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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If the cows could talk, they’d tell you: The milk at Prisco’s is the best!- Tuesday, December 12, 2017

We carry two brands of milk at Prisco’s, both of which we are proud to offer. The first has been a part of our product lineup for as far back as anyone here can remember…Oberweis milk. As many of you know, our family business was started almost 100 years ago in 1926 by our Grandfather (and for most, of us Great-Grandfather) Tony Prisco. One year later, in 1927, Peter Oberweis of Aurora, IL became co-owner in Big Woods Dairy -- the predecessor of the Oberweis Dairy.

No one today knows for certain when that first Oberweis Dairy delivery was made to Prisco’s, but we know for certain that we’ve been selling Oberweis Milk and Ice Cream at our store for generations. Oberweis is a premium product that is as close to nature as one can imagine. Simplicity is at the heart of every bottle of Oberweis milk because less processing leaves more room for flavor and delivers a healthier product that's better for your family. That means no artificial hormones, like bovine growth hormones, are permitted on Oberweis farms, and no added preservatives or antibiotics are ever found in their milk. They gently heat their milk to the minimum temperature to retain the most nutrients. They call this gentle pasteurization, and you'll taste the benefits! Healthier, tastier, fresher milk -- that's what has made the Oberweis name the most trusted in dairy since 1927.

If you haven’t yet tried Oberweis milk, or perhaps you are a loyal user of this brand, you will be happy to know that through December 26th you will earn 25 Prisco’s bonus points with every 1/2 gallon bottle you purchase.

Our other brand of milk is a relative new comer to Prisco’s. This past summer when our primary wholesales unexpectedly went out of business, we found ourselves scrambling to find a second source of milk as the Centrella brand was no longer available. We know that a basic staple like milk is a key component for any grocery store, and we were not about to take any brand that came along because our store’s reputation rests heavily on the brands that we offer. After a great deal of investigation and product testing, we settled on our new milk brand, farmer-owned Prairie Farms. We chose Prairie Farms for several reasons: 1) We like supporting a farmer-owned co-op as opposed to large corporate-owned entities. 2) We found Prairie Farms quality to be well above average, and 3) we found that the folks at Prairie Farms were pleasant, helpful, and eager to assure us that we would receive great service and only the freshest possible milk as often as we needed it delivered.

It turns out that our faith in Prairie Farms was well justified as we recently learned that the Prairie Farms dairy was awarded 42 awards at the 2017 World Dairy Expo Competition held in Madison, Wisconsin. Prairie Farms competed in 27 categories and took home nearly 50% of all the awards given out -- far more than any other dairy in the competition. Here is one more interesting piece of trivia about Prairie Farms milk that you may not know just yet: If you make it a habit to buy your milk at Prisco’s, you will be graciously rewarded for your loyalty. That’s right, by registering for our customer appreciation program called Prisco’s Points, we will keep track of every gallon of Prairie Farms milk that you buy, so long as you remember to identify yourself at the register. Then, over time, each gallon not only earns you Prisco Points (1 per $1), but when you buy your 10th gallon you will receive credit for a FREE gallon on your next visit.

Not a member yet? Register here!

 

How You Store Your Spices Does Matter.- Tuesday, November 7, 2017

If you want to get the most shelf life from your spices and have them give you optimum flavor, where your store them is critical. Often cooks like to have spices in the cabinets closest to their stove so that they can quickly reach in and grab what’s needed while keeping a close eye on what’s cooking on the stove. While this is certainly convenient, it is not the best place to keep them. This is because spices and herbs will begin to break down when exposed to the moisture and heat from the stove.

Another common location for kitchen spices is in a spice rack on the counter. Again, not a good thing for the spices if the rack gets any direct sunlight.

What about keeping them in either the fridge or the freezer? Well, every time you take them out they have to warm to room temperature. Or when they were first added to the fridge they had to "cool down". These temperature changes often cause the spices to pick up moisture and condensation. Both will shorten the life of your spices. You should also be aware that temperature fluctuations may cause unwanted condensation, and possibly mold.

The ideal storage temperature for your spices and herbs is one that remains fairly constant and right around 70° F. So, for optimum flavor and shelf life you should store these away from the heat of the stove, heaters, or the direct sunlight. If you have a pantry that is dark most of the time this is your best alternative. Some folks prefer amber glass jars with airtight lids to keep the moisture out.

As a final word of caution on condensation build-up, be aware of how you use your spices around the stove. Don't shake directly into a pot or pan over direct heat as the moisture goes right into the bottle. It is better to shake the amount you want to add into the palm of your hand and then add that to the pot or pan.

 

What you may not know about cranberries!- Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Most folks don’t know that our neighbor to the north, Wisconsin, is the leading producer of cranberries in the US. Some 60 percent of all cranberries packaged and canned in the US come from 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin. Actually, the cranberry is Wisconsin’s official state fruit. Cranberries are the state’s number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for cranberries.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water, but they are harvested using water. I know, we’ve all seen too many Ocean Spray commercials. A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.

Cranberries score among the highest of all fruits in antioxidants. Diets including fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant values, like cranberries, may help support memory function and coordination.

  • Cranberries are a cholesterol-free, fat-free and low-sodium food, and help maintain a healthy heart.
  • Cranberries are part of a healthy diet and contain antioxidants that may help maintain a healthy immune system.
  • As part of a healthy diet, cranberries can be added to low-fat vinaigrettes, whole grain pancakes, and yogurt.
  • Cranberries are ingredients in more than 1,000 food and beverage products on the market, and only 5 percent of Wisconsin's cranberry crop is sold as fresh berries.

 

Introducing a NEW apple variety well worth tasting – Ambrosia Apples- Tuesday, October 24, 2017

An Ambrosia apple is a sweet modern apple variety from western Canada, quite similar to Golden Delicious. It was discovered as a chance seedling in an orchard in British Columbia.

Aptly named after the mythical “food of the gods”, this stunning apple is a delight for all the senses. When you first set eyes on the Ambrosia apple, you will be drawn to its glossy, bi-colored good looks. It has an attractive conical shape and smooth, flawless skin with a bright, almost fluorescent pink blush over a creamy-yellow background. As you draw closer, you will become aware of its distinct perfumed aroma. Then, as you bite into the Ambrosia apple’s tender, juicy flesh with its fine, crisp texture, the apple’s honeyed flavor will saturate your taste buds, leaving you refreshed and satisfied.

It's little wonder that this sweet, low-acid apple consistently rates at the top in taste-tests and sensory panels, and is a hit with both children and adults alike. And because of its low acid content, it's easier for children and older people to digest.

The Ambrosia apple is great in salads, baking, and main dishes.


Pomegranates – one of our lesser known Super Fruits- Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Are you looking for refreshing alternatives to sugary sodas? We suggest you try enjoying pomegranates, both in their natural state and as a juice. Yes, recently pomegranate has become increasingly popular, popping up on trendy salad and martini menus everywhere, but there are good reasons for this...

The Pomegranate tree is native to Asia and has been revered among many ancient religions for medicinal purposes. Researchers believe that the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may be used to help certain heart conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Known as one of the "super fruits", pomegranates contain elements that can help prevent fatty deposits from building up around our arteries. Studies have found that consuming pomegranate juice can reduce the development of these fatty deposits, a problem commonly found in patients with chronic conditions (such as diabetes).

While drinking pomegranate juice is the easiest way to get the benefits of this super fruit, don’t overlook the fun and great taste that can be had eating the fruit as well. Whole pomegranate seeds contain a good amount of fiber, too, which is essential for proper digestive and heart health.

Don’t overdo it, however. These little red bombs are high in naturally-occurring sugar. Eat the fruit or drink this delicious ruby-red juice in moderation — a small dash of juice in a glass of regular or seltzer water goes a long way!

Unlike those bananas or navel oranges which are easy-to-peel-and-eat fruits, round, hard, tough-skinned pomegranates are a bit more difficult to break open. Here are some ways to master this fruit and get to the juicy seeds inside.

  • Option one: Quarter the pomegranate with a knife and place the pieces in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl while the rest of the fruit’s pith floats!

  • Others cut open the top of the fruit (like you would before carving a pumpkin) and then cut the fruit into slices, scooping out the seeds and putting them in a strainer for rinsing.

  • Try your hand at peeling. Starting from the pointy end, try your best to peel back the sides. (You can use a knife to get the process started.) Once you’ve peeled back some of the skin, use those fingers to gently loosen the kernels. Peel back the white pithy membranes as you go, and discard.

Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels with Food- Tuesday, September 26, 2017

BY DR. STEPHEN DEVRIES as found on Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology

A Spoonful of Cinnamon Makes the Sugar Go Down

As little as 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower your blood sugar by 6%. A great addition to oatmeal, cereals, yogurt and fruit. Don’t take more than a teaspoon/day of the most popular cinnamon, “cassia”, also known as Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamons. These have higher levels of coumarin that can irritate your liver. The more expensive Ceylon, or “true” cinnamon is a better bet for high consumers, as it contains very little coumarin.

Less Sweet with More Sour

Vinegar can also help lower your sugar level. Most studies use white or apple vinegar. 1-2 tbsp. vinegar, usually mixed with vegetable oil to make vinaigrette, can cut the rise in sugar levels after a meal by 20-30%. Try a vinegar and olive oil dressing on a spinach/kale/multicolored vegetable salad for the best of all worlds!

Cut the Carbs

The best way to lower your sugar level, of course, is to eat fewer carbs! Surprisingly, starchy carbs (bread, potatoes, rice) can boost sugar levels as much-or more-than sweet, sugary desserts. Best example is that a bagel will bump your sugar level more than a glazed donut! Even whole grains can be a problem. Although whole grains are much preferred over refined, they are still not low glycemic foods. Lots of whole grains, say more than a cup of brown rice or quinoa, can spike your blood sugar.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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: