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Product Talk: Slow Cooker Liners


Slow Cooker LinersIt’s the day before my birthday, and I think I’ll treat myself this year…by not cleaning up.

Slow cooker liners are pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.

Reynolds® brand makes a variety of slow cooker liners, and they’re found with the foils, plastic wraps and parchment papers.

If you use your slow cooker at least once every week like I do, these are a lifesaver, especially on Tuesdays when the 14-year-old needs to be downtown at 5:15PM and the 15-year-old needs to be picked up south of town at 5:15PM. I can’t be at both places at once, so one has to be dropped off early and once has to be picked up late. Either way, dinner has to be prepared in the slow cooker or no one is eating until Midnight.

Slow cooker liners make for super easy cleanup and are fabricated with heat-resistant nylon that will not leach into your food. Slow-cooked food is infamous for baking-on; now you don’t have to worry about scrubbing your crockery for hours after your slow-cooking accomplishment.

This is a great go-to recipe for slow cookers that my boys love.

Slow Cooker Cubed Steak with Gravy

Ingredients:
1 can French onion soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg au jus gravy mix
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 to 2 lbs cubed steak
3 Tbs cornstarch
3 Tbs cold water

Directions:
Place crockery into slow cooker; drape liner inside to cover completely.

Combine French onion soup, cream of chicken soup, au jus mix and 1/2 cup water in bottom of liner. Stir well. Place cubed steak in bottom of liner with gravy mixture. Cover slow cooker. Cook steak on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Whisk cornstarch and cold water in separate bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir into gravy mixture. Turn to high; cook for 30 minutes or until thickened. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 196, Fat: 7 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 56 mg, Sodium: 635 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g; Protein: 22 g.

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



Shop the Sale: Arroz Con Pollo


Arroz Con PolloPrep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6

It might sound plain with a name like “rice with chicken”, but trust us, this traditional Spanish dish is anything but. Simmered with onion, bell pepper and garlic in a tomato and chicken broth with a bunch of herbs and spices, this is a chicken dish sure to be on regular rotation. Start this week while Sanderson Farms Chicken Thighs are on sale.

Ingredients
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lbs), rinsed and patted dry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped
1 tsp hot paprika
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup basmati rice or long-grain rice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp saffron threads
3 cups chicken broth
Hot sauce
2 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions
Season chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In large cast-iron or straight-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sear chicken thighs (turning once) until golden-brown, about 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; set aside.

Drain half of oil from pan; return pan to heat. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes, paprika and bay leaves. Cook (stirring often) until onions begins to caramelize, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Cook (stirring constantly) until it begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add rice, cumin, coriander and saffron. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Place chicken thighs skin-side up in rice. Keep skin above rice to keep it crispy. Cook, partially covered with foil, until rice has absorbed liquid and chicken is cooked through (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Remove bay leaves. Sprinkle cilantro over rice; gently stir to incorporate. Serve directly from pan with hot sauce.

Calories per Serving: 464, Fat: 27 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 98 mg, Sodium: 470 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 22 g.

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

Chef Tips

A Little Arroz Con Pollo History
Similar to paella, this is a traditional dish with different names and variations across Spain and Latin America. Where it originates is often hotly contested, but today, many countries and even regions have developed their own take on this longtime favorite. While the ingredients may change, one thing that doesn’t is the rich flavor of chicken and rice gently simmered to perfection.

Cooking Rice at Any Elevation
If you’ve ever tried to cook at high altitude, you’ll know that cooking rice that’s not under or overcooked can be one of the biggest challenges. Water boils at a lower temperature at higher elevation, which means you need to increase the amount of water and the cooking time to compensate. But by how much? That depends on the altitude. Rule of thumb is to follow standard directions below 5,000 feet, but for higher locations, add ¼ cup of water and around five minutes of cooking time.



Product Talk: Golden Beets


Golden BeetsI recently posed a query on social media: “How do you prepare beets?”

It was an innocent question. I didn’t grow up eating beets, so aside from the pickled varieties I’d tasted on salad bars, I’d never eaten this amazing root vegetable.

Well, after more than 300 responses later, I had more options for eating beets than I can probably pursue in my lifetime.

Of course, there was a generous sprinkling of “just don’t eat beets” answers, but now that I’ve done some experimenting for myself, I’ll ignore all of those.
Beets are such a wonderful, earthy fall vegetable.

You can just tell by their deep, rich colors that they’re full of flavor and packed with nutrients. In fact, beets are a veritable storehouse of B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium and potassium. They also contain a wealth of health-boosting nutrients that aren’t common in other veggies.

They can help lower blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease, improve your stamina, boost your brain power, detox your liver, clean your colon, and help you fight chronic disease.
Plus, they’re delicious!

The first time I tried them, I followed a suggestion a friend gave me and roasted large red beets that I rubbed with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. They were lovely and delicious (Pro tip: peel them first, unless you want pink fingers for days on end.)

Next, I saw golden beets in Brookshire’s, and I figured they might not stain my fingers as badly (I was correct). I peeled those first, rubbed those with olive oil, sprinkled them liberally with white pepper to cut out a bit of the sweetness, and grilled them. They were amazing.

Then, I tried this recipe with golden beets, and I’m hooked.

Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs golden beets, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or wedges
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest, freshly grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F.

Position rack in lower-third of oven.

In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add beets; toss to coat. Spread the beets on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast, stirring once or twice, until the beets are tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Spritz the finished beets with fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 322, Fat: 5 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 773 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 12 g, Sugar: 52 g; Protein: 11 g.

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



Product Talk: Simply Done™ Products


Simply Done ProductsI was shopping at Brookshire’s last Thursday night after work (as I usually am, come find me!), and I needed to pick up disinfecting wipes. They were the last thing I needed on my son’s school supply list, and meet-the-teacher night was rapidly approaching.

I grabbed for my usual brand then stopped. I noticed there was a different brand on the shelf with a better value and price point for what I was buying: Simply Done™ brand. Simply Done™ offered the same lemon scent and the same bleach-free product that would kill the flu virus and 99.9 percent of bacteria. However, the value was better, and I love better value.

Right about that time, David, the friendly manager at that Brookshire’s store was walking by, and he explained that Simply Done™ is Brookshire’s new line of homecare solutions. He started pointing out the labels. From disinfecting wipes and coffee filters to plastic bags, paper towels and beyond, be ready for whatever life throws your way with Simply Done™ products. Look for the big, green checkmark in the white circle on the label that makes Simply Done™ products stand out.

I not only got the disinfecting wipes, but I also picked up multi-surface cleaner, which I must have near my kitchen sink at all times; laundry detergent with a fresh, crisp scent; dishwasher dish pacs; soap pads; bleach and paper towels.

It’s so great to have a store brand that handles all the things that life throws at you. I checked those right off my list.

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Family Matters: Healthy and Smelling Good Dog


I will admit that I hadn’t thought too much about nutrition for my healthy dog until I adopted a sickly cat.

Now that the cat is happy and healthy (largely thanks to a great diet), I turned my attention to the dog. Now, he’s also happy and healthy, but there are some things that could stand improvement, like the way he smells. Sorry, Astro, it’s true (I hope he’s not reading this).

A good diet can improve the quality of your dog’s skin and coat. It can also help with shedding, itchiness and odor. In comes Freshpet® foods, available in the refrigerated case on the pet food aisle at Brookshire’s.

I used their website to find out what foods to feed Astro based on our needs. Then, I went to Brookshire’s and picked them up! It was so simple, and it took all the guesswork out of trying to figure out what to feed my loyal companion and four-legged friend.

Wouldn’t you know it, his coat improved within a week. He started smelling like a puppy again, that fresh scent that comes from good nutrition and a clean gut. His coat became more glossy. He also sheds less, and he smells so good.

Freshpet®, available at Brookshire’s, is a great supplement to the high-quality dry foods that I already feed Astro. He loves the Freshpet® Select Stews Grain Free Beef and Pumpkin Recipe for Dogs, and he devours it in a matter of seconds after it hits his bowl.



Family Matters: Give Your Cat the Very Best!


As I’m writing this blog, Carl, my recent rescue cat, is curled up nearby nibbling on my mouse. My computer mouse, that is.

Carl was in pretty rough shape when he came to live with us in late June. That’s why it’s important to me to make sure he’s getting the proper nutrition.

That’s why I shop at Brookshire’s.

At Brookshire’s, I can get Carl food that I feel will go a long way to healing him from the inside out, including his IAMS® dry food supplemented with Freshpet® naturals.

Freshpet® foods, found in the refrigerated case in the pet food aisle, is like feeding your pet chef-prepared foods right from your kitchen.

The Freshpet® website will help you create a menu plan for your pet based on their age, weight, gender, activity level, dietary restrictions, likes and dislikes, and your own shopping needs. It recommends products for you. Then, you go to Brookshire’s with your list and pick them right up. It’s so easy!

Carl likes Vital® Grain Free Chicken & Ocean Whitefish with Garden Vegetables in Gravy Cat Food Recipe, which comes in a single-serving container (we actually get almost three servings out of one container). He also loves Freshpet® Select Chicken & Beef Cat Food Recipe, which comes in a roll. It is a gourmet paté made with 7.5 ounces of chicken and chicken liver, 3 ounces of beef and eggs, and 4.5 ounces of chicken broth, plus essential vitamins and minerals. When I mix these meals with his high-quality kibble, I rest assured that Carl is eating well, and it’s showing.

His coat is glossy and soft. His “level 4” skin condition has disappeared entirely. His little pink nose is wet and soft, and he is playful instead of lethargic. He also purrs nonstop.

You don’t have to be a crazy cat lady like me to give your cat the very best, which you can find right on the pet aisle at Brookshire’s.



Product Talk: Onions


Yellow OnionsOnions are one of those amazing products that taste great all year long, are always plentiful, are economical, are healthy, and can be used for so much more than cooking.

Did you know that you can clean your grill with an onion? It’s a great way to get stubborn cooking residue off your grill grates while also seasoning it without using harsh chemicals or too much elbow grease. Rub a halved onion, cut-side down, on a heated grill grate to remove grime and grit. (You might have to go over it a few times.) Then, let the grill sit at warm for a few minutes to let the scent of onions burn off. (It actually smells wonderful.)

While you’re burning off that onion scent, you’re also repelling mosquitoes! They hate the scent of onion, so enjoy your outdoor space while cleaning your grill. For further insect repellant protection, rub raw onion on your skin for a natural barrier from bugs.

If you have already been bitten, onion is a natural analgesic. Rub raw onion into a bug bite to help soothe the sting and itch.

You can also use it to help alleviate the pain from burns. Again, just gently rub raw onion onto the burn to help ease the pain.

Sore throat? Onion can help that, too! Boil chunks of onion (you can use the peels and all) in water on the stovetop. Strain the solids out. Let cool, and sip away.

If your kitchen knives have gotten a little rusty, revive them by plunging them into a whole onion repeatedly until they’re clean.

There are so many things to do with onions, and you can eat them, of course!



Product Talk: Nestlé® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough


This post is all about keeping it real.

Real because I just posted a picture on Instagram of the cookies I’m baking for my son’s cross country team party tomorrow night. “Four dozen chocolate chip and counting…” I wrote. “Oatmeal up next; batter chilling!”

What I omitted from that post was that only one type of the cookies I was baking was made from scratch. You see, I’ve been baking cookies for the better part of 30 years now, and my chocolate chip cookies are never as good as my mom’s so I gave up.

At some point, you just have to admit that Nestlé® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough produces a better result than I’m going to get from mixing, stirring and beating.

Thank goodness for the refrigerated section of Brookshire’s. Sure, I made the oatmeal cookies from scratch, and they’re delightful. For whatever reason, my chocolate chip cookies (Or CCCs, as my mom used to call them) don’t turn out right.

That’s where Nestlé comes in. Those big, beautiful logs of refrigerated cookie dough are ready and waiting for me when my kids have a craving, or when I need to bake up a few (dozen) batches for a team party. (Let me just tell you about how many cookies I expect teenage athletes to devour.) The cookies come out perfectly every time, no guesswork required. They are chewy, moist, rich and delicious, worthy of a cheat meal for my cross country runners tomorrow night.

Best of all, no stirring and mixing are required because if you could see the mess I make when I bake, you’d understand.

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Product Talk: Mini Colanders


When I first moved out on my own, one of the kitchen tools that I did not own was a colander. I lost many a valuable ingredient to the kitchen sink trying to drain a can without a colander, holding a sharp, crimped lid closely with my fingers over the opening and trying to let the liquid loose without letting the contents of a can escape.

Finally owning a colander was life-changing. Not only could I drain beans and other canned goods with ease, but I could also rinse and clean vegetables and fruits without much hassle.

Now, Brookshire’s offers a mini colander for sale in a variety of fun, bright colors in a small size that easily fits into your sink (even in your dorm room), and it’s safe for the top rack of your dishwasher. You can buy an assortment of colors to make kitchen tasks like rinsing leafy greens, sorting and cleaning purple hull peas, or draining a can of black beans a breeze. Cooking pasta for one? Drain your pasta in this colander as well. Then, pop it into your dishwasher for a quick cleanup.

This Three-Bean Salad, which is a great side dish for your Labor Day cookout, comes together quickly using the Mini Colanders, available now at Brookshire’s.

Three-Bean Salad

Ingredients:
8 oz shelled edamame (frozen is fine)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
2 cups celery, thinly sliced
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Steam edamame until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Drain in the mini colander; rinse under cold water to stop cooking process.

Heat olive oil in cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add cumin. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Pour into large bowl.

Add edamame to cumin oil; stir in remaining ingredients until well-coated. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 253, Fat: 11 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 891 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 12 g.

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

 



Family Matters: New Kitty


Last week, I officially adopted a cat.

Getting a cat was pretty high on my list of “I will never…”

Not that I don’t like cats.

I don’t like litter boxes.

However, that’s another post.

This little kitty was abandoned when a neighbor moved out about 8 months ago. He was just left behind. He stayed mostly out of sight, but occasionally we’d catch glimpses of him dodging under bushes or darting between backyards.

Then, for whatever reason, he started hanging out under the bushes in my frontyard.

We gave him clean water. Then, I found a can of sardines I’d used that time I had to live trap an opossum (that’s another post, too). After that, he became a fixture under my front azalea bushes. I kept the water fresh, and my boyfriend brought over a canister of dry cat food. I put a bowl on the front porch.

The cat was clearly malnourished. His belly was distended with worms. He was missing half his fur from flea bites and a hard life. He had bites on his ears and face from fights.

We went to Brookshire’s and bought some vitamins on the pet food aisle. We purchased several varieties of high-quality pet food, including organic, homemade foods that Brookshire’s keeps refrigerated. I took the cat to the vet, where he received all his vaccinations, several antibiotics, a variety of skin treatments, deworming treatments and a few other things.

I still went back to Brookshire’s for the great variety of the foods that I need to feed my new cat and my (faithful) dog what they need to be healthy and happy.

The kitty, whose name is Carl (after the child’s character on “The Walking Dead” who had a home, lost his home, had to fight for his life, got into some trouble, got beaten up, and then found a home again), is enjoying IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Healthy Adult™ dry cat food from Brookshire’s mixed with Purina ONE SMARTblend, available on the pet food aisle at Brookshire’s.

Carl is now healthy and happy. His coat is soft, fuzzy and growing back well. He purrs and cuddles. Strange for a cat, isn’t it? He loves the Savory Turkey Recipe variety! He’s gaining weight in a healthy way and is warming up to his canine big brother.

Thanks to some love and to some products found at Brookshire’s, Carl is a cat who has found a healthy and happy home.



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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.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

Shop the Sale

On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

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Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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