Thursday, December 15, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Another Ina Garten gem from her original cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa. As you can tell from the photo below, these are delicious when paired with the Carmelized Butternut Squash recipe I posted earlier this week. Serve with grilled chicken, steak, or pork and a salad.


Recipe Notes

I really like Ina's suggestion to add extra salt before serving. She says that she enjoys these nice and salty - almost like good crispy french fries. I wholeheartedly agree - that little trick added a nice little extra something to this easy side.


  • 1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends removed along with any yellow leaves

  • 3 tbsp. good olive oil

  • Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper


1. Mix sprouts in a bowl with olive oil, a generous dash of salt, and a generous dash of pepper.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Pour sprouts onto a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan (preferred, so the sprouts don't slide off) lined with foil.

4. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

5. Sprinkle additional salt if desired (see note above).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Caramelized Butternut Squash

What a lovely Ina Garten classic. A terrific use of the precut butternut squash I love at Costco, too. Great for fall/winter dinners.


Recipe Notes

You can either do this the hard way starting with whole, unpeeled butternut squash, or you can do this the easy way with precut butternut squash. I recommend the latter.


  • 2 medium butternut squash (approximately 4-5 lbs.)

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter (3/4 stick)

  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar

  • 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp. pepper


1. Peel, de-seed, and cube butternut squash (or use precut).

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Add brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour entire mixture over cubed squash.

4. With clean hands, toss all ingredients until well-combined/coated.

5. Spread onto a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet covered in foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

6. Roast for 45-55 minutes or until the squash is tender and glaze is caramelized. While the squash is roasting, turn several times with a spatula to ensure even cooking.

7. Taste for additional seasoning and serve.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Easy Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cake

Southern Living really is just the BEST when you need a tasty dessert and calories aren't a factor. My father in law came over for an impromptu dinner this summer and he loves ice cream, so when I was scrambling for a quick and easy dessert, this one popped out at me. I also want to try Southern Living's recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake. If you have a chance to try it, let me know how it goes.


Recipe Notes

As you can see from the photo above, I couldn't find dark chocolate chunk-coffee ice cream or chocolate-chocolate chip, so I used chocolate and vanilla ice creams and it was very tasty. You might also try coffee ice cream or cookies and cream ice cream for a layer. Southern Living's version is gorgeous (see photo here), but I didn't have time to find chocolate-covered coffee beans with two toddlers and a hungry husband and father-in-law at home!


  • 1 pint dark chocolate chunk/coffee ice cream, softened

  • 3 sugar cones, crushed

  • 1/3 c. chocolate fudge shell topping

  • 14 oz. container premium chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream, softened

  • 6 oreo cookies, finely crushed

  • Mocha Ganache (4 oz. semisweet chocolate, 1 tsp. espresso, and 4 tbsp. whipping cream required) - recipe follows in step 6

  • Chocolate-covered coffee beans (optional - garnish)


1. Line an 8x5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches to extend over the sides. Spread chocolate chunk/coffee ice cream in the pan.

2. Sprinkle with crushed sugar cones and drizzle with magic shell topping. Freeze for 30 minutes.

3. Spread chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream over topping.

4. Top with crushed oreos, pressing into the ice cream. Freeze for four hours until firm.

5. Lift ice cream loaf from pan, using extra plastic wrap as handles. Invert onto a serving plate and discard the plastic wrap.

6. Prepare mocha ganache by combining semisweet chocolate, espresso, and 3 tbsp. whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for one minute or until melted and smooth. Whisk in remaining 1 tbsp. whipping cream and use immediately.

7. Slowly pour mocha ganache over ice cream loaf, allowing it to drip down the sides.

8. Freeze an additional 10 minutes, then let stand for 10 minutes at room temp. before serving.

9. Garnish with chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans, if desired.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Parmesan-Coated Potato Wedges

These Cooking Light potato wedges combine both baking potatoes and sweet potatoes - a real treat! They definitely take some assembly time, so don't add these to your menu if you've only got 30 minutes to get dinner on the table. I served them with Sloppy Joes, green beans, and a salad, and they were great.


Recipe Notes

I recommend choosing smaller potatoes. The larger ones make for VERY large wedges.

Nutritional Information (4 large wedges per serving - serves 8)

165 calories - 2.4 g. fat - 7.4 g. protein - 28.5 g. carbs - 2.7 g. fiber


  • 1.5 oz. all-purpose flour (about 1/3 c.)

  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 3 large egg whites

  • 1 tbsp. water

  • 3/4 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) finely crushed

  • 2 baking potatoes cut lengthwise into eight wedges each

  • 2 sweet potatoes cut lengthwise into eight wedges each


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Combine flour and salt in a shallow dish. Set aside.

3. Combine egg whites and water in a shallow dish or bowl, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.

4. Combine cheese and panko in a shallow dish. Set aside.

5. Dredge potato wedges in flour mixture, followed by egg white mixture, followed by cheese and panko mixture.

6. Divide potato wedges between two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden, rotating pans after 20 minutes.

Sloppy Joes

Something about fall and winter weather just says "sloppy joes!" every once in awhile. This Cooking Light recipe was originally purposed as two sliders per serving. Instead of making eight sliders, I made four full-sized sandwiches and it worked great. The calorie count should not change from the original recipe, so I've included the nutritional information as well.


Recipe Notes

As mentioned above, this recipe originally called for eight slider buns instead of four regular sized buns. I added twice the meat to one regular sized bun for each place setting. I also bought prechopped carrots from the bulk bins at Central Market to cut down on prep time.

Nutritional Information (per serving - serves 4)

373 calories - 10 g. fat - 52.2 g. carbs - 4.2 g. fiber


  • 1 large carrot (grated or finely chopped)

  • 10 oz. lean ground beef

  • 3/4 c. chopped onion

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 tsp. chili powder

  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

  • 1/4 c. ketchup

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar

  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce

  • 8 slider hamburger buns or 4 regular-sized hamburger buns.


1. Preheat broiler.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot, beef, and onion to pan. Cook six minutes or until beef is browned and vegetables are tender.

3. Add garlic powder, chili powder, and pepper. Cook one additional minute.

4. Combine ketchup, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, and tomato sauce in a small bowl. Add ketchup mixture to pan and stir evenly to coat.

5. Simmer five minutes or until thickened.

6. Arrange buns, cut side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Distribute beef mixture among buns and serve hot.