Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

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The countdown to Thanksgiving is upon us. Now is the time to start thinking about he delicious foods to that you may eat (and cook!) for any holiday parties you have planned. And I am about to share with you to a healthy and fantastic tasting vegetable that is easy to cook and makes a show-stopping side dish: brussel sprouts.

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Now, if ever there was an easy dish to cook it’s this one. Seriously simple, seriously delicious. Oh and brussel sprouts are a great source of nutrients!

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Drizzle some balsamic vinegar glaze on top, and you have yourself the perfect side dish for tonight’s dinner, Thanksgiving, and beyond!

Over Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar glaze, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove yellowing outer leaves from sprouts, if necessary. Rinse sprouts and pat them dry. Slice each sprout in half.
  3. In a bowl, mix together halved sprouts, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour sprouts onto a pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.
  4. Roast sprouts in the oven for 20-25 minutes, tossing the sprouts once or twice while they are baking. The outer leaves will be golden brown and crispy.
  5. Drizzle balsamic vinegar glaze over brussel sprouts, if desired.

Zucchini-Oat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I will make almost any excuse to whip up a batch of cookies. I love to make “cheer-you-up” cookies, “thank you” cookies, and the ever-popular “I should be studying” cookies. So it really was not a surprise that I thought of the wonderful idea of making a big batch of cookies to bring a presentation I was giving this week. There was just one snafu regarding my masterful plan…

I was lecturing on the obesity epidemic.

Yes, I was planning on serving cookies to my audience and then speaking to them about the causes, issues, and potential interventions for obesity in the United States and worldwide. Not exactly the most appetite-inducing speech, and one more akin to a small bag of mixed nuts or an apple than cookies. But with my passion for cookie-making overriding my rational brain, I told myself that I would find a healthier cookie recipe. And thanks to the creatively over at Nestlé, I found my cookie inspiration.

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Zucchini-oat dark chocolate chip cookies. It’s a mouthful to say and the cookies themselves turned out to be a nutritious mouthful of yum . The texture is soft inside because of the zucchini, but crisp on the outside and oh-so chocolatey. I cut out some of the flour by making flour from rolled oats, and the sugar and butter are greatly reduced compared to the typical chocolate chip cookie recipe. Add a healthy dose of nutrients from the almonds and antioxidants from the dark chocolate chips, and I must say these cookies actually pack quite a nutritional punch in a small and delicious package.

Turns out the cookie was a crowd-pleaser, and the perfect accompaniment to my presentation. No excuses needed for whipping up a batch of zucchini-oat dark chocolate chip cookies!

Zucchini-Oat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from the Nestlé recipe)

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oat flour (made from rolled oats in blender)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1 2/3 cups (10 oz. package) of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. For oat flour: place about 1 cup of rolled oats into a blender. Blend until oats resemble flour.
  3. Combine both flours, cinnamon, and baking soda into a bowl.
  4. In separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add zucchini, and then slowly add dry mixture. Stir in oats, nuts, and dark chocolate chips.
  5. Place teaspoon-sized cookie dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes (I baked the cookies for 11-12 minutes)
  7. Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets for a few minutes. Place cookies on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in container at room temperature.
  9. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortellini Soup

My friends, what’s better that chicken noodle soup?

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Swapping out the noodles for cheese-filled pasta goodness. Allow me to introduce to you chicken tortellini soup.

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Soup has always been my comfort food. When I was younger, I would heat up a can of chicken broth, throw some canned garbanzo beans in it, and call it a soup. While I still use those two ingredients in the soups I make now, I would like to believe I got a little more sophisticated with my soup recipes.

Chicken Tortellini Soup (makes 4-6 servings)

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  • 1 white onion
  • 5 celery stalks
  • 5 medium carrot sticks
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package cheese tortellini
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add minced garlic.
  2. Dice onions, and slice carrots and celery and add these three ingredients to the saucepan. Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Strain liquid out of the canned corn and kidney beans. Rinse both corn and kidney beans in a colander. Add to saucepan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add entire can of stewed tomatoes and all of the chicken broth to the saucepan. Add chopped kale. Cover saucepan and allow soup to cook for 4 minutes. Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste (I added about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper).
  5. Add chopped chicken and tortellini. Heat soup until tortellini is cooked (about 6-8 minutes). Soup should be bubbling softly.
  6. Label soup into bowls. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.