Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

I’ve never liked brussel sprouts. I can recall once that I’ve eaten more than two in one sitting. It was at a local restaurant and the roasted brussel sprouts were covered in marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and came as an accidental side to the dish I’d ordered. Then one day Miss A’s best friend’s mom introduced me to these magical, delectable, drool-worthy brussel sprouts. I’ve eaten them four times in the last two weeks. The leftovers are even good microwaved the next day!

Ingredients:
1 package brussel sprouts
4-6 slices of your favorite bacon
olive oil*
white wine or chicken stock (can also use vegetable stock)
maple syrup
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425. Cook the bacon until crisp in an oven proof pan. While the bacon is cooking, rinse the brussel sprouts under cool water. Chop off the ends and peel off the outer leaves. (I have no idea why you do this, you just do.) when the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan leaving the drippings. Then crumble the bacon. If you don’t think you have enough drippings *add a bit of the olive oil. Over medium to medium-high heat, sautee the brussel sprouts until they start to caramelize, stirring occasionally. Use white wine or chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Add the brussle sprouts to the oven. Cook for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. If you think the brussel sprouts are getting too done, add some more of the white wine or stock. Remove the brussel sprouts and while the pan is still hot drizzle maple syrup over the cooked brussel sprouts. Stir again. Salt and pepper the brussel sprouts. Stir. Add the crumbled bacon. Stir. Serve warm.

My opinion:
I really, really, really like this dish. It’s very hard not to eat the whole pan in one sitting.

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Pan-Roasted Chicken With Leeks

Pan roasted chicken and leeks
Now that we’re getting more comfortable with the No Six Diet restrictions, we are also getting a little more adventurous with adapting recipes. J bought some leeks for another recipe we scrapped and we weren’t entirely sure what to do with them. Luckily, my mom was visiting and suggested a chicken and leeks dish that she’s made several times. It turned out perfectly!

Ingredients:
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4-6 chicken breasts, cut in half
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to season the chicken)
3 cloves garlic, smashed or a teaspoon and a half of minced garlic
1 bunch leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
6 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the bacon in a large heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet (we used out cast iron dutch oven) and cook over medium-high heat until some of the fat renders, about 5 minutes. Push the bacon to the side of the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan and cook, turning once, until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan. Stir in the garlic and leeks, then arrange the chicken on top of the bacon-leek mixture. Whisk in the corn starch in the chicken stock. Add the stock and wine to the pot. Transfer to the oven. Set the timer for about 20 to 25 minutes. Check the chicken and if the broth has mostly evaporated, add more stock to keep everything moist. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

My opinion:
I couldn’t get enough of this dish! I wished there was more!

p.s. Summer 2016 update: Our toddler likes this dish! If we’re making it to eat with her, we use a little more chicken broth and a little less wine. 

French Lentil Soup

French Lentil Soup
Sometimes it’s a challenge to find foods that fit the No Six diet (no: dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) I’m on for Baby A. Luckily, I have a forever patient husband who is willing to search things out. He found this wonderful French Lentil Soup recipe, originally from Bon Appetit and with a few tweaks, it was wonderful.

Ingredients:
3-5 strips of bacon, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions (we used yellow)
1 cup chopped celery stalks
1 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups (or more) chicken stock
1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed, drained
1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
Balsamic vinegar, about 2 tablespoons (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat bacon in heavy large saucepan over medium–high heat. Leave the bacon grease in the pan and add the olive oil. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups stock, lentils and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and the Balsamic vinegar. Ladle soup into bowls.

My opinion:
Like any good soup, this isn’t much to look at, but it is delicious. It is hearty and filling and all around wonderful. I can’t wait to be able to eat warm pita with it!

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon


If you’ve seen Julie and Julia, then you know Beef Bourguignon can be so much more than just Beef Bourguignon. I can assure you, this dish is worth it. It is not a weeknight dish. It is not a leave it on the stove and forget it dish, but it is unfathomably delicious. Make this on a rainy day weekend, it is perfect for fall. Since I’m not lucky enough to have the Julia Child cookbook, My sister adapted this recipe from ABC’s Good Morning America. She’s the one who slaved over the stove for several hours and deserves all the credit.

Ingredients:
One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon (since no local grocer carries  this, we just used regular thick cut bacon)
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes  (or go with the already cut stew meat from your favorite butcher)
1 carrot, sliced (we used a mandolin at 1/4 setting)
1 onion, sliced (we used a mandolin at 1/4 setting)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy. HyVee, our go to wine retailer was out of these, so we went with their recommendation, which was a Bordeaux)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock (we used the box variety)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small (the pearl onions worked fine for us)
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered (we cheated and used pre-sliced button mushrooms)
1 pound (bag) of egg noodles
Directions: Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long).Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Since we were using bacon we skipped the steps above and went right to sauteeing the bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly (we used a cast iron skillet). Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees (this is when we moved everything to a casserole dish, seems our casserole pan is only oven safe to 400 degrees). Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan (We just used a mesh strainer). Wash out the casserole (we skipped this to leave all the delicious crusty bits) and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

My opinion:
Over egg noodles this dish is just divine. There are no additional words to describe it.

Best Breakfast (other than migas)


Ingredients:
2 eggs
2-3 slices of bacon (use the serving side for directions)
1/2 onion, chopped or minced to preference
1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
Sriracha sauce (to taste)

Directions:
Cook bacon until crisp. Add onion and garlic. Saute until translucent. Add Sriracha sauce. stir until coated through. Add eggs and scramble. Plate and enjoy!

My opinion:
In Texas, I couldn’t get enough of the Love Migas at Magnolia Cafe. When we moved to Columbia, I had to figure out how to create a similar dish since flying to Austin every time I had a craving for migas is not possible. This dish is not the same, but it is similar. It satisfies my craving for a spicy, filling breakfast dish. I’ve been known to throw in green or red peppers and other veggies, eat it on a tortilla or with tortilla chips. It’s a great base to add or subtract your own likes and dislikes.