Make-Ahead Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Heat oven to 375ºF. Pierce sweet potatoes with fork to allow steam to escape. Bake about 45 minutes or until tender.
- Cut thin lengthwise slice from each potato; carefully scoop out inside of potato, leaving a thin shell. Mash potatoes in a large bowl until no lumps remain. Beat in sour cream and milk. Beat in brown sugar, butter, and salt until potatoes are light and fluffy.
- Place shells in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Fill shells with potato mixture. Cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours.
- Heat oven to 400ºF. Bake uncovered about 25 minutes or until potato mixture is golden brown. If baking filled shells immediately after mashing potatoes, bake about 20 minutes.
Slow-Cooker Chive-and-Onion Creamed Corn
- Place a slow cooker liner inside a 5 to 6½ quart slow cooker bowl. Make sure that the liner fits snugly against the bottom and sides of the bowl, and pull the top of the liner over the rim of the bowl.
- In a 12 inch nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon.
- Mix corn, bell pepper, milk, butter, sugar, salt, pepper and half of the bacon in the cooker. Refrigerate the remaining bacon.
- Cover and cook on a High heat setting for 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- Stir in cream cheese. Cook on a High heat setting for 10 more minutes. Stir well and then sprinkle with remaining bacon. Corn can be kept warm on a Low heat setting for up to 1 hour.
Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Heat oven to 300°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening or cooking spray. Wrap foil around pan to catch drips. In a small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom and 1 inch up the side of the pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until just smooth and creamy; do not overbeat. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, until just blended. Spoon 3 cups of the cream cheese mixture into pan; spread evenly.
- Stir pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into remaining cream cheese mixture; mix with wire whisk until smooth. Spoon over mixture in pan.
- Bake 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until edges are set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved.
- Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack. Without releasing the side of the pan, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes. Cover loosely; refrigerate at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
- Run knife around the edge of the pan to loosen cheesecake again; carefully remove the side of the pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Store cheesecake covered in refrigerator.
Nine New Foods and Drinks to Try this Month
This probiotic fermented tea is a totally fresh way to get your daily dose of healthy bacterial goodness. This probiotic bacteria can do beneficial wonders for your gut and immune system. Better yet, kombucha is a perfect alternative to soda because it is bubbly, tangy, low in carbohydrate, and comes in a variety of flavors.
These grains and seeds have recently become trendy, but, ironically, their consumption was common before the advent of modern food production. Because grains are actually just seeds, they can be soaked and sprouted prior to consumption. Sprouting unleashes a seed’s potential because they keep their nutrition stores locked up until germination—a process that sends a signal to the seed to release the nutrients needed to grow a plant. Sprouting thus increases digestibility and the availability of nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C, and even protein. Most of these nutrients are hard to get enough of—especially for those with limited meat intake—which makes sprouts extra beneficial. These foods—rice, wheat, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and a variety of others—are “sprouting” up regularly now, so give them a try!
So maybe you tried radishes once or even twice, and you subsequently wrote them off as something on the “don’t like” list. Please, TRY THEM AGAIN. You see, radishes are not the kind of thing you should just bite into and decide whether you like them. Instead, they belong as a beautiful complement to other foods. Slice radishes thinly and add them to salads for a beautiful pop of color and a zesty crunch with a faintly peppery bite. Better yet, toss them in with a batch of roasted veggies. When roasted they lose their peppery bite and become sweet little veggie orbs. Here’s the deal: Olive oil, salt, and pepper + any other roasting veggie of your choice + 425F degrees for about 20 minutes = RADISH MAGIC. You can even throw in the radish leaves with your roasted veggie mashup and they’ll crisp up in the oven to make nicely toasted chips.
Turnips are cooked like potatoes and have a similar flavor, except they’re very low calorie and extremely nutritious. Consider shaking your next soup up with turnips in place of potatoes—and don’t toss the turnip greens! With a little butter, salt, and pepper, sautéed turnip greens make for a delicious side dish. Or, try tossing the greens in your vegetable soup similar to the way you would use spinach. Delicious, nutritious, and thrifty—turnips have it all.
Kefir is a probiotic fermented milk product that is similar in flavor to yogurt, but typically has many more strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. AKA, it’s great for gut health. You can find it in a variety of flavors similar to smoothie drinks. However, be aware that—like yogurt—it often has added sugars, so keep an eye on portion size or choose plain products. A fun twist on kefir is to make it savory rather than sweet by choosing plain kefir and adding salt to taste.
Lentils are nutrition powerhouses. They are an excellent source of protein and rich in a variety of nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, iron, zinc, vitamin K, choline, and the other B vitamins. Lentils are most frequently found in soup recipes, but they can also be used in salads, rice dishes, or standalone side dishes.
Sauerkraut may have a funny name, but it’s definitely a star when it comes to adding a salty crunch to sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, or even as a snack. Fermentation is the simple process of adding salt to the cabbage to create brine; thus, sauerkraut is traditionally made without heat canning. If the right amount of salt is added, the conditions are perfect for the beneficial bacteria naturally present on the vegetable’s surface to multiply and “cure” the cabbage, creating flavorful compounds. The bacteria even improve the nutritional qualities of the cabbage because it can produce nutrients as the cabbage cures. Fermented sauerkraut that has never been heated retains its wonderful probiotic qualities, plus it’s crispier than canned or cooked varieties. Better yet, you can even find different flavors, such as my favorite— Farmhouse Cultures Smoked Jalapeno Sauerkraut.
Okay, so most people like butter, so it shouldn’t be a big ask to get you to try a new brand. Kerrygold butter is worth a try because the flavor is rich and the beautiful golden hue is due to the high beta-carotene content of the premium quality milk. Once you taste it, you’ll never look back.
A fall take on a summer favorite.
Rice Krispies Treat Snack Mix
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar until sugar dissolves.
- Add the cereal to a large bowl and toss with the melted butter mixture until all the cereal is coated.
- Add the marshmallow fluff and gently mix into the cereal until most of it is mixed in but you still have small clumps of coated cereal (the rice krispie “treats”).
- Add in ingredients for flavor combinations (see below) or make up your own!
- Chill mix for at least 2 hours before serving (it’s a LOT less messy if you serve it cold) and ENJOY!
Healthy suggestions for making the most of your brain when it's needed most
You may have heard it before, but I’m telling you again omega-3 fats really are good for the brain. Keep your noggin filled with good vibes by eating at least 3-4 oz each week of fatty fish like salmon or sardines. Your dorm mates or coworkers don’t appreciate you microwaving a filet of salmon? No problem. Try ready-to-eat foods like canned sardines instead, or—my favorite—packages of wild caught Alaskan salmon. Slap it on some bread with mayo and a little relish, and you’ve got a full-fledged feast that’s on-the-go convenient. Thank you… your brain says.
Do I really need to give you an excuse to eat chocolate? Chocolate is rich in antioxidants and brain-boosting minerals like iron and magnesium. Best of all, it has a little bit of caffeine to get you through a slow slump, and I would wager that snacking on such a treat would help ease some anxiety (exam-related or otherwise).
Nuts and Seeds
Take your snack a step further by pairing the dark chocolate with some nuts and seeds. When you eat a variety of nuts and seeds, you also get a variety of brain boosting benefits. Case in point: brazil nuts are loaded with the antioxidant selenium; walnuts are rich in omega-3; almonds are full of vitamin E; and pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc and magnesium. Mix up some trail mix and munch away.
Okay, so not exactly a nutrient, but listening to some calming yet stimulating music can help maintain focus—a particularly useful perk during long study sessions. Besides, Mozart was pretty smart, so maybe listening to his music will make you smarter by osmosis.
Coffee or Green Tea
A little caffeine has been shown to improve alertness and mental acuity, so an hour or so before heading into an exam (or, say, a major meeting) have a small cup of coffee or green tea. Be cautious, however, about using caffeine to stay up late to study or work. It may interfere with your much-needed sleep.
One last trick to use is to pop a peppermint into your mouth before the big event (test, meeting, interview, etc). Studies have show that eating a mint is stimulating and can help improve blood flow to the brain.
Cheddar-Bacon-Ranch Layered Dip
- In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese and ranch dressing. Spread in a 9-inch pie plate or other shallow bowl. Sprinkle with bacon, tomato, green onion and cheddar cheese. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours.
- Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.
Don't forget to check out these other game day recipes from Bar-S Foods as well!
A Fall Favorite Recipe: Pumpkin Crumb Muffins with Maple Icing
Pumpkin Crumb Muffins with Maple Icing
Yield: 15 large muffins or 28-30 mini muffins
Ingredients - Muffins
Maple Icing (optional)
You can find all of the ingredients to the ‘Pumpkin Crumb Muffins with Maple Icing’ recipe at a Brookshire Brothers location near you. For Brookshire Brothers location information please visit our location finder page here.
View other recipes from Brookshire Brothers Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill.
Kate Rudasill, Catering Coordinator for Brookshire Brothers, has been in the food-service industry for the past 14 years. As a graduate of Texas A&M University, a student of The Texas Culinary Academy, and a Nacogdoches, Texas native, Kate grew up with Southern tradition in her blood which caused her to have a deep love for bringing people together with food.
Gingered Winter Squash and Fennel Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil — Read more: An Ode to Olive Oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 red onion or shallot, diced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig rosemary
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 winter squash such as butternut (about 3 lbs), peeled, seeded, and diced (to make about 1 ¾ pounds)
1 fennel bulb, diced, reserving fronds for garnish
1 pinch nutmeg
4 ½ cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese (grated)
Reserved fennel fronds
A fun, affordable way to bring the whole neighborhood gang together is to stir up a pot (or two). Soup makes the perfect hearty meal for a casual crowd on a crisp fall day—it requires little fuss, it can be made well in advance, and neighbors can ladle it up themselves. Start up the fire pit or indoor fireplace, pull out a football and a few Frisbees, open your door and welcome the neighbors inside.
- Serve two or three soups for variety, making sure at least one is vegetarian. Offer a creamy soup and a broth-based soup to provide a good flavor balance.
- Prepare your soups a day or two in advance (soups taste better when the flavors have had time to meld) and borrow crock pots so you can warm the soups up in your kitchen the day of.
- For your third soup, consider starting a "stone soup" tradition—a potluck with a twist—where each neighbor contributes a little bit to the empty pot. Invite everyone to bring a basic pantry item or some good scraps from the fridge—cans of chicken broth, leftover veggies, potatoes, chunks of chicken, noodles, rice, herbs, Parmesan cheese. Stir it all together for a true taste of community. Have one of the eldest kids gather the younger ones around to read Marcia Brown’s famous "Stone Soup" book to tie in with the theme.
- To make a simple centerpiece, collect fall leaves from the yard and scatter them around the table and mix them in with the flower arrangements. Fill glass bowls and baskets with apples, and pile up pretty pumpkins and squash.
- Fill a percolator with spiced cider and provide juice boxes for the kids, but ask guests to bring their own beer, wine and libations to contribute to your fridge and coolers.
- Label each soup and set out ladles; make sure everyone’s kids know that serving the hot soup is an "adults only" task.
- Provide small bowls of soup toppings around the table for the garnish lovers. Options might include Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, toasted sunflower seeds, yogurt or sour cream, croutons and fresh herbs. For sides, choose an easy appetizer like a cheese platter and a couple of green salads.
The best part about the entertainment is that you have the run of the block—let the kids dash from yard to yard playing tag and Red Rover. Set out your lawn games and get a game of bocce or touch football going. Light up a fire pit and ask someone to bring a guitar for a sing-along.
Make a big batch of home-baked cookies in fall flavors and send the guests home with brown paper bags filled with the treats.
Turnip the Volume: Vegetable Beef Soup
7-bone steaks or blade steaks- about 2 lbs (2-3 steaks)
2 Tbs Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
6 oz tomato paste (1 small can or jar)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef stock, reduced sodium or homemade
4 cups chicken stock, reduced sodium or homemade
2 stalks celery, small dice
4 medium turnips, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups petite baby carrots
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced (optional)
10 oz frozen corn (1 small bag)
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
2 dried bay leaves
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
2. Add onion and tomato paste to the pot and sauté for 3 minutes until just softened. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Return steak to the pot. Add beef stock and simmer steak gently for 1 1/2 hours or until tender.
3. Remove steak from the pot and set aside. Add chicken stock, celery, turnips, baby carrots, diced tomatoes with juices, fresh tomatoes, frozen corn, fresh thyme, and bay leaves. Allow to simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. When steak is cool enough to handle, shred beef, discarding any bones, and return shredded beef to soup pot. Add additional broth or water as needed to thin soup to desired consistency.
4. Remove bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh parsley off heat. Serve.
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious healthy foods and providing nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does community 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. Look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas.