Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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How to brew the perfect cup of coffee- Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In our (frequently) hectic, always-on-the-move world, starting the day with a bit of caffeine in the form of coffee is practically essential, and we have built up a whole industry and culture around that idea. Indeed, while not everyone may agree, for many people one of the best parts of their morning is the moment they take their first sip of coffee; and downing the rest of the mug is a necessary prelude to heading out the door.

If you are one of those folks who absolutely needs their cup of Joe in the morning, then you may as well treat yourself -- and your coffee beans -- right by making the best darn cup you can. By abiding by a few relatively simple guidelines, you can not only guarantee yourself an energy boost when you roll out of bed, but a great taste experience as well: Because there is a right way and a wrong way to brew coffee!

The following information is courtesy of the National Coffee Association.*

Equipment

Make sure that your equipment is thoroughly cleaned after each use by rinsing it with clear, hot water and drying it with an absorbant towel. Check that no grounds have been left to collect on any part of the equipment and that there is no build-up of coffee oil.

The Coffee

Purchase coffee as soon after it has been roasted as possible. Fresh roasted coffee is essential to a superb cup of coffee. And purchase your coffee in small amounts: Ideally you should purchase your coffee fresh every 1-2 weeks.

The Grind

If you purchase whole bean coffee, always grind your beans as close to the brew time as possible. Also, do not underestimate the importance of the size of the grind to the taste of your coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be overextracted, or ground too fine. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat, it may be underextracted, meaning that your grind is too coarse.

The Water

The water you use is VERY important to the quality of your coffee. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or imparts a strong odor or taste, such as chlorine. If you are using tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot. Be sure to use cold water.

Ratio of Coffee to Water

Use the proper amount of coffee for every six ounces of water that is actually brewed, remembering that some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing methods. A general guideline is 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water.

Water Temperature During Brewing

Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, underextracted coffee while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee.

Brewing Time

The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important factor affecting the taste of your coffee. In a drip system, the contact time should be approximately 5 minutes. If you are making your coffee using a plunger pot, the contact time should be 2-4 minutes. Espresso, as the name implies, means that the brew time is short -- only 20-30 seconds. If the taste of your coffee is not optimal, it is possible that you are either brewing your coffee too long, or not long enough.

 

We’ve been winners for 90 years...- Tuesday, August 30, 2016

We’d like you to celebrate with us as we think back on many great memories of serving our neighbors -- the greatest customers anywhere!

That's correct, folks. This year marks the 90th year that Prisco’s has been selling groceries on the west side of Aurora. It has truly been a remarkable run so far, with many great years yet to come. It began back in 1926 when my Great Grandpa Tony and Great Grandma Mary began selling groceries from a truck. Known as "the store on wheels", the truck went all over Aurora, wherever people were looking for fresh food at affordable prices. Shortly after starting with the truck, they converted the first floor of their home on Bishop Street to a brick and mortar storefront.

Over the past 90 years the business has been relocated three times, each time to a larger location. Always a family-run business, it was passed on from my Great Grandparents to my Grandparents, Tony J. and Ann Prisco, and eventually to their children. Now as we enter our 91st year, the passing along of company ownership continues from the third to the fourth generation as family members like my Uncle Rob, Aunt Georgette and Aunt Margaret make plans for some relaxing retirement years ahead.

The great thing about being a family business is that your customers are your neighbors and just as our own family is now seeing the business transfer to its fourth generation, the same holds true for so many of our customers and their families. We most definitely have customers we see regularly whose parents and grandparents before them have been great Prisco’s customers.

We feel absolutely GREAT about the fact that our small business has been able to survive and prosper all this time in spite of some very difficult periods in our nation’s economic history. To celebrate, we want to invite each of you to join in the fun, relive some poignant memories of grocery shopping in the “good-old-days”, and perhaps create another fond memory by winning some FREE groceries throughout this month.

Win-What-You-Spend grocery giveaway!

Today we are pleased to announce that beginning Thursday, 9/01/2016, and for thirty consecutive days in September, we will be conducting what we like to call a Win-What-You-Spend Grocery Giveaway!

Here is how it will work: Every day throughout September 2016, when you shop at our store you will be invited to fill out an entry form and drop it in the barrel in the front of the store. The following day we will invite a shopper to reach into the box of entries from the previous day and select a winner. The entry chosen will receive a Prisco’s Gift Card equal to the full pre-tax amount of their purchase made the prior day. Once that day’s drawing is complete, the entries will all be removed and the process will start fresh all over again the next day. So, over the month we will conduct a total of thirty drawings and we will post the daily winners on a large sign in the front of the store as well as on our website. The odds of winning vary based on the number of shoppers who enter any given day. However, those odds are pretty decent as you are only competing with other customers who shop and enter the drawing on the same day that you do.

We are all looking forward to hearing some of your memories of shopping at Prisco’s in the “good-old-days”, and we wish each of you GOOD LUCK in the Win-What-You-Spend Grocery Giveaway.

 

Andy

Quench the summer’s heat with cool mint recipes.- Monday, August 22, 2016

Readily available from early spring and into autumn, fresh mint is one of the most popular and widespread herbs...And it's easy to understand why: Mint is truly versatile, and can be used in combination with a number of other flavors. It brightens, cools, and refreshes everything from salads and cocktails, to baked and frozen desserts. Mint has even found its way into a plethora of beverages, most of which are ideal for warm weather parties when having an ice cold, crisp cocktail can help turn down the heat!

The two most common mint varieties:

Peppermint – One of the most recognizable types of mint. It has high menthol content and subtle sweetness with a distinctive candy-cane scent. It is excellent for making tea, ice cream, candy custards, and other desserts. It also helps relieve tummy aches and soothes tired muscles.

Spearmint – One of the most popular types of mint used for cooking and is well known as a flavor for gum, spearmint or garden mint has a delicate aroma and distinct flavor. The dark green leaves with pointed ends and jagged teeth make beautiful foliage and an ideal companion plant for roses since it is known to drive away aphids. It is the most common kind of mint used in the kitchen and can be used for savory or sweet dishes.

Interested in experimented a bit more with mint this spring and summer? Give some of these recipes a try!

Minty beverages

Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

Kiwifruit Mojito

Watermelon Yogurt Mint Smoothie

Coffee Spritzer 

Mint-infused Entrees & Sides

West Coast Grilled Catfish with Strawberry Salsa

Feta Filled Chicken Breasts with Cumin, Tomatoes and Mint

Lamb Steak with Mint Chutney

Molasses Roasted Tenderloin with Minted Mango Relish

Penne with Tomatoes, Mint and sage

Shrimp Cabbage Salad with Minty Dressing

Mint and Feta Rice

Minted Pears

 

How to avoid dried-out, bland chicken breast.- Monday, August 22, 2016

It’s no secret that one of the healthiest proteins we can consume is boneless, skinless chicken breast. Eating chicken breast, without breading or skin, means fewer calories consumed, and may even help you burn extra calories for effective weight loss. However, what tastes more boring than overcooked, dried-out chicken breast?

I want to let you in on a tried-and-true method of preparing your chicken breast that will avoid this issue and give you plump, moist white chicken meat every time. There is a catch, though… You have to trust the system, follow it precisely, and don’t peek until it’s time.

First, the prep work

  1. Flatten the chicken breasts: You want all of the breasts to be as uniform in thickness as possible. To do this, use a meat mallet, the bottom of a small sauce pan, or a Mason jar.  Regardless of the size and weight of your chicken breasts, this method will work provided they are separated into individual halves and are flattened to even thickness during the prep.
  2. Season the chicken breasts: Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts.
  3. Prepare the pan: Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add one tablespoon of olive oil or butter. Swirl the pan so it is lightly covered with the olive oil.

Now here is where you have to keep the faith, don’t cheat, and follow the directions

  1. Turn the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts to the sauté pan and cook for just about 1 minute (without moving them). This will help them get a little golden on one side (you are not actually searing or browning them).
  2. After a minute, flip each chicken breast over and turn the heat down to low.
  3. Cover the pan and cook on low for 10 minutes. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. Do not lift the lid; do not peek.
  4. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. (If you have an electric stove, remove the pan from the heat.) Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid; do not peek.
  5. After the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off, and your chicken is done. Make sure there is no pink in the middle of the chicken breasts. If you want to be absolutely sure it is cooked, you can use an instant-read thermometer to check (the chicken should be at least 165°F). Slice and eat. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.

This use of moist heat produces nicely cooked and juicy chicken breast for topping salads and other dishes. If you were to make about two pounds of chicken breasts at a time, you would have enough chicken for a few days of salads and lunches for the family. Alternatively, you can season them however you wish to create the center plate item for a meal.

 

See you in the meat aisle,

Chris Tope – Prisco's Meat Department Manager.

 

Back-to-school means back to set schedules & lunches to be made- Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Technically, the last day of summer doesn’t arrive until the end of September, but if you have children, it is, for all intents and purposes, already over. Depending on where you live, school has begun – or will very shortly – and every home with school age kids will now need to once again adhere to a strict daily routine and schedule. This may be difficult for all involved after the laid back summer schedule but it need not be inordinately stressful. Mom & Dad, can ease the transition for your children by providing them not only with comfort and reassurance as they head off on the bus in the morning, but by ensuring they have a healthy, delicious meal waiting for them come lunch time.

A child’s lunch is an extremely important meal, as growing minds and bodies require substantial nutrition to get them through the day. Focus and learning ability can be tied directly to what and how well a child eats, so it’s essential they have a well-rounded mid-day meal to sustain their energy. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to ensure your child gets what they need:

Vegetables & Fruits - The more the better: Try to incorporate colorful veggies into your main dish (lettuce on a sandwich, peppers in a pasta salad), and add a piece of fruit for a sweet treat.

Grains - Whole grains are your best bet because they contain fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, and vitamin E. Look for bread and pasta that contain the word “whole” in the ingredients list. Don’t be fooled however, wheat flour, which sounds good, is not necessarily whole wheat flour.

Protein - Shoot for two ounces per lunch. In addition to meat like turkey or chicken, you can get the amount your child needs from two tablespoons of peanut butter, one hard-boiled egg, or a half cup of yogurt. With food allergy concerns however some school districts prohibit any child from brining peanut butter to school so be certain to check first to avoid unnecessary problems for your child.

Dairy - Milk ranks among the top sources of calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, and zinc, making it important for kids’ growing bones and overall development. If your child doesn’t drink cow’s milk, look for soy milk fortified with vitamin D, and other sources of calcium, like broccoli and tofu.

As in the past, our deli will be stocking several lunch special items intended to save you time and hassle while providing you and your family a nutritious meal. This week we are featuring ham & cheese and turkey & cheese pre-made sandwiches for $1 off at $2.99 ea., a full selection of to-go-ables, and homemade lunch salad squares.

In Produce we are introducing a line of Melissa’s Clean Snacks. Each convenient clamshell package has approximately 30 bite-sized squares that also contain nutrient-packed chia and flaxseeds laced with honey and light salt. They are the perfect snack for kids and adults that satisfy both sweet and salty cravings in deliciously healthy nuggets of natural flavors.  All CLEAN SNAX™ mixes are gluten free, low-fat, low-sodium, and contain no artificial ingredients!

Something else new in the Produce Department that works great for any lunch are Hint's fruit- or vegetable-infused bottled waters (16 oz.). Hint is pure wholesome water with nothing but natural fruit oils and essences. We just added three new and refreshing zero calorie flavors -- no sweeteners, natural or artificial. The flavors are pomegranate, cucumber, and crisp apple.


Have a great new school year!

Beth

Tips for Making School Lunches They Will Love- Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Now that you have an idea of what to pack for your kids’ lunches, it’s time to consider how to pack them. Consider the following tips, courtesy of Reader’s Digest.

1. Get some kid-approved gear - Tired of going through countless brown paper lunch bags and plastic sandwich bags? Stock up on some lunchboxes that will take your family straight through the school year. Soft-sided, insulated lunchboxes are the norm these days. And food can go into lidded plastic storage containers. Look for ones divided into several individual compartments, or for bento boxes with removable, interlocking pieces.

Or get smart about brown bagging - For older kids who are averse to carrying lunchboxes, double-bag their regular brown paper lunch bags for added insulation and strength. The perfect ice pack for this scenario? Just wet a few paper towels, fold them and place inside a re-sealable sandwich bag. Freeze overnight and place in the lunch bag in the morning.

2. Time it right - It’s nearly unanimous: Parents say packing lunches at night is key to getting everyone out the door on time on busy mornings. Tip: Make lunches while you’re already making dinner, or right after dinner but before you do the dishes; the kitchen counter is already messy, some of the items you’ll use might already be out, and all the cutting boards and utensils can go straight into the dishwasher with the dinner dishes.

3. Prep once, eat often - Have a PB and J lover (or two) on your hands? Make a whole loaf or two of sandwiches and refrigerate or freeze them individually. To keep them from getting soggy, spread peanut butter all the way to the edges and limit jelly to the center area. When it’s time to pack lunches, just grab a sandwich and add a piece of fruit, some pretzels and a yogurt – done!

4. Pay attention to temperature - When it comes to food safety, the cooler (or hotter) a food starts out, the better. For example, store sandwiches in the refrigerator until right before it’s time to leave for school, and heat up soup as much as possible before pouring it into the thermos and sending your kid out the door.

5. Freeze the drinks - Store juice boxes in the freezer. They’ll keep a lunch bag cool, and they’ll thaw and be ready to drink by lunchtime. This trick will work with water bottles as well, or juice poured into an empty plastic bottle; just make sure the bottles aren't filled completely, so there's room for expansion when the liquid freezes.

6. Keep hot foods hot - Not all kids like sandwiches. If you have a soup or pasta fan on your hands, invest in a short, wide-mouthed insulated thermos. These come in kid-friendly designs and will safely store hot foods (like beans and rice, or mac and cheese) for up to six hours. Tip: Keep your thermos hotter by filling it with hot water and emptying it just before adding the (steaming hot) food.

7. Protect fragile fruit - Some whole fruits are more durable (apples, bananas) but others are prone to piercing, bruising, or even smashing when jostled – not the most appetizing outcome for picky kids. To pack delicate, juicy fruits like pears, peaches, or nectarines, wrap a paper towel around the fruit before bundling it into your child’s lunch bag. Bonus: The paper towel doubles as a napkin.

The Best and Worst Foods to Eat Before Bed- Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This will probably come as no surprise to some folks, but for those who may not be aware, indiscriminate snacking right before going to bed can not only adversely affect your ability to sleep, but depending on what you choose to consume, can also have a negative impact on your metabolism and your ability to lose weight. The emphasis here is not simply on food in general, though – late night snacking can actually be good for you and your diet if you happen to be on one; it's what you take in that matters the most. Different foods will have different effects, and some are most definitely better choices than others.

Foods you can enjoy before bed

[info courtesy of health.com & fitnessmagazine.com]

Jasmine Rice - Jasmine rice ranks high on the glycemic index, meaning the body digests it slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming jasmine rice four hours before bedtime cut the amount of time it took to fall asleep in half when compared with eating a high-glycemic-index meal at the same time interval.

Bananas - Bananas help promote sleep because they contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium. They’re also carbs which will help make you sleepy as well.

Cherries - Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin, the chemical that helps regulate other hormones and maintains the body's circadian rhythm, or internal clock. The circadian rhythm plays a critical role in when we fall asleep and when we wake up. Consuming foods that contain melatonin, like cherries, can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

Sweet Potato - Sweet potatoes are a sleeper’s dream. Not only do they provide sleep-promoting complex carbohydrates, they also contain that muscle-relaxant potassium.

Whole Grain Cereals and Milk - Eating a combination of carbohydrates and protein enables our bodies to produce the "happy hormone" serotonin, which in turn produces melatonin, a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect. It's best to avoid sugar-laden cereals, though.

Foods to avoid

Cheeseburgers and other fatty foods - A late night run to a fast food joint might be appealing, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you want to fall asleep at a reasonable hour afterward. The stratospheric fat content of this particular fast food is guaranteed to be a sleep killer. Fat stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can cause heartburn. Fatty foods can also loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus, making it even easier for acid to get in all the wrong places.

Wine and other alcoholic beverages - Alcohol of any kind is a big no-no if you have any hope of getting to sleep in a timely manner. Alcohol metabolizes quickly in your system, the effect of which can cause you to wake multiple times during the night. Drinking is also known to reduce REM sleep -- the deepest sleep stage in which most dreams occur, and one of the most rejuvenating periods -- which can lead to daytime drowsiness and fatigue.

Coffee or Soda - This one is probably obvious to most people, but yes, drinking soft drinks or coffee before bed is an immensely bad idea. Both of these beverages contain caffeine, which generally has the opposite effect of putting people to sleep.

 

Tags :  food avoid bed bedtime
What to do with all those tomatoes- Tuesday, August 9, 2016

It’s that time of year when all those tomatoes that you planted are coming in strong, and you now have more of the bright red globes than you know what to do with. It’s also the time when our supply of fresh, locally grown tomatoes from Bountiful Blessings Farm are at their peak. Who doesn’t love fresh, off-the-vine tomatoes?

Unfortunately, these sweet, juicy fruits (often confused as vegetables) are only available for a limited time, so we thought it would be a good idea to suggest a number of different ways to enjoy them when they are so plentiful; and, in the case of store-bought tomatoes, so affordable. If all you’ve been doing is putting them on sandwiches and salads, it’s time to step things up a notch.

Try these delicious uses for your fresh tomatoes…

1. Grill Them Up. One way to enjoy your tomatoes is to marinate and slightly char them on the grill in your backyard. This is a delicious summer appetizer for tomato-lovers.

Cut four large tomatoes in half crosswise, season with 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper & 1/8 tsp. garlic powder. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add five minced garlic cloves and cook until just starting to turn golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the garlic and oil into a heatproof bowl.

Oil the grill and set for high heat. Place the tomatoes cut side down and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Turnover, top with the garlic oil mixture and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from grill and top with two tablespoons fresh thyme leaves and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

2. Make Homemade Salsa

Here are several easy to make salsa recipes:

3. Stuffed Tomatoes – In most recipes the tomato is an ingredient, but here it takes center stage.

4. Chill Out with Homemade Gazpacho. Who would think of preparing soup in summer? If you haven’t ever tried gazpacho you are in for a big surprise. It’s spicy, sharply tart and amazingly cool. That’s right, it is a soup but it’s served cold and packed with garden-fresh flavor. You’ll use ripe, uncooked tomatoes, but to them you will add other produce from your backyard garden or from our produce department, including onions, cucumber and bell peppers. Season it, blend it down to the right consistency, chill, and enjoy!

So go ahead, tomatoes are plentiful and oh-so-delicious fresh from your garden or from our local farm, Bountiful Blessings Farms in Hinckley, IL.

 

Enjoy,

Dona Hess – Prisco's Produce Lead

Thank you for your concern and love- Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of community care and concern that comes from all of you wonderful folks, our friends, neighbors and customers. Last evening we sent out an email and posted on FaceBook the passing of the patriarch of our family, Tony Prisco, Sr., and the response was nothing short of amazing. It goes to show you that this city is full of outstanding folks and we as a family have truly been blessed to be able to serve this community and make our livings doing so for the past 90 years. Thank you again for all your kind remarks and for sharing so many wonderful memories of Grandpa Tony.

There is also another event (recently concluded) that I want to tell you about, and again stress our sincere appreciation for all the support. As many of you know, we added a new food drive this summer called Christmas in July. For the last two weeks of the July we collected cash and food donations to help restock the nearly bare shelves at the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry. I’m pleased to announce that through your generosity we collected more than $735 in cash and food, all during a period when many people are out of town on vacation. Thank you so much!

One housekeeping note: This morning when taking our newest ad to the post office for mailing, we noticed that there was a misprint on the cover. The wrong dates were printed in error. Correct dates should read Wednesday, 8/03 through Tuesday, 8/16.

This week we are at the peak of the season for summer vegetables and melons, both of which are being delivered by our two local farms. Please do yourselves a favor and stop in to enjoy the many wonderful and healthy items we have available -- all grown within 10 miles of our store!

 

Best Regards,

Andy

Wednesday, August 3rd is National Watermelon Day- Tuesday, August 2, 2016

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy watermelon now and then, particularly in the summer months when water-rich vegetables and fruits are at their most popular. Watermelons are in season from May through August in the U.S. as well; that, in conjunction with the fact that August is one of the warmest months of the year, makes National Watermelon Day especially timely. It’s a great opportunity to encourage people to enjoy more watermelon, as cookouts and picnics are still a frequent occurrence and the need for light and refreshing snacks and desserts remains high.

Interesting watermelon facts

[info courtesy of the thetowndish.com]

  • Eating watermelon can help quench your thirst; they’re over 90% water!
  • Watermelon contains elements that can help reduce the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.
  • Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide, and in about 96 different countries.
  • Watermelon is an ideal health food because it doesn’t contain any fat or cholesterol, is high in fiber and vitamins A & C and is a good source of potassium.
  • Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals.
  • Watermelon is a vegetable! It is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
  • Every part of a watermelon is edible, even the seeds and rinds.

Watermelon recipes

Most people eat their watermelon plain, but there are plenty of other uses for this sweet, festive vegetable. It can be used in a variety of desserts and entrees, as well as some very potent and very refreshing beverages. As a change of pace this National Watermelon Day, why not celebrate with one or more of these delicious recipes?

Main Course

Kung Pao Watermelon Shrimp

Sweet and Sour Watermelon Chicken

Grilled Shrimp with Watermelon Lemongrass Glaze

Minced Pork and Watermelon Lettuce Wraps

Desserts

Watermelon Almond Tart

Watermelon Heaven

Watermelon Pyramids

Frosted Watermelon

Beverages

Watermelon Yogurt Mint Smoothie

Watermelon Champagne Sangria

Mango Watermelon Shake