4 Ingredients: the Easiest, Most Delicious Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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If you know me at all, you know that brussels sprouts are my absolute favorite, and that I could eat them (and garlic) every day and never get bored. I have yet to encounter a brussels recipe that I didn’t love. And it is utterly perplexing to me that they have such a bad reputation. They’re amazing and fun and hearty and filling and healthy and DELICIOUS. If we don’t know each other, you now know how I feel about brussels sprouts, so we can move forward because everyone’s on the same page. If you are not a brussels sprouts fan, or if their reputation has kept you from giving them the try the rightfully deserve, this is the easiest, most fool-proof delicious, guaranteed successful brussels sprouts preparation you will find, so if you’re willing to try, start here. Four ingredients is all you need. Can’t go wrong. And here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDroastedbsprouts
* 1-1.5lbs fresh brussels sprouts
* olive oil
* salt
* pepper

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 425F.

Wash your brussels sprouts, and then trim the stumpy ends and any bad leaves off of them. Cut them in half and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil liberally over them and then season generously (to taste) with salt and pepper. Pop the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

They will be beautifully browned on the cut sides, slightly charred and crispy on the exterior leaves, and soft and dense with flavor on the inside. Perfect. If you weren’t already, you’ll be converted at first bite.

Thanksgiving Leftover Quesadillas

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Are you just about finished with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Us too. But we still have a few things left that have to get used. Are you tired of your leftovers yet? Maybe a little? That’s why you have to do a full transformation to use them up. At least I do. Otherwise I’ll disappoint my Mama with the food I waste because I can’t eat the same thing every day for a week just to use it up! Can you?

I knew tonight was going to be a busy one when I was menu-planning for the week, and that we’d still have leftover Turkey Day goods, so this idea basically came up with itself. Fast? Check. Easy? Check. Kid-friendly? Check. Healthy? Check. Breathes new life into the same old leftovers? Check. Boom. Boom. Boom. Here you go.thanksgivingquesadillas1

WHAT YOU NEED
* whole wheat flour tortillas
* sliced cheese (I liked the idea of Swiss or Provolone with the Thanksgiving flavors)
* leftover roast turkey
* leftover veggies (we used the rest of these sweet potatoes and my mother in-law’s spinach and mushroom casserole)

WHAT TO DO
Shred the leftover turkey and warm up any veggies (quick microwave warm-up or in a pan on the stove — whatever is easiest).

Place one tortilla in a large pan over medium heat and let it start to warm up. Place a layer of your preferred cheese on the tortilla and let it just start to melt before adding layers of veggies, and then a layer of shredded turkey, another layer of cheese, and another tortilla. Pat your quesadilla down a bit so that it all melts together, then let it cook for a minute or so. Flip it over and do the same on the other side (pat it down, cook for another minute or two). Aaaaaaaand… DONE.thanksgivingquesadillas2

I mean, I’m sure I didn’t *actually* have to tell you how to make a quesadilla. But that’s not the point here! The point was to reenvision your leftovers, people. To think outside the roasting pan box so that your leftovers feel new again! Like putting Thanksgiving dinner between tortillas!thanksgivingquesadillas3

Israeli Salad

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My Tiny Sous Chef has become our resident salad maker. She loves it. She loves having her israelisalad6thing that she is responsible for consistently. And she is a self-described Salad Monster. And yes, I realize that a 4 year old who loves salad is like a unicorn with three horns and wings who burps rainbows. Tonight’s dinner was a favorite in our house. Food Truck Chicken. We make this within a week or so of every visit from  my parents, because they usually bring a package of the best pita outside of the Middle East with them, and there’s really no excuse not to build a whole meal around the best pita outside of the Middle East.

Once our girl started showing interest in what goes on in israelisalad1the kitchen, I started looking for age- and skill-appropriate jobs for her to do so that she could get more involved and learn more and more. We started with mixing and stirring, and moved on to cracking eggs, measuring spices, and eventually cutting. She’s careful, and meticulous. And frankly, when you love what you’re making, it shows. So her salads are excellent.

With this dish, I like to go really simple, and really Middle Eastern. We’ve got the pita, and we’ve got the chicken. Israeli salad is perfect with it. Traditional Israeli salad has no lettuce, and features simple, fresh veggies chopped up into tiny little pieces. You can really take this salad in a whole range of directions. This is basic and uncomplicated and just the way I like it. Veggie quantity will obviously vary depending on how many people you are feeding. And this isn’t so much a firm precise recipe. Anyway, here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* cucumber (we like to use English, seedless cucumbers, or those little Persian ones that are so sweet!)
* tomato (we generally use Romas or plums)
* pepper (I prefer yellow, red, or orange, for the sweetness)
* avocado
** I usually add red onion or shallots, but we didn’t have any today, and My Tiny Sous Chef doesn’t like cutting onions, so we left them out
* olive oil
* fresh lemon juice
* Italian seasoning
* dry dill week
* lemon pepper (regular ground black pepper works, too)

WHAT TO DO
Not much to it. Cut all of your veggies up into the tiniest little pieces you can manage and mix together in a bowl. Add olive oil and squeeze fresh lemon juice (how much depends on the size of your salad, obviously), then add the seasonings to taste. Actually taste the salad to adjust the seasoning accordingly, and there you go. Perfect, fast, fresh, tasty salad ready to go. If my four (and a half) year old Tiny Sous Chef can do this herself, like a pro, so can you. We promise.

By the way, if you have your own tiny sous chef, you have to get these knives. I’m obsessed with them — and I did lots of research before ordering these particular knives. [For the record, this is a completely unsolicited endorsement. These are amazing, and I love them. No one asked me to say that. Just my opinion (and my girl’s, too).] This nylon knife set from StarPack is the perfect intro set for kids who love to cook. They cut through everything but flesh (so, no meat and no little fingers), and allow the tiniest kitchen helpers to really learn good, safe knife skills. They come in three sizes, so they can grow with your kiddo. They were a total game changer in our kitchen! For what it’s worth.

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Meatless Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

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So what do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Besides the traditional and totally perfect-and-amazing Thanksgiving dinner sandwich, of course. This year I decided that I would take the glorious leftovers that inevitably come home with us after Thanksgiving dinner in a new direction, and re-envision their possible resurrections. When I asked My Tiny Sous Chef for dinner requests for the week, her first suggestion was lasagna. veglasagna4BOOM. There’s the first repurposing solution! Leftover roasted vegetables find new life in the layers of a simple and delicious lasagna casserole. And the result was a perfect blend of seasonal nostalgia and homey comfort food. Can’t beat that! Plus, easy to prepare ahead or make the night-of. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* pre-baked lasagna noodles
* 15oz package of part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* leftover roasted vegetables (I used broccoli and savory roasted sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner)
* 1T dried oregano
* 1t salt
* 1/2t pepper
* 1T garlic powderveglasagna1
* 1 jar tomato sauce (whatever your preference will work great here – simple marinara or a chunkier version with veggies or seasonings – and anything in between. Basically, whatever’s already in your pantry!)
* sliced mozzarella cheese (can also use shredded, fresh – whatever you like)
* grated Parmesan cheese

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, and seasonings.

veglasagna2Put a small amount of tomato sauce into the bottom of an 8X11 inch baking dish/casserole. This keeps your lasagna from getting dry or burning on the bottom. Place lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, creating an even layer. Put about half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, and spread evenly to cover. Add a layer of your roasted vegetables on top of the ricotta mixture.

Cover the vegetables with about half of the jar of tomato sauce. Cover the tomato sauce with a layer of mozzarella cheese slices. Repeat. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top layer of mozzarella and place your lasagna into your preheated oven. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and turning golden. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving to allow to set.

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Serve with a big, fresh salad (sorry I can’t loan you My Tiny Sous Chef who happens to be an expert salad maker!) and a warm, fresh loaf of crusty bread. What you’ve got there is a reinvention of a perfect Thanksgiving side dish into a perfect post-Thanksgiving weeknight meal. Mmmmmmmmmmm…