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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Flaxseed and Quinoa, Two Healthy Additions to Any Diet- Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As people become more and more conscious of their food choices, we are finding that many obscure and previously difficult to find food items are becoming more and more commonplace. For example, up until a handful of years ago, not many people had even heard of quinoa, let alone known of its many health benefits. The same is true for flaxseed meal, which is also experiencing a surge in popularity due to its nutritional properties -- especially its usefulness as a low-carb fiber source in many weight-loss diets.

Some nutritional information

What's so special about quinoa? Quinoa's reputation as the epitome of natural health foods is well deserved. It's gluten-free, packed with protein, and contains all nine of the essential amino acids required by the human body for proper function. It's also high in fiber, B-vitamins, potassium and calcium, and vitamin E. A cup of quinoa contains 220 calories, 39 grams of carbs and only 4 grams of fat.

How is quinoa used? Quinoa is a versatile grain and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be consumed on its own (cooked, of course), or as part of a recipe. Most folks use it in a similar manner to rice or bulgar wheat; you can try mixing your favorite seasonings with cooked quinoa and using it as a stuffing. It also makes for a fantastic and filling salad, such as this Quinoa Tabbouleh or Tuscan Quinoa Salad.

Flaxseed (sometimes referred to as "linseed"), is a real powerhouse of a food. It's been shown to improve digestion, lower cholesteroal, help maintain hormone balance, and promote weight loss. Flaxseeds are also the richest plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids available, making it perfect for vegans and strict vegetarians who may have difficulty finding a source elsewhere. Flax is also high in fiber but low in carbohydrates, making it a filling option for folks on a diet. And, like quinoa, flaxseeds contain complete proteins, which means they have notable amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Two tablespoons of flaxseed meal contains 60 calories, 4 grams of carbs and 5 grams of healthy fats.

How is flaxseed used? Flaxseeds are most commonly used ground, as they are not easily digestable whole. Flaxseed meal can be integrated without issue into most recipes that use batters or doughs. You can expect to see flaxseed meal as an ingredient in many baking recipes (cookies and muffins especially), but you can also stir a tablespoon or two into yogurt, oatmeal, or your next smoothie for a little added fiber and protein. Interested? Try this recipe for Apple and Carrot Muffins or this one for Blueberry Pancakes. We also have a recipe for the kale lovers out there.

 

It’s Hard To Celebrate When So Many Are Suffering- Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This weekend marks what most of us consider the end of Summer and it is traditionally celebrated with a three-day holiday weekend. This year it will be a bit hard to celebrate when so many of our neighbors to the south are suffering so much loss and discomfort brought on by the fury of hurricane Harvey.

As the storm starts to finally wind down the rescue efforts should also begin to abate, but as we all know that is when the real work begins. Tens of thousands of families have been displaced by the disaster and it looks like it may be a very long clean up and recovery process.

In most cases, those of us here in the Midwest can do little more than empathize with the folks suffering. We can, however, send along our prayers and emotional support, and, of course, we can send down donations of food, clothing and money to help feed and sustain those who are presently homeless.

If you are wondering how to best do this, we suggest that you be certain that nothing you donate goes to waste or falls into the hands of unscrupulous scam artists who always climb out of the ruins at a time like this. You can start by contacting your own church as most local churches are already in the process of mobilizing donations to get them where they are needed the most. If you're looking for a local charity to support in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, you might consider Houston Food Bank, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society, Houston SPCA, or San Antonio Humane Society. These highly-rated organizations are located in the most-affected areas and are providing support to individuals and animals.

To reach any of these organizations, simply visit Charity Navigator where you can make a donation online 24/07. Using Charity Navigator is also an excellent way to avoid scams or less than stand-up charities who siphon too much of your donations into administrative fees and high salaries. You can get further advice on avoiding fraudsters by checking out tips from the Federal Trade Commission.

Thank for thinking about our neighbors on the Gulf Coast and please do enjoy your Labor Day Weekend.

 

Andy

Why settle for ham when you can enjoy prosciutto?- Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sadly, not everyone has experienced all of the special foods that Italian cuisine has to offer. While most folks could tell you what lasagna is and are no doubt familiar with olive oil when it comes to meal preparation, not everyone is familiar with one of Italy's other top exports, prosciutto. Found in delis like Prisco’s, prosciutto is a variety of uncooked, dry-cured meat – specifically ham.

While there are many regional varieties, in general prosciutto has a mild flavor with a fair amount of saltiness due to the curing process. It is typically sliced extremely thin and served either alone or as part of a larger appetizer, side dish or entree... It's not uncommon for prosciutto to be paired with softer cheeses such as fresh mozzarella, and it goes exceptionally well with sweeter foods like dates or even melon, which helps accentuate its savoriness. One of the most popular uses for prosciutto is as a wrapping for vegetables like asparagus, and it makes for an excellent pizza or sandwich topping as well. It should also be noted that the rind or butt ends of prosciutto can be diced and incorporated into soups and stews for added flavor.

Prosciutto Recipes

Appetizers

Prosciutto Flowers

Melon and Prosciutto

Roast Shrimp with Prosciutto

Kiwi Fruit and Prosciutto Crostini

Main Course

Fettuccine a la Prosciutto

Peppered Capellini with Prosciutto

Pizza with White Beans, Prosciutto, and Rosemary

Cream of Potato Soup with Prosciutto and Sour Cream

 

A Few Words About Our Special Cheeses- Tuesday, August 22, 2017

About two years ago we made a commitment to re-launch efforts to carry and promote a wide selection of specialty cheeses. This was not a task to be taken lightly because it’s not something many of our customers were familiar with at the time. That being the case, these cheese items were at the forefront of our minds when it came to purchasing groceries, and the fact that most of these cheeses were made in very small batches and were often imported meant much higher prices per pound versus their basic American-made counterparts. At the time the decision was made to move forward with the project, I was pleased that my mom and uncle Rob put the project in my hands and let me become Prisco’s Cheese Monger.

Since our launch I‘ve enjoyed learning about, tasting and buying hundreds of different cheese varieties that I’d never before experienced. Cheese, like many other perishable products, has its own seasonal changes and this means that nothing in the cheese case remains static for very long. Soon we will see introduce sales of two of our most popular varieties, Brie andCamembert. Brie is something you can expect to find on any holiday cheese tray for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, but for real Brie enthusiasts the cooler days of fall really kick off the brie season. Camembert is another soft cow’s milk, French cheese. When ripe it has a pungent, strongly flavored inside and, like Brie, becomes increasingly runny as it ages.

Meanwhile, for those of you who enjoy an excellent shredded cheese with your pasta, this week we are featuring one of the world’s most reknown Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, Export Malandrone 1477.

Let me close by giving you a fun idea for this upcoming weekend... Why not plan a day trip to Illinois Amish country and visit Arthur, IL, located in East Central Illinois, about 2 1/2 hours south of Aurora. No, you will not find an extensive collection of exotic varieties of rare cheese form around the world in Arthur, but if you like cheese and good clean country living it’s certain to be a hit with you and your kids. The town will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Arthur Cheese Festival. There will be plenty of family fun for the whole weekend. Enjoy the festival atmosphere throughout Arthur. Eat a corn dog, sample the free cheese, take in a tractor pull, watch a parade, listen to some music, visit an Amish farm shop, shop the sales in town... just enjoy yourself! 

Enjoy this Labor Day holiday weekend.

 

Bridget

Low-Carb Cauliflower – A healthy food substitute- Tuesday, August 15, 2017

This week, we wanted to place the produce spotlight firmly over one of our favorite vegetables, cauliflower. This may seem like an odd choice, but if you are a foodie or simply keen on cooking, you've probably already come across a number of articles and other media featuring this under-appreciated vegetable. It's become popular as a low-carbohydrate substitute in many recipes, replacing common ingredients such as flour in certain dough recipes (ex., gluten-free pizza crusts), or as an alternative to starch- and carb-laden dishes like mashed potatoes.

A little about cauliflower

While there are many different cultivars of white cauliflower, they are all marketed under the same name. In addition to the white varieties we're all well aquainted with, cauliflower also comes in other shades, including orange, green, and purple. Such varieties include the "broccoflower", a genetic cross which combines the physical features of cauliflower with the chlorophyll of broccoli, while mostly maintaining the cauliflower's unique flavor. With heads ranging from yellow-green to lime-green, broccoflower has a slightly sweeter taste than conventional cauliflower.

Selecting and storing a head of cauliflower

When choosing a cauliflower, look for a clean, white head with tight bud clusters – you'll want to avoid cauliflower whose florets are starting to separate or sag. The head of the cauliflower should be surrounded by thick green leaves, leaving the florets better protected and ensuring freshness over a longer period. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower, of course, should be avoided if possible.

Cauliflower will keep forup to five daysif stored in a perforated plastic bag or in an open dry container in the refrigerator, but is best eaten as soon as possible. Never seal your cauliflower in a plastic bag or other closed container and always keep the head stem-side up to prevent moisture form collecting on it during storage, which can accelerate rot.

Cauliflower recipes

So, how to prepare your cauliflower? As mentioned previously, you have plenty off options when it comes to cooking this incredible vegetable. There are a number of substitution options for more complex recipes, and cauliflower can serve as a standalone ingredient for simple sidedishes in place of other, more conventional veggies. Consider the following examples...

Cauliflower Rice

Instead of the usual white rice, substitute cauliflower in your favorite recipes. Just pulse the florets in a food processor or grate them on a box grater (via medium-sized holes) until you have small, rice-sized pellets. Once you have your "rice", just saute in a skillet over medium heat in olive oil; cover and allow the heat to steam the cauliflower until desired tenderness. You can then season your "rice" as you see fit. - Cauliflower rice can be used in any dish that calls for white rice, including sushi.

Cauliflower in place of potatoes

This applies to both mashed varieties and chopped. Instead of diced potatoes in your corned beef or breakfast-style hash, try cauliflower. It cooks up roughly the same without any additional fuss, and really provides the texture you'd expect from a good hash. The cauliflower does an excellent job of soaking up the other flavors, whether you are cooking with bacon or meat or simply spices, and is an excellent base for highly seasoned dishes.

Cauliflower also makes for a fantastic mashed potato substitute. If you are trying to shave off calories and carbs, serve up mashed cauliflower at your next meal. It's easy to prepare: Just steam the cauliflower for about 14 minutes then place in a food processor. Add some cream or buttermilk, some butter, salt and pepper, and garlic if desired. Pulse until desired consistency and serve.

Basically, the sky's the limit when it comes to subbing cauliflower for potatoes. Shredded or diced cauliflower works splendidly in other potato-heavy dishes...Cauliflower Tots and Cauliflower Pancakes (fritters) are also fantastic. Just use your imagination!

Cauliflower pizza crusts

One of the most talked about uses for cauliflower these days is as an ingredient in low-carb and gluten-free pizza crust. Preparation is a bit more involved than making mashed cauliflower, but you're using many of the same utensils. Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until you have a powder – this is your flour alternative. For the specifics on preparing your cauliflower crust, see below.

Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com:

Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

2 cups freshly grated mozzarella

1/4 cup Pizza Sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor to a fine snowy powder (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Transfer the processed cauliflower to a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a clean, dry kitchen towel and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle, wrap the cauliflower in the towel and wring out as much moisture as possible, transferring to a second towel if necessary. In a large bowl, stir together the cauliflower, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and press into a 10-inch round. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and top with the pizza sauce and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 minutes more.

Cauliflower in place of pasta in some dishes

Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, right? Well, even if you don't personally, surely you know someone who does. Cauliflower makes it possible for folks who love their mac to continue enjoying it, albeit modified. Just substitute small, bite-sized cauliflower pieces for the macaroni: Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for about five minutes; you're going for a more al dente texture, crisp-tender. Drain well and pat dry, then transfer to a baking dish. Pour your preferred cheese sauce over your "mac" and cook until browned on top and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Cauliflower in cookies

This may not seem very appetizing, but it turns out that powdered/processed cauliflower can make a pretty good substitute for regular flour in cookies. For a tasty treat, try this recipe courtesy of thesmartcookieblog.com:

Flourless Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup frozen cauliflower, thawed

1/2 cup cottage cheese (I used 1%)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp honey

2 prunes, soaked in water for a couple minutes (the longer they soak, the better)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cauliflower, cottage cheese, cinnamon, ginger, milk, maple syrup, honey, and prunes in food processor. Process until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Pour the mixture from the food processor into the bowl with oats. Mix to combine. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Form dough into cookies and place on greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Let cool before removing from baking sheet and serving.

 

Enjoy the last of Summer- Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I’m pretty sure I’m still a kid at heart. Just as when I was in grade school and then high school, I really hate to see the days begin to grow shorter and the stores putting out all their Back-to-School flyers. While it's merely bothersome now, back then I was in no hurry to see the laid back, happy days of summer be replaced by the hassle of 6:00 am alarm clocks, the need to have a set bedtime once more, and the drudge of homework. Even the thought sent bad vibes up my spine. I went to school all day and then once I got home I had to do WORK.

Well as they say, the clock just keeps on ticking and kids all over Aurora, all over Kane county, all over Illinois, all over America -- oh heck, all over the world -- must go back to school.

What’s more, I now realize that summer break doesn’t just end for kids each August, but all the teachers and staff have to head back to school for work as well. My wife, Sarah, is a teacher and she has been preparing for her new classes... and I’ve got to admit, if I were in her class I’d be looking forward to some fun in addition to the work because Sarah does a good job of making learning enjoyable.

As the seasons change out in the store, some of our routines begin to change as well as we work on clearing out the summer items and replace them with school fixings. Soon the meat department will begin featuring less burgers and brats and more roasts and tummy-filling, cooler weather options. The Deli will boast fewer salads and warm weather drinks and desserts and start offering seasonal fall favorites like Bridget’s pumpkin cake and homemade cupcakes.

Another department that goes through a huge seasonal changeover this time of year is our adult beverage department. Last week and again this week, Justin is having a seasonal shelf clearing sale on wines. It’s really a great offer, so if you like wine, now is a great time to take advantage of the sale and stock up.

 

End of Summer Wine Sale

Buy any combination of four 750-ml. bottles of wine, mix or match, on sale or at regular retail, and automatically receive an additional 10% discount on EVERY bottle at the checkout register.

No need to remind the cashier, it happens automatically. Enjoy the EXTRA 10% discount!

 

- Andy

Fun to make after school snacks – Banana Sushi and Banana Rollups.- Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It’s back-to-school time and that means lots of changes in daily habits; and often, some unwanted stress for parents and kids alike. Here are two fun ways to give the kids an after school snack that they will look forward to and can also have fun making themselves with just a little adult supervision.

Banana Sushi

Serves 1 Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 10 mins

Ingredients

• 1 medium banana

• 1 tablespoon nut butter (any kind will work!)

• optional toppings: chopped nuts, chia seeds, shredded coconut

Instructions

Peel banana and then spread on 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Sprinkle on optional toppings and press them lightly into the nut butter to ensure they will stick. Using a sharp knife, evenly slice banana into “sushi” pieces. Enjoy right away or transfer onto a baking sheet and freeze for later!
 

Banana Roll-Ups

Serves 4 Prep Time: 10 mins  Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

• 2 (7 to 8-inch) soft flour tortillas

• 3 tablespoons peanut butter

• 2 tablespoons hot fudge ice cream topping or Nutella

• 2 bananas

• 2 teaspoons toasted wheat germ

Instructions

Spread tortillas with peanut butter. Spread chocolate topping carefully over peanut butter. Place banana in center of each tortilla. (If bananas are very curved, make 2 cuts at intervals on inside edge to make them lay straight.) Sprinkle each with wheat germ. Roll up tortillas. Cut each in half diagonally.

 

We’ve got something NEW to "cluck" about!- Tuesday, August 8, 2017

As most of you know, we have been cooking up rotisserie chickens daily for as far back as any of us cares to remember. Customers love them, and whenever we feature them as one of our Shopper’s Choice Awards they sell out very quickly.

Well, I’ve got some good news to announce: starting this week, we are upgrading the whole chickens that we roast every day. We have selected to use the Gold'n Plump® Brand for several reasons, each one about the chickens and what does and does not go into them on the farm. You see, Gold'n Plump® chickens are raised by people who know what’s best for chickens. Family farmers, trained employees and local veterinarians who all share in the care of their chickens, making sure they’re treated right.

As we all know, the quality of the food that we eat depends entirely upon the food that the plants or animals had to eat when being raised on the farm. The farmers who raise Gold’n Plump® chickens use a feed that the company mills itself using locally grown corn, soybean meal, vitamins, minerals and other natural ingredients. Their proprietary nutritious feed recipes are created with the help of a nutritionist, and are balanced to meet the changing dietary needs of growing chickens.

What Gold'n Plump® chickens don’t get is equally important. All their chickens are raised without antibiotics of any kind and carry the "No Antibiotics–Ever" attribute on each package. Another difference between Gold'n Plump® all natural fresh chicken products and some competitive chicken brands is that Gold'n Plump® does not contain any additives, including solutions. Therefore, they do not contain any allergens.

Finally, each Gold'n Plump® whole chicken is a fixed weight product. You can be assured that every package weighs 3.5 pounds, so you know exactly what you’re getting every time. So when you buy one of our golden brown, juicy hot, ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens at $6.99 ea., you are paying only $1.99 lb. for a fully prepared entrée.

We hope you’ll give our new rotisserie chickens a try, but please don’t all do it at once or Andy will have to buy us a larger rotisserie.

Enjoy!

 

Beth

Sensational summer blueberries are now available!- Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer is the best times to purchase blueberries. This amazing fruit is officially in its peek season and not only readily available, but in its prime in both texture and flavor. You'd be hard pressed to find blueberries bursting with this much sweetness any other time of year. Why are blueberries hard to beat? Here are a few reasons:

Nutrition

Blueberries are considered a superfood. Superfoods, for those not familiar with the term, are foods (usually raw items, such as fruits and vegetables) that have been confirmed to be nutrient-rich and especially beneficial for the health and well-being of the consumer. Blueberries fall into this category because they are high in fiber and low in calories, and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals (such as K1, vitamin C and manganese) and antioxidants.

While blueberries are often eaten fresh, they make for an excellent ingredient in many baked goods, and are perfect in jams and jellies, and even juiced. They are also easy to store, lasting several days if refrigerated (be sure they are dry and free of mold before placing them in the fridge), or months if frozen.

Freezing blueberries:

There is a specific process to this if you want to maximize consistency: First, spread your blueberries out on a rimmed baking sheet and let them firm up in the freezer for a couple hours. Afterward, transfer them into a resealable plastic bag and pop them back in the freezer. They should keep for a few months. Note: Because freezing can break down the cellular structure of the berries, you may wind up with a less plump texture. Because of this, your best bet is to use your (still delicious!) berries in baking recipes or smoothies once they are removed from the freezer.

Try some of these fabulous blueberry recipes

For fresh blueberries, try:

If you have frozen berries:

 

Sometimes stepping out of the box when cooking can have its rewards- Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cooking is, of course, a learned skill. For most of us who do the cooking in our family, we learned the basics by helping our moms or grandmas, or perhaps our dads and grandpas. From there, we hone our skills from recipes we try and eventually most of us get brave enough to experiment with foods that aren’t tied to a recipe. Yes, it can be a bit scary, but when successful the rewards of a delicious, self-created dish are really worthwhile.

For those of you with a spirit of adventure and willingness to try something other than the same old way we have always done it, here are a couple of ideas to experiment with.

  • Mix in a high-flavor ingredient - If you want folks to sit up and take notice of a dish, this is a great way to enhance the flavor of many somewhat bland foods like vegetables, rice or potatoes. Add just a small amount of what I’d call a "strong flavor enhancer". Two that I like to incorporate are capers and bacon.

    Think of capers as kernel-sized flavorizers with a hint of lemon. Their salty-briney taste makes them ideal in creamy dishes in which their tang helps cut richness. Being Italian, of course capers were a staple in our home as they added character and an acidic flavor to pasta sauce and classic dishes.

    Bacon is another prime example of a flavorful ingredient. Cook up a couple of pieces and crumble onto salads or soups to give them a little bit of “wow.” Or chop and fry bacon, then add it to pasta and veggies for a delicious pasta carbonara. Bacon can make even green or baked beans extra tasty.

  • Change up an old staple - Potatoes are such a staple in our country that we often take them for granted. “How do you want your potatoes, baked, mashed or fried?” Let’s try something altogether different.

    Start with a bunch of new potatoes. Once scrubbed, cook your potatoes in simmering water, but just for 15 minutes, until they're soft enough that, once they've cooled a bit, you can smash them slightly with the bottom of your fist or the back of a serving spoon. Toss them in a roasting pan with a coating of olive oil and salt; then roast at 400 degrees until the smashed edges of the potatoes begin to brown and crisp. Toss with minced garlic and whatever chopped herbs you'd like (mint, basil, rosemary, thyme); serve. You’ll love the different taste of good old spuds.

  • Turn Cauliflower into Steak - Cauliflower is a vegetable that has really come into its own recently with many people serving it mashed as a potato substitute or as a gluten-free pizza crust, and all kinds of other creative ideas. Here’s one I picked up from an Oprah Winfrey blog:

    First you sear it then bake it like you would a juicy ribeye steak. This makes the exterior crisp and the inside soft. It’s simple to do, just cut the entire head of cauliflower into inch-thick slices, forming cauliflower "steaks". Season with salt and pepper and brown in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil until golden, about three minutes per side. Finish in a 350-degree oven, baking for 10 minutes or until tender. Easy to do and yet a whole new taste experience.

Have some fun experimenting with cooking. The rewards and fun are well worth it.

 

Beth