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Dine In: Memorial Day Baked Beans


Memorial Day Baked BeansIt’s Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you’re going to get out and enjoy the long weekend with family and friends.

Memorial Day almost always means a picnic for me, and I love me some good picnic food.

I always head straight for the baked beans, if I don’t bring them myself, that is. I like them savory, not too sweet. To be quite honest, I could eat only baked beans and be quite happy. Well, beans and German potato salad, maybe. And homemade ice cream. And watermelon. Possibly a burger or rib.

Fine. I like it all.

This version of baked beans can certainly stand alone as a main dish and (for real this time) has actually done so in my house! It’s also good for a picnic or buffet because there’s nothing in it that will spoil, and it still tastes good at room temperature.

Memorial Day Baked Beans

Ingredients:
3 (16 oz) cans pork and beans
1 lb ground beef, browned
2 Tbs brown mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp cumin
8 slices bacon

Directions:
Mix beans, ground beef, mustard, brown sugar, ketchup and cumin together. Spread in a 9-inch square casserole dish. Lay slices of bacon on top.

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes, or until beans are bubbly and bacon is beginning to crisp.

Serves 10 to 12 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 346, Fat: 11 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 999 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Fiber: 8 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein: 26 g.

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Shop the Sale: Melon Salsa


Prep Time: 20 mins
Serves: 12

Get the best of both worlds! Sweet and savory, with a satisfying crunch thanks to red onions, this summery salsa is simply fruitastic. Enjoy it as a refreshing snack with chips at your next BBQ or as a topping for grilled fish, pork or chicken. Treat your sweet tooth the healthy way this summer, and don’t miss cantaloupe on sale all this week at Brookshire’s.

Ingredients
2 cups cantaloupe, diced
1 cup honeydew melon, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup orange segments, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 Tbs lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve with chips, salad, or grilled fish or pork.

Calories Per Serving: 19, Fat: 0 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 59 mg, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 0 g.

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Chef Tips

Know Your Salsa
Did you know that salsa is the Spanish word for sauce? Or that salsa was being made long before the Spaniards? Salsa “sauce” actually originates with the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas who cultivated tomatoes and pepper plants and combined them to eat as a condiment. Today of course there are many variations of salsa, from the more traditional Pico de gallo, Salsa verde and negra to avocado, pineapple, corn – and of course – melon salsa concoctions.

Slice Smarter
Cutting open round melons on a flat chopping surface doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s surprisingly simple. First cut a half inch off the top and bottom of the fruit, so that the fruit sits flush on your cutting board. Then you can easily split the melon open and chop as desired. Another option is to use a baller to create bite-sized melon balls.



Healthy Living: Freeze Your Fruit


No doubt the summer months produce some of the best fruit of the year, but how do you maximize all those great flavors – and the nutritional value – later in the year?

You can freeze summer fruits for use a few months down the road without compromising their taste, textures or nutrients if you go about it the right way.

  • For raspberries and blackberries, rinse, dry thoroughly, and then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer overnight. The next morning, portion into freezer bags or containers and seal well.
  • For blueberries, remove stems, rinse and dry. Then, follow the same method for raspberries and blackberries.
  • For strawberries, rinse, dry completely and then remove stems. Chop or slice and freeze until solid.
  • If you want to freeze fresh cherries, rinse, dry, remove pits and slice before freezing until solid.
  • Bananas are easy. Just peel and freeze until solid. They’re great for smoothies and banana bread.
  • For stone fruits like peaches, rinse, dry, peel, slice, remove pit and freeze until solid.
  • Apples are easy, too. Rinse, dry, peel, cut into chunks and freeze until solid.
  • For melons, remove the inside flesh and chop. Freeze until solid.
  • Citrus fruits can also be frozen. Rinse, dry, slice or segment and freeze until solid.

All these fruits are great for smoothies, toppings on yogurt, mixed into oatmeal or cereal, or baked into breads, muffins or cookies. You get summer taste and nutrition all year long.



Dine In: Beer Cheese Dip


I drove through Kentucky a few summers ago on my way home to Texas from a trip to Virginia (I took the scenic route), and there I discovered the thing my heart loves: beer cheese.

Beer cheese is a traditional Kentucky dish with roots in Cook County. It’s exactly what it says it is: beer and cheese. It’s easy to make and easy to store, but the flavor profiles of a sharp cheddar against a lager are out of this world.

Beer cheese is usually used as a dip, but in Kentucky, they also spread it on a piece of thick toast. This would be delicious as a Friday night appetizer or snack in front of a good movie.

Beer Cheese Dip

Ingredients:
32 oz Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
12 oz flat Shiner Bock beer (any lager or pilsner but no “lite” beer)

Directions:
Use a box grater to grate the cheese by hand.

Meanwhile, pulse the garlic in the food processor until minced but not pasty. You can also do this by hand and add them to the food processor. Add the cheese, cayenne, paprika, salt, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Pulse three or four times until just combined.

Turn food processor on, and slowly pour the beer through the chute until the cheese mixture is smooth and creamy. Be careful not to overmix.

Beer cheese will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve cold with pretzels, crackers or raw vegetables.

Note: Pre-shredded cheese in the bag is mixed with cellulose to keep it from sticking. Using pre-shredded cheese will also keep your beer cheese from combining into a smooth, creamy consistency. It’s worth it to grate it yourself.

Open beer about 12 hours before preparing your beer cheese to let it go flat and warm.

Makes 6 cups

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 644, Fat: 25 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 79 mg, Sodium: 664 mg, Carbohydrates: 32 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 31 g, Protein: 19 g.

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Shop the Sale: Pad Thai Bowl


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Skip the restaurant and make your Thai takeout favorite at home in under 30 minutes. This sweet and spicy noodle dish is surprisingly quick and easy to prepare, making it a fantastic choice for weeknight dinners. Whip it up in a single skillet, grab a glass of Riesling, and you’ve got a gourmet Pad Thai meal at home. Check out our Chef Tips section below for low-carb substitutions and more Asian shrimp meal ideas.

Ingredients
4 oz packaged rice noodles
1 1/2 Tbs fish sauce
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili powder or more, to taste
2 Tbs canola oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4 oz medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 oz fried firm tofu, cut into slices
1 large egg
4 to 6 oz bean sprouts
1 green onion, cut into 2-inch lengths
Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
2 Tbs crushed peanuts
Lime wedges

Instructions
Follow package directions to boil dry rice noodles. The rice noodles should be soft (but still chewy and not mushy) after boiling. Rinse boiled noodles with cold running water. Set aside. Mix fish sauce, sugar, water, rice vinegar and chili powder in small bowl until well-combined and sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a skillet on highest heat setting; add oil. As soon as oil is heated, add garlic to skillet, and start stirring until you smell the aroma of the garlic. Don’t burn. Add shrimp and tofu pieces to skillet and continue stirring. As soon as shrimp changes color, add noodles to skillet; stir continuously, about 30 seconds. Use spatula to push noodles to one side of skillet, and crack egg into empty side of skillet. Use spatula to break egg yolk and blend with egg white. Let cook for about 30 seconds. Combine egg and noodles; add sauce. Stir to combine well with noodles.

Add bean sprouts, chive and basil; continue stirring. As soon as bean sprouts are cooked, stir in crushed peanuts. Turn off heat. Serve dish immediately with lime wedges.

Calories Per Serving: 563, Fat: 31 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 93 mg, Sodium: 1471 mg, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Fiber: 5 g, Protein: 31 g.

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Chef Tips

No Noodles? No Worries!
For those watching their carb count, you can still enjoy Pad Thai with our low-carb substitutions. Try Shirataki noodles made from Japanese yam starch or make your own veggie noodles from zucchini, sweet potato or spaghetti squash.

Shrimply The Best
Although Pad Thai is hard to beat, there are a lot of Asian-style shrimp dishes to satisfy your taste buds. There’s Garlic Shrimp, Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry, Shrimp Fried Rice, Coconut Shrimp and Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta, although we’re in danger of sounding like Bubba from the movie Forrest Gump if we try to list them all here. But with shrimp in season – and Peeled and Deveined Gulf Shrimp on sale all week – make the most of it while you can!



Dine In: Blueberry-Watermelon Feta Salad


Blueberry-Watermelon Feta SaladAll of the local farmers markets are starting to open. I love walking through the fresh produce, fragrant flowers, and tantalizing sights and smells.

It’s pretty much like walking through the produce department at Brookshire’s all year long.

This vibrant summer salad bursts with unexpected flavors that dance on your tongue. Make it right before serving though, as this tends to get soupy or mushy if it sits too long.

Blueberry-Watermelon Feta Salad

Ingredients:
2 oz olive oil
1 oz balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
8 cups watermelon, diced
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:
Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and red onion in a large glass (or other nonreactive) bowl. Add watermelon, blueberries, mint and feta. Toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 303, Fat: 18 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 17 mg, Sodium: 507 mg, Carbohydrates: 35 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 27 g, Protein: 5 g.

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Shop the Sale: Berry Smoothie


Prep Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Your favorite time of year is finally here! Strawberries are in season and we have the best selection – and prices – with strawberries on sale all this week at Brookshire’s. Sweeten up your mornings with our Berry Smoothie or enjoy it anytime as a sweet treat that won’t ruin swimsuit season. Check out the full recipe below plus some savory strawberry recipe ideas in our Chef Tips section.

Ingredients
1 medium ripe banana (about 4 oz), peeled and cut crosswise into 8 pieces
8 oz strawberries, stemmed and cleaned
8 oz blueberries
1/2 cup whole or skim milk
1/2 cup apple juice
1 pinch table salt
1 to 2 Tbs granulated sugar, divided
2 to 3 tsp lemon juice, divided
3 ice cubes (about 1 1/2 oz)
Garnish to your liking with an abundance of fresh fruits, nuts, oats, etc.

Instructions
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange banana and berries in single layer on baking sheet. Freeze fruit until very cold but not frozen, about 10 minutes. In blender, puree cold fruit, milk, juice, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and ice until uniformly smooth, about 10 to 15 seconds. Taste for sugar and lemon. If desired, add more sugar or lemon, and blend until combined, about 2 more seconds. Serve immediately, garnished as desired.

Calories Per Serving: 125, Fat: 2 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 162 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Chef Tips

Berry Tasty Dishes
Strawberries aren’t just for desserts or eating straight from the carton. Although we highly recommend both methods, there are many savory options for this juicy berry as well. Some of our favorites are Turkey Fajitas with Strawberry-Jalapeno Salsa, Chipotle-Strawberry Glazed Pork Chops and Spicy Strawberry Gazpacho. For simpler meal ideas it’s hard to go past a Strawberry & Feta Spinach Salad (add chicken for lean protein) or you can go gourmet with your next grilled ham and cheese by choosing a buttery cheese like Havarti and topping with Strawberry Red Wine Jam. Even pizza or flatbreads pair well, with options like Strawberry, Basil & Balsamic Pizza and focaccia topped with berries, bacon, avocado and goat cheese.

How Sweet It Is
Not that you need any reason other than the sweet taste to eat strawberries, they’re also packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Finally, a treat that’s actually good for you! Get the most out of your strawberries by choosing berries that are firm, plump and a deep red color. Strawberries do not ripen further once picked, so it’s best to pick those that are fully ripened. If they’re dull or have yellow patches, they’re not ripe.



Shop the Sale: Sweet Potato Hash with Caramelized Onions


Sweet Potato Hash with Caramelized OnionsPrep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 8

What could be better than sweet potatoes, caramelized onions and chorizo? For breakfast, brunch or really any meal of the day, this hearty dish will satisfy even the most voracious eaters. Chef note: get perfectly caramelized onions every time by ensuring you don’t crowd the pan (we recommend a 12” pan for two large onions) and keeping the heat low. Remember, you’re not sautéing here! Serve with your breakfast favorites or as a side dish for a main meal.

Ingredients

1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 lbs yellow onions (about 2 large), sliced into thin half moons
1 Tbs kosher salt, plus more to taste if necessary
1 lb Mexican chorizo
3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and 1/2-inch diced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
2 long stems fresh rosemary, finely minced
3 Tbs olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions
Heat oven to 450° F. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. When it foams up, add onions; sprinkle lightly with salt. Lower heat slightly. Cook onions for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and lowering heat further if they begin to burn. Cook until onions are very dark brown and caramelized. Meanwhile, put chorizo in another skillet. Brown over medium-high heat, chopping up into fine crumbles with spatula. Cook meat for about 10 minutes, or until browned and beginning to crisp. Drain any excess fat.

While chorizo and onions are cooking, place sweet potatoes, garlic and rosemary in large bowl. Toss with olive oil, kosher salt and generous amount of black pepper. Mix well. When onions are dark brown and meat is beginning to get crispy, stir them into sweet potatoes. Mix to combine. Line large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spread out sweet potato mixture evenly. Roast sweet potatoes for 30 to 45 minutes or until soft and browned. Remove from oven. Serve hot with your favorite breakfast accompaniments.

Calories Per Serving: 567, Fat: 29 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 54 mg, Sodium: 1603 mg, Carbohydrates: 60 g, Fiber: 10 g, Protein: 18 g.

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Chef Tips

The Sweet Benefits of Sweet Potato
Not only do they taste good, they’re good for you. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, copper and pantothenic acid. They also provide potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus, plus they’re high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Sweet Potato Latte Anyone?
While you might be more accustomed to sweet potato bakes than lattes, there are a lot of surprising (and delicious) ways to use sweet potato. From coffee to smoothies, hummus and pizza, chili and biscuits to decadent deserts like Ginger-Sweet Potato Cheesecake and Sweet Potato Pie, the uses for sweet potatoes are almost endless. Try swapping them for meat in your quesadillas, adding them to old favorites like Mac & Cheese or building a whole meal around them with recipes like Sweet Potato Fritters.



Healthy Living: Cauliflower Rice


Cauliflower RiceI resisted the craze of making cauliflower into rice for a long time, a very long time.

Now I regret every, single, solitary minute of my stubborn holdout.

Cauliflower rice is the best thing since sliced bread, without the carbs, that is.

Cauliflower rice gives you the impression you’re eating rice without the starch.

It’s simple and amazing. Use in place of your fried rice, your Mexican rice or whatever other kind of rice you fix. It’s faster to cook, too. No fluffing with a fork required.

Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
2 Tbs coconut oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Remove florets from the head of cauliflower, and pulse in food processor until it has formed small “grains.”

Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Sauté cauliflower until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or use in another dish.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 75, Fat: 7 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 601 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 1 g.

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Dine In: Frico


FricoThere I was, sitting at a small, wrought iron table adorned with a single candle, in Venice. I was sitting canal-side, the water lapping at the smooth stone as the sun set on another gorgeous day in Italy.

I’d spent all afternoon on the island of Murano, watching glass heated to unholy temperatures and turned and spun and morphed into the most beautiful colored creations. Murano, a short vaporetto ride from Venice, is known for its beautiful glass creations. I had a few wrapped securely and carefully tucked into my suitcase to bring home.

Venice, known for its labyrinth of canals, the famous St. Mark’s Square and gondola rides, also has amazing restaurants tucked into quiet corners.

I happened to pick one where no one spoke English, and my Italian, which was pretty much limited to the language of food, failed me miserably.

“Frico?” I repeated to the waiter, who had rattled off the prix fixe rapidly, almost impatiently.

“Frico,” he repeated, definitively.

I nodded affirmation, hoping that my third course was going to be something recognizable.

Luckily, it was.

Frico can mean different things in different parts of Italy. In the far north, it’s a potato and cheese dish, almost like a gratin but with a crispy baked topping of cheese.

In other regions, frico is a cheese crisp. It’s cheese, nothing else, baked into a cracker-like bite of deliciousness.

They’re so easy to make, and the flavor that develops from baking the cheese (think of the crispy bites you scrape off of the pizza pan) is delightful. You can play with flavor combinations of the cheeses and spices.

Frico

Ingredients:
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (or Asiago, aged cheddar, aged Gouda, Manchego or another hard cheese)
1/2 tsp crushed cumin seed, toasted (or fennel)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick mat. Grate cheese, and toss with the spice. Evenly spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto the parchment paper, creating a 4-inch round that is evenly distributed across. Spread with a fork, if necessary. Bake one sheet at a time until the edges begin to crisp and darken, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven, and loosen from the pan with a large spatula. Cool over a rolling pin to make them bowl-shaped, or lay flat on paper towels. Cool completely.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 221, Fat: 16 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 50 mg, Sodium: 360 mg, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 0 g, Protein: 18 g.

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