Delicious Brussels Sprouts

Most of my kids love Brussels sprouts.  My family likes them and they are one of my very favorites.  When I was a kid I hated them, but most people over cook them and that makes them really really not yummy.  When they are lightly cooked and fresh tasting, they are amazing!

We planted some Brussels sprouts in the spring and it took forever for them to produce so we cut them down in the heat of the summer.  Any greens, or cole crops can become bitter when harvested in the heat.  For my Brussels sprouts, a quick blanch was all it took to take the bitterness out of them.  If your sprouts aren’t bitter, no need for that step.

I cut down four stalks of Brussels sprouts.  This is what they looked like piled in a wheel barrow.  Before I started growing them, I never knew how they grew.  I was amazed that the plant was this big!

I cut down four stalks of Brussels sprouts. This is what they looked like piled in a wheel barrow. Before I started growing them, I never knew how they grew. I was amazed that the plant was this big!

 

I cut the leaves off of the stalks.  This is how the little sprouts are growing down in there.  So cute.

I cut the leaves off of the stalks. This is how the little sprouts are growing down in there. So cute.

 

Then I used a sharp knife to cut them off the stalk.

Then I used a sharp knife to cut them off the stalk.

 

I washed the sprouts and prepared a pan of boiling water to blanch them in.  I added salt to the water which also helps remove bitterness from greens.  I blanched them for 3 minutes.

I washed the sprouts and prepared a pan of boiling water to blanch them in. I added salt to the water which also helps remove bitterness from greens. I blanched them for 3 minutes.

 

Then I plunged them into ice water.

Then I plunged them into ice water.

 

Once they had completely cooled in the ice water, I drained them.  They are delicious at this point.  You can make them into a salad or just eat them plain like this.

Once they had completely cooled in the ice water, I drained them. They are delicious at this point. You can make them into a salad or just eat them plain like this.

Next I cut one piece of bacon into small pieces and browned it in the skillet.  I added the Brussels sprouts and sautéed them in the skillet for about 2 minutes until they were just tender, but still bright green.  I use salt and pepper to taste.

sauteeing brussel sprouts

Brussels sprouts are delicious raw, boiled, sautéed, or roasted.  I have never tried them any way I didn’t like them except for over cooked.  I know some pretty picky eaters that enjoyed them with this bacon method.  I cook a lot of vegetables with a piece of bacon for flavor because it helps picky kids take interest in them.  But I cook them for my family and my kids without bacon and they still enjoy them.  Just salt, pepper and olive oil and throw them in the oven until they are lightly brown on the edge, or grate some parmesean cheese over the top as they finish roasting and that is delicious as well.  If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, try cooking fresh ones yourself and if you don’t over cook them, I’m willing to bet you will like them too.

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Homemade Pesto Sauce (without nuts!)

I am working on harvesting some of our garden surplus like the herbs that we haven’t used up and we had a ton of basil. I harvested two pounds of basil leaves from the walkways in the garden. Man did I smell good!

basil

I am allergic to nuts so I wanted to come up with a pesto I could eat too, so I decided to roast up some sunflower seeds to use in place of the pine nuts.  I used 1/4 a cup of seeds and toasted them lightly in a skillet.

I am allergic to nuts so I wanted to come up with a pesto I could eat too, so I decided to roast up some sunflower seeds to use in place of the pine nuts. I used 1/4 a cup of seeds and toasted them lightly in a skillet.

Toss the toasted seeds in the blender with 2 cups of basil leaves and we also added a couple of dried thai peppers for some kick.

Toss the toasted seeds in the blender with 2 cups of basil leaves and we also added a couple of dried thai peppers for some kick.

Add 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese and two cloves of cut up garlic.

Add 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese and two cloves of cut up garlic.

Blend until smooth.

Blend until smooth adding olive oil until sauce will blend. Approximately 1/4-1/2 cup.

We used some of the pesto as a topping for some cooked pasta and froze the rest in pint sized jars to use later.  It was delicious!

We used some of the pesto as a topping for some cooked pasta and froze the rest in pint sized jars to use later. It was delicious!

The kids loved this pasta and it was super healthy.

Caprese Salad

These Little Sprouts have been picking 20-30 pounds of tomatoes a week for the past few weeks, so we have been coming up with all sorts of ways to use tomatoes. Here is a yummy grown up salad that is more for Mr. Kent and me. I haven’t tried it with the kids, but they may actually surprise me and like it if I did. 🙂 One of my favorite things about it is it’s super pretty.

Slice up some fresh mozzarella as thin as you can.

Slice up some fresh mozzarella as thin as you can.

Remove a couple of stems of basil from the stems and coarsely chop.

Remove a couple of stems of basil from the stems and coarsely chop.

Basil

Slice a perfectly ripe juicy tomato.

Slice a perfectly ripe juicy tomato.

Layer the mozzarella alternately with the tomato slices on a plate or platter.

Layer the mozzarella alternately with the tomato slices on a plate or platter.

Sprinkle with chopped basil, salt and pepper.  Then drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar and some olive oil over the top.  YUM!

Sprinkle with chopped basil, salt and pepper. Then drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar and some olive oil over the top. YUM!

Mr. Kent who claims he does not like tomatoes loves this salad. It’s time for us to try it with our picky eaters. 🙂 Enjoy!

Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce

Last year during tomato season my friend Candy posted a picture on her Facebook page of some roasted tomato sauce she was making. It looked delicious so I checked out the recipe she was using and did a little tweaking. This is what I came up with. Roasting food somehow makes it so delicious. This sauce is thick and rich and so flavorful. I planted some paste tomatoes this year and have been using them to make my sauce. They have less liquid in them and it makes the sauce more smokey and a little thicker.

Slice your tomatoes in half and toss them on a sheet pan.

Slice your tomatoes in half and toss them on a sheet pan.


Chop some onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and toss it on the pan.  You don't need to worry about peels or seeds or anything since you will be passing your vegetables through the food mill.  It takes out all those parts.

Chop some onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and toss it on the pan. You don’t need to worry about peels or seeds or anything since you will be passing your vegetables through the food mill. It takes out all those parts.


Sprinkle the mixture with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Sprinkle the mixture with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.


Add a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Add a generous amount of salt and pepper.


Toss the vegetables well and spread them in a single layer with the tomatoes cut side up.  Roast them until the edges are just starting to turn brown.

Toss the vegetables well and spread them in a single layer with the tomatoes cut side up. Roast them at 400 degrees until the edges are just starting to turn brown.


Dump the mixture into your food mill and process until all the liquid passes through and you are left with the skins.

Dump the mixture into your food mill and process until all the liquid passes through and you are left with the skins.


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The sauce is thick and rich.

The sauce is thick and rich.


Now your sauce is ready to use, can or freeze.  You can add other ingredients you like as well.  Sometimes I add basil or other herbs to mine.  You could also use hot peppers, bell peppers, or anything you like in your tomato sauce.  What is your favorite way to make tomato sauce?

Now your sauce is ready to use, can or freeze. You can add other ingredients you like as well. Sometimes I add basil or other herbs to mine. You could also use hot peppers, bell peppers, or anything you like in your tomato sauce.

What is your favorite way to make tomato sauce?

Peach Yogurt Pops

I love cooking with my kids because they have tons of fun. But it’s also important to cook with kids because it makes them interested in healthy food. A few weeks ago we made these very tasty peach yogurt pops for a treat for our water party. So fun and so delicious.

First I gave the kids a bunch of peaches to cut into small pieces.   3 cups peach pieces

First I gave the kids a bunch of peaches to cut into small pieces.
3 cups peach pieces


Then the kids placed them in the blender so we could puree them.

Then the kids placed them in the blender so we could puree them.


Then we mixed in the other ingredients.   1 cup plain greek yogurt 1/2 cup sugar

Then we mixed in the other ingredients.
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar


We poured the mixture into our popsicle molds and put them in the freezer until the next day.  One of our handles is missing so we used a plastic fork.  If you don't have molds, you can use Dixie cups with a fork or popsicle stick or you can pour your mixture into ice cube trays and cover with plastic wrap.  Then insert a popsicle stick or tooth pick through the plastic into the cube tray and freeze.  The plastic holds the sticks up straight.

We poured the mixture into our popsicle molds and put them in the freezer until the next day. One of our handles is missing so we used a plastic fork. If you don’t have molds, you can use Dixie cups with a fork or popsicle stick or you can pour your mixture into ice cube trays and cover with plastic wrap. Then insert a popsicle stick or tooth pick through the plastic into the cube tray and freeze. The plastic holds the sticks up straight.


These pops are tart, sweet, and extremely refreshing. I recommend you try them as soon as possible.

Garlic Parmesean Roasted Broccoli

The kids, my family, and I love broccoli any way you can cook it, but something about roasting vegetables makes them taste AMAZING. Roasted broccoli is delicious with just salt, pepper, and olive oil, and it also tastes great with a few simple additions. Here is our number one favorite way to eat it.

Before you roast the broccoli, cut it up into small bite size pieces.

Before you roast the broccoli, cut it up into small bite size pieces.


Place it all on a cookie sheet.  I usually don't fill my pan this full but in the summer, well...I need more food to feed these people, so this one is pretty packed.  It roasts faster if the pieces aren't touching like this.

Place it all on a cookie sheet. I usually don’t fill my pan this full but in the summer, well…I need more food to feed these people, so this one is pretty packed. It roasts faster if the pieces aren’t touching like this.


Sprinkle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the broccoli pieces and then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Grate some parmesean  cheese over the top.  I use about 1/4 cup.  Then I use the same small grater to grate a clove of garlic over it as well.

Sprinkle a few tablespoons of olive oil over the broccoli pieces and then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Grate some parmesean cheese over the top. I use about 1/4 cup. Then I use the same small grater to grate a clove of garlic over it as well.


Yum yum.

Yum yum.

Toss it by hand until it’s well combined. Put it in a 400 degree oven until it’s dark green and the edges have a tiny bit of brown on them. It’s easy to over cook broccoli so be careful to watch it. When it’s not crowded on the pan, it takes 15-20 minutes to roast, when it’s crowded up, it takes longer. Dump it in a serving dish (or like me a mixing bowl) and serve it up.
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What’s your favorite way to eat broccoli?

Kale Chips-YUM!

One of the activities that the older kids planned for the summer was making kale chips. Most of the kids liked them. I have made them many times for my family, but didn’t know how the kids would respond. The boys had fun making them and they were well received.

We washed up the kale and took the stems out.

We washed up the kale and took the stems out.


Then the boys added salt, pepper, and olive oil and gave them a good toss.

Then the boys added salt, pepper, and olive oil and gave them a good toss.


We baked them in the oven at 400 degrees until they were crispy.

We baked them in the oven at 400 degrees until they were crispy.


They were yummy.

They were yummy.


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