Prisco’s Family Market

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

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How to avoid overdoing it on Thanksgiving.- Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving family gatherings are all about the spread. Everybody comes together to share a meal consisting of a half dozen or more things we all love to share as a family tradition. Given all the delicious food you'll have access to, here are a few tips to help keep you from fearing the scale come Friday...

Chew Slowly and Savor Bites

When you're faced with that big sit-down meal, stop before you get so full that you're uncomfortable. Sure, the food is delicious and evokes all sorts of wonderful nostalgia, but you don't need to overeat to enjoy the memories. Chew slowly, savor each bite, and really appreciate those special dishes. It's a much better way to enjoy them than the  the "stuff and suffer" approach.

Plan Your Plate Attack

Before mindlessly piling your plate with food, take a look at the table and make a plan. Load up on veggies first to take up the most space on the plate. Add the items you love, but get smaller portions of what you know isn't healthy.

Spread Out Your Eating

If you are going to a friend or family member’s house for dinner, eat something healthy before you go. It’s better to not be famished when you get there. You will make better choices.

Enjoy the day

Don’t lose track of the fact that Thanksgiving comes but once a year and being with friends and family and sharing a meal is a gift too many people in other parts of the world never experience. Enjoy yourself, but just be aware of what and how much you put in your mouth.

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.

 

10 Ways to Keep Your Thanksgiving Stress-Free- Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hosting a big turkey dinner can be a challenge but, if you do it with love and ask for some help, it need not become a stress-filled event. The following tips -- put together by Editor Debra Steilen of Better Homes & Gardens -- will prove to be a big help in making Thanksgiving a pleasant family occasion for all your guests -- and for you, the host or hostess, as well.

1. Create a plan. Sit down and make a guest list. From the number of guests you invite you can plan a meal. The secret to a simple meal is planning ahead so everything doesn't demand your attention all at once.

2. Plan a potluck. A potluck can be a great way to share the load, and with just a little planning you can avoid 15 green bean casseroles at your dinner table. Ensure menu variety and head off an all-deviled-egg buffet by assigning food categories to your guests.

3. Shop early. Brookhaven stores will get busier closer to Turkey Day. Plan your main shopping trip a week in advance and follow up with a second trip a day or two before Thanksgiving to pick up things like produce and bakery goods. Ask your spouse or partner to help with the shopping; it’s always easier if you have help finding things, and an extra pair of hands makes putting the groceries away much less stressful.

4. Prepare as much as possible in advance. There are plenty of side dishes, desserts, and breads that can be made ahead of time. For instance, measure seasonings and store them in labeled bags or containers; cut and store vegetables; and roast garlic a week in advance, then store the cloves in olive oil in the refrigerator.

One thing that you should not do, however, is pre-stuff your turkey.  Harmful bacteria can multiply in the stuffing and cause food poisoning even when the stuffed bird is refrigerated. The cavity of the bird actually insulates the stuffing from the cold temperatures of the refrigerator and acts as an incubator for the harmful bacteria. 

The ingredients for the stuffing can be prepared in advance and refrigerated separately. To save time, chop vegetables such as onions and celery the night before. The safest method is to mix the ingredients and lightly stuff the turkey just prior to popping it into a preheated oven.

5. Remember: practice makes perfect. If you're braving a new recipe or using ingredients that you aren't quite familiar with, try them out beforehand so you'll be primed for success on Thanksgiving Day.

6. Let your family help. Have the whole family help clean house and put up decorations. Children will jump at the chance to make place cards, fold napkins, and dress up your holiday table. This will also keep them out of the kitchen while you attend to the food.

7. Use your microwave oven. Take advantage of this appliance to reheat food before serving when all the burners on the stove-top are occupied.

8. Let the turkey rest before slicing. To avoid a last-minute crunch and assure tender turkey, let the bird rest out of the oven, covered, for about 20 minutes before slicing.

9. Serve buffet-style. Serving dinner buffet-style saves on both space and cleanup time. Also, with pretty serving bowls and silver utensils, guests can help themselves to seconds whenever they want.

10. Relax. Remember that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day full of family, relaxation, and reflection. Thanksgiving is a great time for families to gather and spend the day together sharing traditions, so don’t let the task of being the host or hostess overwhelm you and rob you of that joyous family experience.

 

Have fun tailgating- Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Yes, it’s true, football is back as the 2016 season gets into full swing. Most high schools are in their third game, college teams started games last weekend, and the NFL kicks off this week.

Before the weather becomes just too darn cold, why not plan a tailgate party this weekend or next at your favorite sports venue? You say you don’t have tickets? No problem. Just use your driveway as the stadium lot; when the game starts, just go inside and watch the game on your high definition wide-screen. No one freezes and there is no need to leave early to avoid traffic.

If you really want to enjoy yourself, however, call the Prisco deli for some great tailgate party ideas. By the way, here is a factoid that will impress your guests: Friday, September 16th is National Guacamole Day. Everyone loves fresh guac at a tailgate party.

As you make plans, here are a few tips to help ensure things go smoothly.

Tailgate party planning tips

Do prep work the night before:

  • Marinate kababs
  • Make burger patties
  • Slice and prep condiments like peppers, onions, & other add-ons.
  • Fill an empty 6/pk. carrier with a supply of sauces, marinades and dressings.
  • Pack a small first aid kit. Accidents happen and it’s good to be prepared.
  • Bring a large plastic bin to haul home dirty utensils, plates, glassware and flatware.
  • Have fun, and go-team-go!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to roast your own red bell peppers.- Tuesday, July 26, 2016

It's a good time to discuss one of the more popular summertime vegetables, the red bell pepper. Eaten raw, bell peppers are crunchy and refreshing and go great with salads, but sometimes you need to make a bolder statement with your food...

When cooked, red bell peppers grow soft and their flavor sweetens and mellows, complementing other flavorful ingredients such as garlic, robust herbs, tangy cheeses, and onions. Combinations of these flavors likewise lend themselves extremely well to grilled foods such as steaks and burgers, which is why they are so ideal for summer cooking. If you want to give your food a kick, a feta cheese/roasted red pepper spread with garlic oil is absolutely delicious and won't disappoint!

Of all preparation options available, roasting your own red peppers is the best way to get the freshest smoky-sweet pepper flavor possible. You can use your grill, your oven, or – in the event you only have a single pepper to roast -- even a gas burner and a pair of tongs for this process. However, if what you want is a large number of roasted peppers without having to take over the grill, oven roasting is the way to go.

How to Roast Red Peppers

[Instructions courtesy of aspicyperspective.com]

The great thing about the oven roasting method is the fact that you don’t have to turn the peppers in order to get their surfaces to cook evenly, you simply lay them out flat and leave them in the oven until the skins are dark and blistered. It's a very hands-off approach:

  • Move the oven rack to the top position and preheat the oven to broil.

  • Cut all the peppers into quarters, then remove the stems, seeds and membranes.

  • Lay the peppers flat on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, skin side up. Press them flat with your hand. You want as much skin as possible to be directly under the heat source, for even charring. This makes the peels easier to remove later.

  • Broil the red peppers 10-15 minutes, or until the skins are extremely black, but the flesh underneath is still soft and moist.

  • Once the skins have blackened, remove the peppers from the oven and place in a large paper bag, or zip bag. Close the bag and allow the peppers to steam for at least 10 minutes. This loosens the skin from the flesh.

  • After the peppers have had time to steam, dump them out on the baking sheet and gently pull the skins off. If your peppers were evenly charred, the once rubbery skins should slip right off!

  • You can now can, freeze, or refrigerate your oven roasted peppers.

Note: The peppers can be stored with or without being submerged in oil, but if you want to keep them around for more than a week, try bottling them with garlic olive oil, which can be purchased pre-made at the store. You can also create an infusion at home using the following recipe:

[recipe courtesy of Ina Garten & foodnetwork.com]

Garlic Olive Oil

Produces about a cup of oil

Ingredients

6 garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small saucepan, bring the garlic and oil to a boil, then turn the heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes, until the garlic is lightly browned. Turn off the heat and set aside. The garlic will continue to cook.

Remove the garlic cloves from the oil and slice them. Place them in a jar or bowl and pour the oil over them.

* Use oil as needed, but keep in mind that homemade infused oils may not last as long as store-bought.

 

Easter Traditions with a Twist- Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter is always a busy time at a food store because, as with many major holidays, it's traditionally a time when families gather together to share a meal. Not just any meal, either, but what most would consider a feast. It’s a time when foods that we have loved since childhood are planned, shopped for and prepared with great care and attention to detail. It’s a time when, in most cases, paper plates and plastic flatware are foregone in deference to Mom’s best china, crystal and silverware. Last week’s blog focused on our sweet tooth with suggested Easter desserts. This week, let’s concentrate on the main course.

Family holiday meal traditions are a key part of our heritage and something every family wants to preserve, but at the same time it’s always fun to add something new to the mix so we did a little research and have come up with a few ideas that you might like to try this year.

Brunch

If you are serving Easter brunch as opposed to a dinner, here is a real crowd pleaser that is nothing more than a knock-off of a popular quiche recipe.

Breakfast Strata Lorraine


 

Easter Dinner Suggestions

As guests arrive it’s nice to serve a light but tasty appetizer, and here is one that will help you use up all those hard boiled Easter eggs that your children would just as soon pass over on their way to the peeps and jelly beans.

Lemon-Dill Chicken Salad-Stuffed Eggs


 

Side dishes are always a good way to introduce new items to a holiday table. This way if a guest is a bit leery of trying, say, a new vegetable, it can easily be passed over with no commotion. Also keep in mind your guests with special dietary needs. This one should suit your vegetarian and vegan quests.

Spring Pea Orzo


 

Eating habits and the New Year- Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Here are some suggested New Year’s Food Resolutions

Read Labels

As you walk through our store doing the weekly grocery shopping, take the time to read the ingredient label and nutritional information of prepared foods. Try to eat less sugar, salt, and unsaturated fats. If the ingredients list is full of names that you can’t pronounce, perhaps you should ask yourself if it’s really something that you want to serve your family.

Eat Your Vegetables

Most of us fall considerably short of the suggested daily intake of fruits and vegetables; if you shop at our stores regularly, you will have to agree that it’s not for lack of variety. In any given week we carry hundreds of different fresh fruits and vegetables. If you see something that you are unfamiliar with, ask for help. In addition, our website has over 6,800 recipes available for you to use. All you need to do is go to the search box and type in the specific ingredient you are interested in using. For example, if you were to look up Brussels sprouts, you would discover 13 different recipes that all call for that ingredient.

Try Something New

The next time you go to a favorite restaurant, don’t pick your old stand-by. Ask your server to suggest something new and exciting, and give it a try!

Cook More

Most of us love to eat out; however, there’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and enjoying your own meal. Your family will enjoy it and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have provided them with a nutritious, low cost meal.

Dinner with Family and Friends

Dine with family and friends. In the process, take the time to sit and enjoy your food, not mindlessly gorge while watching the television. This is the best opportunity you will have each day to bring the family closer together. Take advantage of your time together and appreciate each other's company over a good, home-cooked meal.

 

Grilling Seafood- Tuesday, July 7, 2015

There is more to summer grilling than burgers, brats, steaks, and ribs. We hope that at least every third or fourth time you light your grill it is seafood that you have selected as your main course. The USDA MyPlate and American Heart Association recommend consuming two servings of fish per week, so we don't want to forget about seafood during summer grilling season.

Grilling seafood can be tricky if you don't know how to do it correctly, so we consulted a couple of experts on the subject in writing this blog entry: Red Lobster Executive Chef Michael LaDuke, and food industry consultant Derrick Riches, a freelance writer for About.com and an avid backyard chef.

Preparation

  • Prior to igniting the grill, make sure it’s clean.  You also may want to brush the grill grate with a light coat of oil or nonstick cooking spray to prevent fish from sticking.
  • If you’re going to use a marinade or sauce, soak the fish/seafood for approximately two hours to infuse it with the flavor.  Be careful when selecting the marinade, because a marinade heavy with sugar can cause the pieces to stick to the grill as the sugar caramelizes.  Before putting your fish/seafood on the grill, drain off the excess marinade or sauce and pat the fish dry.
  • While cooking, you can baste the fish with the marinade or sauce to create a deep, rich glaze, but make sure to avoid using the marinade or sauce the meat was soaking in, as it can contain bacteria.  Instead, set aside some extra marinade or sauce for basting.
  • Another way to season is to brush it with a light coat of olive oil and then add your favorite seasonings.  Try using black pepper, kosher salt and a touch of lime juice.  For a more intense flavor, add ground celery seeds, crushed capers, garlic, marjoram and thyme.

Cooking

Derrick Riches says that he gets a lot of requests for information on how to grill fish properly.  Fish is meant to be grilled, he claims.  The direct heat cooks fish fast, easy, and without removing moisture.  Grilled fish is quite flavorful and juicy.  The second rule about grilling fish is to make sure it doesn't stick.  Whether you oil the cooking surface or brush the fish itself with a little oil, make sure that you have a non-stick surface to work with.

The most important part of grilling fish is knowing when it's done.  This is generally the trickiest part of grilling, but don't worry:  When fish is fully cooked the meat will flake easily with a fork and will appear opaque all the way through.  If any part of the meat is still glossy and partially translucent, then it's not done.  Don't ever serve under-cooked fish.  Not only is it unsafe, but you might turn someone off fish for life.  To make this easy, always start out with a steak or fillet that is evenly cut.  If one part is much thicker than another it will be difficult getting the thick part cooked before the thin part dries out. 

If you have a fillet that is uneven consider cutting it in two.  Put the thick half on the grill first and when it's about halfway done, put the thin half on.  This way you will get the fish cooked to perfection without burning anything.

Generally, you want to buy fish either whole or in fillets or steaks.  Fillets will give you the most trouble because they tend to fall apart a little easier.  This takes us back to the two rules:  With an oiled surface, put the fish on the grill and leave it until you are ready to flip.  Flip gently and leave it there until it is ready to leave the grill.  You can tell when a fillet is ready to flip because the edges will become flaky and opaque.  Steaks and whole fish tend to hold together better but take longer to grill.  If you are grilling whole fish, stuff it with something like lemon slices.  This not only adds to the flavor but creates a space to let the heat through.

Also, keep some fresh lemon juice and maybe some melted butter handy while you are grilling.  You can brush this on as you grill to add flavor and keep the fish moist.  But remember, that butter will burn...so be careful with it!  Try dripping lemon juice over the fish while you grill it.  The steam and the sizzle add to the show and makes everyone appreciate the meal just a little bit more

With respect to grill time for various types of seafood, here is what Executive Chef Michael LaDuke of Red Lobster had to say:

  • The meat should sizzle when you put it on the grill.  Fish cooks fast, so make sure you keep an eye on it.  Cook it until it’s about 60 percent done, then use a wide spatula to turn over each fillet.  Remove from the grill when it’s medium rare because it will continue to cook as it sits.
  • Oysters, mussels and clams cook even faster.  To prepare them, place them on the hottest part of the grill.  They’re done when the shell opens up.
  • To grill shrimp, place them on a skewer, one on top of the other.  Watch them closely, because they will cook quickly.  To grill scallops, place them on a skewer with the flat side up.  This allows them to pick up more flavors from the grill.

 

A few simple tips to make your Christmas dinner party memorable and enjoyable for all.- Friday, December 19, 2014

1. Plan ahead - Be careful not to choose too many dishes that need a lot of last-minute attention. Put some thought into planning your menu. It is better to prepare a few different dishes well rather than to spread yourself too thin. Quality over quantity!

2. Pre-order Christmas meat - Christmas is a busy time of year and you don’t want to be caught short with limited choices. Call our meat department (630) 264-9401 several days ahead of time to order your beef roast, ham, pork roast, or turkey.

3. Remember your non-meat eating guests – Be certain to have a number of non-meat and non-dairy options available to satisfy the needs of your vegan and vegetarian guests.

4. Get creative with your Christmas table - One way to add color and personal touches is with napkins - and you don't need to be an expert napkin-folder. Simply roll napkins and wrap with contrasting ribbon in satin, velvet, lace, sequined elastic, or brightly colored wool. Visit craft or fabric stores to find something unique. For a final touch, add a sprig of holly, bells or candy canes.

5. Cook the day before - Prepare as many ingredients ahead of time as possible – desserts can usually be made the day before, and the same is true of several side dishes.

6. Enjoy the day - Remember, Christmas is a time to celebrate and have fun with family and friends. Pre-plan where you can, stick to your budget, get everyone involved and make this the best Christmas ever!