Maple & Sriracha Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What can I say about these? The simplest, easiest way to sum these suckers up? They’re the perfect marriage of heat and sweet.

These are really, really good. If you don’t already like Brussels sprouts, then chances are either you just plain didn’t like them as a kid and you’re still hanging on to childhood food prejudices. (If it’s because your parents tried to boil them in a bag and then force feed them to you at dinner time, I can kind of get it) Or, you actually just don’t like them, in which case I think you might be crazy and we probably can’t be friends. But if you do like Brussels sprouts or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to give them a try, which you totally should by the way, then you should definitely try this recipe. Roasting the Brussels sprouts gets rid of any bitterness or bite they may have had and brings out that great caramelized, slightly nutty flavor, and the glaze is that perfect union of spicy and sweet.

The sons like Brussel sprouts. The sons even ask to have them for dinner. What can I say? My boys are weird. Weirdly awesome!

Now, go eat your Brussels sprouts! After all they’re good for you. Which is a plus, since you’re not going to be able to stop at just one or two.

Bonus: this recipe easily doubles! I love getting the 2 lb bags of sprouts from Costco.

Maple & Sriracha Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 Maple & Sriracha Glazed Roasted Brussels Sprouts

recipe adapted from So Let’s Hang Out

1 pound of Brussels sprouts (about 20 sprouts)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha, or if you’re looking to really spice it up, more to taste

 Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and lightly coat it with cooking spray, and then set it aside.
2. Wash your sprouts, and then chop all of your sprouts in half and put them in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the syrup and Sriracha and stirring until combined. Pour it over your sprouts and toss to coat. 3. Make sure no sprout is left behind un-coated.
4. Pour out your sprouts onto your lined baking sheet and spread them out evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until your sprouts are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
5. Serve and enjoy!

Are you weirdly awesome like the sons? Do you crave Brussels sprouts or a similar flavor combo of heat and sweet? Check out these other equally awesome dishes:

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sriracha Broccoli

Sriracha Broccoli

Crispy Asian Brussel Sprouts

Crispy Asian Brussels Sprouts 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sauteed Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts

Sauteed Lemon Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Asian Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Didn’t think sprouts were for you? Crispy, caramelized Brussels sprouts are tossed in a sweet and slightly spicy Asian glaze for the ultimate side dish. After one taste of these Crispy Asian Glazed Brussels Sprouts, you’ll be shocked at how good those old fashioned veggies can actually taste.

crispy-asian-brussels-sprouts-3 Read more

Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

We all really like Chipotle. In fact, if we’re going to grab a bite somewhere, that’s probably where we will end up. Son # 1 even more than the rest of us. We find him wandering around the house daily, greeting us with ‘Yaaasss, Chipotle is my liiiiiiiiiiiiiffffffffffffe.’ The jury’s still out on if it’s because he’s morphing into a perpetually misunderstood 16 year old in a week, or if it’s just because he’s him. Either way, we can always agree on the fact that a Chipotle burrito is friggin’ delicious. Sometimes there are little hiccups in our plans to go ‘grab a bite’ though. The number one being the major bump in the road of having 4 hungry boys and only one income. So last week when son # 2 went a whole day without complaining about any chores, even helping out with extras, and then asked could we grab a burrito while we were out running errands did I let the piddly little issue of my budget get in my way? Of course not! Budget smudget. Okay, not really. It didn’t get in the way because we just took a different route. We came home, stuck our heads together and created our own version, full of copy-cat-ish Chipotle burrito love.

These are fantastic. Don’t let their humble appearance fool you, these could easily give Chipotle a run for their money! They are pretty spicy, but coming from someone who doesn’t like spicy food and loves these, I would say not too spicy. Feel free to dial down the heat though by using less of the spices.  Or, if you’re feeling brave really into spicy food and want to crank up the heat, splash some hot sauce onto the rice mixture, or you could sprinkle a few diced jalapeno peppers on top of the filling before rolling up the tortilla. Not feeling a burrito today? This rice/bean filling is just as good served as a hearty rice dish served alongside spicy, or fiesta-style, grilled chicken.

Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

 Spicy Rice & Bean Burritos

recipe adapted from A Bitchin Kitchen

1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo, minced
2 tsp sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
1 tsp ground cumin
one large pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup salsa
6 burrito-sized tortillas
8 oz shredded cheese, mexican blend, cheddar, or monterey jack
shredded lettuce
4 green onions, thinly sliced
fat-free Greek yogurt, or sour cream

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili powder, pepper, adobo sauce, cumin, and cayenne. Allow them to cook just until fragrant, only about 30-60 seconds. Add in the drained/rinsed beans and the water. Bring the filling to a simmer, and then lower the heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for 8 minutes, mashing the bean mixture slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in rice and salsa until everything is evenly combined.
2. Divide the mixture evenly among the center of each tortilla. Top the filling with cheese, lettuce, green onions, and greek yogurt as desired. Roll them up by folding over both side about 1 1/2 inches and then rolling up lengthwise to close/make the burrito, and serve!

Zucchini & Squash Au Gratin

I may or may not have an … obsession. A zucchini obsession. It all started when I was inundated with bags and bags of free summer squash. I had to do something with them. I had to do something new too, since the sons wouldn’t stand for having one more zucchini muffin shoved down their throats. Instead, they got these harmless little zucchini fritters. Before them I really was only a casual zucchini user. Nothing much creative about it.   Then I got really creative with the cheesy zucchini rice. And then a couple of weeks ago I died and went to zucchini heaven with the glazed lemon zucchini bread. But today, it’s official. We’ve revolutionized their use with this zucchini and squash au gratin. Which is saying something since summer squash, especially zucchini, are pretty much one of the best, most versatile, veggies ever.

Move on over potatoes, there’s a new star in town.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Squash Au Gratin

recipe adapted from Dishin With Rebelle

2 tbsp butter
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 large squash, sliced
2 shallots, minced
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream, or half and half
Shredded Cheese (mozzarella or provolone works best)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
pinch of oregano
Parmesan cheese, to taste
 
Directions
 
1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When melted add in the shallots and garlic, and saute until they begin to turn clear.
2. Next, add the zucchini, squash and cream. Give it a stir and then add the salt, pepper, and Parmesan.
3. Cook the mixture 8 to 10 minutes over medium-medium low, stirring occasionally. You do not want it to boil, only lightly simmer.
4. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with a little more Parmesan and evenly distribute the shredded cheese over top.
5. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes at 450 degrees, or until the casserole is bubbly and golden brown on top.

Creamy Tortellini with spinach & tomatoes

So in my head I had this pegged for a meatless Monday meal post, buuuuut Monday was Memorial Day, and you totally know how it is when all those cookout invites from family & friends get in the way of reason and productivity. Tortellini Tuesday? Totally a thing (at least for today).

All star, and easy to follow, this meal was right up our alley.

Creamy Tortellini with spinach & tomatoes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Creamy Tortellini with spinach and tomatoes

recipe adapted from Bomb Shell Bling

1 lb cheese tortellini
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon onion flakes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Begin by boiling your tortellini noodles until they are al dente (aka ready). Follow the directions on the package for boiling time.
2. While the tortellini is boiling, roughly chop the spinach.
3. Heat a large skillet using medium heat and put the two minced garlic into it. Sautee it briefly until fragrant, about thirty seconds or so.
4. Add into the skillet the petite diced tomatoes (undrained), spinach, salt, pepper, dried basil, and onion flakes.
5. Cook and stir over medium high heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
6. In another bowl, combine the flour and half-and-half. Whisk until fairly smooth.
7. Add the creamy mixture into the the skillet along with the parmesan cheese.
8. Heat through and reduce the heat to medium low and continue to stir and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes.
9. Add the drained tortellini and mix together gently.
10. Serve and enjoy!

Spinach Parmesan Orzo

Sometimes the simplest things taste the best. Just like I sometimes need a break from the rigmarole of everyday life, sometimes my taste buds need a break from complex flavor combinations. This orzo is just the thing for times like that. With a simple, yet creamy, low-fat sauce coating the tiny rice-shaped pasta and wilted spinach, it makes a great side dish, especially with chicken or fish, or even a light main meal.  This is the happy place where health & comfort (food) meet.

Spinach Parmesan Orzo

4 Sons 'R' Us: Spinach Parmesan Orzo

recipe adapted from Life Tastes Good

4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3-4 cups of fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add 1 cup orzo. Stir until the orzo is lightly browned/toasted. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the orzo is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
2. While the orzo is simmering it is a good time to prepare the spinach. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add 10 ounces of baby spinach and a pinch of salt. Saute until wilted. Set aside until orzo is done.
3. When orzo is done add the spinach and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and mix well. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The Parmesan will add some saltiness to the dish, so be sure to give it a taste to ensure you don’t add too much salt!

Maple-Thyme Roasted Carrots

Maple. Syrup. Ahh, luscious maple syrup. It has a rich, earthy caramel smell with woodsy hints of vanilla. One sniff, one taste, and I am sitting in a cozy log cabin in the snow-covered woods. Inside, the fire crackles and I take lazy sips of hot tea, snugly in soft slippers while fluffy pancakes sizzle on a hot grill in the kitchen, and a tall pitcher of maple syrup waits on the table.

I learned a long time ago that my love affair with maple syrup isn’t just limited to fresh pancakes, it’s so much bigger than that. Maple syrup can seriously make so many things that much better. For instance… carrots. These carrots, with the help of a little time thyme, some syrup, and a little love become the perfect side to complement any Winter meal.

Maple-Thyme Roasted Carrots

4 Sons 'R' Us: Maple & Thyme Roasted Carrots

recipe originally from Life Currents

 6-8 large carrots, scrubbed and peeled
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
a generous pinch of salt
2 tbsp maple syrup

Directions

1. Depending on the size of your carrots, cut them in half lengthwise, and possibly in half or thirds width-wise. You want your carrot pieces to be roughly uniform in size so they all cook at about the same rate.
2. Heat oil in a heavy, oven proof skillet. Either cast-iron or a dutch oven should work well.
3. Once the oil is nice and hot add carrots, sauteing for 4-6 minutes until they begin to brown.
4. Don’t over-stir. The longer they’re touching the bottom of the skillet, the quicker they will brown.
5. Sprinkle with thyme and salt.
6. Pour maple syrup over the top and give the carrots a quick stir.
7. Place the pan in a 400 degree oven and roast for 8-9 minutes.
8. Serve.

Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

While I love all the flavors in a ‘loaded’ baked potato, I was craving something different. Any combination of broccoli and cheddar is always a hit here, especially when it’s accompanied by something extra crispy. In this case, the twice baked potato skin provided that perfect, accompanying crunch.

Did I mention that this is actually a relatively healthy side dish? I might have forgotten to share that with the boys. Accidentally, on purpose. Without that ‘it’s something good for you’ vegetable taint hanging over their heads, they dug in with relish and devoured every last bite.

As an added bonus, these lovely little potatoes can be frozen and pulled out as needed for meals or even for a light lunch. I just love freezer cooking. This potato recipe is definitely the whole kit and caboodle.

Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

4 Sons 'R' Us: Broccoli & Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste

  • 4 medium russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Pierce the cleaned potatoes several times with a fork.  Bake for 1 hour in oven at 425 degrees. Optionally, you could instead place them in the microwave and use your baked potato setting until the potatoes are cooked through, turning half way. However, in my opinion, cooking them in the oven the entire time give them more a crispier skin when finished.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add broccoli to a little salted water and cook, covered for about 3 minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Let the potatoes cool enough to comfortably handle them. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh out into a large bowl, leaving a ¼” shell. Place the potato shells on a baking sheet.
  4. Mash the flesh with a potato masher or puree with a hand blender. Add the milk, yogurt, and salt, mash until smooth. Fold in half of the shredded cheddar (and chives if desired).
  5. Spoon the potato mixture back into the shells. Top with the cooked broccoli and remaining cheese on top.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted. (You can also microwave it for a few minutes if you prefer not to use the oven)

To Freeze: Follow directions above but do not bake a second time. Instead, wrap in saran wrap and place in a gallon freezer bag. To serve: Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or microwave for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.