Just for Mom: French Toast

Real Fresh, Real Delicious Mother's Day Breakfast 

 
Impress mom with a little something extra special this Mother’s Day—breakfast in bed! This French toast recipe is perfect for showering Mom with love and attention; it’s easy to pull together, quick to clean up, and delicious to dive into.
 

Mother's Day French Toast

Fruit and maple syrup covered French Toast

Ingredients:
      • 8 large slices hearty white sandwich bread
      • 1 ½ cups whole milk, warmed
      • 3 large egg yolks
      • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
      • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (plus additional butter for cooking)
      • ¼ teaspoon table salt
      • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      • Maple syrup for serving
      • Optional: Fresh fruit for serving. Try sliced bananas, strawberries, or blueberries.
Instructions:
      • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
      • Place bread on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
      • Bake bread until almost dry throughout (center should remain slightly moist), about 16 minutes, flipping slices halfway through cooking.
      • Remove bread from rack and let cool 5 minutes.
      • Return baking sheet with wire rack to oven and reduce temperature to 200 degrees for keeping cooked French toast warm. 
      • Whisk milk, yolks, sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons melted butter, salt, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.
      • Transfer mixture to 13- by 9-inch baking pan.
      • Soak bread in milk mixture until saturated but not falling apart, 20 seconds per side.
      • Using slotted spatula, pick up bread slice and allow excess milk mixture to drip off; repeat with remaining slices.
      • Heat ½ tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat.
      • When foaming subsides, use slotted spatula to transfer 2 slices soaked bread to skillet and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
      • Flip and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. 
      • Adjust temperature as needed if cooking too quickly.
      • Transfer to baking sheet in oven to keep warm.
      • Wipe out skillet with paper towels.
      • Repeat cooking with remaining bread, 2 pieces at a time, adding ½ tablespoon of butter for each batch.
      • Serve warm, passing maple syrup separately and fresh fruit on top, as desired. 
(If using an electric griddle, set temperature to about 350 degrees and add 2-3 minutes per side for cooking time)
 
Tip:  Warm milk and butter in microwave together until just long enough to melt the butter, about 45-60 seconds. 
 
Serve with fresh coffee or juice plus a side of fresh fruit to the complete the meal. Make breakfast even more beautiful with fresh flowers and a card from your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers. Your mom will be blown away by your thoughtfulness and your attention to detail. And don’t forget to do the dishes! Happy Mother’s Day!
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get cookin' today! 
 

Angela LarsonAngela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 

Lemony Roasted Artichoke Dip

Real Fresh, Real Delicious Graduation Party Dish

 
Looking for some delectable and easy ideas to celebrate your graduate? Graduation parties are the ultimate finger food feasts. Everyone loves a fresh hot dip from the oven paired with the usual dipping suspects like chips, crackers, salsa, guacamole, and hummus. Try this Lemony Roasted Artichoke Dip recipe that can be prepared up to three days in advance and thrown in the oven just before the guests arrive; it's a grade-A favorite that leaves everyone fighting over the last bite.
 
Bowl of lemony artichoke dip

Lemony Roasted Artichoke Dip

(Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated – Serves 10 to 12)

INGREDIENTS
For the topping:
      • 2 slices white sandwich bread, quartered
      • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
      • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
For the dip:
      • 2 (9-ounce) boxes frozen artichokes (unthawed)
      • 1 tablespoon olive oil
      • Salt and pepper
      • 1 onion, diced
      • 1 cup mayonnaise
      • 4 oz cream cheese, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
      • ½ cup grated Parmesan
      • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
      • Pinch of cayenne powder
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on ingredients & more!
 
DIRECTIONS
For the topping:
      • Pulse the bread in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 6 pulses.
      • Toss the bread crumbs with the Parmesan and butter.
      • Set aside.
For the dip:
      • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.
      • Line a baking sheet with foil.
      • Toss the artichokes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and spread out over the prepared baking sheet.
      • Roast the artichokes, stirring occasionally, until browned at the edges, about 25 minutes.
      • Let the artichokes cool and then chop coarsely.
      • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until just shimmering.
      • Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
      • Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
      • Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.
      • Stir the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice, thyme, and cayenne into the onion mixture until uniform, smearing any lumps of cream cheese against the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
      • Gently fold in the chopped artichokes and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
      • Transfer the mixture to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and smooth the top.
      • Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top.
STORAGE TIP
      • Cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
SERVING TIPS
      • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
      • Unwrap the dip and bake, uncovered, until hot throughout and the bread crumbs are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
      • Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Need some other ideas to round out your party menu? Don’t forget all the amazing options available at your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers, including fresh fruit and veggie platters, graduation cakes, chips, and drinks! 
 
Here’s to the graduates! Let’s celebrate with real fresh, real delicious food!
 
More delightful dips for your end of school get together:
 
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get cookin' today! 

 

Angela Larson

Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 

Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Crawfish Boil

17 Pro Tips, Creative Fixins, Nutritional Fun Facts & More

 
Crawfish season is here! I love that a crawfish boil brings people together in an old-fashioned "food ritual” where everyone participates in the cooking before joining together to eat. The community part of it is almost as much fun as the eating!
 
My husband is from south Louisiana, and he can work through a pile of crawfish in short order. PRO TIP: For veteran crawfish eaters, plan for 4-5 pounds of live crawfish per person. For crawfish-eating amateurs, estimated 2-3 pounds and have plenty of fixins for filling tummies. 
 
A graphic feature with a blue-brick background as well as crawfish and fixins pictured in the corners. The text reads "Live Louisiana Crawfish. Bring on the boil!"
See your local Brookshire Brothers about ordering live Louisiana crawfish!
 
While eating crawfish is mostly about having fun, they're pretty nutritious too! DID YOU KNOW these little critters are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals? Specifically, mudbugs provide B vitamins, folate, vitamin E, and other minerals such as selenium (an antioxidant mineral).
 
Getting creative with the “fixins” can be a wonderful way to make the meal more filling, delicious, colorful, and nutritious. The boiling liquid makes a tasty “stock” that can be used to flavorfully cook a variety of sides. Mesh bags are available for keeping veggies and other sides separated from the crawfish in the boil. Some pros use frozen corn to help cool the water down and allow the crawfish to cook gently.
 
Need some inspiration for the fixins? Try some of these options for a fun and festive crawfish feast. Just remember to add sturdier sides with potatoes at the beginning of the boil and add more delicate veggies later in the cooking process.
 A southern crawfish boil with potatoes, sausage, corn, and other fixins in a large pot.
    • Sausage, especially smoked or andouille varieties
    • Potatoes
    • Garlic bulbs, cut in half
    • Corn on the cob
    • Onions, sliced in half
    • Celery
    • Lemons, cut in half
    • Asparagus
    • Mushrooms
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Fresh green beans
    • Carrots
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on ingredients & more!
 
Let the good times roll! Or, as the Louisiana French migh say "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"
 

First crawfish boil? Here is everything you need to know!

 
Cooking crawfish is an art with many questions: How long do you boil crawfish? How much water do you need? How many pounds of crawfish do you need per person? We're here to help with this guide featuring the Nothing to Mix – Just Pour and Boil recipe from our vendor partner Louisiana Fish FryWith just the right amount of the finest garlic, onion, paprika, and lemon, this powdered boil guarantees a perfect result every time.
 
Before you begin, keep your crawfish fresh in a cooler full of ice. When you're ready to start cooking, rinse them with fresh water.
 
A 16oz packet of Louisiana Fish Fry Crawfish, Shrimp, & Crab Boil SeasoningDIRECTIONS
  • Fill a large pot with enough water to cover seafood. We recommend cooking (and eating) outside using a 19-quart stockpot with an interior basket; alternatively, you can cook smaller batches on the stovetop instead.
  • Add LA Fish Fry Crawfish, Shrimp & Crab Boil and any other fixins. Stir well and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add crawfish. Return to a rolling boil, and boil for 5 minutes.
  • Turn fire or stove off and let the crawfish soak for 15-25 minutes. NOTE: The longer seafood soaks, the spicier it will be.
  • Serve drained crawfish & fixins over a large table covered in newspapers. Keep paper towels handy and use an extra plate or bucket to dispose of the shells.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get cookin' today! 
 

 

Angela Larson

Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 

 
One Chicken, Three Easy Meals

Real Fresh, Real Delicious, and Real Satisfying

 
Need some meal ideas that are protein-rich, veggie-packed, quick-n-portable, and top-of-the-line DELICIOUS? With one roast chicken, you can make all three of these healthy dishes below. Pick up a tasty rotiserrie chicken from your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers or make time over the weekend to slow roast a chicken yourself. From there, try one (or all three) of these crowdpleasing variations for an easy lunch or a no-fuss dinner.
 
Get even more meal mileage out of your chicken with this thrifty and delicious idea: save the chicken bones and scraps (before and after roasting) and add them to a crockpot with water to cover and simmer on low for 24 hours. The result? Real fresh, real delicious chicken bone broth for a soup later in the week!
 
Someone carving a delicious roast chicken
 

Slow-Roasted Extra Juicy Whole Chicken

Note: I used red pepper flakes and fennel seeds for a hint of spice and an herby flavor, but it tastes great with just salt and pepper or any spice mix of your choosing.
 
Ingredients
1 whole chicken, giblets removed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
(Optional) ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
(Optional) 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
 

Feeling adventurous? Here are three more takes on roast chickenMediterranean Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme, Peruvian Roast Chicken with Cilantro and Jalapeño Sauce, Balsamic Roast Chicken and Potatoes

 
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rub chicken all over with extra virgin olive oil. Generously season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on added seasoning, as desired.
  • Roast, breast side up for 70-90 minutes, until breast registers 160 degrees on a thermometer.
  • Let cool and shred meat. Shredded meat may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

A coconut wrap filled with veggies and turkeyDouble Protein Veggie Wrapper’s Delight

Ingredients
Wraps, such as tortilla, pita, etc. (I used coconut wraps for a grain-free option)
Turkey slices
Guacamole (I love the single serving cups for individual wraps)
Spring mix lettuce
Shredded carrots or broccoli carrot slaw
Sugar snap peas, split in half
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Shredded chicken pieces
Salad dressing (as desired)
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
Directions
  • Assemble wraps by placing turkey on top of wrap following by guacamole, lettuce, shredded carrots, snap peas, shredded chicken, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Drizzle with salad dressing if desired.
  • Roll up and take a walk while you eat!

Garden Salad with Shredded Chicken and Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients
Spring mix lettuce or baby spinach
Cherry tomatoes
Shredded carrots
Fresh broccoli cut into small pieces
Shredded chicken
Pine nuts, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or chopped pecans
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
 
For another option, check out this Crunchy Asian Chopped Salad recipe previously featured in "Cooking with Kate: Take the Labor Out of Labor Day, PART II"
 
Directions
    • Assemble salad with lettuce and vegetables, topping with chicken and nuts, as desired. Add black pepper to salad as desired.
    • To prepare dressing, add equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil to a mason jar with a pinch of salt, seal tightly with lid and shake until emulsified.
    • Drizzle salad with dressing and serve.

A delicious looking plate of chicken salad on lettuceSweet and Crunchy Chicken Salad

Ingredients
Shredded chicken, chopped fine
Golden raisins
Dates, pitted and chopped
Pecans, toasted and chopped fine
Mayonnaise
Applesauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lettuce, tortillas, bread, or other wrap for serving
 
Directions
Mix shredded chicken, golden raisins, dates, and pecans in a bowl (proportioned as desired).
Add mayonnaise and a spoon full of applesauce for sweetness and stir until desired consistency is achieved.
Serve.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get cookin' today! 
 

 

Angela Larson

Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 

 
Buffalo Chicken & Blue Cheese BBQ Flatbread Pizza

Real Fresh, Real Delicious Game Day Food

 
Looking for the perfect crowd-pleaser that looks fancy, tastes delicious, and comes together in a snap? These flavorful little flatbreads are the answer to your watch party prayers! They're also a great, kid-friendly option for a quick dinner on busy nights, and they can be customized to your heart's delight.
 
For the flatbread, check out the bakery section of your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers. I use Stonefire Tandoori Naan flatbreads for the pizza crust, but any kind of pita flatbread would work. For little pizzas, look for the smaller-sized flatbread or just cut the regular-sized bread into bite-sized pieces. Kick up the nutritional value another notch by using naan that's whole wheat!
 
Read more: No time? No problem. Check out the party trays from our deli.
 

Buffalo Chicken & Blue Cheese BBQ Flatbread Pizza 

A prepared shot of the Buffalo Chicken & Blue Cheese BBQ Flatbread Pizza before it goes into the oven.

 
INGREDIENTS
Naan, Pita, or any other flatbread in desired size
Barbecue Sauce
Shredded cheese (I use cheddar)
Celery, chopped fine
Chicken, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces (rotisserie chicken works well or some chicken breasts that have been fully cooked)
Frank's Original Hot Sauce (or other favorite wing sauce)
Blue Cheese Crumbles
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
DIRECTIONS 
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Toss cooked chicken in Frank's hot sauce until coated.  
  • Assemble pizzas by spreading barbecue sauce on the flatbread, sprinkling evenly with shredded cheese and celery, and topping with chicken and blue cheese. 
  • Place pizzas on baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted.  Serve warm, drizzling with additional hot sauce as desired.
 More easy & epic crowd pleasers:
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all big game needs! 
  

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
Have Yourself A Healthy Little Christmas

Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Roast Chicken

 
Looking for a Christmas dinner that’s a little different from the traditional fare but just as special and delicious? Try a variation of one of my go-to nutritious dishes—roast chicken and potatoes! This meal is even better when it’s prepped a day ahead, which can ease some of your stress with all the holiday hustle and bustle. When it’s chow time, all you have to do is throw the feast in the oven and spend some time with the ones you love. The instructions are the same for each recipe, so pick the variation that suits your holiday mood, fix up the marinade, prep the chicken (up to a day in advance), and let the oven do all the hard work. Easy, healthy, and satisfying!
 
Roast chicken with vegetables and sauce on a festive plate setting. 
For a bigger crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled with the chickens placed side by side on the same large sheet pan. While the chicken is resting after coming out of the oven, I like to work on a family-favorite all-purpose side dish: roasted cauliflower. Quick and simple, all this takes is fresh or frozen cauliflower pieces plus a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I put the veggies in the oven to roast at 475℉ for 20-25 minutes until the tips are caramelized and golden brown. And that’s it! Dinner is served.
 
Cheers to real fresh, real delicious food with the ones you love! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 
A shot looking down on a plate of roast chicken with vegetables and a green sauce, plated in a festive way.
 
DIRECTIONS FOR ALL VARIATIONS
  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken and potatoes in a food processor or blender and blend, scraping down sides as needed, until a thin paste forms, about 30 seconds.  
  2. Cut out chicken's backbone with a sharp knife or kitchen shears and open the chicken out flat with skin side up. With your palm, firmly press down the breast area to flatten (you should hear a snap when the breast bone breaks).  Stuff most of the herb paste under skin (separate skin from meat gently with a spoon if needed), and spread remaining marinade all over the rest of the chicken (the easiest way to do this is in a casserole dish). Cover casserole dish and place in the refrigerator to marinate until ready to cook, up to 24 hours. The longer marinade time will make a more flavorful dish.
  3. When ready to begin cooking, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400F. Scatter potatoes evenly on a sheet pan. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with salt pepper to taste. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes.  Pour any excess marinade from chicken over potatoes. Roast 70-90 minutes until the thigh meat reaches 175℉ on an instant read thermometer and the juices run clear.  Check potatoes about halfway through cooking; if pan is dry, add 1/2 cup of water.  
  4. Allow chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. Serve with potatoes and pan juices on the side.  
 

Mediterranean Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme

 
A pan of roasting potatoes next to a bowl of mixed ingredients.
Adapted from The Perfectly Roasted Chicken by Mindy Fox
 
INGREDIENTS
1 3½ to 4 pound chicken
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
 
For the marinade:
1 cup pitted green olives
2 Tbs dried thyme
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs kosher salt (or 1 Tbs table salt)
 
Follow directions above.
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 

Peruvian Roast Chicken with Cilantro and Jalapeno Sauce

A roast chicken fresh out of oven, surrounded by potatoes and marinade  
INGREDIENTS
1 3½ to 4 pound chicken
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
 
For the marinade:
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbs ground black pepper
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs ground cumin
3 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 ½ tsp fresh lime zest
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 habanero chile, seeds and ribs removed (use gloves when handling)
1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed and chopped coarse
2 Tbs kosher salt (or 1 Tbs table salt)
 
Follow directions above.
 
 

Cilantro and Jalapeno Sauce

A food blender full of a green sauce.
 
Ingredients
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ sour cream
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
½ cup jarred pickled jalapenos (mild variety is best)
2 tsp pickled jalapeno juice
1 medium bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems (use entire bunch)
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon of kosher salt)
 
Instructions for sauce:

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender for about 1 minute until all ingredients are smooth and well blended. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve with Peruvian chicken.

  


Balsamic Roast Chicken and Potatoes

A seasoned roasting chicken with a pan of roasting potatoes in the background 
Adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper
 
INGREDIENTS
1 3½ to 4 pound chicken
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
For the marinade:
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped coarse
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tightly packed cup of fresh basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 slices of bacon or pancetta, chopped
1/2 cup high quality balsamic vinegar (thicker, well-aged varieties are best)
2 Tbs kosher salt (or 1 Tbs table salt)
 
Follow directions above.
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all holiday needs! 
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Harvest Muffins
Looking for the perfect homemade gift that is sure to make the season merry, bright, AND delicious? Try gifting scrumptious and moist muffins that are freezer friendly for a quick breakfast or a perfect pairing with a cup of coffee for chilly mornings. Muffins are the perfectly portable crowd-pleasing present.
 
Banana nut muffins are one of my favorite varieties, but for something a little extra special, try this recipe for Harvest Muffins that have a delicious and nutritious secret—they are sweetened with sweet potato instead of any added sugars! Sweet potato adds natural sweetness and extra nutrition in every bite. I hope you make a double batch for you and as a gift to a loved one this holiday season! Merry Christmas!!
 
Need more ideas? Give the gift of food with these five fun and easy suggestions featured last Christmas! 
 

Harvest Muffins

(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

Several delicious looking muffins cooling on a rack
Bringing Baking Back: Make memories in the kitchen this holiday season with recipes, savings, and more! 
 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1¼ cups dried cranberries or cherries
    • ¾ cup pecans, toasted and chopped fine
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ¾ cup apple cider
    • 2/3 cup buttermilk
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
    • ½ teaspoon table salt
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 ¼ cups peeled and shredded sweet potato (about 1 small potato)
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with parchment liners or grease well. Finely chop ¼ cup cranberries and combine with ¼ cup toasted pecans. Set aside for topping.
  2. Melt butter in a 10-inch stainless skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.Cook, stirring pan constantly until has a nutty aroma and is dark golden brown, another 1 minute or so.Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk apple cider, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest into the browned butter until smooth. In a separate large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and cloves together. Using rubber spatula, stir the butter mixture until combined.Fold in sweet potato and remaining 1 cup cranberries and remaining ½ cup pecans.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups and sprinkle with reserved topping mixture.Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached but no wet batter.Rotate muffin tin halfway through baking.
  5. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before turning them out of muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.Serve.
 
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all holiday needs! 
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
No-Fuss Side Dishes (Plus a Fun Dessert!)
I love Thanksgiving-style sides so much that I cook them year-round. Why not? Everyone needs healthy, delicious, no-fuss side dishes that can please the whole family. As you’ll soon see, oven roasting is my absolute favorite way to prepare any vegetable. It can bring out their magical qualities enough to lure even the wariest eaters to the table. Even better, roasting veggies means I can toss them in a hot oven while I’m working on something else. A giant piece of foil on the sheet pan makes clean-up a cinch too.
 
So, here’s the run-down on my family’s go-to Thanksgiving sides (plus a special dessert).
 

Roasted Veggies

Roast your green beans instead of casserolizing them this year (“casserolizing” is my new word contribution to English language—you’re welcome). If you prefer another veggie over green beans (Brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.), this roasting recipe will still do the trick; your choice greens will come out of the oven spotty brown with a few crisp edges. Yum. Top the roasted vegetables with a little chopped bacon (cooked) or a sprinkle of cheese, and you’ll be in side dish heaven. 
This is more of a method than an exact recipe, so have fun with it and enjoy!
 
A bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts
 
INGREDIENTS
    • Brussels sprouts, fresh green beans, or asparagus—trimmed and washed (amount can vary based on needs but it should still be able to fit in a single layer on a large sheet pan)
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Optional toppings: chopped pecans or walnuts, parmesan cheese, chopped cooked bacon
DIRECTIONS
    • Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Cover a large sheet pan with heavy-duty foil. 
    • Take prepped veggies and place them on the sheet pan with a good drizzle of olive oil for a light coating. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add other seasonings and spices as desired.
    • Place veggies in the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes. 
    • Optional (if you’d like them to be even more browned): Before removing from the oven, turn the broiler on high and place on top rack for a minute or two. Watch closely as they turn even more spotty brown and caramelized. 
    • Top with any other optional toppings and serve immediately. 
Pro Tip: Sometimes it works best to place veggies on very bottom rack for first 10 minutes of cooking time and then move to very top rack of oven for last 10 minutes of cooking to help brown both top and bottom, but this is optional. Check on veggies toward the end of cooking time and look for them to have little brown spots.
 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Any time I get sweet potato duty for Thanksgiving, roasted sweet potatoes are my go-to recipe. The prep is a breeze, and they come out caramelized on the outside while still creamy on the inside. Moreover, they’re perfectly delicious left as is, or you can jazz them up even further with a drizzle of maple syrup, fresh herbs, or chopped pecans. You can also easily substitute with butternut squash for another spin on this delicious recipe.
 
Several sweet potatoes on a cutting board with some slices and a knife
 
INGREDIENTS
    • 5 pounds of sweet potatoes (about 8 medium potatoes)
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt
    • Pepper, to taste
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
DIRECTIONS
This recipe starts in a cold oven.
    • Peel potatoes (or scrub well) and trim ends. Cut into ¾ inch thick rounds. 
    • Toss potatoes in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste until evenly coated. Line an 18- by 13-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray (my favorite is coconut oil spray). Arrange potatoes in a single layer on two baking sheets, dotting evenly with pieces of butter, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and place potatoes in cold oven. Turn oven to 425 degrees and cook potatoes 30 minutes.
    • Remove baking sheets from oven and carefully remove top layer of foil. Return potatoes to oven and cook until bottom edges of potatoes are golden brown (reversing and rotating pans halfway through cooking time), 15 to 25 minutes. 
    • Remove baking sheets from oven and, using a thin metal spatula, flip slices over. Continue to roast until the bottom edges of the potatoes are golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let potatoes cool 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to platter and serve.
    • Optional toppings: If desired, drizzle lightly with real maple syrup, chopped toasted pecans, or fresh/dried thyme leaves, to taste.

Five Cup Fruit Salad

This super simple fruit salad is a family favorite recipe. Everyone is always fighting for the last serving, and the best part is it’s portable, healthy, and oh-so-easy to make. We always double (or triple) the recipe to make it go a little further and help settle any fights over who gets the last spoonful.
 
A young girl enjoying fruit salad at the table
 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1 cup drained pineapple chunks
    • 1 cup grapes (any variety)
    • 1 cup mandarin orange segments, canned or fresh
    • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
    • 1 cup sour cream (regular or light) 
Read more: Check out this Honey Lime Fruit Salad recipe too (as featured in a recent Cooking with Kate post).
 
DIRECTIONS
    • Mix together all ingredients and serve.

Pecan Pie with Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar

Dessert is always a highly anticipated part of any Thanksgiving celebration. This dietitian isn’t going to tell you to skip the dessert table because that’s just cruel. Instead, what I recommend is to contribute a delicious dessert made of real fresh, real delicious ingredients from your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers. Above all, enjoy your dessert fully without any guilt. There’s a time and a place for restraint and Thanksgiving ain’t it. 
 
My favorite recipe is a pecan pie that skips corn syrup in favor of brown sugar and maple syrup. The flavors are out of this world.
 
A delicious homemade pecan pie in a glass dish. 

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen “Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie”

 
INGREDIENTS
    • 1 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon regular molasses
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups toasted and chopped pecans
    • One 9-inch unbaked pie shell, chilled in the pie plate for 30 minutes
Read more: What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? Try these tricks from Catering Coordinator Kate Rudasill.
 
DIRECTIONS
    • Make Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat sugar, syrup, cream, and molasses in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Whisk butter and salt into syrup mixture until combined. Whisk in egg yolks until incorporated.
    • Bake Pie: Scatter pecans in pie shell. Carefully pour filling over. Place pie in hot oven (on a sheet pan covered with foil in case of spills) and immediately reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until filling is set and the center jiggles slightly when pie is gently shaken (45 to 60 minutes). Cool pie on rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until set (about 3 hours and up to 1 day). Bring to room temperature before serving.
    • Serve: Serve with homemade whipped cream and go to dessert heaven.
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all your Thanksgiving needs!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
The Trick to Handling the Treats
Halloween is serious business for the little ones. After they don the perfect costume, they are ready to hit the neighborhood in search of some tasty treats. Since Halloween only happens once a year, it's fun to indulge a little and eat some of that hard-earned candy. Help your little ones avoid a tummy ache by taking advantage of kids' innate ability to regulate their appetites. One of the easiest ways is a well-timed and nutritious snack before heading out to trick-or-treat. Young children tend to naturally regulate their appetites, so they will usually slow down on eating sweets if they begin to feel overly full. Here are some of my favorite snack ideas to help!
 
A group of three trick-or-treaters walking down the driveway
 
  • Turkey and cheese roll-ups (Turkey mummies, if you will!)
  • Fruit of any kind, but especially easy finger foods like grapes, oranges, apple slices, or bananas
  • Yogurt cups
  • Cheese sticks of all kinds (There are tons of different flavors to choose from at your local Brookshire Brothers!)
  • Cucumber slices with a little vinegar, salt, and pepper
  • Cinnamon toast with butter on whole wheat bread
  • Or see some of my favorite grab-and-go snack options here!
And if you're looking for some unique options with a healthy twist to pass out in your neighborhood this Halloween, try some of these ideas. 
 
  • Fruit snacks and gummies, especially with natural flavors and colors (These fruit-filled recipes are frightfully good—and healthy!)
  • Inexpensive trinkets such as stickers, temporary tattoos, or bouncy balls
  • Simple chocolates
  • 100% fruit juice in small boxes or pouches
  • Snack-sized bags of freeze dried fruit, raisins, or pretzels (Another wicked-good snack to try: Rice Krispies Treats with fall flavors and fun topping ideas!)
  • Small bags of pre-popped popcorn (Make your scary movie night really pop with these three fun popcorn recipes!)
 
Read more: Don't miss Angela's other nine tips for keeping Halloween healthy
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 
 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious: Spice It Up
As seen in Charm East Texas
 
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and it's time to commemorate the occasion this Columbus Day! When Columbus set sail, one of his primary aims was to locate the "spice islands" along the Asian coast; exotic spices were rare and valuable commodities in those days. Columbus may have missed the mark in his search for the spice islands (landing on Cuba instead!), but in its place he discovered a whole new world where culinary inspiration awaited.
 
Spices are a quintessential component in the diversity of food and culture all around the world. In honor of Columbus Day this year, let's do a little of our own exploring and celebrate the diverse world of spices with all their delicious culinary magic.  They were magical enough to make Columbus sail across the ocean to find them, but luckily they are as easy to find as a quick trip to your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers.  
 
Cinnamon sticks with cinnamon powder on wooden background
 

15 Flavorful Facts On Spices 

  • All spices are rich in various types of antioxidants, making them a tasty way to bolster the body’s defenses against different diseases and illnesses.  
  • Those living in hot climates tend to cook with more spices because the spices inhibit spoilage.  Taste preferences are passed on genetically, and those who eat the most seasoned food tend to be healthiest, live longer, and have more offspring. 
  • Herbs come from the leaves of plants while spices are produced from other parts (bark, buds, roots, seeds, etc).  Some herbs and spices with very different flavors can come from the same plant, such as cilantro leaves and coriander seeds.
Charred Chile & Corn Salsa Recipe: Who doesn’t love cilantro?
 
  • The best all-around anti-microbial spices are thyme, cinnamon, tarragon, and cumin.  Spicy chilies and hot peppers kill up to 75% of bacteria, while black pepper, ginger, celery seed, and lemon juice kill about 25% of bacteria.  
  • Some spices—especially cinnamon and garlic—appear to have a pronounced beneficial effect on blood lipids, making them a good choice for heart health.  
  • Nutmeg and mace come from the same seed, but nutmeg is the seed while mace is the lacy reddish covering on the seed. Mace has a similar flavor to nutmeg but is slightly more pungent.
Get cooking: Fall in love with this winter squash recipe—featuring nutmeg and other herbs!
 
  • Fenugreek can safely help increase milk supply in nursing mothers.  
  • Saffron threads are stigmas from flowers cultivated in the Middle East. The flowers bloom for only one week of the year, and each flower produces only three threads that must be hand-harvested; it’s no wonder that saffron is expensive!  Saffron has a unique flavor that adds a distinctive and sophisticated touch to dishes. 
  • Oregano has strong anti-microbial properties, improves blood sugar, kills cancer cells, and can even function as a powerful antiseptic used in food packaging and the medical industry.
Wooden Spoon with shredded Oregano
Feelin’ chili: Oregano puts the comfort in this cold-weather recipe
 
  • Researchers in Brazil found an antioxidant in parsley, thyme, chamomile, and red pepper that improves neuron formation and strengthens the connections between brain cells.
  • Historically, spices were a valuable currency for trade. They were prized for not just food seasoning, but also medical purposes.  Many modern pharmaceuticals are based on compounds originally found in spices and plants.
  • Cinnamon has many benefits including blood sugar management, anti-microbial properties, heart benefits, cancer prevention, and even brain-boosting properties.
Think cinnamon: ‘Tis the season for apple butter!
 
  • Cayenne and other spicy peppers have been shown to increase metabolic rate and aid weight loss. Spicy peppers also aid digestion and have been shown to cut cancer risk.   
  • Turmeric contains powerful antioxidants that work well as an anti-inflammatory and can even act as an alternative to traditional over-the-counter pain relievers. With a slightly pungent and sweet flavor, Tumeric is very popular in Indian cuisine.  Its vibrant golden hue works well as a natural alternative to food coloring—you might just see it in organic macaroni and cheese! 
  • Foods that are well-seasoned can be more palatable with less salt.  Before reaching for the saltshaker, see first that your food is seasoned well with herbs, spices, and something sour such as vinegar or lemon juice. These alternatives can enhance a salty flavor without adding more salt.  
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to find your spice!
 

 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
 

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