Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts – for Trisca

I didn’t think it was possible to get a 7 year old to fall in love with Brussels sprouts

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I didn’t think it was possible to get a 7 year old to fall in love with Brussels sprouts

I always enjoy a challenge, especially when it comes to finding ways to “sneak” vegetables into a child’s diet so that they eventually grow to love them. Brussels sprouts are tricky to hide though, so I decided to do something daring and opted to instead dress them up with the hopes that two 5 year olds and a 7 year old wouldn’t turn their noses up at them during dinner.

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Although I’d taken courses on Child Nutrition & Cooking at Stamford University, I didn’t have much experience with cooking for children before I moved to Australia to become an Au Pair.  My approach coming into the family was simple though: prepare my regular go-to meals, but  gradually introduce new flavours and spices to their palates by upping the intensity of herbs each time I cooked the dish. When I first arrived, the kids were accustomed to simple steamed vegetables, a starch (steamed potato, rice or pasta) and a baked or pan-fried protein for their dinner every night. A well-rounded nutritious meal, but a little mild in comparison to what I was used to cooking.

The oldest child, Max, was the trickiest to please. His favourite foods included pizza from the restaurant down the street, and “pasta pockets” (pre-packaged cheese tortellinis). When testing out new recipes and presenting them to the kids and getting their opinion on the meal, he was my toughest critic…so when I convinced him to try my Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and he gave me a thumbs up with a huge smile as he shovelled more into his mouth, I was proud.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 300 g Baby Brussels sprouts
  • 4 Fresh or thawed sausage links (pork, chicken, lamb, or meat-free)
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ Medium Spanish onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Lemon, juiced
  • Herbal salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon herb & garlic seasoning
  • Thyme

 

DIRECTIONS

Steam the Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes, or until tender (you should be able to pierce with a fork all the way through). Remove from heat, and once cooled, slice in half.

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While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, slice the sausages lengthwise, and remove casings. Break into small pieces and roast in a large skillet on stove top. Once browned, add the Brussels sprouts and sauté in the sausage drippings for 2 minutes on medium heat.

Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Sauté the Brussels sprouts with the sausage

Next, add a drizzle of olive oil, diced onions, crushed garlic, lemon juice and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly mix everything together in the skillet pan. Add remaining seasonings to desired taste, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Continue cooking until onions are transparent, and Brussels sprouts are browned and slightly charred.

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Rustic Roasted Brussels Sprouts – the end result

Serve with mixed grains salad or roasted potatoes.

SERVES: 6

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL COOKING TIME:  20 minutes

Fresh Start

Welcome, and thanks for finding your way to Fresh To Death Nutrition!

I’m starting this site to help share my thoughts, knowledge and wisdom for a healthy lifestyle. It’s always been important to me to instill good health upon others, and every day I strive to practice what I preach.

My interest in nutrition seems to have always had a strong presence. From a young age, I can remember having a huge appreciation for fresh fruits & veggies.

My mother used to raid the fridge every night for what ever produce she could find, chop everything all up, throw it on a platter and set it on the dinner table while she prepared our meal. My little sister and I would ravenously devour everything, while my mother scolded us from the kitchen “Stop eating all the veggies! You’ll ruin your appetite!” Special dessert requests at my grandmother’s home would always be frozen sour cherries or strawberries, or what ever freshly picked fruit she’d just plucked from the garden.

My grandparents had massive gardens which contained pretty much everything you could imagine: grapes, sweet corn, potatoes, beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, an apple orchard, pear trees, broccoli, asparagus…the list goes on and on. I have fond memories of running through the rows, plucking carrots out of the ground for a quick snack, then hopping on my Big Wheel with my sister in tow. Dinners were bountiful, with most of the food either coming from her garden or a friend or family member’s. They love to recount the tale of me as a toddler in the spring time excitedly discovering her gardens for the time and exclaiming to my mother “Mamma! Gramma’s got a grocery store in her back yard!!”

Always playing outdoors. Myself at 3 years old, fascinated by the flowers in Grandma's gardens
Always playing outdoors. Myself at 3 years old, fascinated by the flowers in Grandma’s gardens

Growing up, I thought this was typical for everyone my age to have access to such healthy food. It wasn’t until later on that I questioned why some kids would tease me for not bringing soda or junk food in my lunchbox. I would get excited to find an Ida Red apple in my pack (my favourite apple!) or carrot sticks, and they would question why I didn’t have a “Lunchable” like everyone else. The kids who routinely found candy bars in their lunchboxes were popular because they’d share with everyone, but I always remember thinking that my parents would never do anything like that unless it were Halloween — and even then, I’d still get sick of the candy and long for my apple. Looking back, I’m glad I wasn’t eating that junk day in day out, as all of these kids ended up having health problems later on, and ballooned in size.

Which brings me primarily to why I chose a career in nutrition: parents nowadays don’t seem to be educated enough when it comes to preparing healthy meals for their children. The childhood obesity epidemic is frightening, with kids becoming larger and sicker at an alarming rate. What’s worse, is that bigger kids are slowly becoming the norm, with society beginning to accept overly-pudgy children and not insisting they get more exercise or even put down the fork. For the first time ever in humanity’s history, studies are showing that parents may start to outlive their children.

It’s up to us NOW to shape our future, and ensure that our offspring will live long, prosperous, healthy lives. Kids learn from watching their elders, so we need to set them right and lead by example. If we teach them right from wrong at a young age, they’re more likely to be accustomed to healthy habits that they can practice for the rest of their lives.