Archives for April 2014

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

"A good cook should be able to cook anything, anywhere, on anything"  ~ Jonathan Waxman

“A good cook should be able to cook anything, anywhere, on anything” ~ Jonathan Waxman

Sometimes things just don’t go as planned in the kitchen.  You accidentally add too much salt, forget to add butter, or use wax paper instead of parchment paper- all things that leave you with a sour taste in your mouth or dashing to the store for a last minute replacement meal.

But accidents are lessons in disguise.  I have done all the the above and trust me, once you make a big mistake, chances are it will not happen again.  You eventually learn to trust your instincts in the kitchen, have some fun and figure out that when there is a will there is always a way.

Take for example this recipe for Caramelized Brussels Sprouts. Until 2 years ago, if you had asked me to eat a Brussels sprout, I would have looked at you like you had three heads.  It wasn’t going to happen.  My dad has always loved them, but to me they were sour, nasty and smelled funny.  Then my mom handed me a recipe for caramelized Brussels sprouts and asked that I make them for Christmas dinner.  I’m sure I hemmed and hawed and I probably said NO, but my mom knows best! That recipe, made in a skillet, changed my life.  Okay maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but it changed my view on the a vegetable that I despised and made it one that I now have a slight obsession with.

Last weekend I was up at my parents and found some Brussels sprouts that if we didn’t eat immediately they were headed for the trash. Of course I wanted to make the Christmas recipe. But I couldn’t find the right cookbook and we already had pasta and sauce cooking on the stove.  It was also Sunday afternoon and I was running out of time before I had to go. But I really, really wanted Brussels sprouts!  There was a glass pie dish sitting on the counter that was clean and I thought “I can work with this”.

bruss raw1

Oddly enough, I had never baked Brussels Sprouts before, let alone in a pie dish!  I typically steam or cook them on the stove. But the size of the dish was just right and I decided to roll with it.  I wasn’t sure what the results would be in the oven or if they would caramelize, but they ended up perfect- crispy, caramelized and full of flavor.

bruss raw 2

So what’s the moral to this story?  It’s like the amazing chef Jonathan Waxman says, “a good cook should be able to cook anything, anywhere, on anything.”  Don’t be afraid to take some chances and use what you have in your fridge.  You aren’t guaranteed great results every time, but if you don’t try you will never know!

This is not the Christmas recipe (I promise to post that when I do find it because it really is just so good).  I simply trimmed and sliced the Brussels sprouts in half, tossed in oil and lemon juice and then sprinkled with salt, pepper and dash of cayenne pepper (for a bit of kick).  I typically like a lot of salt when the Brussels sprouts are crispy, but I suggest that you keep it light while baking.  You can always add more once they are out of the oven.

Quick tip: I recently read that if you a lemon lengthwise (see photo above), instead of across the middle, you will get more juice when you squeeze.  I am not expert, but I think they are on to something with this and thought I would share.   If you try it out, let me know your results!

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts


  • 12-15 Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Wash and dry Brussels sprouts. Peel off any wilted or yellow leaves and trim off bottom stems. Cut in half lengthwise.
  3. Place in baking dish center side down. Toss with olive oil and make sure all pieces are coated evenly.
  4. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon over entire dish. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.
  5. Bake for 30-35 mins until centers are soft with a fork and the outside edges have started to caramelize.

 Bon Appetit!


Honey Roasted Carrots

carrots pre cook

 “I don’t need a pot of honey, I’d be grateful for a platefull.
When I’m rumbly in my tumbly, then it’s time to eat!”
-Winnie the Pooh

There is something about honey that screams Spring to me. It may be because the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing or I could just be obsessed.  Either way I find myself wanting to add it to anything and everything, with some really great results!

There are many wonderful (and surprising) benefits to honey.   It’s definitely not your average sugar substitute!  One of honey’s most fascinating benefits is it’s anti-bacterial properties.  During production, bees deposit an enzyme that creates hydrogen peroxide, a compound of oxygen and water that helps to fight infections.  Add that to carrots, which are packed with antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin A, and you are looking at a super snack for your body.

The best thing about this recipe is that while there are only 5 ingredients, your taste buds will come to life.  The sweetness of the roasted carrots and the honey blend perfectly with the richness of the cinnamon and paprika.  Make sure to use enough oil on the carrots when preparing to cover the flesh.  This will maximize the flavors and keep the skins from drying out.

I like to make this using full carrots that are cut lengthwise.  They look great when serving and if you are having as a snack you can easily eat with your fingers.  These also taste great chilled.  You can slice them up and add them to a spinach salad or eat as a snack on the go.



  • Honey Roasted Carrots

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Total Time: 40 minutes

    Yield: 4 servings

    Honey Roasted Carrots


    • 8-10 full carrots, peeled
    • 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
    • 2 Tbsp honey
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F
    2. Cut carrots lengthwise and place in glass baking dish, approx 11" x 17".
    3. Drizzle oil and honey over carrots. Toss with your hands to make sure that all vegetables are coated and covered evenly.
    4. Sprinkle with paprika and cinnamon.
    5. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until desired tenderness.

Entertaining tip: I like to serve this dish with my Sweet and Spicy Asparagus (recipe coming soon). I place both on a cutting board and serve right on the table.  It makes them easy to grab and the cutting board is a fun way to add a rustic touch to your table.

Bon appetit!

Fresh Start: Perfect Lazy Eggs

Start your day off right with these quick and easy baked eggs.

Start your day off right with these quick and easy baked eggs.

Looking for a quick and easy egg recipe to start your day off right? No need to scramble, flip, or fry. As long as you can turn on an oven, you are one step closer to being an instant Master Chef.

I call these Perfect Lazy Eggs because outside of cracking the eggs you don’t really need to do anything.  In fact, you can pretty much forget about them while they are in the oven (just make sure to keep a timer close by so you don’t over cook).  Whether you are cooking for one or 20, each egg comes out looking and tasting the same.  Clean up is also a cinch.  These little guys pop right out of the muffin tin and you have no pans to scrub.  I promise that once you try these, you will change the way you look at cooking eggs.

You can add your Lazy Eggs to breakfast sandwiches, in place of poached eggs for Eggs Benedict or even enjoy them plain with slice of toast.  If you have any left overs and want to reheat, place in a microwave safe bowl with a 1/2 teaspoon of water and warm for 30 seconds in the microwave.

A couple of things to note: Make sure to follow your timer.  The tops of the yolks may not look cooked when you pull them from the oven but do not let this worry you.  The best way to describe the effect is that the yolk has glazed over.  This is fine.  I also recommend cooking directly into the muffin tins without any muffin wrappers.  I have had mixed results with the muffin wrappers and the eggs seem to stick to the paper.

Fresh Start: Crazy Lazy Eggs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 egg

Fresh Start: Crazy Lazy Eggs


  • 6 eggs
  • Cooking Spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. Spray clean muffin tin with cooking oil.
  3. Crack one egg into each muffin cup.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes for your desired yolk texture (see notes below).


Runny yolks (eggs over easy style): 10 minutes Soft yolks (soft boiled style with a little run): 12 minutes Firm yolks (not runny): 15 minutes
Bon Appétit!

Sunday Snapshot {April 27, 2014}

Sundae Funday!

Sundae Funday!

“Begin Anywhere” ~ John Cage

The Sunday Snapshot is a weekly round-up of articles that caught my eye this week and have me laughing and thinking.    

1. I have a real love/hate relationship with sugar right now.  I love to eat it but hate myself when I do.  If you have ever wondered what sugar is doing to your body, this is a must read article. {from Rodale News}

2. Walmart is throwing it’s hat into the organic arena.  I hope this is a good thing, but I guess only time will tell. {from NPR’s The Salt}

3. What’s the #1 fear that is standing in your way?  It’s probably in your mind.  {from Mind Body Green}

4.  Do you ever feel like your phone is just an extension of your hand? Click here for 10 great tips to help you “unplug” and get back into the present moment.  {from Dot Complicated}

5. Epic texting fails…I’m still laughing at these.  {from the Daily Mail}

The Basics~ How to Roast a Chicken

I am a firm believer that in order to cook “outside the box” you need to have a basic understanding of the ingredients you are working with.  Knowing how to cook something will give you the frame work to really experiment and succeed in the kitchen.  


In reality, all you need is a bird, a pan, some twine and a meat thermometer.  While it is not required, I also recommend cooking the bird on some sort of roasting rack.  I have used everything from a specialty stand-up rack to a basic cookie cooling rack, each with wonderful results! The racks allow the heat to circulate around the bird freely and keeps it out of it’s own juices while roasting.  This keeps the skin nice and crispy!


Ready to go

Rinsed and ready to go.

Once you open your chicken, make sure to check the cavity and remove any innards.  Rinse and pat dry.  Regardless of whether you plan to eat it or not, always roast with the skin on.  It helps to seal in the moisture and will keep your bird from drying out .

For a tender and juicy chicken, always let your thawed bird sit at room temperature for an hour before roasting. This allows the meat to cook evenly and fewer juices will leak out or evaporate during cooking. If you put a cold chicken into the oven, the heat will pull the moisture from the meat on the outside out before the inside is cooked.


Don't be afraid to try something new.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

For a simple and natural bird, a quick rub down with olive oil, salt and pepper will suffice.  But these are easy flavors to build on and I suggest you do.  Try lifting the skin and stuffing with herbs.  Stuffing the cavity with onions, orange wedges and rosemary is another favorite of mine.  Play around with your favorite herbs and spices and I am sure you will come up with your own ideas that will be a success.  If you are not sure where to start, hit up a gourmet shop and try a chicken rub.  These are all simple little steps that will add some wow factor to your dish. (For the recipe shown, click here)

Tie it Up:

Tie it up!

Tie it up!

It is not always necessary but I like to truss- or tie up- my chicken before cooking.  First, it makes the bird easier to handle. Second, if you stuff your bird you are going to want to keep all your goodies inside.  To truss, cut a piece of butcher’s twine long enough to fit around the bulk bird.  Lay your chicken on a clean surface with the breast side up.  Holding each end of the twine, loop the string under the tail of the bird and catch the ends of the legs with the string.  Tie snugly, securing the legs to the belly of the bird.  If you have stuffed the bird, cut a second string and repeat these steps securing the feet.

Roasting Methods: There are two standard methods for roasting a whole chicken.  Both methods require a THAWED bird.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Regular Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
  • Roast chicken for 20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

High Heat Method:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) and cook whole bird for 10-15 minutes (this will make the skin crispy).
  • Reduce temperature to 350°F (175°C) and roast for an additional 20 minutes per pound.
  • You do NOT add the additional 15 minutes at the end.

If all that math sounds a bit overwhelming, here is a little cheat sheet by weight:

Weight Regular Method High Heat Method
2.5-3 lbs 1 hour & 15 mins 1 hour
3-3.5 lbs 1 hour & 20 mins 1 hour & 10 mins
3.5-4 lbs 1 hour & 35 mins 1 hour & 20 mins
4-4.5 lbs 1 hour & 45 mins 1 hour & 30 mins
4.5-5 lbs 1 hour & 55 mins 1 hour & 40 mins
5-5.5 lbs 2 hours & 5 mins 1 hour & 50 mins
5.5-6 lbs 2 hours & 15 mins 2 hours
6-6.5 lbs 2 hours & 25 mins 2 hour & 10 mins
6.5-7 lbs 2 hours & 35 mins 2 hour & 20 mins
7-7.5 lbs 2 hours & 45 mins 2 hour & 30 mins

IMPORTANT: These times are for UNSTUFFED birds only. As a rule of thumb, you need to add 15 minutes to the total cooking time when roasting a stuffed chicken. As with the chicken itself, make sure the stuffing also reaches a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

Finishing up:

All done

All done

No matter how you cooked your chicken, there is only one way to tell when it is done.  A whole chicken is cooked when a meat thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (close to but not touching the bone) reads at least 165°F (75°C).  The temperature of the meat will continue to rise after you pull the bird from the oven.  This is called “carryover cooking”, so if you are within a degree or two of 165°F, you should reach the temperature while the bird sits.  Always make sure to double check the temperature before serving, the last thing you want to do is make your nearest and dearest sick.

After you remove the chicken from the oven, cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.  This lets the juices settle and keeps the meat tender and moist.

Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!