Yummy Carmelized Brussel Sprouts

Before I share with you this delicious side dish, I first would like to say that I LOVE Pinterest. Big, big Pinterest fan here. In fact, I was going through some of my craft pins on Saturday showing my husband how stinking creative some people are, and expressing my admiration, and disbelief that there are people who are so creative out there, and raving about how awesome Pinterest is. His reaction,”I’m so glad you like it honey.” Though even he thought some of the things I showed him were creative.

Do I waste spend hours pinning things? Yes. And then feel accomplished, like I actually spent my time worthwhile? Major Yes. (Silly I know.) Do I actually use what I pin? It depends, on what we are talking about. Some things yes, other things, not as much. But please feel free to follow me, my username is: SnickerPlumShop or you can just search for Lynzi Rasmussen.

But back to this delicious side dish.

Growing up, my parents grew Brussel Sprouts in the garden, and they were just… okay, I would eat them, like the broccoli, zucchini, or corn that was pushed at me, but I didn’t really ever enjoy any of the above. Introduce Pinterest. I found a recipe similar to the one I am going to share with you today except it wasn’t as amped up as this is! My brother-in-law, who is a self-proclaimed veggie hater, actually liked them, to his surprise! So that is big news there! :)

Carmelized Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans

1 lb of Brussel Sprouts washed, outer leaves cleaned off, and halved

4 slices bacon, cut into little strips, or lardons

1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c whole pecans, crumbled

1. Cook bacon in a large pan on medium-low heat. Remove from pan just when it is starting to get crisp, let drain on paper towel. Add the prepared Brussel sprouts to the pan and cook until they begin crisp or darken, about 5-10 minutes.

2. Then sprinkle on the brown sugar and mix well to fully cover all the of the Brussel sprouts. Then add in the bacon and pecans and toss to fully coat them as well. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes and serve warm. Enjoy!

These are super easy, and super yummy. Sadly we did not have any leftovers for the next day, they were that good!

I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!

From my Family to yours…

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A Long Week and a Light and Delicious Meal

Over the past week or so I have been very back and forth. One day I will feel ready to go and conquer the day, and the next I will feel exhausted and ill, either in body or mind, and it’s lucky if I make the bed. It’s kind of tiring, but I am still, trying to move forward.

Lately, I have been working to get hired on as a Food Service Assistant Substitute for the Boise School District. So basically, when someone calls in sick or goes on vacation, I would get a call to fill in for them. It’s the base job that you have to sign up for first, and then you can move upwards as positions become available. I am excited to be able to work with kids and food!

Today I have for  you a delicious recipe, it is so light and fresh it might just be the thing that gets me back on my feet for the rest of this week. I got this recipe from the blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and it is so good! Let me also share with you some information about the “Mother Grain”: Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa)which is featured in this recipe. Quinoa is also a super grain. Though it is not a true grain, its small seeds are treated as such. It is gluten-free and therefore prefect for those who have wheat allergies (Sarah!). Also, it is perfect for those who are Vegan or Vegetarian, because the seeds form a complete protein, with all of the essential amino acids, and they also contain important vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates and fat! Talk about an awesome seed! Quinoa can be found in most super markets, but I like to get it in the bulk foods area of Winco (my favorite store).

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped

2 cloves Garlic, minced

3/4 cup uncooked Quinoa, rinsed

1-1/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

2 tsp ground Cumin

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

1 cup frozen Sweet Corn

2 (15-ounce) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

1-In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering and hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.

2-Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).

3-Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled – it is delicious both ways!

I hope that you find this as delicious as we did! It’s perfect as a side dish or you could serve it with grilled chicken or pork or along with any mexican themed dish we also really liked it with asian dishes. It’s good with almost anything!

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…

And here’s hoping that your week has been more productive than mine!

Scalloped Potatoes = Heavenly

I found a recipe online for scalloped potatoes, several months ago. The potatoes were okay, but I wanted more. More flavor, more bacon, more of that “Wow” factor that I remember from my childhood. I’ve worked over this recipe over 8 or so different makings (needless to say we’ve had a lot of potatoes lately) but each time it got closer and better. And then I perfected it. This is so very delicious I can’t even express it fully. It’s not hard but it does take some time, especially if you are making the clarified butter (recipe below).

Scalloped Potatoes

1 Tbsp butter

2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8” thick

1 small yellow or white onion

2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped

6 slices bacon, thinly sliced and cooked

2-1/2 c grated Swiss or Gruyère cheese (about 8 oz)

1/2 c Parmesan cheese (about 2 oz)

Salt and pepper, TT

Béchamel/Mornay
Sauce:

4 c whole milk

1 pearl onion (or small onion)

1 small bay leaf

1 whole clove

3 Tbsp flour

3 Tbsp clarified butter (Does not HAVE to be clarified, but it is not “pure” to the  classic Bechamel; recipe below)

1/4 c Gruyère cheese

2 Tbsp Parmesan

1 egg yolk

Salt and Pepper, TT

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the milk on the stove, over a medium-low heat, and bring to a simmer. Into the heating milk place a clove tacking a bay leaf into the small onion. Whisk occasionally to prevent a skin forming on the surface. Prepare the bacon, potatoes, onion, chives, and cheese while the milk is heating. When the milk simmering, heat in a second pan
the clarified butter and flour and whisk together, creating a white roux. Just before the roux turns a golden color and it does have a nice toasty smell, take the roux off the heat. Remove the onion, bay leaf, and clove which may have separated, and slowly whisk the simmering milk into the roux, a little at a time. Stir in the cheeses, egg yolk, and salt and pepper to taste and keep the pan on a low heat while assembling the potatoes.

2. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish with 1 Tbsp melted butter. Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with 1/3 of the potato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on half of the sliced onions, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère cheese, half the bacon, chives, and a little parmesan.  Spread on just enough of the Béchamel sauce to scarcely cover the toppings.

Repeat with the second layer.

3. Top the casserole with the remaining potato slices and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheeses and cover the dish with tin foil, being careful not to touch the foil to the surface of the potatoes. Cook for one hour and then remove the tin foil. Continue cooking anywhere from 15-25 more minutes, testing the potatoes for doneness. The potatoes should be tender but not mushy.

Clarified Butter 

1 lb butter or more depending on how much you want to or need to make

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Be sure to check it from time to time to make sure that it doesn’t burn. As the butter melts, it separates into three layers. The layer on the bottom is water, the middle layer is the clarified butter, and the thin top layer is the foamy milk fat. Skim off any of the foam that comes to the surface. Then ladle out the butter into a separate container that can also be used to store it, being careful not pick up any of the water below.

The wonderful thing about this butter is that it does not burn! You can leave it on the stove for quite a while and it won’t burn, letting you dice up veggies and so forth while the pan is preheating.