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Product Talk: Brookshire’s Baby Cucumbers


Brookshire’s is now carrying baby cucumbers in the produce section.

Packaged in stay-fresh bags, these greenhouse-grown, smaller-sized cucumbers are perfect for healthy snacking.

They are sweeter and more crisp than your common garden cucumbers, with more tender skin and sized perfectly for single servings.

My kids love these in their lunches, with hummus to dip. They’re also nice sliced into salads or spears, and less work to do so.

Baby cucumbers, aptly named because they are only five or six inches in length, are also seedless and “burpless,” making them easier on your stomach.

Choose a bag that has firm cucumbers that are bright green, without soft spots.

Hummus-Stuffed Lunchbox Cucumbers

Ingredients:
1 lb baby cucumbers (about 4)
8 Tbs prepared hummus
4 Tbs feta cheese, crumbled
4 Tbs green olives, diced

Directions:
Slice a wedge lengthwise from baby cucumbers without cutting all the way through. Spread hummus into wedge; sprinkle with feta and green olives. Wrap with plastic wrap, and send in school lunches for a healthy treat.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 101, Fat: 6 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 346 mg, Carbohydrates: 9 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 5 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.



Family Matters: Making School Lunches with Your Kids


Dinner is finished.

The kitchen is cleaned up.

Homework is completed.

Now comes the time of the evening we like to prepare school lunches for the next day.

I used to do it in the morning when the kids were small. Now that my boys can help, we prefer to have it done the night before and save the extra minutes in the morning. It also helps that my older son has to be at school when it’s still dark for cross country practice, so getting lunch packed the night before gives us both peace of mind that he’ll be ready to roll out the door in the morning with a nutritious lunch.

Your kids can help you pack their own lunches from an early age. It’s a nice time to talk and be together, and when they help, it guarantees they’re getting things in their lunches they’re eating, not trading.

If you haven’t gotten a lunch kit yet or are using brown paper bags, Brookshire’s has some great ones still on the shelves, like the cute Fit & Fresh thermal lunch kits with adorable designs, the super practical and stylish Bento Lunch Kit with insulated bag and removable ice packs (I’ll just go ahead and confess: I got one of those for myself to bring to work), the Fit Fresh bag in sweet patterns like Riley Ladybug, or the durable Lifoam Lunch Plus Soft-Sided Lunch Kit that comes in styles and colors great for boys.

I try to make sure we’re packing a large bottle of water, a sandwich or good protein, a fruit, a veggie and some kind of snack. Because let’s face it, lunch is more fun with a snack. I’m an “everything in moderation” kind of mom. My sister-in-law doesn’t send any “junk food” to school with her kids, and I admire that tremendously. If you do, no judgment here.

My boys like things like ham sandwiches on King’s Hawaiian® rolls, turkey and cheese roll-ups on whole wheat tortillas, Flatout® wraps stuffed with baby spinach and Roma tomatoes, or good old peanut butter and jelly on Sara Lee® Delightful™ slices of whole-wheat bread.

They love almost any fruit, so that’s easy. They favor bananas, peaches, apples or anything that’s “easy” to eat at school. Veggies are easy, too: baby carrots or celery with hummus, cucumber slices or spears, small bowls of salad in take-home containers, strips of bell peppers. Again, anything easy to eat!

Little bags of almonds are great protein and brain food for the day, as are slices of apple with peanut butter. The options are endless!

One thing we like to do is pack up plastic, zip-top bags of veggies and snacks for the week, so the process in the evening is more streamlined.

These no-bake granola bars are also a great snack option (I categorize them somewhere between a snack food and something healthy). Kids love them. They can help you make them, and you can feel good about packing them!



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.



Shop the Sale: Bacon Arugula Apple Bites


Prep Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2

Easy, peas-y lemon squeeze-y. Seriously, it’s that easy! Ready in just 15 minutes, this quick and tasty snack is just what you need to banish the afternoon munchies. At just over 250 calories, it will keep you going until dinner with plenty of protein and fiber to help fill you up. And with Fuji apples on sale this week, getting your apple a day is easy too!

Ingredients
1 McIntosh or Fuji apple, sliced (any apple will work)
1 lemon, cut into halves and juiced
1 pkg garlic and herb spreadable cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 handful baby arugula sprigs
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Instructions
Toss apple slices in lemon juice; pat dry. Spread each with about 2 teaspoons spreadable cheese. Top with bacon, arugula and pepper.

Calories per Serving: 258, Fat: 18 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 44 mg, Sodium: 477 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 8 g.

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

Chef Tips

Don’t Just Eat Your Greens – Enjoy Them!
If you’re getting sick of your go-to greens, let Arugula kick up the flavor of your favorite meals! At just 5 calories in an entire cup, this peppery-flavored cruciferous vegetable is not only good for your waistline, it’s good for you. Packed with vitamin A and vitamin K, it’s also a good source of vitamin C, calcium and folate. Plus, it’s high in nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure. Perfect as a stand-alone salad green or in a mix, added to sandwiches, pizza, pasta or noodle dishes, this versatile green also does well in sauces and a number of vegetable sides.

An Apple A Day
The Fuji apple is a hybrid of the Red Delicious and Ralls Janet varieties. Developed by Japanese growers in the 1930’s, this crisp, sweet apple is now one of the most popular varieties. This late season favorite is ideal for desserts like apple pie and cinnamon apples, or served with pork, salads, warm brie or for adding a sweet crunch to grilled Paninis.



Product Talk: Hatch Green Chiles


If you’ve been to your local Brookshire’s lately, you’ve probably seen and smelled something amazing, especially if you’ve wandered in through the entrance closest to the produce department.

Have you noticed the big, black-iron barrel, turning, spitting and sending forth fragrant aromas of a roasted vegetable?

If so, you’ve noticed our stores roasting Hatch green chiles.

Hatch green chile season runs through the end of the month, and we’ve taken advantage of these fiery hot peppers from New Mexico in all kinds of ways in our store.

From freshly roasting them for our customers right in the store to selling them fresh from the vine, this spicy product of the Hatch Valley is known for its heat but also its subtly sweet, smoky, crisp flavor.

Hatch chiles are most commonly roasted, either in a cylindrical barrel or over an open flame. Their skin blisters, making them easier to peel. Then, you’re left with a smoky, flavorful, hot pepper to use in a variety of ways.

I love using them for a fresh, bright, spicy salsa. Use this salsa as a dip for chips, as a topping for enchiladas, as a taco sauce, or in a soup or stew. You can even mix it in with queso or sour cream for another kind of chip dip.

Hatch Green Chile Salsa

Ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 jalapeño
4 to 5 tomatillos, peeled
juice of 1 lime
3 fresh Hatch chiles
1 Tbs cumin
2 Tbs white vinegar
pinch of salt
ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Spread jalapeño, tomatillos and Hatch chiles on a baking sheet. Roast, turning a time or two, until skins blister and char. Remove from oven. Place in a brown paper bag; seal and let cool.

Remove seeds from all peppers. Roughly chop onions, pepper and tomatillos. Add all ingredients to a food processor; pulse until a salsa consistency. Refrigerate to let flavors blend.

Makes 2 cups

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 82, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 72 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 3 g.

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

Chef Tip:

You can always buy your Hatch chiles pre-roasted fresh from our store. If you don’t want to roast them in the oven, you can roast them over a gas flame on your stovetop or grill as well. Simply set the flame to high, hold your chile in a set of long grilling tongs, and rotate over the flame until your pepper achieves desired char. When the skin bubbles, place in a brown paper bag. Let cool, and then peel. You might want to consider wear food-handling gloves to peel and seed your peppers; they’re pretty hot!



Family Matters: Snacks


Toddlers LOVE snacks.

In fact, snacks are pretty much their love language.

While you don’t want your child to snack all day and not eat his meals, it’s perfectly fine for him to enjoy some healthy, targeted snacks to help him get through the day.

Brookshire’s is full of great snacks for your toddler to enjoy that will nourish their body and mind.

Some snack ideas your toddler might enjoy include:

  • Whole-grain cereal or oatmeal with milk
  • “Stir-fry:” Bite-sized pieces of leftover cooked beef or chicken and cooked vegetables
  • Milk or yogurt-based fruit smoothies
  • Yogurt with pieces of fresh fruit
  • Applesauce with whole-grain crackers or graham crackers
  • Rice pudding made with milk
  • Dessert tofu with fresh fruit
  • Small cubes of cheese with whole-grain crackers
  • A small whole-grain muffin with fresh fruit and grated cheese or a natural nut butter
  • Whole-grain crackers, toast or rice cakes thinly spread with a nut/seed butter or mashed avocado
  • Milk or yogurt popsicles blended with fruit
  • Banana bread thinly spread with nut or seed butter
  • Whole-grain pita bread triangles and bean dip
  • Mini cheese quesadilla
  • Parfait layered with yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Cottage cheese
  • String cheese

Whole-grain waffle wedges with nut butter



Family Matters: Finger Foods


When your little one is about 9 months old, he’s about ready for finger foods.

Before you start your baby on finger foods, make sure he is working on fine motor skills already, can get objects successfully from his tray to his mouth, and can chew or gum food well enough to handle bigger textures.

Be sure to introduce new finger foods one at a time, to be able to determine if your baby is allergic. If he has an unusual reaction to a food, discontinue it immediately and consult your physician.

Some good first finger foods include small pieces of lightly toasted bagel, chunks of ripe banana, well-cooked and cooled spiral pasta, teething crackers, low-sugar O-shaped cereal, eggs (scrambled or hard boiled are great to pick up), very small pieces of softly cooked (poached) chicken, boneless fish, tofu or beans with soft skins (such as pinto, black or Great Northern). Other soft fruits such as peaches without their skin and medium-soft cheeses, such as Monterey Jack, are also good.



Family Matters: Tippy Toes Babysoft Diapers


When I was about to have a baby, I was so overwhelmed with everything I needed to get.

I’d walk into the store and want to walk right back out again. It was so mind-boggling.

The one thing I knew I needed, though, was diapers.

Every baby needs those!

Luckily, Brookshire’s makes it easy to feel confident about diapering your baby’s bum with a high-quality, super-soft diaper that has superior leak protection that is gentle on your baby’s skin.

Available in sizes 1-6, Babysoft Diapers by Tippy Toes offer comfort and protection with an extra soft touch. As an added bonus, they come in packages of 112 because I quickly learned how fast you’ll go through diapers, especially in those little sizes.



Shop the Sale: Grilled Shrimp with Romesco Sauce


Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4

Indulge in a taste of Spain with our Grilled Shrimp and made-from-scratch Romesco Sauce, a roasted red pepper and almond sauce originating from the Catalonia region. It might seem like a lot of work, but trust us, it’s worth the effort! Pro tip: skewer your shrimp before grilling. This makes flipping and quickly removing shrimp from the heat much easier. Another pro tip is to take advantage of Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp on sale this week at Brookshire’s!

Ingredients
2 slices crunchy rustic-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup almonds
1 lb ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs paprika
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
8 oz canned roasted red peppers
3/4 cup olive oil
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 lb)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a bowl, soak bread cubes in vinegar for 20 minutes. Toast almonds for 10 to 15 minutes, watching closely. (Don’t burn.) Let almonds cool completely. Grind them in food processor until finely ground but not oily. (Do not over process.)

Add vinegar-soaked bread, tomatoes, paprika, salt, pepper and red peppers to processor. Grind together briefly until evenly pureed. With motor running, add olive oil in thin stream. Mix quickly until all ingredients are just incorporated.

To grill shrimp, brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper. Once cooked, serve hot with Romesco Sauce.

Calories Per Serving: 560, Fat: 48 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 46 mg, Sodium: 602 mg, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 12 g.

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

Chef Tips

Select the Best Shrimp
When it comes to fresh shrimp, there are two types: fresh and never-frozen. Unless you live in a shrimping area, it’s unlikely you’ll see never-frozen shrimp. Most shrimp is sold either frozen or previously frozen, as this is the only way to keep it fresh until it gets to you. You will be able to tell if fresh shrimp hasn’t been frozen from its somewhat translucent appearance versus previously frozen shrimp which looks more opaque. The most important thing with fresh shrimp is to look for firmness and a mild scent. If it smells like ammonia at all, then it’s definitely not fresh. The second is to avoid shrimp that are slimy or have black spots. When it comes to buying frozen shrimp, make sure it’s individually quick-frozen and wild caught for the best flavor.

Perfectly Grilled Shrimp Every Time
The first secret to perfectly grilled shrimp is skewering. It keeps them from falling through the grill and makes shrimp easier to handle. Use metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers. You can marinate your shrimp or simply brush with oil prior to grilling, which needs to be done hot and quick. Preheat the grill to medium-hot and cook for just 2-3 minutes per side. You can tell that it’s time to flip when the flesh is beginning to turn pink. Whatever you do, do not overcook! Overdone shrimp is rubbery and has no flavor.



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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.

Dine In

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

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