Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Alex's Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Avocado, and Lemony Dijon Dressing

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I dare you to try this salad and still tell me that Brussels sprouts are not your thing...

I remember when Brussels sprouts were the reject side dish at my family's holiday dinner.  That is for everyone except for my younger brother who would always request them for some unknown reason, probably just because he knew I would dread having to eat my requisite one sprout, and making things a little annoying for me was his duty as younger brother.  Or maybe he actually liked them, but probably not.  My granny used to make them with a delicious cheesy sauce on them, and that was my favourite way to eat them because I could smother my requisite one sprout with five servings of delicious cheese sauce to mask the flavour.  It barely worked.  But my love for cheese sauce grew stronger and still grows every day.

Nowadays Brussels sprouts are cool again, and I don't know if it's that my tastes have changed, or more likely if it's the bacon that always seems to get thrown in with them, but I love like them!  Back in 2012 I posted this Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots recipe that I made as a side dish to a bacon themed dinner party that we hosted at our house.  Since then I can't get enough bacon and sprouts, which is where this salad comes in.  

The recipe is adapted from one found on my brother's girlfriend Alex's blog, The Bookish Cook, and it is bright, crisp, and packed with flavour.  Alex is a total natural in the kitchen, and ALL OF HER recipes come from her own head, which is something I am insanely jealous of.  She makes this salad at home because it's my brother's favourite (you can see he is still keeping up the charade that he likes Brussels sprouts!), or in his words it's, 'sick.'  Well frick, I agree, this salad is downright flu-like!  I'm feeling chills coming on.  I may need to take a day off of work.  I...ok, ok, that's more than enough.

This salad takes a little while to prepare because you have to peel each little Brussels sprout 'head' (well, that's what they look like!) one by one to make the leaves for the salad.  The Hubby stood at the counter and peeled for about 30 minutes, with only about four or five curse all in all pretty good!

The Hubby's Peeling Efforts

The effort was worth it in the end. Once you have your sprouts peeled, you throw them in their raw form into a bowl with some toasted pumpkin seeds, some fresh sliced avocado, some crispy bacon, some dried cranberries, and some lemony dijon dressing, then toss and serve.  This salad is a nutritional powerhouse.  If you have leftovers, the salad will stay fresh and not wilt if you want to eat the rest the next night.  The Hubby must have been ok with all the peeling because he suggested we quadruple the recipe and bring it to Boxing Day dinner this year...that's 4 pounds of sprout peeling in our future!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Amy's Lentil Soup Copycat Recipe
Two Years Ago:  The Best Mashed Potatoes I've Ever Eaten
Three Years Ago:  Chicken Cacciatore

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Avocado, and Lemony Dressing

Serves: 6 - 8 side dishes


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 sliced cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pepitas, toasted (I put into oven at 325F for 10 minutes, monitoring closely, then cool for 10 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Start by slicing off the hard end of each Brussels sprout, pulling off the leaves one by one, and placing the leaves into a medium-sized salad bowl.  Once you are done, give yourself a pat on the back.  Next, add the bacon, pumpkin seeds (or pepitas), dried cranberries, and avocado to the bowl.

To make your dressing, add olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, and pepper to a container with a lid.  Close lid and shake for 10 seconds until well-combined.  Add dressing to salad and lightly toss.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  The Bookish Cook - Dijon Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mom's 'Fall Off The Bone' Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Ribs

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Even writing this blog post has me salivating.


These oven-baked BBQ pork ribs are one of my favourite things to walk into my parents' house for Sunday dinner and smell cooking away in the kitchen.  They are so saucy, tender, fall-off-the-bone delicious that I can't believe it's taken me this long to get this recipe up on the blog!  Whenever I make them it reminds me of my mom, who pretty much has the market cornered on delicious comfort food.

Speaking of which, we were going to make them for supper when my parents came by a couple of weekends ago, but then The Hubby informed me that it's a faux pas to cook something for someone that they make for you when you go to their house (who knew?!), so we had them the next night instead because after getting them into my head I couldn't get them out!  For those of you who don't like loose ends (or if you just like me and don't like not knowing all of the details to every single thing all the time), we ended up having steak for dinner the night my parents came (also good).

These ribs are best served with mashed potatoes to soak up the BBQ sauce, and in my family we always use this delicious baked cheesy mashed potato recipe when eating them (and pretty much every other time that dinner demands mashed potatoes!).

My version of the recipe follows below, but here it is in my mom's own words...the sign of a great recipe is in the food splatter marks all over it!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Healthy Southwest Chicken and Rice Bake
Two Years Ago:  Baked Chicken with Creamed Spinach and Squashed Potatoes
Three Years Ago:  Chicken Cacciatore

Mom's 'Fall Off The Bone' Oven-Baked BBQ Pork Ribs

Serves: 6


For Ribs:
  • 6 pounds 'country-style' pork ribs
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
For Sauce:
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 + 1/4 cups Heinz chili sauce
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 6 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons celery seed
  • 3 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut excess fat off of ribs.  Arrange in a single layer in a lasagne pan.  Distribute lemon and onion slices over top of ribs.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 + 1/2  to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, to make your sauce combine all of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour uncovered, stirring occasionally.

When the ribs are cooked, remove from oven (leave oven on) and discard the lemon and onion pieces.  Drain off the liquid from the pan and discard.  Pour the hot BBQ sauce from the saucepan over top of the ribs.  Return the ribs to the oven and baked uncovered for about 1 hour, basting every 10 minutes.  Do not let the ribs dry out or they will be tough to eat.

Serve with a green vegetable, mashed potatoes (such as this delicious recipe), and a green salad, for a comfort dinner like no other.

Recipe Source:  My wonderful mother.

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