Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese and Honey

If that title didn’t sell you, it’s time we parted ways. We obviously don’t understand each other.IMG_0028

Full disclosure: this is not my recipe at all. It’s almost exactly this recipe. I made the tiniest almost-not-an-adjustment that I have to give the original post full credit and just say that I’m just advertising one of the best Brussels sprouts recipes ever. It’s perfection. Obviously, I was going to love it because, Brussels sprouts. But it hits every one of my favorite marks. It’s delicious and sophisticated in flavor. It’s also so easy, and so fast that it makes adding it to your table a no-brainer. I’m basically obligated to share it with the world! Hopefully the world is ready. Are you? Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb fresh Brussels sprouts
* canola oil
* goat cheese
* honey
* sea salt
* lemon pepper

WHAT TO DO
Wash your sprouts, then halve them, but leave some stem to help them hold together and not separate into leaves.

Heat some canola oil, about an inch deep, in a medium-sized saucepan. When it’s hot enough that it starts to sizzle (drop a leaf from a sprout in to see if it does), it’s ready. Add just as many sprouts as will fit in one layer in the pan. After 3-4 minutes, they should be browned on one side. Flip them and let them go for another 2-3 minutes, to brown on the other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined dish to soak up the excess oil while to add the next batch. Repeat as necessary to finish all your sprouts, depending on the size of your pan.

Remove the paper towel (duh). Crumble some goat cheese over the warm, crispy sprouts and drizzle with just a little honey. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and a little sea salt and serve.

(Here‘s that original post again. And here’s my Pinterest Board Yummmmm: Apps + Salads + Sides, where you’ll find this and other great ideas!)

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Honey and Balsamic Onion Chicken

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Do you own a meat hammer? I rarely need to use mine but I did tonight, and it’s FUN.

I hope you aren’t tired of this statement, but guys, this one is fast, easy, and so delicious, too. I swear it’s not just a canned blog line! It’s true. That’s what weeknight dinners have to be about for me and my house. It has to be totally tasty. It has to be efficient and uncomplicated. And it has to be on the fast side of quick. Our evening hours are tight and short, and it’s most important to me to spend quality time laughing with and enjoying my family, and feeding us good, quality meals, than it is to slave around in the kitchen trying to make the perfect impressive dinner. Sometimes I get lucky and fast and easy works out to also be just lovely. Tonight was close. This is a good one to add to the rotation. I pinned it recently because it looked like it might hit all my essential marks. My modifications are minor. You’ll like it, I know you will. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* olive oil
* 1 large sweet onion
* 3T balsamic vinegar, divided
* ~1lb chicken breasts
* garlic salt
* pepper
* 1/4C low sodium chicken broth
* 1.5T honey

WHAT TO DO
Peel, halve, and then slice your onion.

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Heat about one tablespoon of olive oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-low heat. Add your onion slices and saute for about 15-20 minutes, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown and carmelize, stirring frequently.

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While those onions are carmelizing, prepare your chicken breasts. Hammer those babies down so that each breast is evenly thick, maybe around 1/3-1/2 and inch. Then cut each breast in half. My system for hammering meat might not be officially technically correct, but it makes sense to me and it’s efficient, and as I said before, it’s fun. Wrap each breast in plastic wrap and place it on a covered surface. I use a cutting mat. I like to keep my surface covered just in case the raw meat escapes the plastic wrap – don’t want it contaminating my counters unnecessarily, right? Anyway, get it wrapped, put it on the cutting mat, and hammer away, moving from one end of the piece of meat to the other and back, to ensure even flattening.

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Whee!

Back to the skillet. Once your onions have begun to brown and are carmelizing nicely (ooh, the delicious fragrance that will be coming off your pan!), add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and stir the onions to completely coat with the balsamic, then move the onions to the outer edge of the skillet, almost making a nest of them around the pan.

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Add another tablespoon to the middle of the pan. Season each piece of chicken on both sides with garlic salt and pepper, then add the chicken right into the center of the skillet.

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Saute about 4 or 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, the chicken broth, and the honey to the onions. (Here’s another quick tip: put just a bit of olive oil on the teaspoon before you measure out your honey. The honey will slide right off into the pan!) Simmer for just a couple minutes until the sauce thickens up.

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However you serve it, pour the sauce generously over the chicken – make sure you get lots of those yummy onions. Man, this sauce is it. It’s sweet and thick and tangy and balanced. It’s it.

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I served mine over quick polenta with a side of garlic-sauteed spinach. The original recipe was served over egg noodles – also yum! What will you do?

(Here’s that original recipe again. Find it and more delicious meaty ideas on my Pinterest board, Yummmmm: Fish + Meats + Meals.)

Meatless Monday: Penne with Broccoli and Ricotta

Here’s what I knew: I knew I wanted a yummy, healthy, Meatless Monday dinner. I knew I wanted to work out when I got home from work. I knew I wanted to also hang out with my little family when I got home from work. Which meant I knew I had to find something fast and uncomplicated. I also knew I had a whole lotta broccoli in the house. So what’s a girl to do? I modified this recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for a hot minute here and pulled a delicious, light-but-satisfying, shockingly kid-pleasing meal together in 20 minutes! No, seriously. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 2 small (or 1 large) heads of broccoli, cut down into bite-sized florets
* 2T olive oil
* 3t minced garlic
* 1lb whole wheat penne pasta
* 10 large leaves fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for garnish
* 1 15oz pkg part skim or fat free ricotta cheese
* 1t salt (plus pinch or two for salting pasta water)
* 1t lemon pepper
* grated Parmesan cheese for serving
* crushed red pepper flakes (optional)penne_broc_ricotta1

WHAT TO DO
Boil some water, then add the broccoli florets and allow them to boil just briefly, about 2 minutes, to soften just a bit. Remove from pot and place in a bowl to cool slightly.

Boil water to cook your pasta (adding a pinch or two of salt to the water), and cook according to package instructions, to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, and add the garlic, allowing it to just start to sizzle and fry, slightly browning.

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Reduce heat to medium-low, add the broccoli to the pan, and fry with the garlic for just a few minutes.

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When the pasta is ready, drain it and then return it to the pot. Add the garlic/broccoli to the pasta, and then mix in the ricotta and freshly chopped basil. If you like a little heat, add in a 1/2t (or more, to your liking) of crushed red pepper flakes here as well.

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Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and a little extra chopped fresh basil. The end.

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Besides the impossibly speedy turn-around time, this dish also apparently possesses magical powers that convert a toddler into a lover of broccoli, as evidenced by this submission to the Clean Plate Club:

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So now you *have* to make it.

(here again is that original recipe with the zucchini. Find it and more Meatless Monday ideas on my Pinterest board, Yummmmm: Meatless Monday.)

Chicken Avocado Burgers

The other morning I realized I had some produce I had to use right away. I had brussels sprouts and mushrooms that needed to happen that day or be wasted. So I knew what my side was, but I didn’t have an actual dinner.

My top 3 favorite foods, in no particular order are: coffee ice cream, cookies (any), and burgers (also any). I seriously love burgers, especially as the weather warms up. In the summer I could probably eat burgers every day and never get tired of them. One of the reasons they’re so good is that there are so many ways to do burgers. Almost anything goes. Check that. ANYTHING goes. Burgers = the answer to my entree dilemma. I found this recipe on my Pinterest board, Yummmmm: Sandwiches (yes I sure do have a board dedicated entirely to sandwiches), and it just seemed like a good pairing with my plan to pan fry the brussels and ‘shrooms. I only made very minor adjustments to the original recipe, mostly to accommodate the smallest eater at my table (who loved these, by the way).

So this is another burger, and it’s a good one. Chicken avocado burgers topped with sauteed onions and fresh avocado. Just a few simple ingredients, and a few simple steps. Dinner in 20 minutes. Here you go.chixburg5

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb ground chicken
* 1 large ripe avocado, cut into small chunks
* 1-2t minced garlic
* 1/3C breadcrumbs
* 1/2t salt
* 1/4t pepper
* olive oil

WHAT TO DO
Are you ready for this? Don’t blink – you’ll miss it. Step 1: Mix all the ingredients together. Step 2: Form into patties and pan fry/grill/whatever you choose to do to cook your burgers. Serve. Yep.

Here’s the slower version: Prep the ingredients, then mix them all together by hand in a medium-sized bowl.

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Ball up the mixture in the middle of the bowl, then divide it in half with your hand, and then divide each half in half, to get four basically even-sized burgers to facilitate one-stop shopping on the cook timing. (If you’re grilling, move on to the grill… I cooked mine on the stovetop, so follow along if that’s your plan as well.) Heat a bit of olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat, and place the burgers into the pan.

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These are pretty thick burgers, but they are made with chicken, which doesn’t take as long to cook and dries easily. So cook them for just a few minutes on one side, then flip them and repeat that twice more, just to make sure to get a little crust on the outside and get them cooked through on the inside.

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To serve, cut another avocado into thin slices, and sauteed some thinly-sliced onion in a tiny bit of olive oil. Serve on thick buns (mine were whole wheat).

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You know what else would be good on this burger? ANYTHING.

Enjoy!
(Again, that recipe originated here, and here‘s my pin.)