Category: Food

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts


I have never been a fan of brussel spouts, the smell as they were being cooked never settled well with me so I always avoided them.  Enter my Clipboard…I was perusing my Recipes section when I came across this recipe for Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts from Real Simple.  The title of the article that was originally from Real Simple was titled, “I Just Made Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts, and I Might Never Order Takeout Again”.  Now that is a title!  I am not sure how (since I have always hated brussels sprouts), but my mouth began watering!

I viewed the ingredients and I instantly fell in love – they were simple and with the exception of the brussels sprouts, I had everything on hand.   The recipe as listed in Real Simple is made up of garlic, scallions, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, soy sauce, maple syrup and rice vinegar.  After making this, I found that I needed either reduced sodium soy sauce or since I only had full sodium soy sauce, I used half soy sauce and half chicken stock when I made these the second time.   I loved the sauce, so the second time I made these I doubled the sauce recipe so I could drizzle it over the chicken and brown rice I served the brussels sprouts with.

If you love brussels sprouts you should definitely give this recipe a try and if you are on the fence about these little cabbages,  I would still give it a try.  They are really, really good and if all else fails you will find a recipe for a delicious kung pao sauce that can be used on other veggies and dishes.   Enjoy, I hope you love these as much as I do!

King Pao Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts Ingredients
2 pounds Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and halved)
3 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. salt (Real Simple recipe states 3/4 t. salt, but I found it too salty)
1/2 t. freshly-ground black pepper

Directions
Heat oven to 425°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Brussels sprouts, vegetable oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. You know those outer leaves that come loose when you cut the sprouts? Scoop ’em up and make sure they make it onto the sheet tray. In fact, the more, the better—they get extra charred and crunchy.  Roast the sprouts for 15-20 minutes to your desired doneness. While sprouts are cooking make the sauce, recipe below.

Brussel Sprouts Pre-Roasted
Brussel Sprouts Pre-Roasted
Brussel Sprouts Roasted
Brussel Sprouts Roasted (the charred bits are AMAZING!)

Kung Pao Sauce
Sauce Ingredients
1 T. vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 scallions, white and light green parts chopped, save green parts for serving
1 T. ginger, finely minced
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. chicken stock (or other stock of choice)
3 T. maple syrup
2 T. rice vinegar

Directions
Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, the white and light green parts of  chopped scallions (save green parts for serving), ginger and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, maple syrup, and rice vinegar. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Toss with cooked brussels sprouts and enjoy!

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
One more picture
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
So stuffed….

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Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes

I love a good cupcake.  There is something about a fluffy, decadent, sinful piece of heaven that makes me want to melt and immediately cheat on an otherwise healthy day of eating.  And you know what?  It’s worth it.  Every. Single. Time.  No regrets – ever.  The one time I don’t like to buy those delicious cakes is when I need to bring a lot of cupcakes.  A couple of dozen cupcakes can cost a pretty penny which is why I LOOOOOVE this recipe for Extreme Chocolate Cupcakes.  It is moist, delicious and you won’t believe how easy they are to whip up.

The best thing about this cake is that you can dump everything into a bowl and let the mixer do the work.  There is no butter to cream or no liquid and flour mixture that needs to be mixed alternately.  It is so, so simple.  When baking or cooking anything for a crowd this is a huge bonus for me.  The cake uses oil instead of butter which keeps the cake from being too dry which is the ultimate killer when it comes to any kind of cupcakes or cake.  My favorite way to top these cakes is with my basic buttercream frosting that you can find here.  This is the perfect combination of fluffy cake topped with a creamy, sweet frosting.

So, this is my secret to baking delicious cupcakes for a crowd or anytime you are having a cupcake craving for that matter.  Even though this recipe is simple nobody will ever guess…they are that good.  Try making these, you won’t regret it.

Sorghum, Lentil and Brie Salad with Orange Maple Vinaigrette

Sorghum, Lentil and Brie Salad with Orange Maple Vinaigrette – so yes, I know this is a mouthful, however I feel like each flavor is integral which is why I included all of these ingredients in the title.  I felt it was important to give you an idea of all the deliciousness that is packed into this mouth watering salad.  I must re-iterate…this salad is mouth watering.

First I need to start with what exactly sorghum is.  Up until about a month ago I had no idea that this grain even existed.  I came across an article when going through my Flipboard that was titled, “Could 2017 be the breakout year for home-grown ancient grain sorghum?”  I highly recommend reading it, the article is very informative and describes the many health benefits.  A brief run down is that this grain is gluten-free, non GMO, rich in fiber, protein, iron magnesium and B6.   Sorghum also has a delicious, slightly nutty flavor and I would compare the grain to Israeli couscous.

Sorghum has one major drawback – it takes a while to cook, one hour to be precise.  I usually cook this over the weekend while I am milling around the house and keep it in the fridge to eat for lunch or if I want to make this salad.  Generally I am in a mad rush with everything so if I don’t cook this ahead of time, this salad is not getting made.  That said, if the sorghum is cooked, this dish will come together in a flash.

Now down to business, the recipe.   The very start of the recipe begins with bacon.  Yum!

Chicken and White Bean Chili from Neiman Marcus

Chicken and White Bean Chili from Neiman Marcus

This Chicken and White Bean Chili from Neiman Marcus is freaking awesome! For some reason, I am not sure why, I have neglected the Neiman Marcus cookbook for the past six months and am so glad I dusted it off.  The chili recipe I am highlighting here is awesome, however there are countless, delicious recipes still to share.  Not only is this a one-pot wonder delicious, it is easy to make and comes together quickly.

The chili is pretty simple to make and likely contains many ingredients you already have on hand.  Three cups onions are used to start this chili followed by some garlic and a myriad of spices.  The rest is made up of cannellini beans, shredded chicken and all the garnishes your heart desires.  I need to add that the one part of this recipe that could become time consuming is the shredded chicken.  Sometimes I will buy a roasted chicken from the grocery store and other times I will roast some chicken in the oven.  Either way works, but if you have to cook the chicken, this will definitely add to the overall time it takes to pull this chili together. Personally I love my chili spicy, however my hubby prefers a milder version so I add a ton of crushed red pepper and Sriracha to finish mine off.

Creamy Vegetable Lentil Soup


I know that January is the month to detox and get your body back on track after the holidays, however this hasn’t been the case for me.  There is actually a great reason – I haven’t felt like it.  The shock to my system (both body and especially mind – HA!) would just be too much and I wasn’t ready.   But now I have regulated my taste buds and I am ready to get back on track with some delicious and satisfying food.  Yesterday I made this Creamy Vegetable Lentil Soup that is so good you would never guess there is no cream, is low in fat and super simple to make.

The ingredients for the soup are basic and I love that these are items I always have on hand.   The soup starts with a chopped onion and carrots followed with a couple of cloves of garlic and some pantry staples.  Even though there is no cream in the soup, it is made creamy by putting all the softened, caramelized veggies in the blender for a minute or two.  The result is a velvety, delicious base for your soup.  Add the lentils and you have a delicious meal that is protein packed as well.

If you have been having trouble getting back on track after the holidays (or anytime of the year) try this soup.  Oh and I have to add that if your kiddos aren’t a fan of vegetables this is the perfect way to sneak in those healthy goods.  Enjoy!