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Shop the Sale: Cajun Chicken Pasta

Summertime is hot and so is this pasta.

Even during the hot summer months, I love a good pasta dish. Hey, it’s the Italian in me. This pasta dish combines the best of summer and Cajun heat with hearty pasta for a dish that’s sure to please.

Brookshire’s Boneless Fryer Breasts or Chicken Tenders are on sale this week, so stock up. Either version would be great for this recipe, which could even be served as a side dish on the Fourth of July.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Serves 4

3/4 lb rotini pasta, cooked according to package
2 Tbsp butter
2 to 3 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, about 6, chopped
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning, or to taste
1 scant tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 scant tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
8 oz heavy cream
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
8 oz fresh mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Cook rotini (or similar pasta) according to package directions. Drain; set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, onions, Cajun or Creole seasoning and ground black and red peppers. Add bell peppers and mushrooms; stir to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover; stir in cream and let simmer another 2 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese. Remove sauce from heat, stir in cooked pasta and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 690, Calories from Fat: 319, Fat: 36 g, Cholesterol: 231 mg, Sodium: 239 mg, Carbohydrates: 55 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein: 38 g

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Shop the Sale: Oscar mayer Bologna

“Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!!!”

Any of us who are “of a certain age” can certainly sing the Oscar Mayer jingle, but when it comes down to actually using the popular meat product from our childhood, it’s a different story.

What do you do with bologna?

I had it on white bread, with American cheese, mustard and lettuce in my Holly Hobbie lunch box on Mondays.

How did YOU eat bologna as a child?

Recipes today are much more sophisticated. You can pickle bologna. You can use it in a ham loaf. You can barbecue it or use it in a spread, salad or soup. Bologna, the other-other white meat, can be substituted for bacon, or even used in…get ready for it…cake.

But today, we’re using bologna like a breakfast meat in an omelet-type muffin.

And since Oscar Mayer Bologna or Salami is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, it’s double the value for these tasty treats.

Oscar Mayer Bologna Omelet Cups
Serves 2

8 slices Oscar Mayer Bologna
3 eggs
2 Tbsp milk or soy milk
2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
3 oz American cheese, chopped

Heat 6 slices of bologna in an ungreased skillet until the center puffs.

Place each heated bologna in a lightly greased muffin tin. Chop the remaining 2 slices of bologna into small pieces.

In a small bowl, beat eggs with the milk. Stir in the chopped bologna and onion. Pour egg mixture into the bologna cups. Bake, uncovered, in a 350º F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until eggs are set.

Sprinkle on cheese. Bake until cheese is melted.

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Shop the Sale: Bone in Rib Eye

I once knew a great man who always wore a cowboy hat and boots, never left home without his bolo tie and starched shirts, and was as much a cowboy as the wranglers I’ve met at the rodeo.

Funny thing was, he wasn’t even born in this country. He and his father immigrated to New York state from Sweden when he was just a boy, early in the 20th century. He grew up on Long Island but eventually joined, what was then, the Army Air Corps and was stationed in San Antonio.

That was all it took.

From that moment on, he was a Texan. He married a yellow rose of Texas, raised his children in Texas, and, eventually, died in the state he’d adopted and loved.

He subscribed to a magazine called “Cowboys and Indians.” He went on “shoots” where the “old-timers” (his words, not mine) would wear old cowboy clothes and compete in feats of accuracy. He handcrafted muzzleloaders, lovingly carving their stocks out of wood and fashioning their barrels. Silversmithing was his hobby, and he made the most gorgeous pieces of jewelry out of silver and often turquoise.

And when I think of him, I think of big, juicy, thick bone-in rib eye steaks. Father’s Day is coming up and this is what we always grilled. Fittingly, the bone-in rib eye is often called the “cowboy steak.”

There aren’t many “recipes” for a bone-in rib eye, per se, because you don’t want to take away from the flavor of the meat.

You DO want to let it sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes before grilling. You DO want to salt and pepper your steak. You DO want to slap it on the grill over a high flame to sear it and seal in the juices, then turn the temperature down or move to indirect heat to finish the cooking process. And you DO want to let it rest for about five minutes before cutting into it. Finally, you DO want to buy a bone-in-rib eye, on sale at Brookshire’s, this week.

Shop the Sale: Grilled Potato Wedges

Father’s Day is coming up and these potatoes would taste phenomenal with a great grilled steak. I don’t know about you, but I like to make summertime meals as easy as humanly possible and cooking everything on one surface fits that bill.

Why do steak and potatoes go so well together? Well I’m really not sure, but I do know that a russet potato, crisp on the outside and creamy and smooth on the inside, is always a hit.

Russet potatoes, which will hold up well sliced and grilled, are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so stock up for Father’s Day or any weeknight grilling venture.

Grilled Potato Wedges

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho or regular chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges about 1 inch thick
1/3 cup olive oil

Mix together the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Brush the potatoes all over with olive oil and place over the hot side of the grill and cook until browned and crisp on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the potatoes to the cool side of the grill, cover, and continue to grill until cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Remove the potatoes from the grill to a large bowl. Sprinkle with the spice mixture to taste and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 200, Calories from Fat: 102, Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 9 mg, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 2 g

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Shop the Sale: Granny’s Cherry Pie

Cherry PieMy Granny and Grandpop had a cherry tree in their backyard.

This wasn’t too uncommon, living just outside of Washington, D.C., famed for not only being the country’s seat of government but also for it’s amazing cherry blossoms each spring.

They also had a crabapple tree, which I think their dozens of grandchildren enjoyed more for the “apple bombs” than for the sour crabapples.

But the cherry tree was an entirely different story.

When the yield was good, Granny would send us out to the back yard with bushel baskets and let us pick the cherries, cautioning us not to eat TOO many (I don’t think she really meant it). Then we (literally dozens of us grandchildren) would bring them back in and help her pit the cherries. We all know pitting cherries is hard work, but Granny was smart that way because we knew that if we helped, at the end of it, there would be a glorious cherry pie (or three) for all of us to enjoy.  Not only did we get to enjoy the cherry pie, but Granny would let us make cinnamon-sugar pies out of the scraps of homemade dough. It was wonderful.

Cherry Pie
Makes two “mini” pies

1 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
7 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp ice water
1 lb (about 3 cups) sour or sweet cherries, pitted
3 Tbsp sugar (2/3 cups if using sour cherries)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest


Combine flour, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut in 6 tablespoons of the butter using a pastry blender, two knives or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time; mix until just combined. Pat the dough into a 5-by-6-inch rectangle, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt the remaining butter and set aside. Combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, melted butter and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and set aside. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece to a 1/8-inch thickness, and fit two of the rolled-out pieces into two 4-inch pie plates. Fill each with half the cherry mixture, drape the remaining two pieces of dough over the pies, and crimp the edges to seal. Cut slits into the tops of the pies and bake until golden.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 508, Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 54 mg, Sodium: 143mg, Carbohydrates: 79 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein : 5 g.
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Shop The Sale: Multicolored Peppers

Multicolored PeppersYou know how experts always say, “eat the rainbow” to remind you to eat a variety of natural, whole foods, in colors created by God, as part of a well-balanced diet? Well nothing makes me happier to follow this advice than with multi-colored bell peppers.

Besides being beautiful, they’re super healthy, too, with loads of lycopene and antioxidants. They’re versatile; you can eat them raw or cooked.

One of my favorite things to do with peppers…well, there’s lots of favorite things! I like to julienne them and eat them raw as a snack. I love to slice them into thick rings and grill them with a spritz of extra virgin olive oil and a smattering of salt and pepper. But what I was originally going to say is that I love to stuff them and come up with new fillings to show off the beauty of my peppers. I have a tried-and-true turkey filling that I love, but I’ve recently been experimenting with a vegetarian version and have come up with a satisfying, healthy recipe filled with whole grain and a lot of flavor.

With bell peppers on sale this week at Brookshire’s, make sure you get one in every color to experiment with the different flavors.

Veggie Stuffed Bell Peppers
Serves 4

1 red, yellow, orange and green bell pepper (or colors of your choosing)
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 zucchini, finely diced
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 ear sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob
1 cup spicy vegetable juice, divided
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp hot pepper sauce

Slice the tops off of peppers, clean seeds and pith.

Mix rice, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, 1/2 cup vegetable juice, cumin and hot pepper sauce.

Stuff one fourth of mixture into each pepper. Place in a baking dish.  Pour remaining 1/2 cup vegetable juice over peppers. Bake at 375° F for 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 238, Calories from Fat: 18, Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 135 mg, Carbohydrates: 50 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 7


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Shop the Sale: Florida Sweet Yellow Corn

Blue Cheese Garlic Sweet CornWhen I was about 10 years old, we moved into a house on a lot that was…well, overgrown is putting it nicely. The house was on a cul-de-sac, and the back yard was like a huge wedge of pie, narrower by the house and opening into an expanse of vast brush and weeds.

My mom likes nothing if not a good challenge, and I can remember her tackling that back yard with zest. At the end of her hard work, we had a lovely grassy plot of land, opening into a child’s wonderland. Eventually, my dad built a “fort” among the trees for the five of us kids and my mom had a large plot for her garden.

That garden was amazing. She grew pretty much everything you can imagine. I remember being sent to the garden in the late afternoon with a colander and coming back with green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes for a dinner salad and, later in the summer, my favorite, sweet corn. We’d sit on the back step and shuck the corn, letting the wisps of silk slip from our fingers. We had so much corn it seemed and there were endless ways to prepare it, including this recipe, one of my favorites.

Sweet corn is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, just in time for summer.

Blue Cheese Garlic Sweet Corn

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 ears fresh corn, kernels cut from cob
3/4 cup milk
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir the garlic briefly in the butter mixture, about 1 minute. Stir corn into butter and oil to coat; cook and stir until warmed, about 3 minutes. Pour milk into the skillet; bring to a simmer. Place a cover on the skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook at a simmer until hot, about 10 minutes.

Remove the cover from the skillet and continue cooking until the liquid is mostly evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add blue cheese; cook and stir until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving 249, Fat: 14 g, Cholesterol: 29 mg, Sodium: 254 mg, Carbohydrates: 25 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 9 g

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Shop The Sale: Marinated Thai Style Pork Ribs

Marinated Thai Style Pork RibsMy friend Jon is traveling the world. He retired early, in his mid-40s, after years as an air-traffic controller and took off with a backpack and his camera.

He spent his first year in Mexico.

He’s now in the Far East and enjoying every minute.

He posts pictures (I first met him through his photography) and I can only imagine that the caramelized brown, crispy-juicy ribs he posted recently were this recipe.

They taste even more succulent when they’re on sale at Brookshire’s, like they are this week.

Marinated Thai Style Pork Ribs

1 cup sliced shallots
10 scallions, coarsely chopped
One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
8 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro including thin stems (and roots, if possible)
6 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tbsp sugar
4 lbs pork spareribs, cut by your butcher across the bone into 2- to 3-inch “racks,” each rack cut between the bones into individual 2- to 3-inch-long riblets

Put the shallots, scallions, ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a loose, finely chopped paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

Place pork ribs in a large bowl or a pair of heavy resealable plastic bags. Thoroughly coat the ribs with the marinade, massaging the paste into the flesh for a minute or so. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours or up to 5 hours in the refrigerator, tossing the ribs once or twice during this time.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread the ribs out, bone-side down, on two large parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until ribs are deeply colored and very tender but not yet falling from the bone, about 1 1/2 hours, occasionally rotating the pans to encourage even cooking.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 1,201, Calories from Fat: 606, Total Fat: 67 g, Cholesterol: 422 mg, Sodium: 2672 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 18 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 8 g, Protein:  124 g

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Shop The Sale: Beef Burgundy

Beef BurgundyI think anyone who has had a serious interest in cooking has, at one time or another, delved into the wonderful world of Julia Child. At least, I did.

The best thing about Julia, for me, was that she wasn’t serious. I mean, the woman could work her way around a kitchen, no doubt, but she never took herself too seriously. She laughed at her mistakes and championed her disasters. Loudly. I remember watching a snippet of her preparing a classic French dish called, Americanized, beef burgundy. The French pronunciation, boeuf bourguignon, rolled off Julia’s tongue with both the awkwardness and the finesse that somehow co-existed in her helter-skelter, yet deft, persona.

During that phase in my life, if Julia made it, I wanted to make it. Her beef burgundy has become a lifelong favorite. Chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so try this in homage to Julia. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

Beef Burgundy
Serves 5 to 6

6 oz bacon (or salt pork)
3 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups shallots, about 8 shallots
2 large carrots, one diced and one cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
2/3 bottle Pinot Noir or Burgundy wine
4 whole cloves
Handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2-3 cups beef stock
6 oz butter (4 for the beginning and 2 for the sauce)
3 Tbsp flour (combine with the butter for the sauce)
8 oz fresh mushrooms (cremini, button, or shiitake)
1 1/2 cups pearl onions (frozen is fine)
Salt and pepper

Start by adding 1 cup of water to a large skillet. Add your bacon or salt pork and cook on medium-high heat until the water evaporates and the bacon starts to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook until the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon to a Dutch oven or heavy pot.

Add beef cubes in batches to pan. Don’t crowd the pan. Brown beef on all sides. It will probably take you 3 to 4 batches and 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove beef to Dutch oven when done.

Add shallots, diced carrots and garlic to skillet where beef was browned. Scrape up as many brown bits as possible and cook for a minute or two. Then add tomato paste and continue to cook for another minute.

Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup brandy. Use liquid to scrape up as many bits as possible. Add mixture to Dutch oven.

Add to the Dutch oven wine, cloves, parsley, bay leaves, and enough beef stock to just cover the beef and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add carrot pieces (2 inches or so in length) to Dutch oven and continue to cook for another hour or until carrots and beef are tender.

When ready, remove beef and carrots from Dutch oven and set aside. Strain liquid and add liquid to a medium pot. Bring to a very slight simmer.

Mix 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of flour to form a paste. Stir 1/3 of the paste at a time into the sauce. The sauce should start to thicken immediately.

Stir in 2 tablespoons more of brandy for extra flavor and continue to lightly simmer sauce until it’s silky smooth and thick.

In a large skillet, add mushrooms with a tiny drizzle of oil. Cook on medium heat until mushrooms lose their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add pearl onions and cook until they are slightly browned.

Serve beef, carrots, mushrooms, and onions with sauce. Serve with potatoes, egg noodles, rice and/or crusty bread. 

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1257, Calories from Fat: 885, Fat: 98 g, Cholesterol: 326 mg, Sodium: 1251mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 73 g

Shop The Sale: Top Sirloin Steak

Peppered Top Sirloin Steak - Steak au PoivreA top sirloin is a delicious, yet relatively inexpensive, cut of meat.

Culled from the upper back rear of the cattle, a top sirloin is deliciously marbled and easily grilled, braised, broiled, roasted or pan-fried.

This traditional French treatment is a succulent treat you can sink your teeth into, and it’s even better when Top Sirloin Steak is on sale at Brookshires.

Peppered Top Sirloin Steak – Steak au Poivre 

1 Tbs coarsely ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp prepared horseradish
2 Tbs olive oil
2 lbs boneless top sirloin steak

In a small bowl, mix together the pepper, garlic, salt, horseradish and olive oil.

Place the steaks on a shallow dish and rub the mixture all over the meat. Marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours or, better still, covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Turn the meat from time to time to coat both sides evenly.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.

When ready to grill, heat broiler or grill. Broil or grill steak approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side or until done to your preference.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 630g, Calories from Fat: 355g, Fat: 40 g, Cholesterol: 203 mg, Sodium: 1117 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 65 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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