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. 
 
Real Fresh, Real Delicious Charred Chile and Corn Salsa
In the mood for something sweet, salty, and a little spicy?  I have just the thing to satisfy cravings for all things fresh, simple, and delicious—Charred Chile and Corn Salsa! Whether you’re tailgating with friends or enjoying #TacoTuesday with family, this corn salsa is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Plus, it’s easy and quick to prepare, and it’s a great way to enjoy seasonal produce!
 

Charred Chile and Corn Salsa

A hand reaching into a clear bowl of salsa
 
Ingredients
2 ears fresh corn, husked
1 poblano or hatch chile - Catch more hatch chile recipes on the blog!
2 large tomatoes or 3 medium, cored and chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, chopped fine (optional)
½ red onion, chopped fine
½ teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbs fresh lime juice
Pepper to taste
Tortilla chips for serving
 
Salsa ingredients on a wooden background (corn, hatch chile, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and lime)
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
Directions
  • Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over chopped tomatoes and place in a fine mesh strainer to drain excess juice while preparing the rest of the recipe.
  • Place the fresh ears of corn and whole chile in a large cast iron or stainless skillet over high heat, turning occasionally until corn is charred in places and chile is blistered all over, about 10-14 minutes.  Reduce heat as needed to prevent scorching.  
  • Allow corn and chile to cool for a few minutes, then slice corn kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.  Remove the stem, core, and seeds from the chile, and roughly chop.  
  • Discard tomato juice.  In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, corn, chile, and all remaining ingredients (except chips) and stir gently to mix.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
Visit your local Brookshire Brothers for all your real fresh, real delicious ingredients!
 

 
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. 
 
 
 
Creating a Family Food Culture
As seen in Charm East Texas.
 
Nothing brings people together quite like a great meal.  Whether there’s an occasion to celebrate or the meal itself is the occasion, eating is a universally human activity that builds bonds in the company of others. A special occasion without the food wouldn’t feel as special. Within a family, the dinner table can be a powerful tool to help children learn about life, community, and eating well.
 
Shared family meals can help children of all ages learn what and how they should eat.  The right family food culture can create a safe and familiar place where kids may (eventually) be willing to try unfamiliar foods.  It takes time and persistence to craft a family food culture, but it is well worth the effort.  Every household can create their own unique food culture, complete with their own expectations, traditions, and special memories.  There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it—only a way that works for each family.
 
Happy family enjoying lunch while kids playing.
 

SHARE A MEAL TOGETHER

A great place to start is simply to make an effort to eat together (without electronic distractions). Joining together for a meal builds respect and shows each person how they are a valued member of the family.  Not every meal needs to be shared, of course, since this is neither practical nor necessary, but intentionally sharing at least some meals together lays the groundwork for breaking through barriers of picky eating, communication issues, and behavioral expectations.  
In my family, we choose to eat dinner together almost every night of the week.  Even when we occasionally bring home takeout, we still maintain the ritual of sitting down together and having a meal.  The television is off, phones aren’t allowed, and there’s often pleasant music playing in the background to help everyone feel calm and content.
 
Let's do family pizza night! Pick up a frozen pizza and customize it with your own combinations.
 
Our children have joined us consistently at the dinner table before they were old enough to understand why, and this in turn has created an environment of expectation.  Every night it’s the same: sit down together and share a meal where we all eat the same food. There is no short order cooking for dinner; the question “What do you want to eat?” is nonexistent. We all eat together, which means we all eat some form of the same foods. 
This has worked well for coaxing our sometimes-ornery three-year-old to eat most everything we eat. If we eat something she doesn’t particularly care for, she can choose to eat it anyway or go to bed a little hungry and eat more for breakfast the next day. Ninety-seven percent of the time she decides just to eat whatever it is that we are having.
 
Shot of an adorable little girl having breakfast with her mother at home
 

MODIFY THE FOOD TALK

Our family food culture also pays close attention to the way we talk about food. It’s easy to entertain criticisms that can be very damaging to the way children think about food.  In my family, we focus on never talking negatively about real food, even in a joking manner. We avoid using words like yucky or gross, and instead we choose to focus on framing foods as delicious and yummy before drilling down about the specific attributes that we like.
  
We stay away from categorizing food as healthy or unhealthy; rather, we focus on how some things are special treats should only be eaten occasionally (or we might get a tummy ache).  We use the same descriptive words for broccoli as we do for cupcakes—yummy and delicious!  Kids don’t usually get excited to eat broccoli when you tell them it’s healthy, but they might eat it when you tell them it’s delicious, buttery, and cheesy.
 
Mother and son doing the dishes together. They are talking and laughing as the boy washes and the mother dries dishes.
  

LET EVERYONE HELP

Another important piece of my family’s food culture is the cooking process.  My three-year-old often “helps” me cook, a source of wonderful encouragement for her to be a more adventurous and eager eater (even when it exercises all my patience). Allowing your kids to participate in the cooking process, even if they make a mess, will help develop competence and confidence in cooking and eating. My daughter started out just watching me cook, and I’d explain things to her before she’d run off after a minute or two.  Now, I always ask her if she’d like to help me, and we try to make her feel like an important part of cooking, setting the table, or cleaning up after dinner.
 
Essentially, we are trying to create an environment where eating all different kinds of foods, mostly homemade and from scratch, is normal everyday behavior.  Conversely, eating processed foods and “junk” food is not normal and it is only an occasional occurrence; however, we don’t forbid all treats because that seems to make them more desirable.  Even if we don’t categorize foods as being “junk” versus “wholesome” that often, it is more about creating an environment of balanced normality.
  

BE PATIENT

While my family most certainly doesn’t do everything “right”—and we definitely have our fair share of mealtime battles—our three year old is a great eater who only knows that all food is yummy and tastes delicious.  She’s never heard anything else from us.  Even if we don’t love a food, we try not to let on.  We may even cook things we don’t love periodically because we want all foods to be tried and accepted.
  
At first, it can be difficult to create a better family food culture, especially if older kids are complaining about certain things, so start small.  Maybe start by banning the words yucky or gross.  Remind them often that we don’t use those words when we talk about food; remind them instead that all food is yummy.  Even if it doesn’t sink in right at first, don’t worry, the seeds sown often take time to root and fully develop.
 
So, eat something yummy with someone you love and make it a habit you won’t regret.
 

 
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 Brilliant Breakfast Ideas

• 11 Kid-Friendly Healthy Options for the Morning Menu • 

 
As summer winds down and schedules start filling up again, a fresh rotation of healthy breakfast ideas can make a great start to everybody’s day. Here are some of my favorite choices for keeping energy levels up and spirits high with the early mornings and busy days ahead.
 
Back to school items laid out flat in a ring around a banana.
 

Cereal

If you’re a fan of breakfast cereal, look for options that are low in sugar. You can always sweeten it with healthier alternatives, such as honey and fresh fruit mixed with plain Cheerios. Granola-style cereals are another filling and nutritious option with plenty of flavor combinations to mix it up.  
 

Bacon, Sausage, and Biscuits

Need a little down-home southern style breakfast to lift your spirits?  There’s a great selection of bacon, sausage, and biscuits at your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers to help you create a breakfast feast that is sure to please. I like to make little breakfast sandwiches with bacon, egg, cheese, and a biscuit; they're portable and delicious!
 

Breakfast Tacos 

Everybody loves breakfast tacos. With so many different options for fillings, you’re sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Refried beans, cooked potatoes, shredded cheese, tomatoes, salsa, chorizo, sausage, or bacon—there’s no shortage of fillings (or happy feelings).
 
Banana muffins on a cooling rack
 

Eggs

Eggs are the quintessential breakfast superstar—and for good reason! Whether scrambled, fried, poached, boiled, or even baked, they are packed with protein, heaps of vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day. Not to mention, they’re carb-free! Even better, eating eggs provides a great opportunity to get some greens into your morning routine; eggs pair well with a wide range of veggies including chiles, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, avocados, and more. In particular, one of the easiest way to add veggies to your eggs is to keep some salsa hand for a flavorful combination on the ready! Lastly, if there's only time for a grab-and-go breakfast, boiled eggs are a great option.
 

Easy Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another filling and nutritious breakfast option! I cook mine with milk for more rib-sticking power. Try this basic recipe:
 
Use twice the amount of milk as oatmeal (for example, ½ cup oatmeal and 1 cup milk), a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a handful of raisins, and a a drizzle of real maple syrup to sweeten. Put on the stove over medium heat until it simmers, turn it off for a minute or two, and eat!  For a decadent finish, try a splash of heavy cream for some healthy fat to help fill tummies for long busy days.  
 

Grits

For a savory hot breakfast cereal, try some delicious cooked grits with a pat of butter, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. That’s as real fresh, real simple, and real delicious as it gets! 
 

Muffins

If you’re in need of more portable breakfast options, a big batch of muffins can be just the ticket. Muffins freeze well too, so make extra and keep a stash in the freezer for busy days ahead. Try my favorite banana nut muffin recipe for the ultimate portable breakfast.
 

A green smoothie in a mason jarSmoothies

Smoothies are one of the most versatile breakfast options since so many different things can work in a smoothie. Keep a variety of frozen and fresh fruit on hand. Freeze overripe bananas for an ever-ready smoothie ingredient. For the liquid component, I like options with protein such as milk, nut milk, yogurt, and even kefir (a dairy-based probiotic drink). Extra flourishes can be added like coconut oil, coconut flakes, chia or flax seeds. For more veggie power, check out this green smoothie recipe
 

Toast

If you enjoy toast, focus on fun combinations like peanut butter with banana, butter with cinnamon, or avocado with egg.
 

Waffles

I always keep a stock of frozen waffles on hand as a quick option that can be popped in the toaster and ready in minutes. My neighborhood Brookshire Brothers has a great selection of frozen waffles to make shopping easy. Some of my family’s favorites are Nature’s Path Organic and Van’s gluten-free waffles. You can also prepare an extra batch of homemade waffles (and pancakes!) to freeze and reheat another morning. Keep real maple syrup and butter on hand for wholesome and delicious finishing touches!
 

Yogurt

Yogurt is a fantastic all-in-one food that has a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to keep energy levels stable, not to mention the healthy probiotic bacteria that's wonderful for digestion as well! Keep big tubs of plain yogurt and toppings on hand such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts and seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower seeds), dried coconut, granola, muesli, chia or flax seeds for healthy omega-3 fats, and honey to sweeten it up.  
 
And to celebrate both breakfast and the arrival of Hatch Chile season, try this family favorite recipe for ooey-gooey cheesy baked egg goodness with a little Hatch Chile flair.
 

Hatch Chile Baked EggsA serving of breakfast casserole on a plate

 
Ingredients
6 eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons powdered mustard
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 Hatch or poblano chile, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and diced
 
Toppings as desired: salsa, avocado, sour cream
 
 
Don't forget to check your weekly ad or the latest digital coupons for extra savings on the ingredients!
 
 
Directions
    • Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease an 8-inch square casserole dish.  
    • In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Stir in the flour, mustard, baking powder, and salt.  Stir in all the cheese, butter, and diced chile and mix until incorporated.  
    • Pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and the center is firm.  Serve warm with toppings as desired.
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to get started 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. 
 

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