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Robinsbite: February 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm in Love Again! First Name Brussel, Second Name Sprouts

The brussel sprout, a member of the cruciferous vegetable family (you know, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) has finally made it onto the scene with avengence. Look at recipe websites, menus of top tier restaurants, grocery stores that now carry the entire stalk of sprouts all way to microwavable, ready made bags of the goodies. I remember brussel sprouts in the freezer growing up-only for my Dad-as he was the only one who like them. They made an appearance every once in a while, but not as often as Dad would have liked.

A month ago, I bought a bag of frozen brussel sprouts in honor of expanding my cooking horizons and in honor of dear old Dad. That bag is still sitting in the freezer. Yesterday, I bought one of the microwavable, ready made bags at the grocery store. That bag is now gone. Instead of microwaving it, I heated about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a non stick pan, cut the bottom of the sprout off, cut it half and sauteed them for about 10 minutes. Seasoned with salt and pepper. I have to say they were the most delicious things I've had in a while. They caramelized well and looked beautiful on the plate next to roasted chicken and a baked sweet potato. So delicious! I was even able to get my husband to try one! (Try moving a mountain!). It's an on going effort to find veggies he enjoys. The fact that he tasted it is big news.

I'm ready now to tackle the bag of frozen sprouts to see how they hold up during the same cooking process. Obviously, they are less expensive than the microwavable ready made ones, so if they work just as well, I'll be using them until it's sprout season.

I can't encourage you enough to put these little nuggets of nutritional goodness on your grocery list and just give them a try. You'll be shocked at how tasty they are and you'll wonder what took you so long to prepare them at home!

Tell me, what other ways do you prepare brussel sprouts?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If I Have to Hear "What's for Dinner?" One More Time.....

No, the title of this blog does not reflect my feelings whatsoever. I love cooking, I love giving people healthy and tasty food...okay, I admit it, every once in a blue moon, when I hear my husband ask that question, I cringe. My Mother, on the other hand, must have cringed nightly as my siblings, my Father and I could be pretty ornery when it came to meals. Maybe that is why we had a 7-day rotation for years on end....seriously. One night was steak, one night was tuna salad, one night chicken breasts with soy sauce, onions and mushrooms---I think you get my drift.

Most people tell me that while they have the will and the desire to eat healthyfully. the bottom line is that they are unprepared. What I like to recommend to people is to spend 15 minutes a week MEAL PLANNING. For some people, they would rather stick a nail in their eyeball. It's not that hard-I promise.

Tips for Meal Planning:
  • If you are a novice, just plan for 2-3 nights of the week to start. Don't overwhelm yourself.
  • Ask your family what they would like for dinner
  • Go to the grocery store and have pantry and refrigerated items on hand
  • Go to major food company websites such as Kellogg's, Tyson, Campbell's, Del Monte, etc and look for their recipes. These guys hire culinary and nutrition professionals to continually make your life easier by providing quick and easy meal plans (using their products, of course)
  • Consider commodity websites such as beef, chicken, eggs, strawberries, nuts, beans. etc. Again, they have wonderful recipes that have been created by professionals!
  • Check to see if your local grocery store website offers meal plans
  • Ask your co-workers, neighbors, friends and families what they are having for dinner--it gets hard to be creative sometimes, so borrow from someone else!
  • Google it! Type in "What's For Dinner" and you'll be amazed at what comes up!
I thought I'd get a read on what my Facebook friends were thinking about for dinner one night. So, I typed in the following status: Okay, what's for dinner tonight? You cooking? Buying? Delivery? Leftovers? Semi-homemade? Let's hear it...

Here are the responses I received..and might I say that I am quite impressed!

  • Chicken a la can can (Chicken with a can of this, a can of that and one more can of this)
  • Valentine's Day Goodies (she had a meeting at dinner time and this was all they had!)
  • Homemade Turkey Pot Pie
  • Beef, Beer and Barley Stew
  • Tacos al Carbon
  • Jambalaya-mix with Luzianne with added chicken and sausage
  • Honey Soy Glazed Salmon with Parmesan Basil Risotto
  • Sauteed spinach, garlic, steamed artichokes with Mushroom Ravioli with Tri Tip Hunks
  • Smoked Sausage, Red Beans and Rice
  • Green Bean Casserole, Mac and Cheese, Brisket, Roasted Carrot, Red Wine and Beer
  • Quiche
  • Sesame-Ginger Chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • House Salad, Ginger Tenderloin, Merlot
  • Eye round roast in crockpot with potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. Romaine and onion salad and strawberries and kiwi with yogurt topping.
Pretty nice selection, don't you think? And keep in mind, very few of those who answered were dietitians. See, I knew you were thinking that!

Oh, what did I have? I made a quick turkey chili and poured it over a baked potato. Then used the leftover chili to make turkey sloppy joes (whole wheat bun, chili with some low fat cheese). Tomorrow I'll just eat it as good old chili.

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