Cheesy Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts have always been a weird food to me.  When I was younger, it was one of those taboo foods that I just wouldn’t eat.  But as I’ve gotten older and a little more willing to try things out of my comfort zone, I’ve warmed up to the idea of them.  My mom is an amazing cook, so she introduced brussels sprouts into my diet in a variety of different ways.  But I have never actually cooked them myself.  After having brussels sprouts in a few different ways, I realized that they can be overcooked very easily, and when they are overcooked they turn to mush…fast!

When I decided to make brussels sprouts for the first time, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t overcook them.  Obviously I asked my mom for a few tips because she is the expert, but I wanted to figure it out on my own as well.  I chose to use this recipe because, 1: I love cheese, and 2: because I was not ready to eat brussels sprouts plain…yet.  I wanted some type of sauce or other flavor to contrast the flavor and texture of the brussels sprouts.

Here is the recipe for Cheesy Brussels Sprouts:

 

Ingredients:

  • About 1.5 pounds of Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425°F

  1. Clean and trim stems of Brussels sprouts. Cut in half. Place all halves flat-side down on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
  2. When the oven is pre-heated, put the brussel sprouts in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the brussels sprouts are browned.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt butter then add flour and quickly stir with whisk to combine and remove clumps. Turn off heat.
  4. Add milk, salt, cheese, mayo and black pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Add Brussels sprouts and combine with cheese mixture. Pour into baking dish and turn down the oven to 350°F.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until brussels sprouts are tender but not mushy and cheese sauce is barely bubbling.
  6. If desired, sprinkle extra cheese on top of the brussel sprouts.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Recipe adapted from Whiteonricecouple.com

I was so impressed with how these turned out.  I realized that whatever I wasn’t cooking I was missing out on.  Now I’m going to try and challenge myself to work with ingredients that I am not necessarily familiar with.  That way I can discover all kinds of new recipes!

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Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

I have always loved the amazing taste of pumpkin pie.  It reminds me of beautiful fall days and getting together with family and friends for the holidays.  But the problem I always have with pie is that it is served as dessert.  Being such a foodie, I am usually too full from an amazing dinner to have room in my stomach for pie.  I can’t fully enjoy my pie if I’m already stuffed full from a previous meal.  So this is the solution…have it for breakfast!!  That way I can start the day with the delicious flavor of pumpkin and I can fully enjoy the taste of it because I will not be suffering from the food coma of a prior meal.

Because this recipe is the breakfast version of pumpkin pie, it is in the form of a muffin (a traditional breakfast food) but it still has all the flavors and spices that a normal pumpkin pie would have.  It’s perfect for a crisp fall morning when I’m running to class and don’t have enough time to sit down and eat a bowl of cereal.

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins

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Pumpkin Pie Muffins
Makes about a dozen

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and flour.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among lined muffin tins, filling each cup ¾ full.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.

Recipe courtesy of SnixyKitchen.com

Although pumpkin pie is a classic fall food, it is sometimes fun to present those flavors in a new way.  I chose muffins because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I (and my roommates) did! Enjoy!

Not-Your-Typical Mac and Cheese

I have always loved cheese.  Growing up, cheese and crackers were a regular snack in my family.  Now that I’m in college, I can’t exactly go out and buy all those nicer cheeses because I just don’t have the money, so I try and find other ways to fit it into my eating habits.

Traditional boxed mac and cheese is a college staple.  All you have to do is heat up some water, add it to the pasta, and pour in the cheese powder.  But…CHEESE POWDER?? That is definitely not what I want to be eating.  If I am going to be eating cheese, it should at least be real and not have orange food coloring in it!  So this recipe is my solution.  Yes, it takes a little longer than instant mac and cheese, but it is so worth it.  It has other ingredients like broccoli and chicken that make you feel better about what you are eating too.  You also get REAL cheese in your macaroni, not some fake powdered nonsense.  So get rid of your boxed college food, and get cooking with some real cheese!

Here is the recipe for the Broccoli Sundried Tomato Mac and Cheese

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
8oz large macaroni noodles
3 cups small broccoli florets
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
6oz Laughing Cow Lite Cheese Wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
3/4 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

Recipe Courtesy of http://iowagirleats.com/

For this recipe, I thought that Laughing Cow was a great idea because it is creamy, lite, and it is a really good melting cheese.  It also does not cost too much, and to top it off, only 35 calories a wedge! Enjoy!

EXTRA! Here is a little example of the prep process!