I wish I had taken better pictures tonight because this was so tasty and satisfying. When Brussels are caramelized and covered in bacon, you wonder why they got a bad rap for so long. These bad boys are super filling and low carb to boot. Just give me a whole bowl for dinner – I don’t even need the chicken.
Brussels Sprouts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
1 pound of Brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed
5 slices of nitrate-free bacon, sliced (I like to use the pre-cooked bacon from Trader Joe’s – see below)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup chicken broth
Trim and halve Brussels and set aside. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until the bacon starts to brown and render. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Off heat, whisk in red wine vinegar and mustard. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Clean out the pan and add remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Over medium high heat, cook Brussels in the olive oil until browned and caramelized. De-glaze the pan with the chicken broth and cover until Brussels are cooked through (about 5 minutes). When the chicken broth has evaporated, add reserved bacon mixture and cook for an additional five to eight minutes. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Last night’s meal was the perfect example of an easy, somewhat healthy, satisfying plan ahead dinner. It was so good that the goons kept eating and drinking and eating, and I finally had to kick them out at 10:30pm. It was a school night!
First, I made the Blueberry Buckle on Saturday afternoon. It’s kind of like a lemony blueberry coffee cake. Add a little extra salt and lemon zest to the recipe below.
Then we looted our garden and hit the farmer’s market to make a Mediterranean salad with lemon dill dressing. Butter lettuce, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, red onion (sliced thin and rinsed under cold water), basil, chickpeas and feta. The dressing is lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon, fresh dill, salt & pepper.
Butter Rice is a great goon filler staple. Rice, chicken stock, saffron, butter and lots of salt to taste.
Top it off with sweet corn on the cob.
And perfectly grilled flatiron steak marinated in olive oil, onion, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Loosen the belt buckle for the Blueberry Buckle.
Link to Blueberry Buckle Recipe: http://linboblueberries.com/recipes/CIBlueberryBuckle.html
I always get asked for this recipe so it’s about time that I write it down. This is (yet another) low cal favorite that packs in lots of veggies and lasts at least a week in the fridge. I’ve been eating the leftovers all week tossed with chicken and avocado. I love it with BBQ, grilled pork and burgers.
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup low fat mayo
2 limes, juiced
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 bag of shredded cabbage
1/2 bag of broccoli slaw
3 carrots, shredded
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeños, finely chopped
Whisk together vinegar, lime juice, mayo, hot sauce and honey. Adjust seasoning as needed. It should be a nice balance of salty, sweet and tart with a little kick from the hot sauce. Toss with remaining ingredients and chill it in the fridge for at least 3 hours. It’s even better the next day.
This is one of my all time favorite recipes. It’s super easy, healthy and I make a big batch to put on everything. It’s particularly amazing with grilled chicken or lamb kebabs, or even as pita dip or salad dressing. It’s sneaky because if you make it with 0% yogurt, no one knows it’s actually healthy. I’ve also made it with dill, feta, parsley and cilantro for a different twist.
2 cups 0% Greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons spicy Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 large cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped
1-2 teaspoons honey (just enough to round out the yogurt)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bunch of mint
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Blend everything in the food processor, check for seasoning and enjoy. That is it my friends.
Posted in Apps, Healthy, Sides, Snacks
Tagged appetizers, diet, health, salads, sides, slimming, snacks, veggies
To the dismay of the goons, the lean and light eating continues. On most days less dairy, less gluten, less sugar, less meat and more veggies seem to be the way to go.
Other than the non-goon-approved calorie free noodles, below are a few of my favorite sides on the healthy side. They’re great for meals where you want to indulge a little without totally blowing your diet.
No calories, no carbs, guilt free cheese vehicle….
1 package of no calorie noodles – drained (in the fridge section @ Whole Foods)
1 tablespoon light butter (or butter substitute)
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (or spelt flour)
1 cup of warm skim milk (or dairy substitute)
1 cup of light cheese (parmesan and cheddar are my faves; does dairy free cheese actually melt?)
1 cup of thawed frozen peas
Drain the noodles and press out any remaining liquid. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook down until it’s a nutty brown color. Add the milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes until thick. Off heat, add cheese, noodles, peas, salt and pepper to taste.
Mom’s Brussels Sprouts
1 large bag of Brussels, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise
3 slices of nitrate free bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon of light butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 shallot, minced
½-1 cup chicken stock
2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup
Sautee the bacon in the butter and olive oil until it starts to release its fat. Add the Brussels, toss to coat, and brown on each side to caramelize. Add the shallot and cook until softened. Add the chicken stock and cover for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat to soften the Brussels. Drizzle with maple syrup, add salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more butter if you’re not watching your waistline. Add to save calories, just brown the Brussels in some cooking spray and sprinkle with cooked crumbled turkey bacon.
They taste like candy. So good you forget they’re good for you.
And now for more bacon…..
Goon Approved Stuffed Potato Salad (with less fat/calories)
1 pound of small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into bite size pieces
1/4 cup light mayo
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (or more to taste)
5-6 scallions – chopped
5 slices of precooked, nitrate-free bacon – cooked and crumbled
Boil potatoes until they are fork tender. Cool slightly and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I like to eat this when it’s all warm and creamy, but it’s also great after spending some time in the fridge. Perfect for summer grillin.
All the juicing and the salads and the plant based dieting haven’t been effective in dropping a few LBs before my beach trip (which is less than two weeks away). This goonette needs results! A friend recently reminded me of a trick I did to lose a few pounds before my wedding. Spinach Pie is basically a crustless quiche that you can eat any time of day. It’s tasty, healthy, filling and low carb. Add a little ketchup or hot sauce to change it up if you’re eating it more than once a day. I’m going to try to down this for breakfast and lunch over the next week (as tolerated). If it doesn’t work, at least there are cover ups and shape-wear, right?
One piece closer to a two piece?
– 1/2 large bag frozen chopped spinach (thaw and squeeze out excess water)
– 1/2 onion, minced
– 6 whole eggs, 2 egg whites
– 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
– 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
– salt/pepper/hot sauce to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk all ingredients until combined. Spray a non stick pan with cooking spray. Add ingredients and bake 30-35 minutes or until center is cooked through. Cool, cut into squares and refrigerate. Reheat it in the microwave for 30-40 seconds on high heat. Yum!
This was an excellent lesson in understanding that you should never have a glass of wine and think you can bake at the same time. I became immediately spastic after the first sip of Pinot. Flinging flour everywhere. When I was finished with these bad boys, there was biscuit debris all over me, in every corner of the kitchen, and caked on the dog too. I’ve tried approximately ten different recipes over the year, and even with my vino in hand, this is the only version to cut the mustard.
I found that my butter biscuits were fantastic right out of the oven (and apparently more easily processed by the arteries), but if you do not intend to serve them right away, they can seize up into lead weapons of war. I finally gave into using shortening, and I am happy to say that it made all the difference. From what I understand, bakers in the south prefer to use shortening because it makes for a more stable product, particularly in the heat. These stood the test of time (cocktail hour), and were also forgiving of errors in the baking process. For example, if you forget to add the shortening in the beginning, you can add it at the end (not recommended).
This recipe is courtesy of friend’s mother in Georgia. In my cooking frenzy, I tried to cut the flour with the shortening in my food processor; however, I quickly realized that the food-pro can only handle three cups of flour at a time. It’s an 11-cup bowl, so you do the math, but it’s true. It helps to halve the recipe.
I served these tasty mounds of love with country ham, pickles and mustard, and others with pimento cheese and black olives (see previous post) at an event for wine bloggers a Weygandt Wines (www.weygandtwines.com) in Cleveland Park, DC.
This recipe makes approximately 35 small biscuits.
1 1/2 packages yeast
5 tablespoons warm water
5 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- Dissolve yeast in warm water. Sift dry ingredients together, then cut shortening into the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and yeast. Knead lightly but *do not let the dough rise*.
- Roll out and cut with a round biscuit cutter
- Put on a baking sheet touching each other (helps keep the biscuits moist)
- Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Brush with melted butter on top after baking.
First, let me apologize for going dark on the goons for a few weeks. My waistline was getting seriously GOONED-OUT and I needed to take a break. Now I’m back, a few pounds lighter, able to run a few more miles on the treadmill and ready to eat my way through the holidays!
This recipe was inspired by a terrific pumpkin curry dish that we enjoyed a few weeks ago at Thai X-ing (http://thaix-ing.com/). Thai X-ing definitely qualifies as a goon friendly establishment because of its large quantities and the fact that it’s BYOB (we should have brought a box o’ wine just cuz we could).
My version has a little less sugar, much more spice, and uses several types of squash. I recommend that you make this ahead and let it sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors meld. Enjoy!
Serves 8-10 goons!
- 1 TBSP canola oil
- 1 small pie pumpkin, 1 butternut squash, 1 kabocha squash – peeled and cubed (or any other orange squash except spaghetti)
- 2-3 small red or sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
- ½ red onion, cut into thick ½ moons
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thick slices
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 can chick peas
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 fresh Thai chilies
- 2 cans of coconut milk (possibly more as needed)
- 2-3 TBSP tamarind paste
- 4-5 TBSP soy sauce
- 3-4 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 lime – juiced
- ½ orange – juiced
- 1 TSP tumeric
- 2 TBSP rice vinegar
- 1 TBSP fish sauce
- 1 TBSP ground coriander seeds, 1 TBSP ground cumin, 1 TSP fennel seed
- ½ red onion
- 1 TBSP red curry paste
- Chopped cilantro
- Thai basil
To make the vegetables, heat the canola oil over medium high heat and cook the squash, potatoes, carrots and onions until they start to get some color. While they’re cooking, combine all of the ingredients for the curry sauce in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the curry sauce to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to thicken. Add the rest of the vegetables (except the chick peas) and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. At this point, check the seasoning! Add more chili sauce, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce as needed. Add the chick peas at the very end until just heated through. Garnish with cilantro and basil, and serve over warm sticky rice.
This recipe might be the best excuse to break a low carb diet (so I make it often). Cheesy, salty, gooey, slightly spicy, satisfying and seriously addicting.
It is the perfect crowd pleaser side dish to bring to a dinner party or cookout. Once baked off and cooled, it travels well, and if you lack confidence in the chef’s skills, crack ‘n cheese is a filling and reliable back up plan.
Take your lactose pills
Crack ‘n Cheese
1 box large shells pasta
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup flour
5 cups milk, heated lightly
5 cups shredded cheese (parm, pecorino, aged cheddar, and gruyere are my faves, but it’s a great way to clean out the cheese drawer)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Cook shells al dente. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and melt butter. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook until the flour and butter mixture until the roux becomes caramel colored. Add warm milk, whisk to combine, and stirring frequently, bright to a boil. Let the sauce thicken, approx 3-5 mins, and add the cheese off heat. Taste for seasoning. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Put the mixture into the greased pan, and top with extra cheese and bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and brown on top.
Serves 10-12 goons.
Meg Ling = my Asian kitchen goddess alter ego. On nights like this, I will channel my inner Ming Tsai or Harumi Kurihara, and I’m always happily surprised as the result. This particular meal is the perfect thing to make on a Sunday night when you’ve had too much pizza and beer over the weekend. You can grab anything that looks appealing at the market, but my favorite combo is warm sticky rice, grilled chicken thighs, pickled veggies, and a grab bag of herbs straight from the garden.
It’s best to compose this dish in a large, shallow bowl. This recipe serves two goons and two goon-ettes with ample leftovers to perk up your Monday lunch.
Meg Ling Big Bowl
- 2 cups Kagayaki rice (California grown Japanese style sticky rice, cooked at a one-to-one ratio)
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 1.5 pounds of steak tips, marinated and grilled (I like to marinate the meat in teriyaki style sauce for 1-6 hours with chopped lemongrass)
- 1 bag mung bean sprouts
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
- 2 sweet peppers, chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 T fresh cilantro, stems removed
- 3 T fresh mint, stems removed
- 2 T fresh Thai basil, stems removed
- 1 cup pickled veggies (I like this recipe the best http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/dining/081brex.html)
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 T sesame seeds
- 1 cup of your favorite sesame dressing (you can make this from scratch, but the real stuff from my local Japanese market tastes better than mine)
Make sure that you have all of your veggies prepped and ready to go when the rice and meat are cooked. To compose your big bowl, divide the ingredients among four bowls. First, put the lettuce in the bottom of the bowl, and then place handfuls of sprouts, pickles and peppers in each quadrant (like an Asian cobb salad). Add heaping spoonfuls of the sticky rice and sprinkle generously with the fresh herbs, green onions and nuts. Spoon dressing over the salad mixtures and add the meats to the top of the dishes with an extra sprinkle of sesame seeds for good measure. Serve with extra dressing and Siracha on the side.