17 Pro Tips, Creative Fixins, Nutritional Fun Facts & More
- Sausage, especially smoked or andouille varieties
- Garlic bulbs, cut in half
- Corn on the cob
- Onions, sliced in half
- Lemons, cut in half
- Brussels sprouts
- Fresh green beans
First crawfish boil? Here is everything you need to know!
- 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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Charred Chile and Corn Salsa
- 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!
• 11 Kid-Friendly Healthy Options for the Morning Menu •
Bacon, Sausage, and Biscuits
Hatch Chile Baked Eggs
- 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.
When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions, white parts of the scallions, and all the peppers to the pot. Once they are softened, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Remove the mixture from the pot and set aside before cooking the ground beef.
Once the beef is cooked through and broken up, add the onions back to the pot. Create a little well in the center of the pot before adding the spices. Toasting the spices briefly in the well helps brighten the flavors.
2 medium onions, diced medium
4 scallions, white parts minced and green tops sliced thin for toppings
1 large green bell pepper, diced medium
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, diced medium
2 medium jalapenos, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
1 can crushed tomatoes (23 oz)
2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Sliced green onions
Need some more fast recipes to keep warm with? Check these out:
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.
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.
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