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Shop the Sale: Strawberry Crumble Muffins


Strawberry Crumble MuffinsStrawberries are available today at Brookshire’s, but I may have overdone it just a bit.

I’m not sure how we’re humanly going to eat all of these strawberries, so I polled my kids, asking “What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?” and thinking I’d get creative in the kitchen.

Plain.

Plain.

That was their answers.

My younger son’s BFF, who happened to be sitting at my kitchen table when I asked, chimed in with “Chocolate-covered!”

Well, that wasn’t helpful.

My favorite way to eat strawberries is with sour cream and brown sugar. Yes, I said SOUR cream, not whipped cream. Just try it, I promise you.

Back to what I was going to do with pounds and pounds of strawberries…

My mom makes a blueberry crumble that I adore, so I went in search of a similar recipe using strawberries. I found a strawberry crumble muffin recipe instead, and it’s sufficient to say that a good portion of our strawberry haul was happily devoured in this form!

Strawberry Crumble Muffins

Ingredients:
MUFFINS:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced

CRUMBLE TOPPING:
1/4 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or coat thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. (The liners are more effective.)

Cream butter and sugar together in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and the egg.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in half the strawberries.

Fill muffin liners with about 2 heaping tablespoons batter. Top with remaining strawberries.

To make the crumble, combine all topping ingredients until mixed. Spoon over each muffin. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and immediately put muffins in the oven. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 215, Calories from Fat: 75, Fat: 8 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 34 mg, Sodium: 169 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 21 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Shop the Sale: Creole Chicken Thighs


Creole Chicken ThighsChicken thighs are easily the most underrated protein you could possibly cook. They’re inexpensive and full of flavor. They also stay juicy, and they’re so versatile.

They’re on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so you can’t go wrong with picking up a package (or three) to feed your family for a few meals.

Chicken thighs are considered a dark meat, but to me, they don’t have the same flavor as, say, the leg. They’re a lighter dark meat, if that’s really possible.

Chicken thighs cook quickly on a grill, in a stew or soup, or in your oven.

This recipe practically bursts with Creole flavor. Cook the chicken with the skin on; it will seal in the juices and flavor. I love the white pepper in this recipe. You can really taste the latent heat after you take a big bite!

Creole Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
2 1/2 to 3 lbs chicken thighs (about 5 to 6 pieces)
2 tsp Creole or Cajun spice, like Tony Chachere’s
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475° F.

Rinse chicken thighs, and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the spices and mix well.

Sprinkle both sides of each chicken thigh with a generous amount of the spice mixture, and gently rub into the skin. Place chicken thighs on a baking sheet. If you wish, place them in the refrigerator overnight; it is not necessary to cover them.

Bake chicken thighs in preheated oven starting at 475° F for the first 20 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 400° F.

Bake until the skin is crispy, the thighs are no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 30 minutes or until chicken is 165° F internally.

Serves 5 to 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 438, Calories from Fat: 152, Fat: 17 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 202 mg, Sodium: 558 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 66 g.

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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.

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



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