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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Great Steaks at a Family-Friendly Price – Top Sirloin- Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This crazy spring-like weather we have been experiencing throughout February has us all thinking about getting back outdoors, and that leads to thoughts of warm weather grilling.

When we think of steaks, often times we jump to the conclusion that we are talking about an expensive cut of meat -- which can be the case, but doesn’t necessarily need to be. If you have a food budget that you need to balance in order to feed the entire family, consider picking up some delicious sirloin steak, featured at a great price this week.

Our USDA Choice Prisco's Angus Beef Top Sirloin is a family-sized steak that offers lean, well-flavored, and moderately tender beef at an affordable, every day price. Convenient and a great value with no bones and little fat. Versatile, juicy and delicious. Carved from the center of the sirloin, these steaks are naturally lean and bursting with bold, beefy flavor. Boasted as one of the most flavorful steaks for the money, top sirloin steaks are great for grilling, but you may also prefer to broil them in your oven or sauté them on your stove. Here are a few simple-to-follow instructions for each method...

Broiling

Preheat broiler according to oven manufacturer’s directions. Oven rack should be 3 to 5 inches from heating element. Season your steaks with salt and pepper (or, perhaps, your favorite seasoning rub) and place them on a perforated broiler rack, without overcrowding. Place the broiler rack in oven.

When juices begin to rise to the top surface of the steaks, flip them one time with a pair of tongs. After steaks have cooked a few minutes on both sides, check doneness with an instant-read thermometer. It should be inserted through the side, with the tip in the center of the cut, not touching any bone or fat.

Remove your steaks from the heat when the thermometer registers 5°F lower than the desired doneness, as the temperature will continue to rise while resting. The USDA recommends steaks be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes. Be sure to check with a thermometer, as color alone is not a foolproof indicator. Remove steaks and place on a clean plate; allow them to rest approximately 5 minutes before serving.

Grilling

Preheat grill until very hot (about 500 - 550°F). While the grill is heating, season your steaks with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning rub). Place steaks on preheated grill – they should sizzle as the cool, raw steak comes in contact with the blazing hot grill.

After a couple minutes, once juices begin to rise to the surface, use tongs to flip your steaks over just one time. Continue grilling steaks to desired doneness (see above). Use an instant-read thermometer for accuracy. Want to impress your guests with your advanced grilling skills? Make professional diamond grill marks by placing your steaks on the grill with the ends at 10 and 4 o’clock. Once the meat has seared, turn them clockwise (but don’t flip them yet), with the ends at 2 and 8 o’clock. After a minute or two, flip the steaks over and cook until they reach the desired doneness.

Sautéing

Sautéing is a cooking process using high heat that quickly browns and sears beef in a small quantity of oil in a skillet. Sautéing is best suited to thin, tender cuts of beef that cook quickly, such as thinly sliced tenderloin steaks or cuts that have been pounded and tenderized. Sautéing requires high heat, so it is best to use an oil that will not burn or smoke at high temperatures such as olive oil, corn oil, or canola oil. Butter can be used, but it burns easily with high heat, so it is best to use it in combination with a bit of oil.

Preheat large sauté pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Season your steaks with salt and pepper or desired seasonings. Add a small amount of the oil that you have chosen to the pan and heat. When the oil shimmers, use tongs to very gently place the steaks in the pan, without overcrowding. When juices begin to rise to the surface of the meat, about 2-3 minutes, flip the steaks with tongs. Cook steaks another couple minutes and check doneness (see above) with an instant-read thermometer. When the steaks reach 5°F less than the desired doneness remove them from the pan onto a clean serving plate and allow them to rest approximately 5 minutes before serving.

 

Recipe ideas for meatless meals- Tuesday, February 28, 2017

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day, six-week period leading up to Easter Sunday. Primarily practiced by Catholics, it’s a time modeled after the 40-day period that Christ spent alone in the desert as he prepared to begin his public life -- the last three years of his short life. It’s a time of reflection and penance where Catholics attempt to look inward and try to consider how they can make changes to live a simpler life of tolerance and loving others.

Part and parcel of participating in Lent is a minor modification to ones eating habits. Ash Wednesday -- and Good Friday three days before, the Day Jesus Christ was crucified -- Catholics fast and eat no meat or foods prepared with meat by-products. Additionally, on the other five Fridays in Lent meat is avoided and a frequent substitute for meat is fish or seafood. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, fish is still an off-limits food but since half of Christ’s apostles were fishermen by trade, it would appear that the fishing lobby had lots of clout in the early church and the Lenten season thus became quite a boom period for the fishing industry.

Since there are still a good number of Catholics in our neighborhood, and also a growing number of people looking for tasty meatless meal solutions, I thought that this would be a good time to consider a few.

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

This is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy. It is associated with the cooking of Naples, but it is popular in the Campanian countryside and Calabria and Sicily, too. Eggplant Parmesan is a casserole dish made by slicing eggplant thinly and frying it in olive oil. Some cooks dip the eggplant slices in batter or egg before frying, some just fry it, and many flour it first and fry it, while others more concerned with making the dish light, will bake or grill the eggplant slices. The eggplant is layered successively in a baking casserole with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmigiano cheese, basil, and hard-boiled egg slices. The recipe shown here is an easy to prepare version with minimal cook time and ingredients.

Salmon Patties

If you hail from south of the Mason Dixon line there is a good chance you remember with fondness salmon patties, salmon cakes, or as they are often referred to down south, salmon croquettes. This recipe is extremely easy to make and you can have a delicious meatless meal in about 30 minutes.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille hails from (present day) Nice, France, created by Provencal peasants; it was initially a dish made by poor farmers. The word ratatouille is derived from a French verb meaning “to stir up”.

Stuffed Peppers

No one is certain who first came up with the idea of stuffing sweet peppers. Many folks, however, credit Hungary because that region is famous for raising peppers. Stuffed peppers aren’t actually Hungarian. They came with the Turks and were adopted by Hungarians during the Turkish occupation in the 16 and 17th centuries.

So there are four recipes, all meat-free, and each delicious and healthy as well. Hopefully you can give a few of them a try this Lent. If you enjoy them, let us know.

 

Good eating.

 

Beth

Use food to detoxify your body- Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Although detox is primarily thought of as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, the term is also used to refer to a program of diet, herbs, and other methods of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body.

Detox is short for detoxification, which refers to the body's natural, ongoing process of neutralizing or eliminating potentially harmful chemicals from the body. Toxins are anything that can harm body tissue, including waste products that result from normal cell activity and human-made toxins that we are exposed to in our environment, food, and water.

So, why should you try to actively detox your body, rather than letting it take care of itself? Well, a growing body of research suggests that many of the chemicals we ingest daily can become deposited in our fat cells. Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in food, chemicals from food packaging, household cleaners, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, and cigarette smoke are a few such toxins. A detox diet is intended to help eliminate these chemicals more quickly.

There are many different types of detox diets. Generally, a detox diet is a short-term diet that:

  • Minimizes the amount of chemicals ingested (for example, by eating organic food).

  • Emphasizes foods that provide the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that the body needs for detoxification.

  • Contains foods, such as high fiber foods and water, that draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing the frequency of bowel movements and urination.

The following foods are considered wonderful for detoxifying, and most of them are readily available, too:

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil -- are loaded with essential fatty acids, particularly the omega-3s. They are essential for many cleansing functions and maintaining a healthy immune system. They are also critical to maintaining a healthy brain. The health of every cell in your body is dependent on getting adequate amounts of essential fatty acids.

Garlic -- helps cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses from the body, especially from the blood and intestines. It also helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic has anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful substances. It also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous buildup in the lungs and sinuses.

Kale -- contains powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds that help cleanse the body of harmful substances. It is also high in fiber, which helps cleanse the intestinal tract. Like cabbage, kale helps neutralize compounds found in cigarette smoke and contains a substance that jump-starts the liver’s production of cleansing enzymes.

Legumes -- are loaded with fiber that helps lower cholesterol, cleanse the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Legumes also help protect the body against cancer.

Lemons -- are superb liver detoxifiers. In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make a substance called glutathione. Glutathione helps promote liver detoxification, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental chemicals. Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in lemons are integral to ward off cancer, fight the effects of pollution and cell damage. Fresh lemon juice contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH levels.

Seaweed -- could be the most underrated vegetable in the Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace minerals.

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A Look at Another Ethnic Tradition - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Prisco family is steeped in Italian heritage and tradition, but over the generations as children grow up, get married and raise children of their own here in the USA, the cultural make-up of their family changes. Growing up, we didn’t know much about ethnic customs beyond our own, but exploring them is often quite interesting, fun, and a great opportunity to get introduced to new foods.

In one week Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, and leading up to Lent there are a number of traditions that different cultures have practiced for centuries... and as with most celebrations, these traditions center around food. People have never looked forward to six weeks of cutting back and denying themselves, so they would find any good excuse to party hearty prior to the start of Lent. Best known of these traditions is Carnival in Rio De Janeiro and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

If, however, you are one of the tens of thousands of people in Chicagoland who are of Polish descent, there is a different but very distinct tradition which back in Poland even has its own holiday: Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday), observed on the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In Chicago and other cities with large Polish populations, folks commemorate the day on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday.

The centerpiece of the Fat Thursday or Fat Tuesday celebration is a traditional Polish doughnut known as a Paczek. The paczek (plural is Paczki – pronounced “poonch-key”), are jelly-filled pastries cranked out by the Polish as fast as they can produce them. At Delightful Pastries in Chicagom as many as 36,000 were pre-ordered, forcing the Polish bakery to produce 1000s per day to meet the demand.

Paczki are made from deep-fried flat dough with fruit or cream filling and usually covered with sugar or icing. A-right:10px small amount of grain alcohol is usually added before cooking, which later evaporates to prevent the absorption of oil deep in the dough. Common paczki fillings include plums, lemon, chocolate, and raspberry. Others include rose-petals – a common ingredient in Polish cuisine – and maple bacon.

The traditional recipe is all about the dough. It's denser; it's a yeast dough that doesn't collapse when you bite into it. The American Heart Association won’t be signing up any time soon to be sponsoring Paczki Day, however, as these little dough bombs pack a real caloric wallop. Each one, about the size of a hockey puck, averages 400-500 calories which includes 25 grams of fat.

Paczek is translated as “doughnut” or “little package.” The recipe stems from the idea of using up all the lard, sugar and eggs in the house before fasting begins during Lent. The doughnuts themselves have existed since the Middle Ages when they were filled with pork fat and fried in lard. The recipe was modified when French cooks came to Poland and improved the paczki dough to make it lighter, spongier and more resilient.

As can be expected with any food, there are famous paczki-eating contests. The record holder is Matthew Holowicki of Plymouth, MI, who in February of 2015 won his 8th consecutive Paczki eating contest, polishing off 23 in 15 minutes. When finished, he collected one more trophy and announced his retirement. For those of you who can’t do the math in your head, that’s around 11,500 calories and 575 grams of saturated fat in one sitting!

While we don’t think any of our customers are interested in this type of caloric overload, one or two this season would make for a delicious way to carry on the Fat Thursday or Fat Tuesday tradition. We have paczki available in store right now in packages of 4 for $3.49.

Enjoy your sweets!

 

Jacquie

Non-meat Proteins for a Vegetarian (or Vegan) Diet- Tuesday, February 14, 2017

There are a variety of reasons why some people choose to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet: some are concerned with the ethics of breeding and raising animals purely for human consumption, while others do it for the purported health benefits (studies have shown that vegetarians often have lower incidence of coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity and some forms of cancer). There's also the practical reason that a vegetable- and fruit-based diet is less expensive than one that depends upon meat protein (you have none of the overhead of housing and feeding livestock -- which requires a great deal of land and resources -- or maintaining the animals' health).

Regardless of your reasons for pursuing a vegetarian or vegan diet, to maximize the health benefits and avoid deficiencies, you must be able to achieve a balanced diet...And one of the most important components of any diet is Protein.

Protein, which consists of a long chain of amino acids that are linked together, is a major component of muscles, organs and other bodily tissues. It is important for the process of digestion, metabolism, and the transportation of oxygen, vitamins, and nutrients throughout the body. In addition, protein plays a major role in the production of antibodies and is also responsible for strong bones, shiny hair, and healthy skin and nails.

Most people acquire the necessary protein from animal sources, but when eggs, meat, and other animal products are no longer an option, you still have a few choices when it comes to substitutes:

Soy Bean

Soy: The only vegetable containing all the amino acids essential for human nutrition, soybeans can be used in place of animal proteins. This versatile protein offers a healthy alternative to meat products and is available in many forms, including isolates and powders, making it incredibly convenient for use in recipes. Soybeans are cholesterol-free and low in fat.

Tempeh: An alternative way to enjoy your soy is tempeh, a fermented soy food made from cooked whole soybeans that have been treated with cultures and formed into a dense, chewy cake. Chopped tempeh can be used as a substitute for ground meats, or it can be sliced for stir-fry.

Nuts: Nuts provide a good dose of protein along with some heart-healthy fatty acids and antioxidants (vitamins A and E). They are also packed full of fiber. Many nuts have a significant source of protein ready to work for your body. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews and pine nuts are among the highest in protein. Nuts can be grated, toasted, ground or eaten raw, and are great when combined with salads, wraps, soups and stews, and baked goods.

Legumes and Beans:   Both are inexpensive and form the basis of many diets around the world.  Beans and legumes are a great source of protein and are typically high in fiber, calcium, and iron as well. Combined with whole grains, beans, and legumes not only make a delicious meal, but many also provide the full complement of essential amino acids required by the human body for healthy function. Dry roasted soy beans (Edamame), falafel, miso, boiled white beans, lentils and pinto beans are common examples of beans and legumes used in cooking, and which are readily available.

Hummus: Derived from chickpeas hummus is high in protein and low fat, which makes it attractive to vegetarians and vegans alike. When combined with other healthy foods, such as grains and nuts, chickpeas can be used to provide your body with the complete profile of amino acids needed for proper health. Hummus in particular also contains heart-healthy fats and dietary fiber, a fair amount of iron and vitamin C, and a significant amount of folate and vitamin B6.

Seitan: Although it is made from wheat, seitan (also called "wheat meat", "wheat gluten" or simply "gluten") has little in common with flour or bread.  As a protein source, seitan contains about 31 grams of protein per 4 oz. serving (which means it has more plant protein per serving than tofu), provides a modest amount of B vitamins and iron and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Seitan is known for being remarkably similar to the look and texture of meat when cooked.

As you can see, there are a number of options when it comes to acquiring necessary protein, but it is extremely important not to focus on one protein source to the exclusion of others. A good source of protein is often a combination of various foods because different foods are rich in different amino acids. It's up to you to make sure that your diet is as varied as possible to ensure your body has everything it needs for its growth, repair, and maintenance!

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Want to lose weight? Who Doesn’t? Perhaps you might try to eat more meat.- Tuesday, February 14, 2017

As was mentioned in an earlier shout out article this year there is a trend by health-conscious people to eat more vegetables and we support that notion and would encourage you to continue to fill your shopping carts with plenty of fresh produce each week.  However, before anyone thinks we are going overboard in support of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle our friends the meat lovers want to be certain that they receive equal time.

Meat proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They’re used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin. Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions. Without protein, life as we know it would not be possible. Proteins are made of smaller molecules called amino acids, which are linked together like beads on a string. The linked amino acids form long protein chains, which are then folded into complex shapes.   Some of these amino acids can be produced by the body, while we must get others from the diet. The ones we cannot produce and must get from our foods are called the “essential” amino acids.

Protein Can Help You Lose Weight (and Prevent You from Gaining it in The First Place)

Protein is incredibly important when it comes to losing weight.  To lose weight, everyone should know that we need to take in fewer calories than we burn.  Eating protein can help with that, by boosting your metabolic rate (calories out) and reducing your appetite (calories in). How’s that for a different perspective on weight loss?

In a well-balanced diet where protein makes up around 25-30% of calorie studies have shown that we receive a boosted metabolism by up to 80 to 100 calories per day, compared to lower protein diets. An even more important contribution of protein to weight loss, however, is its ability to reduce appetite and cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein is much more satiating than both fat and carbs.  If you ever raided the refrigerator for a slice of lemon meringue pie and then find yourself needing several hands full of potato chips you will know what I mean… sugar craving carbs.

In a study in obese men, protein at 25% of calories increased feelings of fullness, reduced the desire for late-night snacking by half and reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%.  In another study, women who increased protein intake to 30% of calories ended up eating 441 fewer calories per day. They also lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks, just by adding more protein to their diet.

But protein doesn’t just help you lose… it can also help prevent you from gaining weight in the first place.   In one study, just a modest increase in protein from 15% of calories to 18% of calories reduced the amount of fat people regained after weight loss by 50%.

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The foods of Love- Monday, February 6, 2017

If you have a special someone in your life, you're probably already planning for or looking forward to this Tuesday. February 14th is Valentine's Day, the one day of the year dedicated exclusively to spending time with your significant other or spouse, and doing your best to make their day special. This can mean simply spending more time with them and/or buying them flowers or other gifts, all of which are great options, but there's one activity almost all couples indulge in on Valentine's Day... Sharing a special meal together!

Now, people often say the best way to a person's heart (man or woman!) is through their stomach, and cultures all over the world agree. Everyone is going to have an opinion on the best foods for inspiring love in another person, ranging from various types of seafood to fruits, herbs, and vegetables. There's a traditional or folk remedy for everything, and aphrodisiacs are in a category all their own.

Looking to play Cupid this Valentine's Day? When you head to the restaurant for a meal out, or while preparing your own meal at home, try incorporating some of the following foods... And enjoy!

[info courtesy of smoothfm.com.au, care2.com & health.usnews.com]

Oysters & Caviar

These classic aphrodisiacs are packed with zinc, a mineral that supposedly increases libido. Why not start your meal with half a dozen oysters or some caviar, and a glass of chilled champagne (a classically romantic beverage)?

Truffles

Why truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate)? Probably due to their rarity and musky aroma. Truffles have long been considered a go-to food for arouse the palate and the body.

Bananas

Loaded with B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and the bromeliad enzyme, bananas may increase the male libido. There are lots of wonderful desserts, including Bananas Foster, that incorporate bananas.

Avocado

Boosting the immune system with B vitamins and potassium, avocados have long been associated with sexuality. Baked Avocados or avocado slices on a salad are a great way to incorporate this particular food into a romantic meal.

Almonds

Thanks to their high vitamin E content, almonds help support female hormones, and have been seen as a fertility symbol for hundreds of years. Almonds can be sprinkled on top of salads or used as an ingredient in many lucious desserts.

Garlic

Garlic is considered an aphrodisiac primarily because it helps increase blood flow. As an ingredient, it's also incredibly easy to include in your meal: Garlic can be used as a seasoning in most main dishes, as well as in sides (garlic mashed potatoes, anyone?).

Chocolate

The neurotransmitters serotonin and anandamide both contribute to feelings of happiness and euphoria, and both are found in chocolate. Chocolate also happens to be the go-to Valentine's Day treat, and you would be remiss not to include it at some point in your evening!

 

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

 

Make us your Valentine’s Day headquarters this week- Monday, February 6, 2017

Who doesn’t love a bit of diversion from the ho-hum doldrums of winter? Here at Prisco’s we all feel that Valentine’s Day is just that... a great way to have some fun and spend close-up and personal time with the love of our lives. My daughters Jacquie and Bridget, along with several other members of the staff, go all out to make certain we have loads of handmade specialty items available for you and your Valentine.

Starting as you walk in the door, our gift department is packed with all sorts of “I Love You” trinkets, Valentine Cards, and loads of freshly delivered beautiful roses plus other assorted cut flowers and bouquets. While you are checking out the gift department, don’t miss the great collection of locally made Long Grove sweet candies and our selection of special Valentine's Day-focused wines.

From the gift department we would like you to head over to the deli and meat department where we have a real treat in mind for you this year. Last year we put together a Surf & Turf dinner for two and found it to be a very popular package. This year we changed it up a bit, added a second dinner choice and brought the price down as well. Last year the dinner included wine and roses, but some folks told us that they didn’t drink wine so we changed up the mix as follows...

 

Two Dinners for 2

Pasta Primavera for 2 $19.99

 Surf & Turf for 2 $49.99

Heat & Eat

Includes

 

• Homemade Pasta Primavera for 2

• Italian Tossed Salad for 2

• Half loaf of garlic bread

• 2 hand-dipped jumbo Chocolate Covered
   strawberries with stems

 

 Cooking Required

 Includes

 

 • 2 USDA Choice Prisco’s Angus Filets 5 to 6 oz.

 • 2 Coldwater Lobster tails 5 to 6 oz.

 • Half loaf of garlic bread

 • 2 hand-dipped jumbo Chocolate Covered
    strawberries with stems

 

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on our hand-dipped strawberries covered in dark and white chocolate. They tend to go fast, so get here early.

Finally, we have one more special offering that you gentlemen should know about: This year we have two great Long Grove candy items, a 4 oz. box of Myrtels and a 4.5 oz. box of chocolate covered peanut butter melt-aways, both priced at $8.99 ea. If you combine one box of either of these with one dozen long stem roses the two are yours for a mere $25. That’s like buying the roses and getting the chocolate free.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

 

Beth