Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Tacos w/ Caramelized Shallot Salsa

After making brussels sprouts for the first time, I couldn't get them out of my mind.  I saw this recipe on How Sweet Easts and thought it looked really interesting.  These were definitely how she described them, they seemed like more of a snack than a hearty dinner, but nonetheless they were still delicious!  The sharp cheddar and tart tomatoes went perfectly with the brussels.  These tacos were a really fun mix up!

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Tacos w/ Caramelized Shallot Salsa
via How Sweet Eats

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup torn fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 ounces manchego cheese, freshly grated (I used sharp cheddar)
10 4-inch flour or corn (your choice) tortillas, warmed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Heat a skillet over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter.  Add the shallots with 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to coat. Cook the shallots, stirring every few minutes, until the slightly golden and caramely, about 15 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and cook for another 10 minutes. If at any time, the shallots seem to be burning or crisping up, reduce the heat.  While the shallots are caramelizing, toss the tomatoes with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Stick them in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until they just begin to burst.  Combine the tomatoes, shallots and cilantro in a bowl. Mix and mash it together with a fork. Taste and season additionally with salt and pepper if needed.

While the shallots and tomatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the brussels with the salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Cook until slightly soft and the sprouts begin to crisp, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and flipping the sprouts. Stir in the smoked paprika, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.

To serve the tacos, warm the tortillas and fill them with the brussels sprouts. Add some grated manchego on top and a few spoonfuls of the salsa. Serve!

Butternut Squash & Kale Gnocchi Gratin with Ricotta

This was just plain delicious.  It felt so decadent without being super heavy, and it is healthy!  I served it with parmesan tomatoes (new to us and not our favorite) and asparagus.  Definitely making this one again!

Butternut Squash & Kale Gnocchi Gratin with Ricotta
adapted from Craftsy

Gnocchi (I used a tri-color, potato, spinach, and tomato)
16 oz cubed butternut squash
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 bunch kale, trimmed and cut into 1-inch ribbons
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
1 cup grated Gruyère (I used white cheddar)

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss squash in a drizzle of olive oil and roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Cook gnocchi according to package directions until it floats to the surface. Drain well. Whisk together milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, then bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Add kale and cook until bright green, 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat, then stir in gnocchi. Spoon ricotta over gnocchi in large dollops and cover with Gruyère. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until cheese is browned and bubbling in spots, about 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Finish with parmesan.  

Crock Pot Vegetable Gumbo

I would call this more of a vegetarian red beans and rice more than a gumbo, but it was delicious!  It reminds me a lot of our friend Joe's delicious red beans and rice, but packed full of good veggies and so easy to prepare.

Crock Pot Vegetable Gumbo
via Better homes and gardens

2 cans kidney beans
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes
2 peppers (different colors)
1 large onion
2 cups frozen okra
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning

Combine all in a crock pot and cook on low all day!  Serve over rice with green onions and sour cream if desired. 

Eggplant Parmesan over Spaghetti Squash

We had never tried spaghetti squash until recently and I have to be honest, I was sort of dreading it.  We recently watched a documentary called Forks over Knives which is based on the benefits of a plant based diet.  While we are not becoming vegans, it has just made us more aware of our choices and really helping to make vegetables the focus of more of our meals versus meat.

I was pleasantly surprised with spaghetti squash!  I really truly love it and can use it as a substitute spaghetti and not be the least bit sad.  We've made a few other recipes using it since, and I'm looking forward to sharing them here as well.

Eggplant Parmesan over Spaghetti Squash

eggplant via Rachael Ray, squash via paleo cookbook

1 spaghetti squash

1 large eggplant
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

24 oz marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
shaved parmesan, optional

Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, place in baking dish with cut side down and add about an inch of water.  Cover with foil and roast for 45-50 minutes until tender.  Use a fork to pull away from skin.
Slice eggplant in 1/4 inch slices.  In three shallow bowls, place flour, egg + water, and breadcrumbs.  Dredge each slice of eggplant in flour, egg, and then breadcrumbs.  Place on baking sheet (I put them on a wire cooling rack onto of a baking sheet so they could get a little crispier), bake at 450 for 10 min, flip, then 10 more minutes.  Place in casserole dish, top with marinara & a little mozzarella bake for 15-20 mins at 350 until cheese melts.
Serve eggplant over spaghetti squash and enjoy!