Thanksgiving Dish Day 3: White Wine Honeyed Brussels Sprouts Over Quinoa

There are some things you’re confronted with as a child that, despite your small stature, are non-negotiable. You will gladly sit at the table all night long, relinquish dessert rights, resign yourself to missing your favorite cartoon, get sent to bed early – all in the name of avoiding eating a vegetable (usually green, usually slightly slimy and usually exuding a questionable odor).

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Did I ever think I would like – and look forward to – eating Brussels Sprouts? No way. Did my parents? That’s an even bigger “no way.”

I was always “a picky eater” (my mother’s words) – particular about my meals and mostly partial to sugar-laden foods and non-green stuff. But I was a kid. And I grew out of it – thank goodness too because honestly, green stuff is amazing.

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Brussels Sprouts are like tiny cabbages (but sweeter) that become packed full of the flavors they’re cooked with, and they develop a delicious crispiness when pan-fried that makes them almost more like (yes I’m going there) a snack.

It’s not surprising that kids don’t like these, but it’s probably based on appearance and, also, keeping up appearances, because you can’t just GIVE IN and admit to your parents that you like something right? I hope to raise a child who does, but it’s not likely considering how many times my mother wished that I would have a kid someday just as picky as myself.

I wish I could go back in time and see what my 9-year-old self would think of these bad boys, but definitely let me know how this recipe goes over! My 31-year-old self couldn’t get enough of them, and they’re a great addition to any Thanksgiving spread.

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What You Need:

  • 1 cup red quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 cups Brussels Sprouts with the hard stems sliced off and any bad outer leaves pulled off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp honey, warmed so it’s loose and will mix easily
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine

What You Do:

In a large bowl that has lots of extra room to stir the Brussels Sprouts without losing any over the side, mix the Brussels Sprouts with 1 tbsp olive oil, the honey, salt and pepper, until the Brussels are covered well.

Warm the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.

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Pour Brussels Sprouts into the skillet – they should sizzle in the heated oil.

Stir around, gently cooking all sides of the Brussels.

Once Brussels are warm and well-mixed in the pan, add the wine, and stir continuously until the liquid burns off.

Now they’re ready to serve! Pile over a bed of the quinoa and enjoy!

Pro Tip: For a fuller meal, add cooked sweet potato, squash or diced cooked chicken to the quinoa with some cooked onions and/or peppers.

 

 

Thanksgiving Dish Day 2: Creamy Herbed Buttercup Squash Risotto

Where oh where would Thanksgiving be without the squash? My love for these fibrous, flavorful and filling fruits begins in the summertime with zucchinis and summer squashes, but what I really spend my time looking forward to is the fall and winter squashes that each offer a different taste and application.

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This fall, I committed myself to learning about unique squash varieties and how to best use them. I had always been a Butternut/Acorn/Spaghetti squash kind of girl, but now I’ve discovered Delicata, Sweet Dumpling, Sugar Pumpkin, Carnival and, of course, Buttercup squashes, and can’t get enough of them.

They’re sweet in different ways and each add something unique to dishes. They also all go well with butter. Mmmm butter.

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Bring this recipe to the Thanksgiving table and I assure you people won’t be able to get enough of it. Risotto is a delectable dish on its own, but infused with a flavorful homemade vegetable broth and creamy herbed squash, it really delivers. Plus, you can serve it right inside the large, hollowed-out shell of the buttercup squash – how cool is that?

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What You Need:

  • 1 Leek, washed and cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, ends chopped off and cut in half with one half diced, and the other half still in tact with skins and papery shell
  • 1/2 of a whole tomato
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 large Buttercup Squash, top sliced off, seeds and loose filling removed and discarded

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  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped sage
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, diced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup Arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

What You Do:

This dish is really great because you make your own vegetable broth in which to cook the risotto rice. I made a leek, onion, tomato and jalapeno broth – super easy and very flavorful.

Risotto (9)Simply fill a large, 5-6 quart sauce pot about 3/4 of the way with water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the leek, 1/2 of the onion (leave on the skin and papery shell), tomato and jalapeno, and continue boiling until the veggies are flimsy-soft and the water is fragrant and colored with vegetable leavings.

Strain the broth over a separate, smaller pot to separate the vegetables from the broth. Discard the vegetables and set aside the finished broth.

While the broth is boiling, take your seeded Buttercup Squash and begin scraping away the inside flesh of the squash to remove as much of the fruit as you can. I also sliced around the inside perimeter of the squash with a sharp knife to remove the flesh. Otherwise, a spoon and a strong arm will do the trick.

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Dice up any large pieces of squash and place all the squash flesh (should be about 2 cups) into a medium sauce pot.

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Add the butter, chopped herbs and salt and pepper, cover and heat on low, stirring occasionally to mix the melting butter and herbs.

Once the squash has cooked through and any large chunks have softened and can be easily mashed into the overall mixture, remove the squash from heat and set aside, leaving the cover on.

In a large stir fry pan, heat olive oil on medium and add the shallot, the diced other half of the onion, and the garlic, and simmer for about 30 seconds until the onion becomes translucent and soft.

Add the risotto rice and mix well.

Add the white wine and stir constantly until the liquid begins to burn off. Now, add the vegetable broth one cup at a time until you have added 6 cups. Only add a new cup once the liquid has begun to burn off. Stir constantly after adding each new cup. This slow-cooking method will infuse the rice with flavor and plump it up to create a very filling and flavorful dish.

Once you have stirred in the 6th cup of broth, add the squash mixture and the Parmesan cheese, stirring well to mix everything together evenly.

Then, pour the entire mixture into the hollowed-out squash, and serve!

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Pro Tip: Cut your cooking time down by a lot by making a large batch of vegetable broth ahead of time and freezing it or just leaving it in the fridge if you’re going to use it in a short time. Pick your favorite veggies or use a combination of leftover trimmings from previous dinners and throw them into the boiling water!