Showing posts with label cleaning out the fridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cleaning out the fridge. Show all posts

04 February 2014

How to Make Frozen Brussels Sprouts Taste Good

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Carrots
At the beginning of every winter we stock up on essentials, like coffee, paper products, laundry detergent and kitchen staples. Wisconsin weather is fickle, and it's more likely to turn bad than good. Some days it is just too much of a hassle to run errands. That is the beauty of early retirement: Going outside in winter only when it is an absolute necessity.

We also fill our freezer with vegetables and fish. My vegetable list is topped by Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. I replenish my stock mid-winter, and hasten to clean it out by June. I think my semi-annual Clean Out the Fridge Month, which comes in spring and lasts longer than four weeks, is my favorite time of year. It is a creative time, when much experimentation takes place in my kitchen. I also spend less on groceries during that period!

Frozen vegetables are supposed to be a better nutritional value than fresh vegetables that have traveled hundreds of miles to supermarkets, so I always have plenty on hand from September to May.

I love the earthy taste of Brussels sprouts, and I don't think I have ever had a dish made with them that was not good. My soup and warm salad recipes are repeat performers. They are best made with fresh Brussels sprouts.

So what can you do to dress up a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts? Here is my favorite dish, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Carrots.
  • 1 bag of baby Brussels sprouts (about 32 ounces)
  • 4-5 medium carrots, parboiled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean, parboil and slice the carrots. Set aside.

Spray a low baking dish or low casserole dish with oil (you could actually skip this step). Empty the bag of Brussels sprouts directly into the dish (or into a separate bowl), add the carrots, and drizzle with oil. Season. I added some Mural of Flavor from Penzeys, one of my new acquisitions, which blends shallots, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, basil, coriander, lemon peel, citric acid, black pepper, chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, and orange peel. I think thyme and a dash of lemon peel would be a an equally perfect addition.

Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until sprouts cook through and begin to brown.

The result is sweet, earthy and nutty and the perfect side dish for a meal featuring pork. If you have time, caramelized shallots would be a wonderful topping.

Coming up: How to make a bag of frozen carrots taste good.

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07 September 2012

Frugal French Friday: Asparagus-Leek Soup

September is Clean Out the Fridge Month at our house. Now that retirement is so close we can taste it, a thorough cleaning of the refrigerator is also in the offing.

(What does impending retirement taste like? Sweet, slightly intoxicating. Like generous quantities of my favorite Riesling.)

Becoming more frugal is essential. I may be retiring, but I'm still young enough that I won't be receiving Social Security checks. With that in mind, I've made sure to save scraps from every meal I've made this summer. I see a long season of soups and casseroles ahead.

Since that's the kind of food I crave as soon as temperatures drop, I'm looking forward to a delicious fall.

I froze the leftover leeks from this tart, and I had some asparagus frozen earlier in the season. It didn't take much work to find this recipe, which I cut in half.

As you can see, I served the soup with shaved Parmesan cheese. I have some rosemary crackers that provided the perfect accompaniment, along with some apple slices.

The leeks were locally grown (Immerfrost Farm), but everything else was store bought.

Cost: The only ingredient I had to buy was sour cream, which brought my total cost to $6. I don't serve large bowls of soup, so I got six servings from this recipe for a total of only $1 per serving.

Wine Pairing: A French Chablis or an American chardonnay is the recommended pairing.