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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Healthy Finger Foods for the Big Game Day- Tuesday, January 30, 2018

This weekend is Super Bowl Sunday and we thought you might like to try your hand at one or two of these healthier finger food recipes...

Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip

Serves 4   Prep time: 10 minutes    Total time: 10 minutes

Every party this weekend will likely have a guacamole dip set out and people will no doubt scarf it up. However, some of your guests may be trying very hard to stay on the diet that they started at the beginning of this month, and chances are they would love you for offering a healthier alternative. This healthy Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip is simple to make and is great for parties or snack time.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pita chips, tortilla chips, cut up veggies-for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Place the yogurt, avocados, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, and cumin in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Scrape dip into a serving bowl and serve with pita chips, tortilla chips, or cut up veggies.

 

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus

Serves 8   Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 45 minutes

Talk about a healthy snack attack! This hummus pairs sweet potatoes, a great source of fiber and vitamin A, and chickpeas, which are high in protein and fiber. Serve it with whole-wheat pita chips...and cross your fingers that there will be leftovers for sandwiches and wraps.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (or 2 cups mashed sweet potato)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each sweet potato with foil. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until tender. Peel sweet potatoes, set aside. In a large food processor (or blender), puree garlic cloves and chickpeas. Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, brown sugar, and spices. Puree until smooth. Then add sweet potatoes and puree until completely combined. Serve immediately with pita chips or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

 

Shrimp Ceviche Verde

Prep time: 10 min.   Cook time: 0 min.

This recipe requires no cooking on your part; the acid in the lime juice does all the work. Your guests will rave about this one and ask for the recipe.

  • 1 Lb. fresh, uncooked. shrimp, medium-to-small size, peeled and deveined.
  • 4 fl. oz. fresh. lime juice
  • 1/4 lb. fresh. tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped.
  • 1 Cup fresh cilantro (loosely packed), thick bottom stems cut off.
  • salt
  • 1 Serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped.
  • 1/2 habanero peppers, stemmed seeded and very finely chopped.
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped. chives
  • 1 avocadoes, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and cut into small cubes.

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces and scoop into a serving bowl. In a blender, combine the lime juice, tomatillos, cilantro and 3/4 normal tsp salt. Blend until slushy looking, but not completely smooth. Stir into the shrimp and refrigerate 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the two chilies, chives and avocado. Taste and season with more salt if you think necessary.

 

Entertaining for the Super Bowl - Let Us Help!- Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Football fan or not, chances are good that you will be going to or throwing a Super Bowl party this Sunday. What else is there to do on a cold February weekend? If you want to enjoy the game without all the hassle of shopping for food and drink and then all the prep work, perhaps I can interest you in some of the homemade party items that we are cooking up for this week’s big game.

Let me start with time honored cold cuts. This week we are featuring the lowest price in years on Krakus Imported Ham and BelGioioso Provolone Cheese. At just $3.98 lb. for either, you really can’t go wrong on these two and leftovers will make for some delicious ham and cheese sandwiches next week.

When planning our offerings this year we went for a common theme...finger food. No need for flatware; everything is perfectly acceptable eaten with fingers only. We start with a freshly made foot-long sandwiches. Eat it all or cut it in half and share with a friend, and at only $7.99 each it’s a great value.

Bridget and Jacquie have been tasked with coming up with some awesome homemade fresh pizzas. I know that they will offer the traditional mix, but they also have some outside the box pizza ideas as well. Give one a try and let us know what you think.

Back again this season due to their success the last couple years will be our appetizer bowls, including wings and Santa Fe eggrolls. For sliders we have two varieties available, corned beef and roast beef. If it’s chips and dips you're looking for, stop in both the produce department and in the dairy where you will find a wide assortment of guacamole, salsa, and dips of all kinds available and on sale. We also have our homemade dips fully stocked in the case directly across from the deli.

One more department that seldom gets mentioned but is very popular on game days is our beer and wine section in aisles one and two. Andy and Jason went all out putting together some deeper than average price cuts for Super Bowl, and they threw in a number of items that can earn you 50 to 100 Prisco's Points to boot.

Regardless of who you are rooting for, the Eagles or that same team we’ve seen for what seems like forever, good luck and have fun. And remember this, the one and only time that our beloved Chicago Bears ever won a Super Bowl was back in the 1900s, and it was the New England Patriots that they beat.

Oh, and Tom Brady was in the 4th grade.

 

Go Team,

Beth

 

Guacamole – The Fruit Dip We Americans Love to Eat- Tuesday, January 23, 2018

If you are over the age of forty you can no doubt harken back to a time when an avocado was still a bit unusual, and most Americans were either unfamiliar with or a bit squeamish about things like guacamole dip. Fast forward to the 1990s and we see all of that begin to change.

By the turn of the century, annual consumption of avocados began to rise dramatically year after year. In 2000 we each consumed on average about 2 lbs. of avocados annually, but in just 15 years that figure had grown 350% to seven pounds. Not only do we really love those little green fruits with the big seeds and bumpy brown skin, Super Bowl Sunday every year we consume over 50 Million pounds of the little critters, and it is safe to bet that about 70% of those avocados end up in the form of a guacamole dip.

So, guacamole dip…it tastes great and we can’t seem to get enough of it, but is it in any way healthy? Although high in fat, it’s the healthy monounsaturated variety. According to the American Heart Association, when healthy monounsaturated fats are in moderation in place of saturated and trans-fat, this can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. However, if you overdo it guacamole can turn from good-for-you, to not very good-for-you quickly. A 1/2-cup serving of traditional guacamole contains around 100 calories and 9 grams of fat. And don’t forget to add the chips, which run about 140 calories per ounce (about 15 chips). However, it’s tough to stick to just 15 chips and stop scooping that guacamole. Many people tend to eat several servings at a time, which can rack up hundreds of calories.

Bottom line: Guacamole is a healthy snack packed with fabulous nutrients your body needs. Enjoy your guacamole, but keep those portions in check.

 

After Two Months, Prisco’s Points are Getting Lots of Play- Tuesday, January 23, 2018

In mid-November we launched our new customer appreciation program, commonly referred to as "Prisco’s Points". Like with anything new, we were uncertain how our customers would react to this rewards program, but it appears that any concerns we might have had at first were ill founded. Shoppers have openly embraced the program as literally thousands of you have taken 5 seconds to register by providing your checker with your cell phone number. Since the program launched November on 8th, we have given away just under 1.5 million points and about 500,000 points have been redeemed for cash rewards or free or deeply discounted merchandise. The beauty of the program is that it’s designed to be a win-win-win for everyone.

Our suppliers are happy that so many of our customers are participating and purchasing their featured products. Eventually this news spreads to other suppliers and as they realize that this is such a great way to offer rewards to shoppers who buy their products, more rewards on more products will become available.

Our customers are enjoying the fact that it’s easy to earn points because every dollar spent earns a point, and many items throughout the store offer bonus points if you purchase them. For example, January is our biggest month to sell soup thanks to the cold weather. This week and next, for every can of Progresso Classic Vegetable soups you purchase your account grows by 75 points. At the same time, the dozens of varieties of red and white Campbell’s soups will earn another 30 Prisco’s Points for each can. A shopping trip this week for just $30 that includes two cans of Progresso Vegetable Classic soup, four cans of red and white Campbell’s soups and one 18 oz. box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes will provide you with 500 points.

This month, for as few as 300 points you can take home either a FREE 24 oz. loaf of Village Hearth Cottage Bread or a FREE 9 to 12 oz. bag of Dole Salad. With this order totaling 500 points, you will earn more than enough points to select a 4 oz. bag of a local favorite, Coffee Drop Coffee or a 4 lb. bag of juicy delicious California Navel oranges.

That’s what I mean by winning. In this case you spend just $30 on basic groceries that you would need anyway and go home with a FREE food item worth as much as $5.

Earlier I explained that the Prisco’s Points program is a win for our suppliers and a win for our customers, and I am pleased to say it appears to be a win for our store as well. In today’s tough economic environment where we directly compete with some of the largest corporate retail food companies in the world as well as online food competitors, it’s nice to finally have a small victory where we are able to compete on a slightly more level playing field. Because our customers are able to earn such high value rewards effortlessly, they are beginning to spend a larger portion of their annual grocery budget with us. Of course it goes without saying that we can’t for one second take our eye off those tangibles that really define us as a local independent family food store; freshness, quality, outstanding customer service, and lots of delicious homemade specialties in our meat and deli departments.

In closing, we hope that you are finding benefit in the Prisco’s Points program, we thank you for your loyalty and we encourage you to stay tuned as we continue to roll out new program benefits in the near future.

Andy

Potassium - A critical mineral we don’t tend to get enough of.- Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Potassium is an essential nutrient in our diet. It is the third most abundant mineral in the human body and is a powerful element in improving health. It contains the components for maintaining a high level of well-being and an improved lifestyle. Apart from acting as an electrolyte, this mineral is required for keeping the heart, brain, kidneys, muscle tissue, and other important organ systems of the human body in good condition. The benefits we extract from potassium include relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, and anxiety and stress. It helps to enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and the nervous system.

As important as potassium is to maintaining good health, it just happens to be a nutrient that most people don’t get enough of. Currently, just 3 percent of the US population is meeting the US recommended adequate intake for potassium of 4,700 mg per day.

So what are good sources of potassium?

Although there are many sources of potassium in the produce aisle, potatoes are among the very best. Not only do potatoes rank highest for potassium among the 20 top-selling fruits and vegetables, but they are also the most affordable source of this key nutrient, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables and fruits. In fact, at just 110 calories, one medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato has more potassium than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C, and is sodium-, fat- and cholesterol-free.

Most people think of bananas as a good source of potassium, which they are. However, 1 large banana only delivers about 15% of your daily recommended intake of this mineral.

Adding lentils to your soups or stews will deliver a decent amount of fiber which is important, but lentils also contain more than 350 milligrams of potassium in every half cup. That equates to roughly 10% of your daily intake for this critically important mineral, in addition to a decent amount of dietary fiber, copper and manganese, which can further help with heart health and bone mineral density.

Just half of a salmon fillet contains more than 20% of your potassium intake for the day, in addition to the plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential minerals. Regularly eating salmon has been associated with better nervous system function, a reduction in blood pressure, and less inflammation throughout the body, which can be affected by poor fluid balance.

Looking for a healthier snack? Try raisins! With roughly 250 milligrams of potassium in every quarter cup, raisins are an excellent choice. Despite only being 7% of your recommended amount, raisins are also packed with other minerals and dietary fiber.

Avocados pack a powerful amount of potassium. Approximately 30% of your daily requirement of potassium can be found in a single avocado.

If you prefer to get your potassium in a liquid form, try milk. Roughly 10% of the daily requirement of potassium can be found in a single 8-ounce glass. This is in addition to the calcium and phosphorus available in this popular beverage, the levels of which can be regulated by proper potassium levels in the body.

 

Some tips and motivation to help keep you eating healthier.- Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Okay, silent show of hands, how many of you have stuck to your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and lose some weight? How many have had some set-backs but are still committed and working at it? Good, nice to see so many of you are committed to eating healthier this year, and kudos to those of you who have been zealous about it. Don’t get discouraged if over the weekend you may have fallen off the wagon a bit…just get up, and climb back on. You are not alone and we are all cheering each other on, right?

I like tips and shortcuts when it comes to facing a tough challenge, so I did some digging on the world-wide web and came up with a number of ideas to help each of us. See if any of them might work for you.

On the American Heart Association’s website I found the following tips:

  1. Watch your use of salt & other ingredients: Americans eat more than double the daily amount of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association. Too much sodium increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other health problems, but this excess isn’t just from salting at the table. Americans get most of their sodium — 77 percent — from processed foods. If you choose these foods, compare the labels and look for lower-sodium versions. Reading labels is one of the best ways to eat healthier. In addition to watching out for too much salt, pay close attention to what else you are ingesting with the prepared food. Too many ingredients is usually a red flag, especially if most of the ingredients require a PHD in chemistry to know what they are and what they do to us.

  2. Pile on the fruits and vegetables: Spend more time in the produce department and try to make it a point to have two fresh fruits and or vegetables in every meal that you eat. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Look for fruits and vegetables of many different colors. Then try a “healthy sauté” using a small amount of liquid to cook vegetables. Need a quick, healthy weeknight dinner? Try a salad.

  3. All Fats are not bad. A certain amount of fat in our diet is necessary for good health, just choose good fats over bad whenever possible: Learn how to substitute good fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) for bad fats (saturated and trans fats). For example, try canola oil or olive oil instead of butter. Choose lean meats, poultry without skin and fish instead of fattier cuts of meats. Enjoy heart-healthy fats in moderation and remember this tip: 1 teaspoon equals 1 serving.

  4. Cook at home. There are lots of reasons that a home-cooked meal is good for your health and your wallet. There is nothing wrong with an occasional night out or breakfast at your favorite pancake house, but home-cooked meals will save money and give you a better chance of eating healthier. Cooking at home allows you to make sure the ingredients are healthy and the portions are correct. Try using a smaller salad-size plate instead of a big dinner plate, as well.

If any of you have some healthy eating tips that you would like to share, please pass them along. Together we can all be a little bit healthier in 2018.

 

Andy

Meet Some Veggies That Will Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts- Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Everyone knows that eating your veggies is good for your health, but on top of that we’ve discovered that a number of vegetables happen to carry specific nutritional profiles that make them especially beneficial as aids to weight loss by revving your metabolism, turning off belly fat genes, and melting excess body fat. For Example:

  • Bell peppers - contain a metabolism-boosting compound, dihydrocapsiate, and their high vitamin-C content can help you lose weight. Just one cup of sweet bell peppers serves up three times the daily requirement of vitamin C, which counteracts stress hormones which trigger fat storage around the midsection. For a healthy snack, dip slices of bell peppers into hummus.

  • Broccoli - contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane that will increase testosterone and fight off body fat storage. Like bell peppers, broccoli is also is a good source of Vitamin C.

  • Spinach - According to health experts, Popeye was on to something when he would bulk-up on spinach. Not only did it give him great biceps, but spinach took his calorie burning capability up a notch or two. The reason is that spinach is packed with protein, a nutrient that aids post-pump muscle recovery and growth.

  • Pickles – Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Pickles are low-cal, filled with fiber and covered in vinegar. One large pickle has just 15 calories and 2 grams of belly-filling fiber, so eating three or four can actually leave you feeling pretty satiated for less than 100 calories! How does the vinegar come into play? Acidic foods help increase the rate at which the body burns off carbs by up to 40 percent—and the faster you burn off carbs, the sooner your body starts incinerating fat, which can help you get that lean look you crave.

  • Onions – To begin with, onions are very low in calories and easy to add to most meals. However, the bigger benefit that onions offer is that they are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that increase blood flow and activates a protein in the body that helps regulate glucose levels, torches stored fat, and keeps new fat cells from forming.

 

It’s A Good Time to Enjoy Hearty, Healthy Meal Options- Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The holidays have come and gone, and some of us feel a sense of disappointment at their passing...or perhaps regret. The stress and anxiety of preparation are behind us, which is a relief, but taking down the decorations is never as fun as putting them up. The thought of another three months of cold, snowy weather are also weighing on our spirits - unless you are a skier or snow plow driver.

Of cou­rse, the other thing most of us have to face after the holidays is the fact that a portion of all of that holiday cheer and good tasting food is now sitting around our waistlines and other places, stubbornly refusing to go away. Everyone knows that exercise will help move the scale in the right direction, but it’s insane to put on your coat and boots and head out for a lively jaunt when the temperature is below zero even without any wind chill. I do have a friend who received a new Fit-Bit for Christmas and he claims it’s motivated him to go out and walk a couple miles several times a week, but knowing him as I do, I think the newness of the Fit-Bit will wear off soon.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is plenty of light at the end of this tunnel and we all need to be encouraging to each other. If we are supportive, getting through the remainder of winter is certainly manageable and better days are on the horizon. As we put together the store’s specials for these first few weeks of January, we tried to come up with a number of featured items that will do a good job of supporting a healthy diet; expect reasonable amounts of calories, and lots of foods that work well to keep us warm and energized on these very cold, sub-freezing days.

Some of my favorites are basic, simple things that I remember my mom - and her mom before her - cooking to fill our home with good smells and great tastes. Things like meatloaf, beef stew, chuck roasts, pasta and warm, homemade chili. You will find all of these items plus some new healthy suggestions in this week’s ad. For example, have you tasted our homemade super-food salad or our kale orzo salad? How about the pre-grilled and marinated chicken breasts in our deli?

I’d also encourage you to visit our new specialty cheese case and pick up one or two imported cheeses and a bottle of wine to pair with them. What a great way to spend an evening sitting in front of a roaring fire. (Don’t worry if you don’t happen to have a fireplace. It’s a nice option but definitely not required to enjoy the cheese and wine.)

 

Stay warm and healthy, Spring arrives March 20th.

Andy

Quick and Painless Ways to Reduce Calories- Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Okay, for those of you who are determined to maintain your 2018 New Year’s resolution to lose weight, here are a few painless ways to reduce the the number of calories you consume at each meal.

  1. Make French toast using egg whites and skim milk, and cook in a non-oiled, non-stick pan. This can save up to 250 calories.

  2. Make your own breakfast sandwich: Use an English muffin or two slices of multi-grain bread, microwave-poach an egg, then add tomato and a slice of fat-free cheese. Save about 500 calories.

  3. For breakfast, eat a low-fat waffle. (It racks up only 70 calories, while a bagel is about 360 calories. Save over 250 calories!)

  4. Reach for an orange rather than a glass of orange juice. You will feel fuller and save about 100 calories.

  5. Use ground chicken or turkey in your pasta sauce or chili rather than ground beef and save up 250 calories.

  6. Whip your soft-tub margarine with a countertop or hand blender. The whipped in air will make it have the consistency of pancake house whipped spread, and you will save 100 calories as you eat far less margarine.

  7. Avoid the ‘meat lovers’ pizza. Select a thin crust instead of a thick one, and order half the cheese and double the vegetables. This will easily save you about 500 calories.

  8. Spread sugar-free jam on your toast or sandwich. Two tablespoons contain just 20 calories, compared with 100 calories in traditional jam.

 

The New Cheese Case Has Arrived- Tuesday, January 2, 2018

As Andy noted in our pre-Christmas ad, Santa promised to get me a new cheese case to replace the one at the end of our first aisle that died a couple of months ago (RIP).

This past week it arrived, and there was quite a lot of excitement as we took it off the truck and struggled to get it into the store and situated in its new home in the center of aisle one. No one, however, is more excited than me as this case has been something that the store has needed for a long time. At long last we will be able to do our specialty cheese justice as we can dramatically increase the variety of cheeses offered.

With the wine section just steps away, I’ll be able to help wine and cheese lovers pair up combinations of each that will be both pleasing to taste and, in most cases, show a savings for both the wine and cheese. The new case will be filled with cheeses from nearly every country in Europe, as well as some from South and Central America and a few other interesting corners of the world. We will also be featuring many small batch cheeses produced locally in the Midwest by cheese makers who raise their cows, sheep and goats on family farms for the sole purpose of creating delicious artisan cheeses.

Next time you visit, please take some time to walk around the new cheese case and take a close look at what we now have to offer. And by all means, try a sample if we happen to have some available, and take home a package and tell us what you think about it. We'd love to get your feedback.

On another note, I wanted to remind folks that we just rolled out a new list of reward items that are now available for redemption on our Prisco’s Points program. This month we’ve added in some wine and craft beers. Legally we can’t give beer or wine items away free, but we are offering one of each of our most popular wines and craft beers for a price as low as $3.99 with a set number of Prisco’s Points. Not interested in adult beverages? No worries: check out our selection of ten other great offerings. There is something there to suit even the fussiest shopper's taste.

 

See you at the Cheese Case,

Bridget