Jeweled Brussels Sprouts

Jeweled Brussels Sprouts 2013

Brussels sprouts – I’ve heard that people either love ’em or hate ’em, but lately I’ve noticed people giving these cute little cabbages a second chance. In our house, we are big fans and like them cooked in a variety of ways. With the holidays approaching, this preparation is just perfect! I braise the Brussels sprouts rather than roasting them, so the oven is freed up for other cooking adventures, and top them with a pretty combination of toasted pecans, chewy dried cranberries, and a fresh burst of lemon zest.

I made this dish for friends, including two 8 year olds, and it was a big hit. The kids preferred their Brussels sprouts without the topping and that’s totally fine! The biggest compliments came when my son said, “Yay! Brussels sprouts!” and our little friend asked her mom to make them “just like this” next time. I am not making that up!

Winter is the perfect time for this delightful vegetable. They are sweetest when they are still small, but the most important thing is to buy them fresh – not frozen. So grab some the next time you see them and maybe even consider this dish for your holiday table. I know we will!

Jeweled Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts

2 tsp. bacon grease

1 shallot, finely chopped about 1/4 c.

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. vegetable or chicken broth

2 T. pecans, toasted and chopped

2 T. dried cranberries (without sugar, preferred), chopped

1 tsp. lemon zest

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Start by cutting the bottoms off of the Brussels sprouts. Depending on the size, leave them whole if they’re quite small, halve them, or quarter them. The idea is to have a bowl full of similarly sized bites. Remove any damaged looking leaves and put all the rest of the sprouts into a strainer to give them a bit of a rinse.

2) Melt the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots for about 3 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the Brussels sprouts, along with any water clinging to them, to the pan and sprinkle with the salt. Stir to coat everything and allow it to heat up a bit, just a minute or two. Add the broth and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding a tablespoon or two of water if the pan becomes dry before the sprouts are done to your liking.

3) When the Brussels sprouts are tender, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and allow to brown and caramelize slightly by leaving them undisturbed for a couple minutes at a time. Remove from the heat, add the toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and lemon zest. Season with additional salt, if necessary, and a few grinds of pepper.

Serves 4

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Autumn Mash

Mashed Turnips, Parsnips, and Carrots

The weather has turned cold here, but it’s Colorado so it might not last. For now it makes me want to have soups and stews and warming dishes, just like this one.

This mash is comprised of turnips, carrots, and parsnips, all lovely root veggies that are in season right now. I like to cook with turnips because I get the feeling that not as many people use them as once did. It makes me a little sad so I try to find lots of fun things for them to do. Not only that, they are great for you! Part of the Brassicaceae family – along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and others – this veggie is low in calories with lots of vitamin C, calcium and other important vitamins and minerals. Some people find it a little spicy so I added carrots and parsnip for their sweetness and some ghee and coconut milk to smooth everything out. Fresh sage makes it taste even more like fall and I think it could even have a place at the Thanksgiving table.

Autumn Mash

4 medium turnips

2 medium carrots

1 large parsnip

1 Tbsp. ghee

6 Tbsp. coconut milk

3-4 sage leaves, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt + more for the water

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Peel and roughly chop all your veggies. Place them in a medium saucepan and add water to about half way. Throw in a couple pinches of salt to flavor your water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer until soft, about 20 minutes.

2) Drain the vegetables and put them in a food processor fitted with an s-blade. Add the ghee, coconut milk, sage leaves, and salt. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, add some fresh cracked pepper and feel warmed from the inside out.

Serves 4-5

Turkey Stuffing Loaf

Paleo Turkey Meatloaf

I love the flavors of Thanksgiving but I’m really more about the side dishes than the main event. To me, turkey is just a protein-carrier for all of the delicious vegetables that surround it. I do, however, love meatballs and meatloaf and a variety of other quick, often portable, ground meat dishes. I use them for quick lunches and post-workout snacks and a protein hit when I need it. It’s a good thing I had some of this one for lunch on the day I made it because after that it became my husband’s favorite thing in the fridge and I had to arm wrestle him for it every time. Unfortunately for me, he’s quite strong.

I really hope you enjoy this meatloaf that tastes just like a turkey dinner. All you need is some cranberry sauce and you’re good to go!

Turkey Stuffing Loaf

1 lb. ground turkey (mine was a blend of white and dark)

1 tsp. bacon grease

1/2 onion, diced about 1/2 c.

2 celery stalks, diced about 1/3 c.

1 medium carrot, diced about 1/3 c.

1 Tbsp. parsley, minced

1 tsp. fresh sage, minced (about 3 leaves)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 egg

1/4 c. almond flour

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt bacon grease, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot until just soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and sage, remove from the heat, and let cool slightly.

2) Put ground turkey, spices, egg, and almond flour in a large bowl. Add the veggie mixture to it and combine thoroughly. Use your hands – they work best. The mixture will be quite wet.

3) Put the mixture on a baking sheet and form into a loaf shape, approximately 5x7x1. Let rest for 10 minutes before placing in the oven and cooking for 45 minutes. It should be firm and springy when you poke it.

4) Remove from the oven, let rest, and slice.

Serves 3-4