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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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

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

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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Dine In: Champagne Risotto

Champagne RisottoIn 48 hours, we’ll be welcoming a new year, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to celebrate.
With New Year’s Eve EVE falling on a Friday this year, you can get the party started early.

I think the first time I ever made risotto was actually on New Year’s Eve way back in the ‘90s or, as my kids say, “last century.” They love saying that. I don’t find it as amusing.

Back to the story. My good friend and upstairs neighbor, Susan, and I decided we were going to make a meal that would make all other meals from all year pale in comparison.

We were going to roast a prime rib, dress a microgreen salad with a champagne vinaigrette and make a champagne risotto. Clearly our theme was “champagne.”

The problem was that neither of us has ever made any of those dishes, aside from maybe a vinaigrette. That was no deterrent. Out came the cookbooks. We shopped at the butcher down the street for the meat. We purchased a meat thermometer. We bought bottles of good champagne to drink as well as to use in our cooking. We were ready.

I have to admit that the prime rib didn’t turn out so well. We should have paid a little more attention to the thermometer as the meat got way too overcooked while we were stirring the risotto.

The risotto, however, turned out perfectly, and I’ve made it frequently for holidays or meals when I needed a serious WOW factor ever since.

Champagne Risotto

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3 cups champagne, divided
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (shred the cheese yourself, from a block)
kosher salt, to taste
parmesan curls and fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

In a large, heavy stockpot, swirl the olive oil and butter; melt together over medium-low heat. When the oil is fragrant and the butter begins to bubble, add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the rice, stirring and cooking for about 4 minutes.

Add in 1 cup champagne to deglaze the pan. Turn heat to medium, and stir the rice constantly as it absorbs the liquid. Cook until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add the second cup of champagne and follow the same procedure. Repeat with the third cup.

Add the chicken broth in the same way, a cup at a time, stirring and cooking until the vast majority of the liquid is absorbed.

If your rice is too firm, add two cups of water, one at a time; stir until the rice is cooked al dente and all the liquid is creamy.

Right before serving, turn heat to low; stir in the cheese and salt. Serve immediately with curls of parmesan cheese and fresh thyme leaves.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 713, Calories from Fat: 238, Fat: 26 g (13 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 56 mg, Sodium: 1148 mg, Potassium: 267 mg, Carbohydrates: 62 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Protein: 27 g.

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Shop the Sale: New Year’s Brisket

New Year’s BrisketI probably say this every year, but I didn’t really know about New Year’s Day traditions until I was grown and out of the house. All of that to say, my family didn’t have the same traditions as most southerners experience.

In the South, we eat black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and brisket on New Year’s Day, so today is the perfect day to shop the sale items in preparation of the new year.

Peas represent coins, for prosperity in 2017. Greens also symbolize money; cook them up with pork (ham or bacon) to represent that pigs root forward (meaning that you’ll get ahead in the new year). In days gone by, our ancestors killed a fatted calf for a show of prosperity, thus the brisket.

New Year’s Day Brisket

2 Tbs chili powder
2 Tbs salt
2 Tbs Worcestershire powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 tsp dry mustard
1 bay leaf, crushed
4 lbs beef brisket, trimmed
1 1/2 cups beef stock

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Combine chili powder, salt, garlic powder and onion powder, Worcestershire powder, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard and bay leaf. Rub brisket with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, and then massage spice rub into the meat. Place in a roasting pan; roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Add beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300° F. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil; continue cooking for 3 hours or until fork-tender.

Trim the fat, and slice meat thinly across the grain.

Serve with black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread.

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 399, Calories from Fat: 119, Fat: 13 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 180 mg, Sodium: 2607 mg, Potassium: 897 mg, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Protein: 62 g.

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Dine In: Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup ‘Twas two days before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except Mom and Dad who were racing around frantically to try to create the perfect Christmas for their family.

Slow down tonight and serve a simple supper that will pave the way for the feasting to come.

This soup is perfect for chillier temperatures. It’s super thick and creamy but without all the added fat (you can save those calories for cookies over the next few days).

Prep this soup for Christmas Eve EVE, and enjoy the evening together by the fireplace. Take a deep breath before the hustle and bustle kicks into high gear.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

5 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 cup carrots, grated
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz reduced fat cream cheese (do not use fat-free)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 (12 oz) can 2% evaporated milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (8 oz) block sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Spray the liner of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place broccoli, carrots, onions and garlic into the bottom of the liner. Top with cream cheese, oregano, nutmeg and chicken stock. Cover; cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 to 6 hours.

Stir in evaporated milk.

Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree about 3/4 of the soup until it’s creamy.

Stir together back in the slow cooker, and cook 10 more minutes or until warmed through. Stir in salt, pepper and grated cheese. Cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 306, Calories from Fat: 176, Fat: 20 g (12 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 64 mg, Sodium: 893 mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 17 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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