Warm Brussels Sprout Salad

After a weekend of birthday celebrations (read: hot dogs), it felt good to restock my fridge and pantry this week and get back in my kitchen.

I find it slightly ironic that the time of year when I regularly expose my body parts (in a “I went to the beach” way, not a “I streaked down Michigan Avenue” way) to the elements and onlookers is also the time of year when I tend to eat the most- and least healthfully.

Sure, I eat my fruits and veggies, but I also eat my share of ballpark fare and bar food while enjoying the many beer gardens that Chicago plays home to.

So stocking up on healthy food and not having to rely on dining out felt good.

I pounded through a bag of brussels sprouts in pretty much no time, polishing them off last night with this awesome warm salad.  I’m pretty sure it would be more appropriate for winter, but I like to keep you all on your toes.

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad
serves 1-2

8-10 medium brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 small onion
2 T sun dried tomatoes
1 t olive oil
2 T chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 t garlic powder

1. Thinly slice brussels sprouts, and roughly chop larger pieces.

2. Chop or thinly slice onion.  I chopped mine fairly fine, but slicing works depending on your preference.

3. Roughly chop sun dried tomatoes.  You can use the kind packed in water or olive oil (Trader Joe’s sells them in oil, so clearly that’s what I had on hand).

4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add brussels and onions and saute for about 5-7 minutes until the sprouts begin to brown a bit.
5. Add tomatoes and saute for another few minutes.
6. Add broth and cover, steaming until the sprouts are tender to your liking.
7. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and saute until all liquid is absorbed.

Served alongside grilled chicken topped with a hot sauce and a dollop or sour cream and sweet potato tots (which I also sprinkled with garlic powder- I’m addicted).

Yes, this recipe is almost embarrassingly simple, but it’s really more about the method than anything.  It would also be really good with pancetta or walnuts, and could even be mixed into pasta or rice for bulk+nutrients.

And those sweet tater tots?  Healthy. But still tots.

I love brussels sprouts, but tots will always have my heart.

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The Sun is Shining…

…and I’ve got all the components for some good grillin’.

A good, sturdy side dish.

A cold, good old fashioned American beer.

and…

Nothin’.

I got nothin’.

No burgers.  No meat to make burgers.  No meat to make anything, actually.

If you know me at all, you know that I’ve been itching to fire up my grill for over a month and complaining to anyone who has ears about how the weather is “seriously impeding my ability to find happiness via grilled meats”.

Ah well, there’s always one of these:

and a bag o’ brussels:

Ok, so it’s not exactly the all-American dog/brat/steak/burger laden dinner I was anticipating.

But the sun was out.

Well, until the fog rolled in.

This is Chicago after all.

I’m not about to waste perfectly good sunshine on lack of meat.

Just close your eyes and you can almost hear the sizzle.

Mindblowing Pantry Enchiladas

Some of my friends make fun of me when I complain about the fact that I haven’t made it to Trader Joe’s for 15 years and have nothing in my fridge besides a Miller Lite and some mayo, and then I go and whip up something healthy and satisfying for dinner.

Like this:

I’ve started crediting Holly for her “Project Clean Out” movement.  I like to stretch a load of groceries as far as is humanly possible before I start playing with fire (ie, looming expiration dates).

Last night’s dinner was a masterpiece.  I kid you not.

I was tempted to go back for seconds.  And maybe thirds.  Ok, I was tempted to polish the whole damn thing off.

Green Chili Black Bean Enchiladas

(for all my kosher, Mexican loving friends- this one’s for you.  You know who you are)

1 t olive oil
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz can green chilis (I used mild)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t garlic salt
1 cup (or to taste) shredded cheese (I used white cheddar)
1/2 cup enchilada sauce (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
5 small corn tortillas

Serves 2 1/2 (in case you have a midget)

1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1/2 of the black beans and onions until the onions begin to soften.  Add 2/3 of the can of chilis and all the spices.  If the mixture begins to get too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water and cook for 5 minutes.
3. While the veggies and beans cook, mash the other 1/2 of the beans with the back of a soup spoon until relatively smooth.

4. Once the veggies are softened, add the mashed beans.  Stir and remove from heat.
5. Shred the cheese yourself.  Don’t go buying the pre-shredded stuff.  You’ll break my heart.

6. Pour about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into a 9×9 casserole dish and spread it around until the bottom of the dish is coated.

7. Wrap the tortillas in a few damp paper towels and microwave for 20 seconds to soften them.
8. One at a time, add 1/5 of the bean mixture to a tortilla and top with cheese, reserving about 1/3 cup of the cheese.

9. Carefully wrap the tortilla and place in casserole, seam side down.

10. Once all tortillas have been filled, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, chilis and enchilada sauce.

11.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until all cheese is melted.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

These were amazingly good, considering I thought I had nothing in the house to make for dinner.

And now I want you to go to your pantry.  I bet you have most of these ingredients.

You know, besides that nearly expired bottle of enchilada sauce that seems to have been hanging out in your fridge since the Berlin wall came down.

So I say let’s all throw caution to the wind and make these.  Everyone deserves to have their mind blown on a Wednesday every once and a while.