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Shop the Sale: Boneless Glazed Pork Chops


Boneless Glazed Pork ChopsMy son returned home from spending the night at a friend’s house (apparently boy moms are NOT supposed to say “sleepover”), and after a two-hour nap, he couldn’t stop chatting about the great time he’d had with his school buddy.

They stayed up all night (of course) playing video games, flashlight tag, soccer, hide-and-seek, and slept on the living room floor in a blanket fort. They had pigs-in-a-blanket and doughnuts for breakfast, and for dinner, they’d had balsa wood pork chops.

Wait, what?

What is a balsa wood pork chop, I asked him, thinking maybe they smoked the pork chop over balsa wood, although I’d never heard of this and knew that balsa wood is super soft and probably doesn’t lend itself well to smoking. My mom used to craft dollhouse furniture out of balsa wood and could use a small craft knife to slice through it. More importantly, I had no idea how balsa wood would taste!

He set me straight pretty quickly.

You know, he said, that brown stuff that you pour on the pork chops, and it makes them taste good.

I wracked my brain.

They were really juicy, he offered. Kind of spicy, too.

It was driving me crazy. I went to the pantry, opened it and figured it out immediately.

Balsamic vinegar? I asked.

I opened the bottle, he smelled it and immediately, the mystery was solved.

That’s it, he said.

Boneless Glazed Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:
In a bowl, combine brown sugar with balsamic vinegar and all the spices until a paste forms. Rub boneless pork chops with the olive oil, and then rub with the paste.

Heat your grill to medium-high heat, and grill chops about 5 minutes per side, only flipping once and keeping the lid closed between turns.

Remove pork from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 150° F; let rest until internal temperature reaches 160° F.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 625, Calories from Fat: 444, Fat: 49 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 146 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Potassium: 611 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 39 g.

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Shop the Sale: Shrimp Tacos


Shrimp TacosDear Shrimp Tacos,

I love you.

I might not see you often, but my loyalty never fails.

You are my favorite type of soft taco, and I sing your praises to the ends of the earth.

I love the texture you give to a soft taco. I love how a well-cooked shrimp has a bite to it and complements the softness of a corn tortilla and the crunchiness of some cabbage.

You’re amazing in the way you take on flavors of the seasonings with whom you frolic. I’m a fan, personally, of lime and garlic, but lemon, Cajun spices, salt and pepper, cumin, paprika and red pepper work just as well.

You are beautiful. Low-calorie. High protein. Low cholesterol. So easy to work with. Quick to cook. Full of flavor.

Dear Shrimp, I love you so.

Sincerely,
Me

Shrimp Tacos

Ingredients:
12 corn tortillas
1 lb 31/40 Gulf shrimp
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbs garlic, crushed
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 red onion, slivered
6 Tbs cilantro
4 oz queso fresca, crumbled

Directions:
Remove tails from shrimp. Combine lime juice and garlic in a large bowl. Soak shrimp in juices for about 5 minutes. Don’t marinate too long or shrimp will cook.

Remove shrimp from marinade. Heat a nonstick skillet to high heat. Sautée shrimp until opaque, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place shredded cabbage, onion and queso fresca in the corn tortilla. Top with shrimp and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 132, Calories from Fat: 30, Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 85 mg, Sodium: 179 mg, Potassium: 141 mg, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 12 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bubble Chicken


Bubble ChickenSometimes, like on a cold winter’s night, you want something creamy, cheesy and simple to make that will “stick to your ribs,” as my mom used to say.

Check, check, check, check.

This chicken dish fits the bill. I like anything with cheese and sour cream; my kids love anything with chicken, and we all love anything with bacon. Plus, there are those nights when you need a one-dish meal that cooks up quickly (like every Tuesday and Thursday night before soccer practice).

This week, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are on sale at Brookshire’s, so you can buy a package or two and cook up some chicken to use in this dish! Then, on the night you choose, it will be ready to mix up and pop into the oven.

This is called “Bubble Chicken” because the biscuits puff up, and the creamy mixture bubbles when the dish is ready.

Bubble Chicken

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 Tbs ranch dressing mix
1/4 cup chopped bacon, cooked
1 (12 oz) can refrigerated Pillsbury Grands Jr. Biscuits

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Thoroughly mix chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cheese, ranch dressing mix and bacon together.

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Toss with the chicken mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the dish is bubbly and the pieces of biscuit are golden-brown. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 814, Calories from Fat: 436, Fat: 48 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (23 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 146 mg, Sodium: 2110 mg, Potassium: 438 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 46 g.

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Shop the Sale: Honey-Butter Pork Tenderloin


Honey-Butter Pork TenderloinSometimes, the first thing that catches your eye is the thing that will stick with you.

It happened to me with my wedding dress. The first one I tried on was THE ONE. Although, I had to try on 97 more just to make sure. In the end, I went back to the first one.

The same thing happened as I was making dinner menus recently. I saw a recipe for a whole, boneless pork tenderloin that sounded delicious, but I had to read 76 more pork loin recipes only to decide I wanted to make the first one I’d seen.

I didn’t regret it.

Whole pork loin is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and this is probably the best deal on meat that ever exists. There are so many ways to break down a whole pork loin. Generally, when I buy one, I can get a roast and two tenderloins out of it, or about 24 servings. That’s a lot of value in one cut of meat.

For this recipe, you can break down the loin into a roast, a tenderloin and chops, and make this from the tenderloin, or you can double this recipe and use it for the whole loin, then make the leftovers into sandwiches or stir-fry.

Honey-Butter Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs local honey
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Heat the butter and honey over medium-high heat in a cast-iron (or other ovenproof) skillet until melted. Rub the pork loin with Cajun seasoning and black pepper. When the butter is hot and beginning to sizzle, brown each side of the pork loin for 5 minutes until seared. Lower the heat if the honey begins to brown.

Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer to the oven. Roast, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the pork to a large platter. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Add water to the skillet and stir over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the pan sauce is reduced slightly.

Slice pork on the diagonal and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 254, Fat: 11 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 103 mg, Sodium: 125 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 30 g.

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Shop the Sale: Steakhouse Soup


Steakhouse SoupOn a recent sunny day, we drove through my boyfriend Paul’s East Texas hometown.

The drive was punctuated with observations, “That used to be Goodman’s department store” or “That lot was vacant for the longest time.” Most of his sentences started with “I remember when that was {insert memory here}.”

It was an interesting drive, to say the least. We didn’t spend a lot of time exploring because we were driving through on our way somewhere else, but we hit all the highlights on the main drag.

I was particularly intrigued by an old restaurant, now vacant. It looked like a rustic old barn, but there was a large stained glass window front and center. The two didn’t seem to go together, but it made a striking contrast.

Among other things, the space was a steakhouse where, according to Paul, they had some of the best soup he’s ever had.

Of course, once he said that, I felt the challenge to recreate the soup he loved.

He wrote the former owner to see if we could get the recipe, but he hasn’t heard back yet. Fingers crossed he’ll send it.

Until then, we have been experimenting with different recipes, and we think we have it close. Maybe, when top sirloin is on sale this week, we’ll try it again!

Steakhouse Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb top sirloin steak, cut into cubes
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs flour
1 onion, diced
6 red potatoes, finely diced
5 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
1 (46 fluid oz) bottle tomato-vegetable juice
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs paprika

Directions:
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear sirloin cubes until browned and cook through. Sprinkle in flour; stir until browned. Add 1/2 cup water. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.

Stir in beef stock and tomato juice; mix well.

Add onions, potatoes, carrots and green beans. Stir in salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Serves 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 266, Calories from Fat: 57, Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 41 mg, Sodium: 517 mg, Potassium: 1058 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g, Protein: 19 g.

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Shop the Sale: Country-Style Ribs


Country-Style RibsCountry-style ribs fool me every time because there’s no bone in them to have to gnaw! For YEARS, I didn’t eat ribs in public, and I still don’t CHOOSE to do so very often. They’re just…messy. Good, but messy.

Not so with country ribs.

Country-style ribs are the meatiest variety of pork ribs, and are cut from the sirloin or rib end of the pork loin. You eat them with a knife and fork, or only a fork if they’re tender enough.

The ones we made last weekend certainly fit the bill, and we didn’t even have to do much to them. A good spice rub, a hot sear and then some slower cooking on the grill were all they needed. You could even marinate or brine them to infuse them with more flavor before you cooked them.

Country-style ribs are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so don’t be afraid because you won’t get messy.

Country-Style Ribs

Ingredients:
6 country-style pork ribs (about 2 1/2 lbs)
juice from 1 lime
2 Tbs cumin
1 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

Directions:
Bring country-style ribs to room temperature. Drizzle with fresh lime juice and massage into meat. Combine cumin, red pepper, black pepper and salt. Rub into all sides of the country-style ribs.

Preheat grill to high heat. Sear ribs on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Turn heat down to low; cook until ribs are cooked through (145° F) and tender. Remove from grill; let rest until they reach 150° F internal temperature.

Serves 3

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 489, Calories from Fat: 160, Fat: 18 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 186 mg, Sodium: 1491 mg, Potassium: 78 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 81 g.

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Shop the Sale: Smoked Pork Roast


Smoked Pork RoastAs I’ve mentioned recently, Paul’s shiny red smoker has come to live on my back porch. He brought it over on Thanksgiving, and I’m hesitant to return it. He says it can stay, since we mostly cook at my house, and I’m probably going to hold him to that.

There is seriously nothing better than the smell of meat slow-cooking all day on the smoker. Why don’t they make a cologne and bottle that scent? Until then, I’ll just make Paul stand downwind of the smoker when we’re cooking!

Pork roast is definitely one of my favorite things to smoke, and it stands up so well to slow-cooking. Now, you might want to brine a boneless roast before you smoke it to keep it moist. This step probably isn’t so critical with a pork shoulder or something fattier, but I’d definitely take the extra time to do it with a boneless roast. Plus, it imparts some good flavor. You can get creative with the brine, too. Instead of apple juice, you can use plain water, beer or orange juice. Stick to something with a bit of acid in it, in my opinion. You can also add in whatever spices you want, as long as you keep the salt (that’s what makes the brine a brine).

Enjoy this recipe while boneless pork roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week.

Smoked Pork Roast

Ingredients:
7 lb boneless pork roast

BRINE:
2 quarts apple juice
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp thyme
5 whole cloves
1 tsp black pepper

RUB:
4 Tbs Worcestershire powder
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs pepper
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs brown sugar

Directions:
Combine brine ingredients in a large roasting pan on the stove. Bring to a boil. Cool and submerge roast in brine. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove roast from brine. Rinse and pat very dry.

Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub over pork roast, pressing into meat for more flavor.

Prepare smoker to 200° F to 225° F. Add wood chip flavoring. Smoke for about 8 hours or until internal temperature of pork roast reaches 150° F. Remove from heat. Let rest until pork reaches 155° F.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 577, Calories from Fat: 127, Fat: 14 g, Trans Fat: 4 g, (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 290 mg, Sodium: 1100 mg, Potassium: 1696 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 104 g.

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Shop the Sale: Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites


Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken BitesPhew!

What a week!

Did you all have a great Christmas? I did! My parents were in town visiting from out of state. I got to go to sleep and wake up Christmas morning with my kids and my love, and life is pretty much great.

I’m sad to see Christmas go, but I’m also ready to celebrate 2016. The past year brought so much joy and so many beautiful changes. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2016. I’m looking forward to great things.

We’re going to ring in the new year quietly, as usual, but surrounded by family and close friends and, of course, good food.

This dish could be an appetizer or a main meal. It’s great because it’s easily doubled or tripled, which is great timing considering that boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders are on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

I think it’s always a good idea to serve a hearty protein at a party, and this dish is perfect for New Year’s Eve!

Sweet and Savory Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

Ingredients:
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
4 (4 oz) skinless chicken breast tenders
8 slices thin-cut bacon, cut into halves
2/3 cup brown sugar

Directions:
Combine chili powder, garlic powder and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge chicken in the spice mixture to coat well. Press the spices into the chicken if necessary to help it adhere.

Wrap each strip of chicken in two slices of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Roll the bacon-wrapped chicken in brown sugar until well-covered.

Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (for easier clean-up) and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 378, Calories from Fat: 117, Fat: 13 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 77 mg, Sodium: 924 mg, Potassium: 284 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 28 g, Protein: 33 g.

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Shop the Sale: Butter-Basted Ribeye Steak


Butter-Basted Ribeye SteakThis year, I’m not going to have a big crowd for Christmas dinner. In addition, none of the guests I will have really care if the meal is “traditional” or not, so we’re going with “not.” However, you can’t go wrong with any meal at any time with ribeye steak, on sale this week at Brookshire’s.

Beautifully marbled and full of flavor, ribeyes are my favorite cut of steak. My sweet boyfriend, Paul, usually grills them outside, but you never know just what the weather will be doing on Christmas. This year, we plan to cook them inside in the cast iron skillet. I can almost smell it now! I grow rosemary from my back porch so that will be fresh too, and the smell of browning butter combined with the sound of sizzling meat can’t be beat.

When I first read this recipe, I thought you’d actually spoon melted butter over the steaks to baste it, and while you don’t really do that, you COULD. That would also be delicious, so I changed the recipe to reflect that. Don’t add the herbs until the second stage, as they’ll get burned and bitter.

Enjoy these steaks for your Christmas dinner, or any other meal, because you really can’t go wrong with ribeye!

Butter-Basted Ribeye Steaks

Ingredients:
4 boneless ribeye steaks, about 1 lb each
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbs butter
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
2 rosemary sprigs

Directions:
Bring the ribeyes to room temperature. Drizzle with olive oil, and rub with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet until the oil shimmers and gives off a nutty smell.

Add the steaks and cook over high heat until the steaks are crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes.

Flip the steaks and add butter, thyme, garlic and rosemary.

Continue to cook over high heat, spooning the butter, garlic and herbs until steaks are cooked to desired doneness.

Remove steaks from the pan, and let them rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into them.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1279, Calories from Fat: 957, Fat: 106 g, Trans Fat: 4 g, (40 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 271 mg, Sodium: 904 mg, Potassium: 13 mg, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 81 g.

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Shop the Sale: Maple Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey


Maple Pomegranate-Glazed TurkeyMy friend – let’s call her “Erma” – is looking for something different to make for Christmas dinner this year.

I can’t use her real name because she doesn’t want her mother-in-law to know she’s looking for a new recipe. You see, every year since she’s been married (all 23 of them) her mother-in-law bakes the turkey for Christmas dinner. And every year (all 23 of them) Erma’s holiday dinner is dry and flavorless.

“She doesn’t put anything on it,” Erma laments. “She just plops it in the pan and sticks it in the oven! Plus, she cooks it too long.”

But this year, Erma is hosting Christmas dinner for the first time. Her mother-in-law is relinquishing the kitchen, her only request being that they still have turkey for Christmas dinner, as is family tradition.

Erma is more than happy to oblige, but is looking for a way to liven up the Yuletide bird.

She found this recipe on the Honeysuckle Turkey website when she searched “Christmas turkey recipes.” Coincidentally, Honeysuckle turkeys are on sale this week at Brookshire’s, so it’s the perfect time to buy one for your Christmas dinner.

Using the juice and the sweet syrup should make this bird juicy and flavorful! Maybe it’ll even start a new tradition.

Maple Pomegranate-Glazed Turkey

Ingredients:
1 12-lb Honeysuckle White® Fresh All Natural Whole Turkey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Unwrap the turkey in the sink and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the neck, giblets and any excess fat from the turkey; discard.

Coat the outside of the turkey with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour.

Combine the chicken broth, pomegranate juice and maple syrup in a non-stick skillet and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 30 minutes.

After 1 hour of roasting, begin basting with the glaze. If the bird gets too dark, cover loosely with foil. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the breast reaches 165° F.

Transfer the turkey to a platter, tent with foil and let rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipe from honeysucklewhite.com

Serves 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 927, Calories from Fat: 240, Fat: 27 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 354 mg, Sodium: 447 mg, Potassium: 1792 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 25 g, Protein: 134 g.

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



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