This morning I was watching the Today show as I got ready for my day and I saw a teaser for their cooking segment, which was coming up later in the show, about how to make the “perfect” turkey for Thanksgiving. Wow – I thought, it’s only Nov. 2nd; but, I guess I should be grateful that two days after Halloween the primary holiday the Today show was focused on was Thanksgiving. Later, as I drove to the store I heard an advertisement on SirisusXM for the first of their holiday channels – Holly and Holiday Traditions (Channels 13 & 18, respectively, if you’re interested), which are already up and playing. Then when I walked into Wal-Mart I was reminded that there are only 52 shopping days until Christmas. And now, as I’m typing up this recipe, I can hear the familiar melody of Frosty the Snowman coming from the keyboard as my daughter begins practicing (amazingly well for her first day with the piece, if I do say so myself) for the Christmas concert.
Like it or not, we are now in full-blown holiday season. And you know what that means – cocktail parties, dinner parties, dessert parties, each with lots of food and drink. And we all know that often the choices offered aren’t the healthiest. Yes green bean casserole I am talking about you. So, I thought that throughout the month of November I would share a healthy, and delicious, side dish that you could introduce to add some new offerings to your feast. These recipes are all worthy of a special occasion and they each take a nutritious twist on our favorite traditional holiday flavors.
First up, we have Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Bacon. I’ll be honest, I love brussel sprouts. I didn’t always, but then again, I don’t think I ever had brussel sprouts until I was 30. Ever since my first taste though, I have been hooked. There’s just something about the those bitter baby cabbages that makes my mouth sing. I eat them all year long, and I especially like to pair them with slightly sweet dishes, like barbecue pork or beef or cinnamon roasted squash. Lately, brussel sprouts have been all the rage in the gourmet cooking sphere – from caramelized brussel sprouts with maple and parmesan to shaved brussel sprouts salad there are no shortage of recipes which feature this little green vegetable.
My take on brussel sprouts is as easy to prepare as it is delicious. I begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then I prep the brussel sprouts by cutting off the bottoms and removing the outer leaves, which can be dirty, damaged and thin. I chop up two garlic cloves and toss the brussel sprouts and chopped garlic together in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Then I spread the veggies onto an aluminum baking dish (which helps the brussel sprouts and bacon crisp up nicely). Finally, I cut three strips of uncured organic bacon (which is free from added nitrates) into small pieces and sprinkle on the veggies. The pan goes into a hot oven for 20-30 minutes until bacon is crisp and brussel sprouts are browned.
This dish is amazing paired with pork, turkey and beef. Really, it works with any holiday fare and is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party. Even my kiddos like the yin and yang of the sweet balsamic combined with the bitter brussel sprouts in this dish. And the bacon, of course, puts the dish over the top. Because, as they say, everything is better with bacon. Especially brussel sprouts.