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Shop the Sale: Roasted Potatoes with Chives, Bacon and Bleu Cheese


Roasted PotatoesI don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that America is pretty obsessed with bacon. Now, there’s even a bacon-bowl-making apparatus I’ve seen on television commercials. What do you put in a bacon bowl, I wonder? Oh, it would be good with scrambled eggs and cheese, but I digress…

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, bacon!

This pork product makes everything taste better. My kids like to eat it plain, alongside pancakes. Luke will dip it into his syrup, but Curt likes the full bacon taste to come through and doesn’t mix it with anything. I put bacon on top of meatloaf and wrap it around stuffed peppers. It goes in breakfast dishes, of course, but it also goes on sandwiches for lunch, in a brittle on top of sweet potatoes and in the crust of a chocolate pie for dessert.

Here, it goes on top of potatoes in a variation of the loaded baked potato.

Bacon freezes well, so buy a freezer full while it’s on sale this week at Brookshire’s. 

Roasted Potatoes with Chives, Bacon and Bleu Cheese

Ingredients:
12 small Yukon Gold potatoes
2 1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 Tbsp minced chives

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water; bring to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt; cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Once cooled, slice a small piece from the top and bottom of each potato. Transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with oil, remaining salt and pepper.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet. With a paring knife, score top of each potato. Top each with equal amounts bleu cheese and bacon. Bake until cheese melts, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 288, Calories from Fat: 67, Fat: 7 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 13 mg, Sodium: 1100 mg, Potassium: 1187 mg, Carbohydrates: 49 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 10 g.

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Shop the Sale: Tamale Casserole


Tamale CasseroleTamales are one of my favorite foods on earth, and I keep trying to find someone to teach me how to make them. I keep hearing it’s a lost art and extremely labor-intensive. I’m up for the challenge if anyone reading this wants to make tamales with me!

In the meantime, I’ve purchased them fresh or frozen and even made a variation of the dish, like in this casserole.

This recipe originally called for chicken. I’ve made it that way, but my kids like it better with ground Angus chuck, on sale this week at Brookshire’s. If you want to substitute chicken (Brookshire’s also has drums and thighs on sale that you can cook and shred), use three to four cups shredded chicken in place of the ground Angus chuck.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Ingredients:
cooking spray
2 1/4 cups pre-shredded 4-Cheese Mexican Blend Cheese, divided
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 tsp ground cumin
1 (14.75 oz) can creamed corn
1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 lb ground Angus chuck, browned and drained of fat
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 6 ingredients (through chilies) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake at 400° F for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with ground beef; sprinkle with remaining 2 cups of cheese. Bake at 400° F for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Top casserole with green onions and cut into serving pieces.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 748, Calories from Fat: 381, Fat: 42 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (18 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 192 mg, Sodium: 1342 mg, Potassium: 121 mg, Carbohydrates: 57 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 16 g, Protein: 34 g

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Shop the Sale: Garlicky Baked Shrimp


ShrimpI was beyond excited to see 36/40 Gulf Shrimp on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

I plan to stock my freezer.

Think Bubba in the movie, “Forrest Gump.”

Baked shrimp.

Boiled shrimp.

Grilled shrimp.

Shrimp scampi.

Shrimp kebabs.

And so on!

I love that movie and I love shrimp even more.

Most people might call pork the “other white meat,” but to me, it’s shrimp. It’s so versatile, quick and easy to cook, and so delicious.

Bubba was right.

Here’s one of my (many) current favorites. 

Garlicky Baked Shrimp

Ingredients:
1 lb raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp white wine
salt and pepper
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) melted butter
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp fresh Italian-leaf parsley, chopped
half of a lemon (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F.

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic and white wine. Stir to combine, then pour into a baking dish. Spread out evenly, and then season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, use a fork to mix melted butter, panko and parsley until well-combined. With your fingers, sprinkle the mixture evenly in the baking dish over the shrimp.

Transfer dish to oven and bake until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 15-18 minutes.

Yield: 2-4 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 312, Calories from Fat: 128, Fat: 14 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 269 mg, Sodium: 459 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 28 g



Shop the Sale: Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries


StrawberriesIt’s almost Valentine’s Day and that means roses, chocolate, wine and strawberries, although not necessarily in that order.

For couples, Valentine’s Day can be a romantic time. For us single people, Valentine’s Day comes with a bit of dread. I attend a Sunday school class for single parents, so you can imagine that there’s not a lot of love for February 14 in our group. However, because we always make the best of everything, we usually have a group event on that evening and enjoy each other’s company.
Last year, one woman made cheesecake stuffed strawberries, and I’m pretty sure they were gone before we ate the actual meal.

I’m going to make them this year because even if three of us bring the same thing, we still won’t have enough!

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Ingredients:
1 lb washed strawberries
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
6 Tbsp powdered sugar (add more if it’s not sweet enough)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Directions:
Use a paring knife to cut stems off strawberries. Hollow out a small hole in the center of the strawberries. You can also cut a small piece off the bottom of each strawberry so it will stand.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Using a spoon, put the filling in a plastic bag and snip off a corner; pipe the filling into each strawberry.

You can then sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on the top.

Refrigerate until cold.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 307, Calories from Fat: 186, Fat: 21 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 216 mg, Carbohydrates: 27 g, Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 19 g, Protein: 5 g



Shop the Sale: Hot Chicken Salad Casserole


Hot Chicken Salad CasseroleYou know you’re in the South when the words “chicken salad” and “casserole” appear in the title of the same recipe.

Goodness knows we love our chicken salad and our casseroles, and both are great on a chilly winter night.

There’s a restaurant in my hometown that I’ll go to when meeting girlfriends for lunch. They always have the best selection of warm salads, cold salads and hot soups (oh yes, and pimento cheese, but that’s probably another post). I can totally envision this hot chicken salad casserole fitting right in on their salad bar!

Chicken breasts are on sale this week, so try this one night soon.

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole

Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
pinch of dried thyme and rosemary, crushed
4 cups diced cooked chicken
4 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup minced celery
1/3 cup finely minced onion
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
topping (below)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise and soup; blend well. Stir in the cheddar cheese, lemon pepper, thyme and rosemary. Add the chicken, eggs, celery, onion, green onion and almonds; mix. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt only as needed, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Add the topping. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Topping: Vary the casserole toppings by using additional shredded cheese on top, alone or with one of these toppings: 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs, dry bread crumbs, a sleeve of crushed saltines or Ritz crackers mixed with 1 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted or simply slice cold butter thinly and scatter over the top; or add 1-1/2 cups of crushed plain or kettle style potato chips to the top.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 389, Calories from Fat: 220, Fat: 24 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 162 mg, Sodium: 686 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 29 g



Shop the Sale: Roast Chicken with Carrots


Roasted ChickenIn France, a roast chicken dinner in a small corner bistro is the stuff dreams are made of. While walking down the streets of any French town, you smell the aroma of the roasting poulet as you stroll along. I don’t think I ever went into a bistro without seeing a roast chicken on the menu, usually served with root vegetables and roasted potatoes of some kind.

I remember when I was newly married and was dying to impress my new husband with my culinary skills – such as they are – and share with him memories of the days I lived overseas. A few months into our marriage, there was a roast chicken gracing the cover of a popular national newsstand cooking magazine. I tore out the recipe, painstakingly purchased the ingredients and carefully prepared the evening’s meal. It didn’t turn out as well as the roast chicken in the bistros in France, but it was pretty darn good. Even better? The house smelled amazing while the chicken was roasting and for hours after our feast.

This recipe is similar to the one I made all those years ago and easy to accomplish.

With whole fryers on sale this week, you can cook one and save one for next week.

Roast Chicken with Carrots

Ingredients:

whole fryer chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs), wingtips removed
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced in half
1 bunch fresh thyme
10 cloves garlic, peeled
8 carrots, peeled, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425° F. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper. Stuff with lemon, thyme and half of the garlic; Then, using butcher’s string, secure the wings and legs to the body.

Place chicken in a small roasting pan or large, deep, oven-proof heavy skillet. Surround with the carrots and remaining garlic, then add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 425° F. If you have a convection oven, you can reduce the heat to 375° F for the remaining time (otherwise, just keep it at 425° F). Roast until chicken is golden and carrots are well caramelized, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, basting with broth and pan juices every 15 minutes for the first 45 minutes. Add stock if pan looks dry.
Transfer chicken, carrots and garlic to a platter. Discard twine, thyme and lemon, and let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Skim fat from pan juices and discard. Add vinegar to remaining pan juices and serve over the chicken.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 858, Calories from Fat: 488, Fat: 54 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 341 mg, Sodium: 1093 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 79 g

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Shop the Sale: Northwest Applie Pie Parfaits


Apple ParfaitIt’s only two weeks into the new year and resolutions to eat better and be healthier are already slipping out the window.

Case in point: I was talking to my sons about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diet.

My older son, Curt, thought this was a great idea.

“Instead of dessert, I’ll have fruit after dinner,” he enthused.

“Great!” I thought. “It’s working!”

“Do you have strawberries?” he asked.

“No,” I replied.

“What about blueberries? Star fruit? Pomegranate?”

“No, no and no,” I had to tell him. “I have bananas, apples, grapes and tangerines.”

He thought for a moment.

“OK, I’ll have key lime pie,” he said.

Clearly, I need to keep some more exotic fruits – or fruits of his liking – in the house for snacking and “desserts,” but I can also make more desserts using fruit and other healthy ingredients.

This parfait is so easy and doesn’t have nearly the fat – or calories – of that key lime pie that was lurking in my fridge.

Northwest apples are on sale this week, along with Galas and Fujis, and any of these would make a delightful addition to this dessert.

Apple Pie Parfaits

Ingredients:
6 oz fat free vanilla yogurt
1/2 medium Northwest apple
1 tsp graham cracker crumbs
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Cut the apple into small cubes, then place in the microwave; cook for about 1 minute.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon.

To build parfait, layer 1/2 the yogurt then 1/2 the apple cubes. Repeat with remaining yogurt and apples, then top with cinnamon-graham cracker mixture.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 142, Calories from Fat: 2, Fat: 0.2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 108 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 23 g, Protein: 5 g



Shop the Sale: Tandoori Chicken


Tandoori ChickenA few weekends ago, our Sunday School class had its annual class party at my house.

I LOVE having people over to my house, but I’ll admit I had ulterior motives for hosting: leftovers. People always insist on leaving leftovers.

Ok, twist my arm.

You see, everyone in this class COOKS. We have to, I guess, because it’s a class for single parents!

There were mocha cake balls (notice I started with dessert), cookies of all kinds, key lime pie and carrot cake. There were chips, queso, homemade salsa and guacamole. There was a sweet-and-salty brown sugar ham, homemade macaroni and cheese with a golden crust of perfectly toasted panko, a zesty Mexican layered casserole and a delicious cheesy chicken casserole. While it was all so scrumptious, the dish that made me especially happy when the cook offered to leave some for leftovers was tandoori chicken.

I had sort of coerced the chef into making this dish. She is South African by the way of Great Britain, and her accent is as delectable as her cooking. She’d mentioned on Facebook one day that she was in the midst of making a holiday feast for her family and I flat out responded, “Oh, that sounds good. Bring some to my house Sunday.”

She did. Tandoori chicken is traditionally an Indian dish. If you’ve ever spent any time in Great Britain, you know there’s a heavy Indian influence there, especially in London, where you can get succulent Indian take-out on almost every block. The chicken, traditionally thighs, is marinated in yogurt and a spice mixture that looks intimidating, but it’s well worth the complexity of flavor in the end result.

This recipe uses chicken breasts, which are on sale this week, and they stay juicy because of the rich marinade.

Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients:
5 cloves 
2 dried guajillo chiles (or 2 chiles de arbol) 
2 green cardamom, husks discarded, seeds retained 
1 black cardamom, husk discarded, seeds retained 
1 teaspoon coriander seeds 
1/2 tsp fennel seeds 
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds 
1 cup whole fat plain yogurt 
1/4 cup peanut or canola oil 
2 Tbsp malt vinegar or lime juice 
1 tsp kosher salt 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp paprika 
1/4 tsp ground turmeric 
pinch of cayenne pepper 
8 cloves garlic, minced 
2-inch stem ginger, peeled and minced 
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1 teaspoon honey 
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
extra limes, for garnish 

Directions:
For the marinade, toast the cloves, whole chiles, both types of cardamom seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds in a cast-iron skillet until fragrant (approximately 3 minutes) , shaking the pan. Then, pour the spices into a spice grinder and grind them until you get a fine powder. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the spice mixture with the yogurt, oil, malt vinegar, salt, ground cinnamon, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic and ginger until well-combined. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade and set aside; the extra will be used as a sauce.

Prick the chicken breasts with a fork. Add the chicken to the rest of the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate at least 1 hour in the refrigerator, up to overnight. 
Line a baking sheet with foil and turn your broiler on. Shake excess marinade off of chicken, still ensuring it’s well-coated. Place each chicken breast on the baking sheet. Cook the chicken under the broiler until starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Then, turn the oven to 350° F, and cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 160° F, another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. 
While the chicken is cooking, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan, along with 1/2 cup water and the honey. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and reserve for serving.
Serve the chicken breasts on a platter with a fresh squeeze of lime and a drizzle of the sauce. 

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 316, Calories from Fat: 117, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 510 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 37 g

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Shop the Sale: Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese


ShopSale_ChickenBreastGoatCheese_228x173You know those nights when you look into your fridge and make a meal out of whatever you happen to have available? Yeah, me too.

I was really scraping bottom recently with an empty fridge. However, I had bone-in split chicken breasts, which are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and I had cheese. I always have cheese.

I quickly ran to Pinterest to see what I could make with goat cheese and chicken. Plus, I didn’t want to get all fancy and spend a long time in the kitchen. I had Christmas wrapping to do! I found this recipe and was somewhat skeptical at first. What would happen to the cheese once you removed the skin?

You could always leave the skin on, but what does happen is that the cheese makes a creamy, melty topping. Delicious!

Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese

Ingredients:
4 bone-in split chicken breasts (about 3 lbs)
4 oz herbed goat cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Rub chicken with salt and pepper. Rub one ounce herbed goat cheese between skin and meat of each bone-in chicken breast.
Bake at 375° F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165° F. Remove skin before serving.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 523, Calories from Fat: 132, Fat: 15 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 302 mg, Sodium: 319 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 91 g

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Shop the Sale: Sunday Roast


Sunday RoastLast week, I was invited over to a friend’s house for Sunday lunch after church.

She’d been cooking a roast while we were at services and Sunday school, and her house smelled delightful after we returned. Plus, lunch was ready. This roast recipe feeds a crowd, and I love how she served it with a sliver of bleu cheese. It melts in your mouth.

Naptime after lunch: optional.

Sunday Roast

Ingredients:
1 (4-lb) boneless top sirloin roast
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and cut into very thin slivers
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp plus 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for oiling the pans
3 medium red onions (about 1 1/2 lbs)
12 oz brown mushrooms (such as creminis or baby portabellas), cleaned and, if large, halved
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 bunch watercress
1 (4-oz) wedge bleu cheese (optional)

Directions:
Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Using a sharp paring knife, make slits over the entire surface of the roast and insert the garlic slivers. In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Brush this mixture on all sides of the roast. (The roast can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.)
Arrange one rack at center position in the oven and another at a lower position, and heat the oven to 450° F.
Lightly oil the bottom of a medium, flameproof roasting pan and stand the roast, fat-side up, in the center of the pan. This particular cut of beef sometimes tips over as it roasts. To prevent this, use a roasting rack with sides that you can adjust to steady the meat. Roast the meat for 15 minutes.
While the meat is roasting, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Oil a large, rimmed baking sheet generously. Peel the onions and cut them into wedges 3/4-inch thick, leaving the root ends intact. Arrange the onions on half of the baking sheet and the mushrooms on the other half, and drizzle both with the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Toss the vegetables lightly to coat well, adding more oil if necessary. Salt and pepper the vegetables.
After the meat has roasted for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350° F and place the pan with the vegetables on the lower shelf. Continue to roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130 to 135° F, about 50 to 60 minutes. Roast the vegetables, stirring every 15 minutes, until slightly browned and charred around the edges, for 50 to 60 minutes.
When done, transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes. If the vegetables are not done when the roast is, continue roasting a few minutes more, checking every 5 minutes until done. Remove the vegetables and tent them with foil to keep warm.
Skim off and discard any fat in the roasting pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat, and add the broth and wine. With a wire whisk, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the liquids. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce by half, then swirl in the butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the roast, crosswise against the grain, into slices 1/4-inch thick and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish the platter with bouquets of watercress and surround the meat with the onions and mushrooms. Drizzle the sliced meat with some sauce and pass extra sauce separately. Top each serving with a thin slice of bleu cheese (optional).

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 834, Calories from Fat: 445, Fat: 50 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (17 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 142 mg, Sodium: 530 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 75 g

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