Give the Gift of Food: 5 Fun & Easy Ideas

Children Exchanging Gifts

‘Tis the season of giving… but that can add up pretty quickly if you’re shopping for friends, family, coworkers, cousins, neighbors, and more! Don’t stress. One gift that’s quick, easy, and cheap while still being thoughtfully creative is FOOD. Here’s a list of fun and simple ideas for edible gifts you can do without breaking the bank:

Fill quart-sized mason jars with different types of nuts and dried fruits as a beautiful and nutritious gift of trail mix. Try alternating layers of shelled pistachios with dried cranberries for a festive red-green treat that is sure to satisfy.  Top with a piece of red or green construction paper, a piece of twine, and a gift tag to complete the presentation.

Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to pick up any ingredients you don't already have on hand!

Chocolate bark is one of the easiest confections, and you can go as far as the North Pole in terms of flavor combinations! Just melt your favorite baking chocolate according to the package instructions, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, add mix-ins and toppings, and then refrigerate until hardened. One of my favorite colorful holiday combinations is white chocolate, crushed peppermints, and unsalted pistachios or pumpkin seeds. S’more bark is another fun take: chocolate + marshmallows + pieces of graham crackers + pecans = YUM.

Banana Nut Bread is always a classic, plus it’s a great source of potassium and B vitamin! Check out my recipe for the best banana nut bread ever, which can easily be made into mini-loaves or muffins for easy distribution. Your friends and family will surely appreciate your loaves of love.

Olive oil is a unique gift with a bright shining halo of health in the world of nutrition. You can personalize the gift buy infusing it with rosemary. If time allows, you can easily personalize the gift by infusing the olive oil with rosemary. Dry whole sprigs of fresh rosemary by placing washed sprigs on a baking sheet. Put it in the oven for 2 - 4 hours on the lowest temperature setting. When the rosemary sprigs are brittle and have cooled, add to a bottle with your favorite extra virgin olive oil and allow it to infuse for a week or up to several months. Gift the oil for dipping with your favorite Brookshire Brothers artisan bakery bread. #BestNeighborEVER

For more on the health benefits of olive oil (as well as a recipe for an Easy Caprese Salad), read my ode here!

Share your Christmas spirit by the spoonful when you save your loved ones meal prep time with homemade soup! Fix your favorite wintertime soup, separate it into mason jars to distribute, and add a tag with freezing and re-heating instructions for a personal touch. This gift is delicious and easy to freeze if your friends/family want to save it for later. One of my favorites to share is winter squash soup—get the recipe here!

May your holidays be filled with delicious treats and special memories.  Merry Christmas!  


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. 
Thanksgiving may be over but the leftovers are not...

Cooking with Kate: Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Thanksgiving may be over, but that leftover turkey is probably still taking up valuable space in your fridge or freezer. Make room for Christmas baking and party food prep by putting your Thanksgiving favorites to good use with these two easy recipes. Even those who are tired of turkey will chow down on these dishes!
Read more: How long should you keep that turkey anyways? Here's ten tips for storing Thanksgiving leftovers.

Quick Turkey Chowder

Girl eating soup
Serving size: 1 cup | Yield: 8 servings
1 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter
2 (10.5 oz) cans condensed cream of potato soup
2 (16.5 oz) cans cream-style corn
2 cups turkey or chicken stock (not broth)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked turkey, ½ inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers to pick up any ingredients you don't already have on hand!
    • In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté green onion and celery in butter until celery is almost tender.
    • Add potato soup, corn, turkey or chicken stock, and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and black pepper.
    • Stirring constantly, bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and add turkey and parsley.
    • Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until turkey is heated through.
Read more: Get the full scoop on how to prepare this soup as a freezer meal. It's quite the rewarding weekend project!

Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes

Woman frying potato cakes
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or pepper jack)
½ cup flour
6 strips bacon - Check out our special prices on Wright Bacon in this week's ad!
1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced – white and green divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon fresh parsley , minced
2 eggs
4 tablespoons butter
Read more: These cakes can be a GREAT party appetizer. Don't forget to also visit our deli for other great appetizers and holiday deli trays!
    • In a skillet, cook the bacon until crispy and drain on a paper towel until cool. Crumble into small bits. Place the bacon bits into a large bowl. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease from the frying pan and cook the garlic and white parts of the green onion over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and onions to the bacon along with mashed potatoes, cheese, flour, green onions, spices, parsley, and eggs. Blend well with a spoon or your hands; the mixture will be thick and sticky.
    • Wash and dry your frying pan, then melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
    • Scoop up about ¼ cup of the potato mixture and form it into a ball. Place it in the hot pan, flattening it out until it is ½ – ¾″ thick. Fry for about 3 minutes on each side, until they are lightly golden brown.
    • For best results, serve immediately, while hot and crispy, with sliced green onions, sour cream, or ketchup.

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.
Cooking with Kate: Wicked Good Snacks

A fall take on a summer favorite. 

With our Texas weather fickle as ever, it’s no surprise that we’re looking at a fairly warm Halloween this year. It seems like summer just won’t say goodbye! To mix up the summer temperatures with some fall spirit, here’s an easy-to-make, sweet snack recipe. Basically, think Rice Krispies Treats but with fall flavors and fun topping ideas. Even better, this snack mix makes for a quick, easy party favor for a Halloween bash and trick-or-treaters. Visit your local Brookshire Brothers today to find these ingredients and other wicked good snacks! 

Rice Krispies Treat Snack Mix

(Pictured left as seen at the 7th Annual Lufkin's Bistro | Photo credit: Lisa Crow Photography)
1 (12 oz) box crisp rice cereal
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 (7 oz) container marshmallow fluff / crème
    • 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!
Read more: Pull out all the potluck stops with toothy apples and spiced apple cider.


Citrus-y Cranberry
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 (12 oz) bag mini chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 (3 oz) package dried cranberries
Movie Night Magic
1 (11 oz) bag Kraft caramel bits
1 (12 oz) bag mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coarse or flaky sea salt
Read more: Make your scary movie night really pop with these three fun popcorn recipes.
White Christmas Mint
1 (12 oz) package white chocolate chips
1 (4-6 oz) package soft peppermint candy, crushed
Tropical Oasis
1 (12 oz) bag white or chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) package shredded coconut, toasted
1-2 cups dried tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, etc.)
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Read more: These fruit-filled recipes are frightfully good—and healthy!
After School Snack
1 (10-12 oz) bag peanut butter chips
1 cup dried strawberries or raisins

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.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage 2017

Six Dishes, Four Countries, One Kitchen. 

While today marks the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we think this bold and exciting culture is always worth celebrating. At Brookshire Brothers, we continually strive to understand and celebrate other cultures so that we can better serve our communities.  Hispanic heritage is particularly important to us as a company with a richly diverse workforce, as well as a footprint that reaches as far south as Ganado.
As such, we’d like to share six traditional dishes—courtesy of our vendor partner Goya Foods—to take a journey of flavors across the world without ever leaving your home kitchen. With a menu that’s perhaps both familiar and foreign, treat your friends and family to an adventure at your next dinner or gathering. Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get started today!

Venezuelan Shredded Beef (Pabellón Criollo)

 Yields 4-6 Servings


1 flank steak about 2 lbs., cut in 4 pieces
1 onion roughly chopped
2 packets GOYA® Beef Bouillon*
1 quart water
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell peppers — View your ad for special prices this week on bell peppers!
2 tsp. GOYA® Minced Garlic, or 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced* 
2 tbsp. GOYA®Corn Oil*
1 can (8 oz.) GOYA® Tomato Sauce*
1 packet GOYA® Sazón without Annatto*
½ tsp. GOYA® Leaf Oregano*
½ tsp. GOYA® Adobo with Cumin*
1 can (15 oz.) GOYA® Black Bean Soup, heated*
1 packet (11 oz.) GOYA® Frozen Ripe Plantain, cooked according to package directions*
3 cups cooked CANILLA® Extra Long Grain Rice*
* Brands are substitutable


    • In saucepan, combine meat, onion, bouillon and water. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until very tender (about 1½ hours). Add more water as necessary to keep meat covered. Allow meat to cool in broth. When cool enough to handle, shred meat. Reserve 1 cup of broth.
    • In meantime, puree onion, red pepper and garlic in food processor.
    • In skillet heat oil on medium high. Add shredded meat and lightly brown. Add pureed vegetables, tomato sauce, Sazon, oregano, Adobo and reserved broth. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until mixture dries about 20 minutes. 
    • Arrange meat, black beans, rice and plantain on platter and serve.
Read more: Travel Argentina by tastebuds with this dessert idea from our catering coordinator Kate Rudasill.


    • Chicken Flautas — "Tacos are an everyday event in Mexico with many different fillings. When tacos are rolled tightly and pan-fried until crisp so they resemble tubes or “flutes,” they become flautas. This delicious, crunchy variation of tacos comes from Jalisco, Mexico, where it is a popular snack food. Here, chicken stewed with tomato sauce and onions is the filling of choice, but can be substituted for steak or pork. Whichever protein you choose, the flautas should be prepared and eaten right away for the best taste." (GOYA)
    • Grilled Chicken Fajitas — "For an outdoor meal that’s fun for everyone, serve up a sizzling batch of Grilled Chicken Fajitas! Here, boneless, skinless chicken breasts come alive with flavor and pizzazz when marinated in GOYA® Mojo Criollo. Grill the marinated chicken breasts, peppers and onions and serve with the toppings of your choice for a festive dinner, tonight!" (GOYA)
    • Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas — "These chicken and avocado quesadillas are guaranteed to be the life of your summertime fiestas! Here, a tasty combination of GOYA® Fancy Pimientos, GOYA® Diced Green Chiles, scallions, fresh cilantro and GOYA® Salsita are topped with shredded cooked chicken and creamy avocado, coming cozily together in GOYA® Soft Taco Flour Tortillas with melted shredded cheese. This flavor-loaded quesadilla is bound to keep your party guests coming back for more!" (GOYA)
El Salvador
    • Salvadoran Pupusas with Cabbage Salad — "A staple of Salvadoran cuisine, pupusas are handmade, stuffed corn tortillas. Savory, flavor-packed pupusas Salvadoreñas are traditionally filled with beans, cheese, and pork. This pupusas recipe is especially easy, made with GOYA® Masarica Instant Corn Masa Flour, and stuffed with a choice of GOYA® Refried Red Beans (Volteados Style) and white cheese. Pupusas are served with a tangy pickled cabbage salad." (GOYA)
    • Colombian Beef and Pork Empanadas — "These typical Colombian-style empanadas are tasty turnovers made with savory yellow corn dough stuffed with seasoned pork and beef mixed with cooked potatoes. The meat filling is typically made with cooked and shredded beef and pork, but here, we use ground meat to cut down in cooking time with similar tasty results. Served at social gatherings, family parties and celebrations throughout the year, these Colombian Beef and Pork Empanadas are the perfect tasty, hand-held party food. Serve with lime wedges and a ají picante." (GOYA)
Read more: October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we have 5 recipes perfectly pink for supporting the cause!
NFL + MLB + NBA = OMG game day snacks!
Fall football is in full swing, MLB postseason is up for bat, and the start of the regular NBA season is just around the corner. You know what this means? Game day food! Whether you’re attending a blowout watch party or you’re enjoying the quieter company of you and your TV, you can’t discount the importance of a good snack. It’s one of the three most important ingredients (per the proverbial saying): good company, good drinks, and good FOOD. This recipe (courtesy of our vendor partner Bar-S Foods) for Cheddar-Bacon-Ranch Layered Dip hits all the top marks for good ‘ole-fashioned finger food: quick and easy to prepare, good for the budget, and bacon. It sounds so good you can almost taste the salty crunch and carbonated swig, while the crowd cheers in the background. Visit your local Brookshire Brothers to get started!
P.S. – October is #NationalPorkMonth, so fixing a recipe with bacon is basically equivalent to fulfilling a patriotic duty. #Motivation
Read more: No time? No problem. Check out the party trays from our deli.

Cheddar-Bacon-Ranch Layered Dip

 Total time: 25 min | Servings: 14 | $1.06 per serving*


1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, 1. softened
1⁄2 cup ranch dressing
6 slices Bar-S Smoked Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled — View your weekly ad for special prices!
1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1⁄4 cup chopped green onion
1⁄4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips or assorted crackers


    • 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.
 Tip: Serve this fun dip on a baked potato bar for all the fixins’ of a loaded potato in one place.
*Cost of ingredients may vary by location and seasonality | © Bar-S Foods 2016 |
Don't forget to check out these other game day recipes from Bar-S Foods as well!
Read more: Score big with this tried and true Sweet & Salty Chex Mix Recipe from our catering coordinator Kate Rudasill.
Pistachios: Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that hearing the crack of a pistachio shell is considered good luck in some countries? What about this nut’s distant cousins—mangos and poison ivy? Then there’s the whole weird green color (thanks to chlorophyll), and we’ve heard talk of Turkey wanting to fuel a town entirely on pistachio shells.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to about this strange nut and its strange history. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most-asked questions about pistachios—our September produce feature—as well two fun recipes. Read on to see why this nut is everything it’s cracked up to be.

What is the pistachio and where did it originate?

(Answer courtesy of Planters, one of our valued vendor partners)
The pistachio nut, a native of Iran, Syria and Greece, has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. It is considered by some to be one of the oldest edible nuts on earth and is referred to in the Old Testament—Genesis 43:11—along with almonds. The pistachio belongs to the same family as the cashew. The fruit of the pistachio differs from all other nuts because of its green color and the semi-opening of the shell. In Iran, it is called the "smiling pistachio" and in China it is called the "happy nut." Because of this physical characteristic, it is the only nut that does not need to be shelled for roasting and salting. It used to be common to dye pistachios red to cover any blemishes on the shell but most consumers now prefer the natural color.
It was not until the 1930s, when vending machines became popular, that pistachios imported from Italy became a popular snack food in the United States. After WWII, the evergreen trees that bear pistachios were imported to California. The name pistachio is the Italian version of the Persian word pistah, which means “nut”.

When and where do they grow now?

While it’s easy to purchase pistachios at any time during the year, these nuts are at their best tasting and greatest value during the harvest, which—according to the American Pistachio Growers organization—can take place anywhere from late August to early October. In America, most pistachios are harvested in western states, such as California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

How are they picked?

Growing in clusters similar to grapes, pistachios tend to naturally fall off the tree when they ripen, where they are gathered by hand, net, or some other means. According to several sources, most harvesters will also shake the branches with machines to help the nuts fall off. Good pistachio nuts will split while on the tree, although some will not. Typically, the only pistachios sold in stores are the ones that have naturally opened.

Are pistachios good for you?

Yes! In fact, you can break down the research surrounding this nutritional nut into at least six major health benefits, according to Organic Facts:
Healthy Heart
According to evidence, a daily intake of pistachios appears to help with lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in the body, thanks in large part to this nut’s rich source of antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols.
Weight Management
In comparison to dried fruits and other nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, etc), pistachios are low calorie, protein rich, and low fat—making this nut the go-to snack for weight management. In other words, this nut makes that feeling of fullness last longer without the extra calories/fat.
Prevents Macular Disease
Researchers have also found pistachios to be high in lutein—a nutrient that’s found in most dark green leafy vegetables. This antioxidant is particularly important in healthy vision, as it helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Dietary Fiber
As with most nuts, pistachios are great for intestinal health due to their dietary fiber. One ounce (30g) of pistachios can contain about 3 grams of fiber, which is more than enough to boost daily digestion.
Aphrodisiac Properties
A 2011 study (Aldemir et al) suggests that pistachios can improve reproductive vitality among men by at least 50% after three weeks of 100g (roughly 3.5oz) taken daily.
Antioxidant Properties
Pistachios are such a rich source of antioxidants that even their shells contain large amounts of this nutrient, according to researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University. Antioxidants are important as they can help reduce the risk of cancer.

How much should you eat per day?

Most sources recommend 1-2 handfuls a day (roughly 1.5-3oz or 200-400 calories), although you should be careful about how the pistachios are served. Eating raw or roasted pistachios is the most nutritional option, but sweetened or salted pistachios can be a nice treat so long as you keep an eye on the intake.

Raw vs. Roasted Pistachios: Which one is better?

Usually the heat of cooking results in a loss of nutrients, yet pistachios are a different story. According to Healthline and other sources, these nuts largely do not change in terms of health benefits, whether they’re roasted or raw. Both varieties contain similar amounts of calories, protein, carbs, and fiber.

What to do with pistachio nuts?

The great thing about nuts in general is that there are many easy ways to incorporate their nutritional goodness into your daily diet. Pistachios alone can make for a great snack at work, after school, or while watching Monday night football with friends. Beyond that, pistachios have been included in many different recipes—savory and sweet alike, as seen by these two highly rated recipes from Betty Crocker:

Apricot-Pistachio Rolled Pork

4+ stars rating
Prep: 30 min | Total: 5 hour 35 min
Servings: 12
“Get dinner rolling with pork loin that’s wrapped around a sweet, crunchy apricot-pistachio filling and roasted to perfection.”
1 single uncut boneless pork loin roast (4 lb)
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup apricot brandy or apricot nectar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
¼ cup coarsely crushed cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ cup apricot preserves
  1. To cut pork roast into a large rectangle that can be filled and rolled, cut lengthwise about 1/2 inch from top of pork to within 1/2 inch of opposite edge; open flat. Repeat with other side of pork, cutting from the inside edge to the outer edge; open flat to form rectangle.
  2. Sprinkle apricots, 1/2 cup nuts, the garlic, salt and pepper over pork to within 1 inch of edge. Tightly roll up pork, beginning with short side. Secure with toothpicks, or tie with string. Pierce pork all over with metal skewer. Brush brandy over entire surface. Let stand 15 minutes. Brush again with remaining brandy. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 325°F. Place pork, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of pork. Roast uncovered 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons nuts and garlic salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Cool slightly.
  5. Brush preserves over pork. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Roast uncovered 30 to 60 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 160°F. Cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving for easier carving.
Read more: You might also try your hand at this Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin Roast recipe, courtesy of Angry Orchard
Expert Tips
Add color to the fruit and nut filling by replacing half of the dried apricots with dried sweetened cranberries.
Piercing the pork and allowing it to stand after brushing with apricot brandy helps to heighten the apricot flavor of the roast.

Cran-Pistachio Cookies

4 star rating
Prep: 60 min | Total: 60 min
Servings: 48
“Prize-Winning Recipe 2010! Pistachios, pudding mix and cranberries stir up with sugar cookie mix for a melt-in-your-mouth cookie.”
Parchment Paper
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry-roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds Parchment Paper; set aside. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add pistachios and cranberries; mix well.
  2. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
Read more: In a rush? Our bakery can help.
Expert Tips
Place food directly on Parchment Paper and bake as directed. Treats will bake evenly and release from paper with ease. Plus, because you're baking right on the paper, clean-up is a breeze.
For even baking, make sure cookies are of the same shape and size.
You can find shelled pistachios in the nuts-for-snacking section of your local Brookshire Brothers.


Pistachios can last for many months before going bad if you store them in airtight containers in cool and dry places.
Read more: Your groceries in the fridge can also last longer with more effective storage strategies.  
Fall in Love with this Winter Squash Recipe
That first cool front of fall forever brings fresh inspiration to my kitchen. Visions of fall-flavored treats start dancing through my head—all things cinnamon-spiced and pumpkin-orange.  One thing that always makes its way onto my table during the season is winter squash.  What is winter squash exactly? While most people eat it as a vegetable, winter squash is a fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) of many different colorful types—all of which are great for you and easily found in the produce section of your local Brookshire Brothers.  Butternut squash is one of my favorite winter squash varieties because of its delicious buttery undertones, plus it’s easy to prepare and oh-so-nutritious!  Specifically, this squash is a good source of hard-to-find nutrients such as folate, beta-carotene, several B vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium, iron, and magnesium.  In honor of all this nutritional goodness—and the start of cooler weather—I’d like to share one of my favorite butternut squash recipes with you!  Happy Fall!!
Read more: Consider turning your soup into a neighborhood supper!

Gingered Winter Squash and Fennel Soup

Adapted from My French Family Table by Beatrice Peltre
Serves 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
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
For serving
Sour cream
Parmesan cheese (grated)
Reserved fennel fronds
Read more: Eating healthy squash is only half the fun—don’t miss our fitness tips for the fall too!
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat; add the olive oil.
Add the celery, onion, and ginger and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, without browning.  Add the garlic, rosemary, and oregano and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add the tomato and cook for 1 minute.  Add the diced winter squash and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the nutmeg and chicken stock, increase heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, discard the sprig of rosemary, and transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, croutons, grated cheese, and fennel fronds to garnish.
Read more: Check out “Cooking with Kate” for recipes from our Catering Coordinator as well!

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.
Cooking with Kate: Take the Labor Out of Labor Day!
Labor Day may be just around the corner, but you can keep it labor-free with one of these quick recipes that can be made in advance! Whether you are enjoying a day at the lake or hosting a backyard barbeque, your food will impress your loved ones—and you’ll get to enjoy the party yourself! What’s more, these recipes feature lots of great produce, so get yours farm fresh at your local Brookshire Brothers today!
Read more: Bring the heat this weekend with Kate’s tips on summer grilling!

Ultimate Baked Potato Salad

from Catering with Kate
Makes 8-12 servings


4 lbs small or bite-sized potatoes
any combination of baby gold, red, purple, blue, or fingerling potatoes
1 lb sliced bacon
1 (16 oz) carton sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups shredded cheddar jack cheese
3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Rinse potatoes under running water to remove any dirt. Cut small potatoes in half and place in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Note: if using larger potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes before cooking.Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are just tender (about 5-8 minutes). Drain the potatoes, transfer to a large bowl or platter, and place in refrigerator to cool completely.
Read more: There’s a place for that! Find out what the best places are for storing food in your fridge.
While the potatoes are cooling, cut the bacon into ¼-inch pieces and cook over medium heat in a large skillet until crispy. Remove cooked bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Let cool, and crumble any larger pieces. Set aside.
Read more: BYOB? You’ll definitely need Kate’s recipe for Sweet and Spicy Beer Braised Sausage
In a large bowl, mix sour cream, mayonnaise, shredded cheese, chopped chives, and seasonings. Taste the mixture and add additional seasonings, if needed. Gently fold the cooled potatoes and crumbled bacon into the sour cream mixture until everything is well coated. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Read more: Vegetarians can join the fun too with this recipe for Black Bean Sliders!

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

from Catering with Kate
Makes 8-12 servings


1 large pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups red or green grapes, washed and cut in half
1 pint strawberries, washed, stems removed, and cut in half
1 cantaloupe, peeled, seeds removes, and cut into bite-sized pieces
4 stone fruits, pit removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
– any combination of mangoes, nectarines, plums, pluots, peaches
2-4 apples (depending on size), cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
– any combination of Pink Lady, Cameo, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or your favorite
1 pint fresh blueberries
Read more: With five different recipes, this blog from Kate is bursting with blueberries!!
¼ cup good quality honey
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 2 limes


Wash and cut up all fruit and place in a large bowl. Add honey, lime zest, and lime juice. Gently toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Read more: Sad summer’s ending? Check out Kate’s recipes for “Cooking Away the Labor Day Blues”!


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.


Popcorn + Movies = Summer Movie Nights

Need to unwind after a full day of summer fun? A movie night is a classic option that won’t break the bank and requires only a few crucial ingredients: the movie, the people, and—of course—the popcorn. We’ve pulled together a few ideas and recipes to make your evening really pop!

Nacho Popcorn

Some might say you can’t do better than regular popcorn, but have you considered what happens when you put TWO great things together? Case in point: Nacho Popcorn. It’s the best thing since the donut taco, and it only takes fifteen minutes to prepare. To go along with your salty and spicy popcorn, we recommend watching The LEGO Batman Movie or The Fate of the Furious.

Oven Caramel Corn

The pairing of caramel and popcorn is as time-honored as Belle and the Beast. Furthermore, this sweet and salty happily-ever-after only gets better when it’s prepared in the oven. Most people agree that oven cooking creates a better texture and taste, plus the clean up is easy if you line your pan in foil. Allow yourself to have a little fun with this recipe and enjoy our recommended tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast.

Cinnamon-Popcorn Snack

The wonderful thing about movies is that they can give you a glimpse of the world without ever leaving your couch potato position. Consider complementing your adventure with a spice that has its own exotic history—cinnamon. In other words, this snack bursts with flavor, and at only 150 calories per serving! Check out the recipe above while you’re movie surfing. We suggest Smurfs: The Lost Village and Kong: Skull Island.

Find a store near you to get started on creating your own popcorn recipes!

Fourth, Food, Fun, Fireworks

Independence Day is right around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited! The 4th of July is a time to gather your friends and family, spend time outdoors, and enjoy the sunshine. For a great way to celebrate America’s Independence, follow these fun steps –

1. Plan Ahead
The questions usually start arising about a week before... “What are your plans for July 4th?” Beat everyone to the question by inviting friends and family to a backyard barbecue! You may not have time for paper invitations, but send a group text, create a Facebook group or send e-vites so everyone can mark it on their calendar.

2. Create the Menu
Don’t stress about preparing each dish. Guests want to help out by bringing dishes. So, when you get RSVPs from friends and family, ask them if they could bring a side dish or dessert. We’ve got a great selection of recipes here. Once everyone contributes a dish or two, you’ll have a 4th of July spread that’s worthy of celebrating!

3. Take Grilling Tips
Our Market Experts are Expert Grillers! Ask them for their best grilling tips when you’re picking out your favorite cuts of meat. Search our wide variety of Market items in our Meat Department.

4. Think Outside the Box
Meat and veggies are NOT the only items that are grill-worthy. Try your hand at grilling some of your favorite fruits, too. Our Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill, suggests splurging for a grill basket or grill wok to place your favorite fruit and vegetable slices in. Find other tips from her on our Cooking with Kate blog!

5. Enjoy the Fireworks
Now that all the cooking, socializing, and eating has commenced, you can sit back and relax while watching the firework show!

Have a safe, fun, and tasty 4th of July!