it, turkey isn’t that hard.  Just think of it as a big chicken, and follow the same rules you’d use when roasting a hen. And since we’re featuring turkeys on sale this week, this is the perfect time for a little Turkey 101.

If you choose a frozen turkey, allow plenty of thawing time—about 1 day for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 15-pound turkey would require three days of thawing time, so make sure to clean out the fridge to have plenty of room If you’re expecting 10 guests for Thanksgiving dinner, a 15-pound turkey will give you plenty of meat, plus some leftovers. 1 ½ pounds per person is a good way to estimate how large a turkey to buy.

Most nutritionists—and I’m a nutritionist—will advise you not to stuff your turkey. It increases cooking time and increases the chances of foodborne illness. It’s a much safer bet to cook the stuffing in a separate baking pan. If you do stuff your turkey, however, fill the turkey cavity only 2/3 full of loosely packed stuffing, and make sure the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees.

So what do you get for your work? Turkey is full of health benefits. It’s low in cholesterol and fat, and it provides nearly 50 percent of the daily allowances for folic acid. That helps protect against birth defects, some forms of cancer, and heart disease. A 3-ounce serving of turkey has about 100 calories and plenty of protein. It’s good for you! It’s what you put on the plate along with the turkey that leads to problems!

If you’re new to all this,  you can contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline for answers in English or Spanish from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (or 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day) by calling 1-888-674-6854. And, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA offers the “Ask Karen” service at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/Ask_Karen/index.asp. You can type in your food safety question and receive a list of questions and answers related to your inquiry. 



Shop the Sale: Eggs


Do you ever wish you could buy something as all-purpose and healthy as “instant food?” The closest thing I’ve found to instant food is eggs—yup, Grade A large, sold by the dozen. And as fortune may have it, Brookshire’s has large eggs on sale this week!

Save money, save time, save calories, save stress—all with a dozen eggs. Really! There’s the obvious breakfast of scrambled eggs, but have you ever had breakfast for supper? An omelet or frittata or quiche is perfect for that, since you have a bit more time for cooking and prep work.

But how about taking those scrambled eggs and turning them into breakfast tortillas? You can make them in bulk, and save in the fridge for freezer and you’ll have a super-speedy breakfast choice. It’s cheaper and faster than stopping at a fast food restaurant or gas station—so that qualifies it as ‘instant food,’ in my book!

Other choices? Hard boil a handful of them and you’ll always have an instant snack or dinner in the fridge. Take the hard-boiled eggs and make deviled eggs or egg salad.

When you can get eggs for two dollars (or so) for a dozen, that comes out to only about 16 cents per egg. Now THAT’S a bargain, no matter how you cut it!



Shop the Sale: Spare Ribs


Got any ribs to spare? Apparently Brookshire’s does, because spare ribs are one of the featured sale items this week. Now, around this part of the country, we grill all year round, so the mere fact that it’s November shouldn’t stop you from throwing a slab of ribs on the grill. But do you know there’s a much faster way to fix them and still get that down-home barbecue flavor?

It’s kind of cheating, but that’s what cooking’s all about: making it look easy! Take a slab of pork spare ribs and put them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 375° F. for an hour or so. This will help most of the fat cook off, and will get them 90% done.

Then…..put them on the grill, slather on the sauce and finish ‘em up outside! They’ll have the crispy, crunchy outside that comes from time on the grill, but you won’t have to stand guard over them, turning and basting.

See? That’s what cooking is: making it look easy! I promise, your secret’s safe with me.



Shop the Sale: Split Fillets and Tenderloins


Have you ever heard that you pay for convenience? Well, it’s true—and it makes sense. The more processed a food is, the more it costs. And the same happens with chicken breasts. Boneless, skinless breast halves are so convenient and easy to use—but they also cost more than breasts with the bone still in. 

So that’s what makes this week’s advertised sale of Boneless skinless breast fillets and breast tenderloins such a great deal. Where normally these command a premium price, this week you can score a great deal! Stock up and save—fill your freezer with these super-convenient chicken cuts—and you’ll be able to coast through the coming weeks with plenty of chicken to feed your family. 

What do you do with this cut of meat? It’s probably the easiest way to fix chicken that isn’t already re-cooked. They come in a resealable freezer bag, so the day of your meal, pull out as many pieces as you’ll need for any given recipe. Thaw in the fridge or microwave (never on the countertop), and you’re ready to go. Add a dash of salt and pepper, or maybe barbecue sauce or stir-fry sauce, toss in a skillet and you’ll be eating dinner before you know it!



Shop the Sale: Split Chicken Halves


Sometimes you see something on sale and you know exactly what to do with it. Hot dogs? No problem. But split chicken halves? You hate to miss out on a bargain, but what do you do with them?

Not  a problem! Don’t let the form distract you from the product. Whether it’s a half a chicken or a chicken breast tender, it’s all CHICKEN!

A split chicken half is either a breast and wing, or a thigh and drumstick. It’s like you drew a line right down the middle of a whole chicken. Hey, that’s probably why they call them chicken halves!

The easiest way to cook a chicken half is to slip them in a baking pan, add a bit of chicken broth, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and let them bake. They’re kind of large, so they’ll most likely take 30 to 45 minutes at 375° F. But that gives you plenty of time to cook some pasta and make a salad….for an effortless dinner. And if you know you’re going to have a really busy day ahead, pull out Ole Betsy—your infallible slow cooker—and let her do the work while you’re busy all day.

To make eating easier for your family, pull the meat off the bones once it’s cooked. Shred or chop and it looks much more user-friendly.



Shop The Sale: It’s Soup Time!


Who doesn’t love a big bowl of chicken soup on a chilly fall evening? Chicken noodle, chicken and rice, chicken and vegetable, chicken tortilla, chicken and dumplings….there’s a soup for every day of the week. If you remember soup like grandma used to make, there’s one secret for making it happen without stress and fuss. The secret? Use a slow cooker!

They’re inexpensive appliances, and if you don’t have one in the back of your pantry, do run out and get one—it’ll be worth its weight in chicken soup!

On sale this week at Brookshire’s is Pilgrim’s Pride Whole Chicken—the key ingredient to great chicken soup. And with your slow cooker, making it is a snap!

Rinse the chicken, and check inside to be sure there aren’t any giblets (innards) in there. Place the chicken in your slow cooker. Throw in whatever vegetables seem nice and soup-worthy:  an onion, garlic, celery, a potato or two…..this isn’t for the final soup yet, but to create a really flavorful broth. If you like, season with salt, pepper, bay leaf and poultry seasoning.  Add water to fill the cooker about halfway and turn on the slow cooker and let it cook all day (or all night, depending on your schedule).

After 8 hours or so, pull out the cooked chicken and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. Strain the incredibly delicious-smelling broth. Skim off the fat for a healthier soup.

You can chill the broth to make soup later, or proceed: Put the broth in a kettle and add the vegetables you love to see in soup: a bag of frozen mixed veggies, maybe, or corn, green beans….it’s your call. Pull the chicken meat off the bones (it practically shreds by itself) and add. Adjust the seasonings: add salt, pepper or poultry seasoning to your personal tastes. Simmer until veggies are done. Add cooked rice, or uncooked noodles (or whatever other ingredients your recipe calls for), simmer a few more minutes, and your soup is ready to serve.

Wasn’t that easy? And it all started with whole chickens on sale!

Note: omit pasta for a great gluten-free meal!



Shop the Sale: Boneless Rump Roast


It’s that time of year. It’s stew weather, soup weather and roast weather. As soon as it gets just a little chilly, all those hearty meals sound really, really good. How about a super-easy way to give your family the memories you had as a kid—or the memories you wish you’d had? Check out this week’s Brookshire’s circular (online or in print). Right on the front page, you’ll find the perfect cool-weather dinner idea.

Pot roast. It’s a dinnertime staple from back in the days when everybody’s mom had lots of time to cook. You can still do a pot roast, you know. If you have 10 minutes in the morning (or even the night before) you can get it ready to put in the slow cooker. If you have a block of time on a weekend afternoon, you can throw it in the oven and have it ready for supper. Either way, this dish is about as easy as it gets.

Back in the 1960s, housewives discovered that Lipton’s Onion Soup mix made a fantastic base for cooking roasts. And you know what? It still works in 2009. It’s this simple: Place the roast in a baking pan (or slow cooker). Surround with roast-friendly vegetables, such as chunks of carrots, potatoes, celery, sweet potato and onion. Sprinkle one envelope of onion soup over everything and then pour 2 cups of water over top. Cover and cook. For a slow cooker, that would be all day; in the oven, it would be 1.5 to 2 hours at 350°F.

If you’d rather not have the sodium that comes in dry soup mix, you can substitute beef broth.

The meat is fall-apart tender, the cooking juices make the most divine gravy (thickened or not) and the veggies create a picture of Americana that has been all but forgotten. Leftovers (if you have any) make great sandwiches and freeze well.



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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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