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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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Dine In: Italian Pasta Salad


Italian Pasta SaladMy favorite thing to do on a Friday afternoon is leave work, collect my boys, grab some groceries, and plop down on the back porch with a beverage and an easy dinner.

By Friday, I’m ready to relax! Sometimes that means going out to dinner, but for me, there really is nothing better than not having to leave the house for the rest of the night, not having to fight traffic and crowds, and not having to wait for my meal.

My back porch is a work in progress. I have a chiminea for fires, my two grills (charcoal and gas), solar lights, my potted herbs, and a semi-comfortable (like I said, “work in progress”) table and chairs set. It’s my favorite place to be in the evenings. When the weather warms up, I add a misting fan to keep the air moving and to keep us cool.

April nights are the best for porch parties, as we call them. You can even prepare this salad in advance, and then the work is complete for the evening. To make it a little hardier, you can add grilled, chopped chicken.

Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
10 oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
5 oz mini pepperoni, or equivalent weight chopped pepperoni or salami
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 (3.8 oz) can black olives, drained
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup jarred mild yellow banana peppers, chopped
1 cup Italian salad dressing
8 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water to shock the pasta into stopping the cooking process and to help prevent sticking. Cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, red onion and banana peppers; toss with cooled pasta. Add the dressing, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and cheese; toss gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving; serve chilled.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 799, Fat: 52 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 131 mg, Sodium: 1588 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 36 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Shop the Sale: Classic Pan-Seared Ribeye Steak


Classic Pan-Seared Ribeye SteakPrep Time: 90 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2

When it comes to beef, the ribeye is hard to beat. High marbling makes for a tender, juicy steak that’s perfect on its own or served with a traditional sauce. (Check out our homemade steak sauce recipe). Pair this tender cut with a rich, bold red like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Malbec or an ale, stout or porter for the beer lover.

Ingredients
2 (8 oz) Boneless Ribeye Steaks, each about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
Kosher Salt
Brookshire’s Olive Oil
Brookshire’s Ground Black Pepper

Instructions
Bring steaks to room temperature. Season generously with kosher salt; let sit for 1 hour. When ready to cook, heat oven to highest setting. Place large cast-iron skillet on stovetop; heat on highest setting. Turn on hood fan as the cooking process will cause smoke. Brush steaks lightly with oil; sprinkle both sides with pepper.

Immediately place steaks in the middle of the hot, dry skillet and cook for 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs; cook 30 more seconds. Put pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak; cook for 2 more minutes. (This timing is for medium-rare steak. If you prefer medium, add 1 minute to both oven turns. You can also use a digital thermometer to check for doneness. Perfect medium-rare is 128 to 130° F.)

Remove steak from skillet. Cover loosely with foil; let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve whole, or thinly sliced and fanned on plate.

Calories Per Serving: 380, Fat: 33 g (14 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 60 mg, Carbohydrates: 0 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 15 g.

*Gluten-free

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Chef Tips

How to Choose the Best Ribeye Steak
The main characteristic to look for when selecting a ribeye is ample marbling, with a modest amount of edge fat and preferably no gristle. Prime grade steaks offer the highest marbling of all the beef grades, which is responsible for the tender meat and juicy flavor these steaks are known for. Ribeye steaks are best when cut between 1 ½ – 2 inches thick.

Great Steak Side Dishes
It’s pretty hard to go wrong with sides when they’re paired with the king of steaks. For a meal on the lighter side, try tasty seasonal salads like Arugula, Pear & Blue Cheese Salad or fresh Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar, or opt for grilled or roasted vegetables like Cilantro-Lime Butter Corn or Garlic-Roasted Broccoli. For a more traditional approach, choose potatoes and serve them mashed, baked or au gratin alongside Buttery Green Beans or Honey-Glazed Carrots.



Healthy Living: Roasted Garlic Green Beans


Roasted Garlic Green BeansGrowing up, my mom cooked green beans frequently. They were flash-frozen, which is the healthiest way to buy them if you can’t get them fresh, and boiled (which kind of defeated some of the health of the flash-frozen status). I can’t say they were my favorite.

When I was old enough to cook green beans, I only bought fresh beans, and I steamed them. They were healthy, but they did not have a lot of flavor.

My boyfriend likes them simmered with bacon. Super tasty, but I’m not sure there’s any health value left whatsoever.

However, these beans are the best of both worlds. They’re fresh and healthy with heart-healthy olive oil as the added fat, and they’re full of great taste and flavor. I also love the texture from roasting the beans instead of cooking them with liquid.

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans, rinsed and ends cut off
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
sea salt and pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss green beans with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 17 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 74, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 12 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 3 g.

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Dine In: Lemon Asparagus Tortellini


Lemon Asparagus TortelliniLast Friday, I spent all day doing yard work. My boys helped, but we had our work cut out for us. The winter grass needed to be mowed. We needed to rake, clean out flower beds, aerate the lawn and put down fertilizer.

It was hard work, but it laid the groundwork for a delicious and filling dinner to be enjoyed that night. While spring comes with lots of outside chores, it also comes with the pleasures of spring produce.

This dish is bright and vibrant with the fresh green vegetables and bursts of garlic and lemon. We served it with a side salad of microgreens tossed in lemon vinaigrette and some fresh bread from the Brookshire’s bakery brushed with olive oil and cracked black pepper.

Lemon Asparagus Tortellini

Ingredients:

ASPARAGUS:
1 1/2 lbs asparagus, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and black pepper, to taste

TORTELLINI:
1 lb frozen cheese tortellini
3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash of crushed red pepper
3 cups fresh spinach, packed
zest of 1 large lemon
juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup  parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Spread asparagus on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with garlic, and toss until asparagus is well-coated. Season with salt and pepper. Place pan in the oven, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once. Remove asparagus when it is still crisp and slightly charred. Set aside to cool.

While asparagus is roasting, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil, and cook tortellini according to package instructions. Drain, but reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, red pepper and spinach. Sauté until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest, and stir well to combine.

Turn heat to low. Add asparagus and tortellini to the pot, and stir in reserved pasta water and lemon juice. Heat through. Sprinkle with parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 489, Fat: 24 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 75 mg, Sodium: 590 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 24 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Shop the Sale: BLT French Toast


BLT French ToastPrep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 3

The humble BLT gets a makeover with traditional challah bread cooked to French Toast-style perfection topped with crispy bacon, ripe tomatoes and spring mix greens. Chef note: be sure to choose quality bacon that’s thick-cut and naturally smoked like Wright Brand bacon. Perfect for a decadent brunch, your guests will melt with every bite of this gourmet BLT sensation!

Ingredients
12 thick slices smoked bacon
2 cups heavy cream
5 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices challah bread, at least 1-inch thick
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated (or any melty cheese will work)
12 slices ripe tomatoes
Vinaigrette of your choice
6 cups spring mix, cleaned

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place bacon on rimmed baking sheet; bake until crisp about 20 to 25 minutes. While bacon cooks, combine heavy cream and eggs in bowl, whisking to blend well. Season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Soak bread in mixture for 15 minutes. Turn bread over; soak for 10 to 15 more minutes.

Place large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add canola oil. Once oil is hot (it will shimmer slightly), fry challah slices on each side until golden-brown, working in batches. Transfer challah to baking sheet, and place in oven. Bake until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. The bread should soufflé (puff up).

Remove from oven. Cover each slice with cheese and return pan to oven. Once cheese has melted (about 4 minutes) remove from oven. Put 2 bacon slices and 2 tomato slices on each bread slice. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss spring mix with remaining dressing (or enough to coat) and place atop each piece. Serve warm.

Calories per Serving: 1055, Fat: 87 g (42 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 547 mg, Sodium: 1187 mg, Carbohydrates: 16 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 51 g.

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Chef Tips

What Is Challah Bread?
Challah is a traditional braided Jewish bread served on Shabbat and holidays. It’s a simple bread made from flour, eggs, oil, water and yeast with a touch of salt and sugar, but the real joy in making it yourself comes from braiding the dough, which is done by making three or six dough ropes and braiding them together like yarn.

Choose the Right Cheese
We’ve never met a cheese that hasn’t made us melt, but some cheeses are better than others for melting. While Gruyere is out top pick for this dish, there are a handful of other cheeses that make for great melted toasties. Some fantastic mild options include Gouda, Fontina and Mozzarella, while for something more intense, Asiago, Aged Cheddar or Brie are excellent choices.



Healthy Living: Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Peppers


Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed PeppersAlthough March in the Deep South gets warmer and warmer (as evidenced by the long-sleeved T-shirts I routinely trade for a short-sleeved version all month long), April is really the first month I consider to be true springtime. With the warmer weather comes the inevitable need to shed some hibernation weight from the winter months.

The fresh flavors of springtime just say “healthy” to me. More greens, more colors from the garden, and more fresh fruits and veggies.

While this recipe does have cheese (you need dairy, you know), it’s based on bright, fresh green bell peppers and filled with brown rice and other bright bursts of spring flavor, like garlic and basil.

These would be delicious served with a colorful salad as a side dish.

Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs garlic, minced
5 oz fresh spinach
3 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, plus extra for topping
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 large bell peppers

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until oil is fragrant and shimmering. Sauté the spinach and garlic for about 2 minutes.

Season with basil, red pepper, oregano, salt and pepper.

Add cooked rice to the skillet; stir in cheeses.

Remove from heat, and let cool slightly.

Remove tops from peppers, and scoop out seeds and pith. Stuff peppers with spinach/rice filling. Top with extra cheese, and place peppers in a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 357, Fat: 11 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 30 mg, Sodium: 430 mg, Carbohydrates: 52 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 15 g.

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Product Talk: Herdez® Guacamole Salsa


Herdez® Guacamole SalsaThe first time I saw this product on the shelf at Brookshire’s, the bright green color caught my eye. It IS springtime after all, and this is just pretty.

It sounded intriguing, too. I love green salsa and guacamole, so I figured the combination of the two must be pretty spectacular.

I wasn’t wrong.

I first ate it with chips as a dip, but then I decided I needed to make something with it. I made chicken-cheese enchiladas and used this as the sauce. They were amazing.

Herdez® Guacamole Salsa blends avocado with tomatillos, onions, jalapeño peppers and cilantro. It definitely has a spicy kick to it but with a wonderful complex heat that leaves you wanting more.

I’ve since used this as a dressing for salad, as a sauce on soft tacos and as a topping for scrambled eggs in the morning.

There will always be a bottle in my pantry and refrigerator from here out.



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