Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprout Grain Bowls

IMG_7914After a couple of food and drink-filled trips to Chicago and Louisville this year, I've been trying to get back in the groove of eating healthily (at least for breakfast and lunch.) One big thing that helps me do this is prepping at the beginning of the week—if I can just throw some vegetables, grains and dressing in a bowl when lunchtime rolls around, I'm much more likely to go for that instead of a grilled cheese (though of course, there's a time and place for grilled cheese too.) I prefer a ratio of 3:1 vegetables to grains, but you can adjust according to your preference. I typically make this on Sundays, and then it lasts me the entire week for lunch!

Sweet Potato & Brussels Sprout Grain Bowls (serves 6)

1 cup quinoa

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1 teaspoon fish sauce

6 eggs

Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

 

Sliced cabbage, quick pickles, or other greens of your choosing

Salted roasted peanuts

Hot sauce

 

  1. Make quinoa: Add quinoa and 2 cups water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°. Spread sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until tender and browned.
  3. Spread Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes, until very crispy. Toss with fish sauce.
  4. Make dressing: Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Add eggs to a saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn off heat and let eggs sit in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, rinse under cold water and carefully peel.
  6. To serve: Add quinoa, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts to each bowl and drizzle with dressing. Carefully cut each egg in half and add to bowl. Add additional vegetables, hot sauce and peanuts as desired.

Steak Sandwiches

_MG_6105Usually when I order a sandwich, I tend to go for something covered in cheese and with a salty-sweet component, or the classic ham & butter combo. But after having steak for dinner one night, we were faced with the dilemma of what to do with leftovers the next day: and what better way to use up leftover steak – admittedly, not a terrible problem to have – than make steak sandwiches? _MG_6106 We also happened to have leftover brussels sprouts slaw which I thought would provide a nice crunchy contrast to the juicy steak. But the real star of the sandwich is the garlickly, tangy aioli – a perfect foil to the crunchy bread and succulent meat. Serve with chips and pickles for an easy dinner or picnic lunch (is it feeling like spring anywhere else? Everyone in NYC is delirious with happiness that it's finally more than 40 degrees)._MG_6112

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Steak Sandwiches (serves 2-3)

1 steak (cut of your choice), cooked medium-rare and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 baguette, cut into 2 pieces and sliced in half lenghtwise

Slaw (I used this one with brussels sprouts, but you could also use something like this)

For aoili:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

If your steak isn't already cooked, heat a cast-iron pan over high heat until searing hot, about 5 minutes. Preheat broiler. Add 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil and heat until smoking, then add steak (well-seasoned with salt) to pan. Cook until there is a nice crust on one side, about 5 minutes. Don't touch it before that. Flip steak, then add 2 tablespoons butter on cooked side. Place steak under broiler, and cook until medium-rare, 5 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes in pan, then thinly slice.

Meanwhile, toast bread. Slather aioli on both sides of bread, then place slices of steak on sandwich and top with a generous helping of slaw. Serve immediately.

 

$10 Mondays: Brown Butter Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

I LOVE brussels sprouts. After going through the obligatory hating-all-vegetables (except corn) as a child, I finally realized somewhere around the age of 12 that these little green cabbages are in fact, delicious -- particularly when braised in butter and with chopped bacon (optional). I eat them about once a week in the winter, usually just roasting them for 15 minutes with a dash of olive oil and hot pepper flakes, but when I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I knew it would be something else. I actually made these a couple of months ago for the first time as a side dish, which was wonderful but quite rich, and so the other night I had the idea to make it into a main course by removing some of the brussels sprouts and substituting them for pasta. An excellent, and inexpensive dinner if I do say so myself. Brown Butter Pasta with Brussels Sprouts (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 lb brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed

8 oz pasta (such as fusilli or penne)

4 tablespoons butter

1 large shallot, finely sliced

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, hot

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and crushed

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch brussels sprouts until tender and bright green, 3-5 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until browning at the edges, about 5 minutes. Cook until butter begins to turn brown and gives off a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes more. Whisk in flour and cook until mixture is light brown. Whisk in stock and cook until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix in brussels sprouts, and transfer all to a large roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water in a medium saucepan, and cook pasta until al dente, according to manufacturer's instructions. Drain and set aside.

Remove brussels sprouts from oven and mix in pasta. Serve immediately, garnishing with walnuts and parmesan cheese, if desired.