Roasted brussel sprouts & bacon with sweet potato slices

Did I mention that my husband is in the UK for 6 whole days?  I’ve been trying to manage the house, keep the kids entertained, feed them healthy food, and try to stay SANE.  I am not terribly good at any of these things, which is why the house looks like this:

I think I succeeded with dinner tonight, though.  This dinner won rave reviews from the crowd, even the picky 2 year old audience member who kept begging for “more please”.  That never happens.  This is super easy and very low-maintenance, but tastes like a fussy meal.  If you follow the cooking instructions, you can cook both the sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts at the SAME TIME.  In the SAME OVEN.  Even if your oven was made in 1963.  The sweet potatoes are divine.  Crispy and a little salty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and all around delicious.  Plus, they are so pretty!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Bacon

1-2 lbs brussel sprouts

1 large shallot, sliced thin

1/4 lb thick-sliced bacon, chopped (I like hemplers applewood smoked bacon)

2 tbsp olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

splash of balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.

2. Put everything in a bowl, stir to coat

3. Put in a large enough baking dish so the brussel sprouts are in one layer

4. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 mins

Roasted sweet potato slices

Sweet potatoes or yams, sliced into 1/2 in thick slices

Olive Oil

Sea Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg

2. Toss sweet potato slices with olive oil & sea salt

3. spread in a single layer on a baking sheet

4.  bake for 40 mins, flipping once

 

If you want to cook them at the same time, the brussel sprouts should cook on the bottom shelf and the sweet potatoes on the top shelf.

 

Enjoy!

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Bunless Burger and Parsnip Fries

Okay, I know I said I would cook steak kebabs and vegetables a la barigoule.  I’m sorry, but I really wanted a burger, like all day long, so I did it.  I. changed. the. menu.  Forgive me, dear readers, but I am weak.   So instead, I made this dinner.  I’m not going to give you my burger recipe, to be honest, the burger wasn’t as good as it could have been, because all of my creativity was being channeled into making these delicious parsnip fries.  Make them, right now.  I don’t even care if you live on the other side of the world and are just starting breakfast – they would make good breakfast food too.  If I had a do-over on the burgers, I would probably make these burgers instead.

Parsnip Fries

6 servings

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

2 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled, cut into 3 X 1/2 inch strips

3 tbsp Olive Oil

Sea Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450

1. Toss parsnip strips with olive oil and sea salt, spread on baking tray in a single layer

2. Roast for 10 mins, turn parsnips and roast until browned in spots and fork tender, 10-15 mins longer.

3. Eat them

You can add all sorts of ingredients to step 1 – crushed garlic, finely chopped rosemary, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp pepper, etc.  If you want to add cumin, sprinkle 1/2 tsp over the finished parsnips.


Pork Loin with White Wine Peppercorn Sauce, Pan-Fried Cauliflower Steaks and Sweet Potato waffle fries

This dinner sounds kinda fancy.  It tastes pretty fancy too, but trust me, it’s EASY.  I started making this for dinner parties last year and it always goes over with rave reviews – it’s so hearty that your guests won’t even notice that the meal is gluten, grain and dairy free.  My family likes this one a lot too – the only trick is to be careful about how much pepper you use to crust the loin – if you put too much on it’s SPICY (in a bad way) and if you put too little on, it doesn’t have enough flavor.  That’s really the only tricky part – the rest is, well, gravy.

Pork Loin with White Wine Peppercorn Sauce

Serves 4

Adapted from www.gimmesomeoven.com

1 Pork Tenderloin (~1 lb)

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (you can use onions if you don’t have shallots on hand, but shallots taste soooo much better)

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1/4 cup coarse-ground black or mixed peppercorns

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup carton coconut or almond milk (coconut milk will impart a distinct coconut flavor, which is delicious, but almond milk will not impart any of it’s own flavor)

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

To prepare the tenderloin: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Trim pork tenderloin of any excess fat, and remove silver skin.  (For a helpful video on how to remove silver skin, see here.)

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Generously season the tenderloin with the freshly-cracked black pepper, and press to be sure it sticks.  Add to the skillet and cook, turning as needed, for 4 to 5 minutes (about 1 minute per side), until evenly browned. Transfer tenderloin to a greased baking dish, and place it in the oven to roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin reads 140 degrees. Remove dish from oven and transfer the tenderloin to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

2. To make the sauce: Meanwhile, in a skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes.  Then add the garlic and saute 1 more minute.  Add the wine and as it boils, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (helps to have one with a straight edge) to dislodge all the browned bits. Once the wine is almost cooked away, add the chicken stock and turn the heat to high. Boil the sauce down until there’s a noticeable trail when you drag a wooden spoon through the center of it (4-5 minutes).

Pour in the cococnut or almond milk and resume boiling. Again, boil down until you can make that telltale trail from the wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and any remaining black pepper (no more than 1 Tbsp, the rest should have already been used to pepper the tenderloin). Taste for salt and add if needed.

Cut the tenderloin on a slight diagonal (in 1/2″ or 1″ slices), and then spoon the sauce over to serve.

Pan-Friend Cauliflower Steaks

Serves 4

1 Cauliflower, sliced in half, then into 1/2 in thick steaks

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet

2. Add cauliflower steaks, so they are in a single layer in the bottom of the pan.  Once they are nicely browned, turn them over carefully, so the whole steak stays intact.

3. Once both sides are brown, remove from pan and serve.

I served the pork and cauliflower over a sweet potato waffle fry – I used the Alexia brand in order to save time, but you can adapt this recipe from Paula Deen if you want to make your own.  After dinner, I snuck back into the kitchen and made myself a bowl of paleo ice cream, with kiwis, blueberries and honey on top.