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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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

Have you heard the good news about pork?- Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Things in the world of pork have changed considerably in the past twenty years, and as often happens, the changes have gone pretty much unnoticed. I did a little research on the subject and to be honest, I was a bit surprised by what I learned. As you have noticed when shopping our store, we made the decision years ago to select one producer to source all of our fresh pork. We wanted a packer that would consistently meet the highest standards of freshness and quality, so we chose the Prairie Fresh® All-Natural brand.

We have been very pleased with the consistent quality that they provide, and based on sales and the compliments we receive regularly, our customers feel the same. Well, let me share some interesting information I pulled from the American Pork Producers website.

Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork has 16% less fat and 27% less saturated fat as compared to 1991. Many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken. Roast Pork tenderloin meets the USDA protein guidelines for “extra lean” (less than 5 g fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 mg cholesterol). The following five cuts of pork meet the protein guidelines for “lean” (less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat and 95 mg cholesterol); broiled boneless top loin chop, roasted top loin roast, broiled center loin chops, pork sirloin roast, and broiled rib chops.

I’ve told you about what pork doesn’t have (bad fats), but on the flip side it does have some very essential body building nutrients needed for good health. Pork is an “excellent” source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus and protein, and a “good” source of zinc. It’s also naturally low in sodium and a “good” source of potassium – two nutrients that, when coupled, can help regulate blood pressure.

Now, here is something that really surprised me: Pork can help you lose weight. According to a study published in the February journal on Obesity, Purdue University researchers found that including protein from lean pork in your diet can help you lose weight while maintaining more lean tissue, including muscle. The study was done on female dieters. The dieters who tested with pork as their sole source of lean protein rated themselves more positively in terms of overall mood and feelings of pleasure during dieting compared to those who ate less protein. The women in the study followed either a high-protein diet or a normal-protein diet, but with the same number of calories. The women who ate more protein, with pork as their only source of meat, felt fuller longer after meals. The high-protein diet included 6 ounces, or two servings, of pork every day. It’s easy to reach this goal by including lean cuts of pork like Canadian bacon with your eggs for breakfast, adding grilled or sautéed pork chop strips to your salad at lunch, or roasting pork tenderloin for dinner.

I hope that I‘ve piqued your interest in pork; if so, timing is great because for the next two weeks we’re having an all-out pork sale at Prisco’s. So come on in, load up on savings, and I’ll see you in the meat aisle.

 

Andy

So, Just What is a Nectarine?- Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A nectarine is a fuzz-less variety of peach. It is NOT a cross between a peach and a plum. Every once in a while, a peach tree mutates – the gene responsible for the fuzz is turned off, and out comes a smooth-skinned nectarine. Peach seeds may occasionally grow into trees that bear nectarines, and nectarine seeds may grow into trees that bear either nectarines or peaches. It is not possible to know which fruit will grow on trees grown from nectarine seeds, so nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to guarantee a crop of nectarines.

The word 'nectarine' means sweet as nectar, and this is very likely the origin of the name. Nectarines, like peaches, probably originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were cultivated in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. They were grown in Great Britain in the late 16th or early 17th centuries, and were introduced to America by the Spanish.

Nutritionally, a nectarine is a real dynamo. A medium nectarine is approximately 4-5 ounces in weight and will cost you only 60 calories. In return, you get a lusciously sweet snack with 2.5 tsp worth of sugar, evened out by 1.5 grams of fiber. Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C and also have good vitamin A and potassium values, and they are also contain an abundance of antioxidants.

If you love nectarines, now is the time to buy them as their season, as with other soft fruits such as peaches, plums, apricots, etc., is limited in the US.

Four Common Food Myths Debunked- Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Myth 1 - You can eat as much healthy fat as you like

The truth: While olive oil, packed with monounsaturated fat, is better for your heart than the artery-clogging saturated fat in butter, both have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon. In fact, all fats have roughly the same number of calories, says Samantha Heller, RD. So go easy. One way is to try an oil mister—one spritz delivers a fraction of a teaspoon.

Myth 2- Dark bread is always better than white

The truth: A dark bread might just have caramel coloring but be no better than white bread, University of Scranton psychology professor Michael Oakes, PhD, says. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat” on the package: that means the bread is made from unrefined wheat, which has more than double the fiber and is also higher in selenium, potassium, and magnesium.

Myth 3 - "Eggs are bad for your heart.”

The Truth: Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks—about 211 milligrams (mg). But labeling eggs as “bad for your heart” is connecting the wrong dots, experts say. Studies show that most healthy people can eat an egg a day without problems,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State University.

The cholesterol we eat in eggs doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol; the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. The chief heart disease culprits are “saturated and trans fats, which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol,” notes Kris-Etherton. Seen through that lens, eggs look more benign: a large egg contains 2 grams of saturated fat (10 percent of the Daily Value) and no trans fats.

As with any food, it’s not the eggs but the amount of eggs that you eat that can become unhealthy. According to the American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle recommendations, which Kris-Etherton helped write: Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg daily. Rule of thumb: it’s safe to eat a bit less than one egg per day, say two or three per week.

Myth 4 - High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is worse for you than sugar

Not true… The truth is neither one is good for you and both should be limited or eliminated for a truly healthy diet. “The debate about HFCS and sucrose [table sugar] is taking the focus off the more important question,” says Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., R.D., a researcher at the University of California, Davis, who has studied the sweetener extensively. “What we should be asking is ‘What are the effects of all sugars (HFCS and sucrose) in the diet?”

Our bodies weren’t designed to handle a large amount of fructose at a time, Stanhope notes, because we wouldn’t have come across it in our food supply. “If you look at what nature provided for humans to eat, we only had fructose in whole fruit, in amounts that are relatively dilute.” Problems arose when we learned how to turn foods—which contain fiber, water and other nutrients—into pure sources of sugars (e.g., refining sugarcane into table sugar). Despite its name HFCS contains only a little more fructose than sucrose does, Stanhope emphasizes. It’s the sheer amount of the sweet stuff we consume that matters or, once again, it’s the dose that is the problem. Too much honey, agave syrup or dehydrated cane juice would likely cause the same health problems.

“The American Heart Association recently recommended that women consume no more than 100 calories a day in added sugars [6 teaspoons]; men, 150 calories [9 teaspoons],” Stanhope notes. Our current intake, however, hovers around 355 calories per day. “The U.S. population isn’t anywhere close to [the AHA’s] goal.”

Frozen versus Fresh – When it comes to seafood, what’s best?- Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Folks who shop with us regularly know that we most often carry a very limited assortment of fresh seafood. The reason is quite simple, it’s hard to keep seafood fresh for extended periods and we refuse to sell anything to our customers that we wouldn’t put on our own families' tables.

Being a smaller than average market, it really precludes us from offering a full line of fresh seafood of the kind that you would find in larger chain stores. That, however, is no reason to think that we can’t serve your seafood needs. In general, we are well trained to think that fresh is best; and to be honest, we make it a point of reminding our shoppers of that fact as well. In the case of seafood, however, I'd argue that this is not necessarily the case.

Allow me to explain: More than 85 percent of the seafood we eat in the US is imported. Within that, the "vast majority" -- at least 70%, but likely even higher according to Gavin Gibbons, spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute -- has been frozen at some point.

"There really is no difference," said Gibbons. "The clock never moves backward when it comes to freshness. If a fish is caught, handled well and frozen immediately, you literally stop the clock. You freeze in the freshness." He adds that, nutritionally, nothing is lost when fish is frozen. These days, technology is such that fish are either frozen right at sea (most common with farmed fish, as freezers are incorporated into the farm sites) or immediately upon landing at port.

Also, the idea that fattier varieties such as salmon and tuna fare better, texturally speaking, than leaner fish when frozen doesn't hold true, either. Our experts say it comes down to proper freezing and handling on the front end, and proper thawing -- in the fridge, out of the package -- on the back end. "There is no downside to buying frozen fish," Gibbons said.

That being said, I’d encourage you to visit the frozen seafood section (directly across from our dairy case) in the last aisle and check out the extensive assortment of seafood. This week we are featuring Seabest Ahi Tuna Steaks in a one pound package for just $8.99.  They are great on the grill or cooked and served atop a cool green salad.


Enjoy,

Andy

If you love coffee, you need to try our Modest Coffee – It’s grand!- Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We’ve been carrying Modest coffee, which is roasted and packaged in West Chicago by Marcus and Jenni Contaldo, for about a year now. This coffee is amazing and it’s a credit to Marcus and Jenni that it’s growth has come from hard grass roots sampling work and the praises of folks who have tried it.

Unlike the big multi-national brands, they have no real budget for advertising. So today I’d like to give their coffee a free plug here in our newsletter -- because if you love good coffee, you’re gonna love Modest Coffee.

By way of introduction, I’d like to share some information that Marcus passed along to me when he first introduced his coffee to our staff.

“There is a lot of fluff out there in the coffee packaging world. Shiny bags, wordy (yet oddly vague) flavor descriptions, catchy buzz-words. How does one cut through the excess of marketing hype and identify a truly high quality coffee? I really enjoy trying other coffee roasters and when I am in the market for beans I want to make sure that I get the best bang for my buck. Whenever I pick up a bag I run down a mental checklist to whittle down my choices to the best two or three. By no means does this guarantee that the bag is going to make a great cup, but in my experience, the chances increase dramatically. If you start looking for quality coffee, you will find it!”

Here is a list of things that Marcus suggests that you consider when looking over a new coffee:

“Roasted on” date – Coffee tastes the best when it is fresh. Conventional coffee only has the expiration date on the bag so you really have no idea how long ago it was roasted. Try to get coffee as close to the “roasted on” date as possible and avoid anything 30 days post-roast.

Origin Information – Look for the name of the farm and details like elevation, processing method, or grade. This tells you two things: first, it gives you more information on the coffee you are buying and second, it tells you that the roaster cares about their sourcing. A bag with just the name of the country is a red flag because often it’s just commodity coffee with a country of origin.

Roast Level – Does the roast level say Light, Medium or Dark, or does it say City, City+, Full City, Full City+, or Light Vienna? The general public understands what to expect from a light, medium or dark roast, but the City/Full City/Vienna descriptions tell you exactly where the roast ended and what to expect from a flavor perspective.

Certifications – Certifications can be deceiving because they do not guarantee quality processing. In very general terms, if a producer goes through the extra effort to meet certification requirements you should expect a higher quality cup of coffee. On the flip side, there are many award winning small farmers that produce world class coffee but have not yet gone through the certification process. So again, take this in context with the rest of the bag.

Awards – These are great acknowledgements and the easiest way to find quality coffee. You won’t often find these on the shelf at a supermarket but you will see them from time to time at specialty coffee shops. Cup of Excellence, Best of Huila, Best of Cauca, and many other regional producer competitions have independent judges flown in internationally to do blind tastings. After many days of rigorous testing, they award the winners. If you can find it fresh, buy it!

I do hope that you will give Modest Coffee a try, and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. To help make the decision to try a bit easier, we are offering a sale of $1 off any 12-oz. bag of freshly roasted Modest coffee beans. You will be doing yourself a favor by tasting an excellent batch of coffee beans, and you will also be helping support another local, family operated business.

 

Enjoy

Andy

Tips for Grilling Peppers- Tuesday, July 11, 2017
  • You will want to seed and stem your peppers before grilling.

  • Next, toss them in a very light coat of olive oil. This helps protect the skin and even out the heat.

  • Set up your grill so you can roast the peppers directly on the heat source – if using charcoal, make sure you have an even layer of coals. Or you can use a rack directly over the heat source.

  • Peppers should be roasted on high heat – over 450 degrees F, or with bright orange charcoals.

  • Grilling the peppers for about 5 minutes on each side should produce a nice char – watch carefully and adjust for your level of char preference.

  • Decide whether you want to eat your peppers with skin on or off. If you want to remove the skin, let the peppers sit in a bowl under plastic wrap right off the grill for about 15-20 minutes. This loosens the skin and you can peel it easily.

Here is our recipe for Grilled Assorted Peppers

Serves 4

Preparation: 5 min. Cooking: 10 min. Total: 15 min.

Ingredients

      • 2 sweet peppers - red, yellow, orange, purple

      • 2 hot banana peppers

      • 2 Gypsy sweet peppers

      • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

      • 1 tsp kosher salt

Heat a grill to medium-hot. You can core and halve or quarter the peppers, and remove the seeds, or grill smaller peppers whole. Brush the skin side of each piece with olive oil, place the peppers on the grill skin-side down, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove skin, if you like, or let diners do it themselves. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.