shredded brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts aren’t sexy and exciting but they are good for you. They are supposed to have cancer protection properties. They are also high in vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting,  and vitamin C, an antioxidant. But, you say, How does it taste? The answer is, Very similar to cabbage. So if you like cabbage then substitute shredded red and/or green cabbage.  Brussels sprouts can be bitter, especially if they have been overcooked. Overcooked sprouts turn a pale olive green. But this dish is stir-fried so there is little chance of it overcooking. If you cook a meat and two vegetables as I do for dinner, then I recommend leaving it for the last item on the menu to cook, then it will have your undivided attention.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts (adapted from allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup sliced bacon
1/2 cup peanuts (pine nuts in original recipe)
1 pound Brussels sprouts (about 2 cups)
3 green onions, minced
1 tablespoon water, optional
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used sea salt)
pepper to taste (I used Cajun seasoning)
soy sauce, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare the Brussels sprouts. Slice each head vertically. Place flat side down on the cutting board then shred the sprouts starting from the top and cutting until 1/2 inch is left of the stem. Discard the stem.
  2. Fry the bacon. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain,reserving 2 tablespoons grease, crumble bacon, and set aside.
  3. Stir-fry the sprouts and serve. In the same skillet, heat reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Add nuts, and cook, stirring until browned. Add Brussels sprouts and green onions to the pan, and season with seasoning salt and pepper. If the Brussels sprouts look dry, add 1 tablespoon water. Cook over medium heat until sprouts are wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are bright green and crisp tender. Stir in crumbled bacon just before serving. If you wish, sprinkle a dash of soy sauce on top instead of adding more salt.

Variation

For a vegetarian side, omit the bacon and sauté the Brussels sprouts or cabbage in olive oil.

roast chicken with vegetables and quinoa pudding

Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Carrots

This was amazingly easy to make and so good for you! Another recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen Light and Healthy cookbook, it is light, the chicken is juicy, and the vegetables are crisp-tender. Since I like food that snaps with spice, I found this dish to be rather bland. So. Fair warning to those whose palates are decidedly more adventuresome.

4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on, trimmed of extra fat
Salt and pepper
1 pound carrots (I used baby carrots)
10 ounces Brussels sprouts
1 butternut squash (about 2 cups), peeled, seeded, cubed
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 shallots, peeled and quartered (didn’t have any; left these out)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, if needed (or water)
Lemon wedges for serving (didn’t have any; used lemon pepper)

Seasoning I added:
Mrs. Dash Italian Medley seasoning, optional
Garlic powder, optional

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450˚F
2. Toss the Brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash, shallots, garlic, oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl. Spread the vegetables in a 13×9 inch baking dish and roast for 15 minutes.
3. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. [I sprinkled Mrs. Dash and garlic powder here.] Lay the chicken, skin side up, on a wire rack. Carefully place the wire rack over the dish of partially cooked vegetables (the rack may overhang the dish slightly). Roast until the chicken registers 160 to 165˚F on an instant-read thermometer, 30-35 minutes. Note: If after 30 minutes the chicken registers 155, I would take it out and move on to step 4. On resting, the chicken’s internal temperature will continue to rise.
4. Transfer the chicken to a platter then remove and discard the skin. Tent the chicken loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. If the vegetables are not yet tender, stir in the broth or water and continue to cook until they are tender, up to 15 minutes longer. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to the platter with the chicken. Serve with the lemon wedges, or, as I did, a dash of lemon pepper.

For dessert I made a Quinoa Pudding from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com . It can be either a dessert or breakfast, depending on how you feel about quinoa. Personally, I could eat it any time of day! Quinoa, which is originally from South America, is not a cereal grain as it is not a member of the grass family (Thanks, Wikipedia). The taste is slightly nutty and the texture pops in your mouth, a little slippery, with a mouth-feel that reminds me of caviar! I eat quinoa for breakfast (and dessert) with a spoonful of dried cranberries on top. You can put a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of whipped cream to make it remind you of those decadent desserts you will forgo because you are on a diet.

Quinoa Pudding with Dried Cranberries

3/4 cup quinoa*
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
2 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sugar (I used a sugar substitute)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Rinse the quinoa. This is a step you shouldn’t ignore, as I did. I ended up with a cup of foam on top of the quinoa when it was cooking. Put the rinsed quinoa in a large saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
2. In a blender, add the milk, bananas,sugar or sugar substitute, and salt. Process until the bananas are puréed. Pour the milk mixture into the pot with the quinoa and mix.
3. Over medium heat, cook and stir until the quinoa mixture becomes thick and creamy, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Can be eaten hot, at room temperature, or cold.

*I buy quinoa in bulk at Whole Foods. If you’ve never tried it before, 3/4 cup isn’t an expensive investment.