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Healthy Living: Homemade Noodle Bowls


Homemade Noodle BowlsMy sister-in-law, Lesley, is the healthiest person I know. She doesn’t put anything into, onto or near her body that isn’t of the purest, utmost, best quality.

She eats organic, doesn’t use chemicals to clean in her house, doesn’t use chemicals on her body, and only puts food in her body that is not processed at all, or minimally processed if necessary.

She’s also super mom, super physically fit and looks 25 when in reality she’s quite a bit older.

I want to be like her.

Or more like her because I know, for me, I can’t be quite that dedicated. I do enjoy the occasional Diet Coke or cupcake.

But really, she’s my health hero.

While this recipe isn’t Lesley-approved (only because I didn’t run it by her), it is Lesley-inspired.

She makes salads in Mason jars and eats them for lunches on the go. I love a hot lunch, and I REALLY love soup or soup-like meals. These jars are something I can control what goes in and how I eat them.

Plus, they’re super easy and portable!

Healthy Noodle Bowls

Ingredients: (listed per jar)
1/2 cup protein, such as cooked shredded chicken, shrimp, slices of beef or pork, cubed tofu, etc.
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp lime juice
1 chicken stock bouillon cube or 1/2 spoonful chicken broth paste
1 pkg dried rice stick noodles
vegetables, such as spinach, shredded carrots, julienned red peppers, cabbage, green onions, diced onions, small broccoli or cauliflower florets, sliced mushrooms

Directions:
Prepare 4 to 5 clean, dry Mason jars for the week.

Create an assembly line by lining up all your jars and ingredients.

Start with wet ingredients on the bottom, pouring lime juice, Sriracha, soy sauce, and chicken broth paste or bouillon onto the bottom of the jar, then add protein.

Top with vegetables and then dry rice noodles, dividing between jars. Add any dry seasonings. Seal jar.

When ready to eat, boil 1 cup water (or equivalent measure to 2/3 the volume of the jar). Pour boiling water into jar; let sit for 2 minutes. Stir and eat.

You can make any combination of flavors, proteins and vegetables for these healthy, fun jars.

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A Recipe for Disaster


A Recipe for DisasterIt’s happened. You’ve accidentally bumped the pan, and the cooking oil you were heating up is now in flames. This can be a very serious situation with dire consequences. A decision must be made quickly. Rule #1 – don’t panic.

There are a few simple ways you can put out this fire without injury to you or your home. First, turn off the heat. Then, you need to cut off the fire’s life supply: oxygen. Find a flat metal object like a cookie pan to place over the pan to cut off the oxygen supply to the fire. Do not use glass, as it may shatter.

If this does not work, there are other remedies. Put baking soda onto the flame source until it is out. This is best for small fires. Be careful not to get too close to the flame, so you do not get burned. Wear gloves if quickly and easily accessible! Also, if you have a vat of grease, do not dump the baking soda until it is safe to do so. If you dump something large into that grease at once, it may force the grease out of the pan, which may still be on fire.

The last resort is using a fire extinguisher. This will make your kitchen quite messy, but it’s a better alternative than your house burning down. An ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher works best. If even this does not work, evacuate and call 9-1-1. If you happen to catch fire yourself, STOP, DROP and ROLL!

What NOT to do:

  • Put water on a grease fire. This will only make it spread.
  • Swat the fire with cloth, whether it is wet or dry. The grease or fire could catch on the cloth and spread it to other places around your kitchen.
  • Pick up flaming pan and run with it. It is best not to touch the pan at all, as the temperature will have risen significantly in a short amount of time. It is up to you if you want to inch the pan out of the house, but burns will most likely be imminent. If you are to pick up the pan at all, grease will still be in motion and can spill out as you hold it – onto you, the floor where you’re standing and all of your surroundings.

A grease fire is a scary situation. I hope none of you ever have to experience it. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help prevent a grease fire from ever happening.

A grease fire happens when your cooking oil becomes too hot. When heating, oils first start to boil, then start smoking before eventually catching on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking point around 450° F, while animal fats will start smoking around 375° F.

Whenever you’re heating any type of oil, stay in the kitchen. If possible, use a pot or pan with a solid metal lid. Keep an eye on the oil as it heats. If you see wisps of smoke or it doesn’t smell right, immediately turn down the heat or remove the pot from the burner completely. The oil won’t catch fire once it starts smoking, but smoke is a danger sign that it’s well on its way.

Be mindful in the kitchen and always be prepared. Have a fire extinguisher handy. Make sure you and your family know how to use it. Keep a stock of baking soda somewhere you can grab it easily, and make sure it is not used for anything else. You wouldn’t want to reach over and it be empty if you needed it. Did you know that Brookshire’s sells its very own baking soda? It’s just as good as the national brand and less expensive, so stock up!

Hopefully, you will never have to experience a grease fire, but with these things in mind, you could potentially save your family and your house from this kitchen disaster. With anything, make sure your entire family knows how to handle these situations. You never know when things could go wrong.

So, have a creative and joyful experience cooking up the recipes you love or would love to try! Just remember to be safe and alert when dealing with anything that may become a recipe for disaster.

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Dine In: Queso-Smothered Chicken


Queso-Smothered ChickenFrequently on Friday nights, we go out for Mexican food.

There’s just something about warm rice and beans, soft flour tortillas and, of course, chips and salsa that’s a great way to end the week.

Eating out gets expensive, and this family is saving up for some big adventures in 2017. So, we’re eating at home more often on Friday nights.

That doesn’t mean we have to give up Mexican food, though. This chicken dish is smothered in cheese and served over orzo pasta, which you infuse with Mexican flavors. You could swap it out for rice if you wanted, and you can always serve with a side of beans.

Queso-Smothered Chicken

Ingredients:
1 bottle Lawry’s Baja Chipotle 30 Minute Marinade
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup orzo
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
8 oz Velveeta, diced
1 can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies

Directions:
Place chicken in a plastic, zip-top bag, and pour marinade over the chicken, turning to coat. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from marinade, and grill over medium-high heat until cooked through. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil until fragrant and shimmering. Stir in the orzo, cooking and stirring until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, tomato paste, chili powder and paprika; bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In another large saucepan, combine Ro-Tel and Velveeta over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until melted. To serve, scoop 1/4 of orzo onto a plate. Top with sliced chicken breast and queso. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 821, Calories from Fat: 322, Fat: 36 g (11 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 192 mg, Sodium: 3457 mg, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 19 g, Protein: 67 g.

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Shop the Sale: Bacon and Shrimp Chowder


Bacon and Shrimp ChowderI went out to lunch with my best friend last week, and seeing that it was a rare, bitterly cold day in Texas, we wanted soup.

Being our usual, indecisive selves, we hemmed and hawed over the menu choices until our wonderful waiter brought us both a tasting cup of each of the soups to help us make up our mind. She went for a crab bisque, and I went for the seafood chowder, which was enhanced with a lovely infusion of bacon that really added a depth of flavor.

John Morrell Bacon is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and you certainly don’t have to wait for a bitterly cold day to enjoy this hearty soup.

Bacon and Shrimp Chowder

Ingredients:
8 oz John Morrell Bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 Tbs all purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped scallions, divided
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs hot sauce
1 lb medium or large shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped

Directions:
In a large stockpot, cook bacon until brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate.

Add onion to the bacon grease, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and whisk to make a roux, about 1 minute.

Stir in chicken stock, half-and-half, potatoes, half of scallions, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Simmer on medium until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes

Remove half of mixture to food processor, and pulse until blended. Add back to stockpot. Add in shrimp, and simmer until shrimp is cooked through and pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in half of the bacon. Serve immediately, topped with the remaining bacon and scallions.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 535, Calories from Fat: 344, Fat: 38 g (16 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 107 mg, Sodium: 3290 mg, Carbohydrates: 21 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 27 g.

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Dine In: Lemon Pepper Chicken


Lemon Pepper ChickenWe eat a lot of red meat in my house, but today I’m craving chicken. Specifically, a lemony chicken.

I polled my friends on social media to find a great recipe, and many of them suggested chicken piccata, which I love. However, it contains capers, and I know two out of my four boys will not eat capers or any dish capers have touched. They clearly don’t know what they’re missing.

So, chicken piccata was out.

This recipe, which involves lightly breading the chicken breasts, seems like it would be a hit. I’m going to serve it tonight over noodles, and I’ll probably double the amount of sauce and serve with some warmed lemon halves for extra lemon flavor. (If you microwave your lemons for about 30 seconds, you’ll get more juice out of them.)

Steamed carrots with more lemon and sprinkled with some dill would be a delightful side dish.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 3/4-inch thick
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbs lemon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter
4 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs parsley, chopped

Directions:
In a shallow bowl or pan, mix together flour, lemon pepper and salt.

Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, gently pressing mixture on to coat the chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the chicken; cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side until done. Remove the chicken to a plate, and tent with foil to keep warm.

Melt the butter in the pan drippings. Whisk in lemon juice; season with more salt, if necessary. Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 345, Calories from Fat: 153, Fat: 17 g (6 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 111 mg, Sodium: 1000 mg, Potassium: 54 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 36 g.

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Dine In: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tacos


Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken TacosIt’s been eons since I’ve written about anything buffalo chicken. We all know that buffalo chicken is a food group, so it was time to rectify that omission.

When I get a craving for buffalo chicken, I become single-minded. It’s all I can think about.

It’s happening right now.

This recipe is fun because you can add as much or as little hot sauce as you want. Then, top it with a variety of things that may traditionally go on tacos or not. I only use a little hot sauce in the actual cooking process, as one son does not like anything “spicy.” I can just add more as a topping on my individual serving.

I like these with flour tortillas, but you can also use corn. I like sour cream, but my son will top his with ranch dressing. I also like to mince celery for a bit of a crunch. Cilantro is also a great complement to this taco. I love it with crumbled bleu cheese; other people in my family prefer cheddar.

These are fun for a Friday night at home!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
8 oz Frank’s Hot Wing Buffalo Sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pkg dry ranch salad dressing mix

Directions:
Spray the liner of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken in crock. In a small bowl, whisk hot sauce, garlic and ranch dressing mix. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Remove chicken from slow cooker; shred with a fork. Add chicken back to slow cooker. Stir until blended with juices.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop chicken onto tacos. Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado and other toppings of choice.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 335, Calories from Fat: 116, Fat: 13 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 151 mg, Sodium: 1725 mg, Carbohydrates: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 50 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Shop the Sale: One-Pan Lemon Chicken and Potatoes


One-Pan Lemon Chicken and PotatoesOne of my New Year’s resolutions was to curb my grocery spending and be a bit more conscious of what I’m spending my hard-earned money on.

Yes, I plan. Yes, I make a menu and shop from my grocery list and avoid impulse buys.

I will admit I’m not always great about shopping the sales. So, I’ve changed my strategy a bit, and instead of planning my menus on Sunday, I do it on Wednesday when Brookshire’s sales are announced.

This week, there’s chicken leg quarters on sale, and these are super economical. You get so much bang for your buck. Now that I’m feeding two teenage boys, I need all the grocery help I can get.

I also love a one-pan meal; it’s less for me to clean up after dinner!

One-Pan Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs honey gold potatoes (or small roasters)
3 lbs bone-in (skin-on) chicken leg quarters
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs lemon zest
salt and pepper
1 Tbs dried oregano
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp coarse mustard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Quarter the potatoes. Place half of potatoes on bottom of a sturdy roasting pan. Arrange the chicken on top; add remaining potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.

For the sauce, combine lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, broth, mustard and olive oil; whisk well to combine. Pour over chicken and potatoes in the baking dish.

Cook for 20 minutes, uncovered. Lower the oven temperature to 375° F, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken reaches 160° F.

For a crispier skin, broil chicken for a few minutes after it has reached the correct internal temperature.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 838, Calories from Fat: 291, Fat: 32 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 303 mg, Sodium: 357 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 102 g.

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Dine In: Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup


Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper SoupI want it to be cold.

I want it to be cold and crisp. I want to make a fire in my chiminea and enjoy a bowl of hot, steaming soup on the back porch next Friday night.

Instead, as I write this, it’s well over 70 degrees with 98 percent humidity, and it’s winter! It’s WINTER, Mother Nature, did you not get the memo?

Anyone who lives in the South knows that those cold, crisp evenings are not to be taken for granted. I feel like they’re few and far between most years, this year included.

Luckily, you don’t need cold weather to enjoy a hearty bowl of soup. As I scanned back over the blogs from the past few weeks, I noted that I’ve submitted several soup recipes. I guess I’ve been wishing for a cold night for a while, then resorting to making due with turning the air conditioner down a few degrees and making the soup anyway.

Maybe next Friday night will actually be colder.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients:
1 lb extra-lean ground beef
1 cup onions, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions
2 cups green peppers, chopped
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup white rice, cooked

Directions:
Brown beef and onions in a heavy skillet. Drain fat; transfer to crockery of a slow cooker. Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Serves 5

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 368, Calories from Fat: 58, Fat: 7 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 81 mg, Sodium: 1148 mg, Potassium: 868 mg, Carbohydrates: 42 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 34 g.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In


Shop the Sale: Apple Cinnamon Pork Roast


Apple Cinnamon Pork RoastOne of my friends told me her goal for the new year was to eat more pork. She avoids red meat and said she was burned out on chicken and fish.

Pork is a lovely meat that goes well with so many flavors.

A mild pork roast can be dressed up for a fancy meal, made sweet or savory for a family supper, or turned into a veritable masterpiece with the right cooking techniques.

I love to make these in the slow cooker. Just plop it in and forget about it!

In this recipe, the apples and the onions work together to create a sweet and spicy flavor, and the juices help keep your pork roast moist.

Apple Cinnamon Pork Roast

Ingredients:
1 (3 lb) boneless pork roast
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Score thin slits into the top of the pork roast. Insert apple slices and onion slices.

Place roast in the crockery of the slow cooker. Pour apple juice and apple cider over roast. Add extra apples and onions to the crock. Sprinkle roast with cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 6 hours, opening lid only once to baste with juices.

Serve sliced or shredded.

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 317, Calories from Fat: 62, Fat: 7 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 142 mg, Sodium: 113 mg, Carbohydrates: 10 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 7 g, Protein: 51 g.

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Healthy Living: Tomato Potato Soup


Tomato Potato SoupI know you read that title and did a double take.

I did too when I asked my boyfriend what he wanted for dinner, and he said, “Something healthy, like a tomato potato soup.”

Now, I ask him what he wants for dinner EVERY time I plan menus, and his answer 99 percent of the time is “steak.” The other 1 percent is “whatever you want.”

I love cooking for him. Cooking for him might be my love language, but he rarely tells me what he wants. Plus, he’s super picky.

So, when he does tell me something he wants, I do my best to make it happen. Thus, Tomato Potato Soup.

As strange as it sounds, it turned out amazing, even though I was totally winging it.

Tomatoes are full of antioxidants and vitamins C and A. You can sneak carrots into this soup because they are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper and manganese, not to mention onions for vitamin C and chromium. Then, there’s the garlic, which cures just about anything this time of year, and the potatoes, which provide tons of potassium and fiber.

Tomato Potato Soup

Ingredients:
3 baking potatoes, peeled and diced (divided)
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 Tbs garlic, minced
2 Tbs dried oregano
2 Tbs dried basil
2 Tbs dried parsley
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 (28 oz) can tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbs butter
1 (32 oz) box beef stock

Directions:
Microwave potatoes until fork-tender; set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy stockpot until fragrant and shimmering. Add onions; sauté until soft and opaque. Add garlic; cook for 1 more minute. Add 1/3 of potatoes, and continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in oregano, basil, parsley, red pepper, salt and pepper.

Stir in 1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes to deglaze the pan. Add in remaining diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to high heat, stirring frequently.

In another large pan, melt butter until bubbly. Stir in potatoes; cook over medium-high heat until potatoes are tender but not browned. Set aside.

When tomato mixture comes to a boil, turn to low. Continue to simmer for 1 hour or until mixture reduces. Puree in a food processor. Depending on volume of tomato mixture, stream in as much beef stock as the bowl of the food processor can contain; pulse until well-blended. Return to pot. Add rest of beef stock and reserved potatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, and simmer until ready to serve.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 180, Calories from Fat: 48, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 1139 mg, Potassium: 1028 mg, Carbohydrates: 29 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 6 g.

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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.

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