Bring on the Brussels Sprouts!

As members of the cabbage family, it is easy to see by their cabbage-like appearance.  Typical Brussels sprouts range from 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Brussels sprouts are readily available year-round, but the peak season is from September to mid-February.

A firm sprout, with small bright-green head is indicative of a sweet taste.  When choosing sprouts, look at the size for taste, but also for cooking purposes.  It is important to choose sprouts of similar size so they will cook evenly.

To store the sprouts properly, remove any loose leaves and place the unwashed Brussels sprouts in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.  You can expect most sprouts to store for approximately 3-4 days before the flavor begins to turn unpleasant.

To cook sprouts properly, wash each Brussels sprout, pat dry, and trim the stems.  Brussels sprouts should not be cooked for more than about 10 minutes.  Their green color should remain intense.  A drab color is indicative of overcooked sprouts.

Why Eat Brussels Sprouts?

  • Brussels sprouts are full of phytonutrients, which may help protect against cancer.
  • Brussels sprouts may have a detoxing effect on our bodies due to their content of glucosinolates and sulfur.  Enzymes in our cells required for detox, can be activated by compounds made from glucosinolates.
  • Our natural detox system also requires sulfur to run efficiently, which Brussels sprouts have been shown to provide in abundance!
  • Brussels sprouts are powerful dietary source of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), C, and E. Vitamins A and C help fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
  • Anti-inflammatory response can result from the Vitamin K content in Brussels sprouts.  Vitamin K (also known as potassium), helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.  Other important vitamins:
  • Folate- necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
  • Iron - necessary for maintaining red blood cell count

I tried a new recipe with hesitancy.  My favorite Brussels sprouts are at Ocean’s (www.oceanbirmingham.com) located in the Five Points area of Birmingham, AL.  The recipe I used was titled: Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, which I found in the March 2011 edition of Cooking Light. Thank you to one of my awesome clients that brought me the magazine to session (you know who you are!!)

I started the recipe with cooking 4 pieces of Applegate Bacon (nitrite and nitrate free) in a deep dish skillet.

Once the bacon was cooked, I placed onion slices and dried thyme in the same skillet with the bacon drippings.  I allowed the onions to sauté long enough to turn soft and slightly transparent.

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Next, I chopped the Brussels sprouts in half and added to the onion mixture in the skillet, along with 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

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The mixture did not take long to bring to a boil, but once boiling, I placed the lid on the skillet and allowed to cook for approximately 7 minutes.  The recipe was ready to serve!  I plated the Brussels sprouts and sprinkled the fresh cooked bacon to add flavor.

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Although the Brussels sprouts were not exactly like Ocean’s, they most certainly were close!!!  A super easy recipe helped add flavor and variety to my dinner plate.  I get tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’ green vegetables, so I’m pleased to share this simplistic recipe to help you add variety to your dinner plate as well!!  Hope you enjoy as much as my household did!!! I served the Brussels sprouts with boneless, center-cut pork chop topped with black cherry sauce (you can find recipe in an earlier blog!), baked sweet potato, and a slice of rosemary sourdough bread! The total amount of time spent on cooking was approximately 30 minutes!   

Bon Appetite!

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Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Other Time: 20 minutes Yield:  4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

3 slices center-cut bacon, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 cups presliced onion 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; drain.

2. Add thyme and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with bacon.

(You can find the recipe in the March 2011 Edition of Cooking Light or on the web at www.cookinglight.com)