Oven Roasted Garlic Broccoli

I go in stages with food. I’ll find something I love and then I’ll make it in large quantities and eat it every day until I finally get sick of it. Broccoli is currently that food. Growing up my mom would always make broccoli either boiled, or “fresh” from the freezer aisle. While there’s nothing wrong with broccoli in that form, it definitely wasn’t my favorite way of eating it, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mush factor.

Until recently I would usually just eat broccoli raw, but then I decided to experiment with roasting vegetables and broccoli was the most recent attempt, and I’m hooked! I love the crispy bits that come from roasting, and how the broccoli keeps its crunch. My roommate loves it too, I’ve definitely come into the kitchen to find her munching on some freshly roasted broccoli. I don’t blame her, this stuff is delicious!

It took me a while to figure out how to properly roast broccoli though, I experimented with different oven temperatures and have ultimately decided that 425 for about 10-15 minutes is best. It leaves you with the crispiest broccoli possible.

First cut your broccoli florets off the stem. I prefer buying broccoli crowns because they’re cheaper and there’s less stem to throw away.

Chop up some garlic cloves. The more the better! Mmmm garlic!

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Mix your broccoli, garlic and some Avocado Oil (or whatever oil you prefer) in a bowl and then place on a baking sheet. Don’t crowd the baking sheet (as I have been known to do) you’ll get steamed broccoli instead of roasted.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking periodically to make sure your food isn’t burning. It’ll be done once the broccoli is slightly browned and there are delicious crispy bits on the end.

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Enjoy! This is best eaten right away, although I will make it to eat for later as well, if you have it for leftovers it’ll retain its flavor but it’ll lose it’s crispy bits.

 

Oven Roasted Garlic Broccoli

2-3 bunches of Broccoli crowns

3 cloves of garlic chopped

Avocado or Coconut oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.

Cut broccoli florets off of stem and toss in a bowl with oil and chopped garlic until lightly covered

Spread broccoli florets over a baking sheet being careful not to crowd them.

Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once after about 6 minutes.

Broccoli is done when it is slightly browned and the ends are crispy.

Brussels Sprout Chips

I am not a fan of kale in any shape or form, but I am an adventurous eater and am always willing to give foods a second chance. So when kale chips became THE thing to make and eat. I gave them a shot. I did not think, contrary to popular belief, that they tasted better than or equal to potato chips. I didn’t even think that they tasted different but still good. I thought they possessed every trait of kale that I disliked about it in the first place. I still however liked the idea.

Fast forward to this past spring when I did Whole 30. I was making a lot of brussels sprouts and I didn’t like that every time I cooked them I was throwing away so many leaves. I’m cheap, I don’t like buying vegetables only to throw away perfectly good parts. Then I remembered kale chips and thought making brussels sprout chips can’t be that different. Added bonus? I actually LIKE brussels sprouts.

Well, I love brussels sprout chips, they’re the perfect snack to munch on. Now I am not going to say “OMG THESE ARE BETTER THAN POTATO CHIPS.” This is because I am not a liar. These do not taste like potato chips. I don’t even consider these a substitute. If you want potato chips, then eat potato chips. These taste like crispy brussels sprouts, because they are, and I love them.

Remember when I made brussels sprouts with bacon and I told you to save the outer leaves? Well this is why! I like to save the outer leaves in a plastic bag with a paper towel to help with the moisture. They’ve kept in my fridge for as long as 2 weeks before I’ve cooked chips with them which is good, because I never feel like making these chips when I’m doing a lot of cooking.

Preheat your oven to 400. Drizzle your brussel sprouts with a healthy oil and mix mix mix! I am recently obsessed with Avocado Oil for it’s high smoke point and numerous health benefits, but choose whatever sounds good to you (hint hint these taste amazing with coconut oil too!).

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Arrange as many leaves on a baking sheet as you can, help them to be friends. You do want a single layer so make sure they’re not stuck together. Add whatever seasonings you want, salt, garlic powder, pepper. Whatever makes you happy.

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Put your brussels sprouts into the oven for 10 minutes. DO set a timer. DO NOT tell yourself you will remember to check on them periodically because you are going to be in the kitchen for a long time anyways. If you do this you will remember you wanted to read that interesting article your friend posted on facebook earlier today. So you will go upstairs to check it out on your laptop and then get distracted on Facebook, and start talking to your best friend and OH YEAH I put the brussels sprout chips in the oven 45 minutes ago…..If you do this, you will burn them to a crisp and ruin everything, so Don’t. Do. It.

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They’re done when they look like this! I love dipping these in a little homemade mayonnaise (flavored or plain) but my favorite way is just plain, they’re delicious as is.

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Spanakopita Stuffed Chicken

I can distinctly remember when I started liking spanakopita as a kid. It was the first food I can remember going from hating to loving. Until I was around nine years old I was turned off by the fact that it had spinach in it which I deemed “yucky!” Every time my mom made spanakopita she also had to make tiropita so that I would eat something.

Now Spanakopita is one of my favorite foods, but I don’t have it very often. With my schedule it’s not something that’s quick to make, and the filo used doesn’t make it the healthiest option for me outside of special occasions.  This recipe was born out of wanting the taste of spanakopita in a healthier version.  On the plus side it’s one of my boyfriend’s favorite dishes! I think the spinach and feta keep the chicken from getting too dried out

The weather was perfect this weekend so I cooked this up with my boyfriend, along with some skewered red potatoes on the grill. It was my first time cooking it on the grill and it turned out perfectly, (despite some of my shoddy grill skills which I won’t document here). My boyfriend has a lactose intolerance so I just made his without feta and it turned out just as good.

Thaw your frozen spinach and squeeze out the excess water.  Then combine with the feta.

Mix it up! YUM!
Mix it up! YUM!

Cut a slit in the chicken breast. This isn’t an exact science but my slits were about 2 inches deep and maybe 3 inches wide? I like to get as much stuffing in them as possible though. That’s the yummy stuff!

20140607_205559Stuff your chicken, enough to fill it up but not so much that it will spill out. I did have some spillage on the grill but nothing too bad. I forgot to get a picture with the chicken seasoning. 20140607_211036

Heat up your grill to medium heat and place breasts on the grill. Let them cook for about 15 minutes on each side. Definitely check that it’s done before you take it off though, there’s nothing worse than raw chicken! I usually just slice in and see if it’s cooked through for peace of mind

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Serve and Enjoy!

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Spanakopita Stuffed Chicken

8 oz Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained

½ cup Feta, or more! More feta is always good 🙂

6 Chicken Breast

Parsley, Oregano, salt and pepper to taste

Heat grill to Medium heat

Combine frozen spinach and feta in a small bowl

Cut a pocket in the side of the chicken breast

Stuff Spinach/feta mixture into chicken breast. Season with parsley and oregano salt and pepper to taste

Once grill has heated place chicken on the grill cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and repeat on other side.

Serve and Enjoy!

How I Found Out I Love Brussels Sprouts

I have a confession to make. Until two years ago I had never eaten a brussels sprout. My parents hated them and so they were never on the menu in our house. That situation was fine with me. Growing up my friends reminded me how lucky I was that my parents didn’t make me eat brussels sprouts, so I counted my blessings and never even gave the vegetable a chance.

That, is a tragedy! The fact that I dismissed an entire vegetable as something I won’t like because popular culture, and my parents said I won’t means I’ve missed out on deliciousness for years. Granted if I had eaten them earlier I would have probably been subjected to steamed or boiled brussels sprouts, which I hear makes them bitter and gross and the reason they get such a bad rap. I have never eaten them that way, and quite frankly unless someone convinces me otherwise I never will.

My introduction to brussels sprouts came when I visited Miami for a work conference and a coworker took me to a favorite restaurant of his insisting we try the brussels sprouts. I was hesitant, but the brussels sprouts were cooked with bacon, and who doesn’t like bacon? I’ll try anything once, and I was curious to finally find out why they got their negative reputation. Well I never found out because those sprouts were delicious!

Despite becoming a brussels sprout convert I still didn’t even attempt to start cooking them until a few months ago. After careful research I decided roasting or pan frying was the way to go. I tend to prefer pan frying, largely due to how much easier and quicker I think it is.

Recently, I’ve started throwing some bacon in with the sprouts for some added flavor, however, I’ve cooked them without it, gone heavy on the garlic and loved them just as much. I love both ways equally as well.

This recipe yields a lot, so if you want less just halve it. I love cooking large portions of food as it makes it easier for me to eat healthy throughout the week. This is my first recipe I’ve ever written so bare with me and definitely let me know if something doesn’t make sense.

First prep your brussels sprouts by rinsing them, removing the outer leaves, cutting off that icky stem, and quartering them. DON’T THROW AWAY THOSE LEAVES  save them and keep them in the refrigerator for brussels sprout chips, your stomach will thank you later!

Washed and all ready to go!
Washed and all ready to go!
Peeled and quartered.
Peeled and quartered.
Outer leaves. DO NOT THROW AWAY!
Outer leaves. SAVE THESE!

Chop up your bacon and throw it into a pan over medium to medium high heat to begin cooking (confession, I usually can’t help myself and throw in an extra strip or two of bacon)

Mmmm...Bacon!
Mmmm…Bacon!

Once your bacon has browned throw in your brussels sprouts, MIX IT ALL UP and watch the magic happen. If you are so inclined throw in some minced garlic right before you do this. Stir occasionally, BUT NOT TOO MUCH, you want the sprouts to brown, and the only way to do that is to be patient and let them sit.

All mixed up and ready to cook!
All mixed up and ready to cook!

Once they’re done scoop up and ENJOY! (I usually under cook mine a little so I can throw my leftovers in the microwave throughout the week and not end up with a soggy mess, as a result mine are never as brown as they should be.)

Yum! Let them brown even more than this if you're eating them right away.
Yum! Let them brown even more than this if you’re eating them right away.

Not Your Mother’s Brussels Sprouts

4 1/2 cups brussels sprouts cleaned and quartered
4-5 strips of bacon chopped (look for bacon with the least amount of additives, and if you can, no sugar)
2 garlic clove finely chopped (optional, I like it fine without it if I’m using bacon)

Cook bacon over medium high heat stirring often. Once browned put in the garlic and allow to cook for about 30 seconds (careful the garlic doesn’t burn!).

Throw in the brussels sprouts and mix together. Let sprouts sit so they can brown and stir occasionally to prevent burning. Sprouts will be done in about 10-15 minutes or until softer but still firm.

Serve and Enjoy!