Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

So….when did Brussels sprouts become popular to eat? And also, did you know that it’s Brussels with an “s” at the end AND capitalized? I certainly didn’t.

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But seriously — since when does everyone love these things? I mean, I remember growing up and the very mention of Brussels sprouts was enough to make my toes curl. But now? For some completely inexplicable reason, I love them. And so, it seems, does everyone else. And when you throw some bacon on top? Well, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Bacon makes EVERYTHING better.

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts with stems trimmed, small spouts left whole, larger spouts halved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Instructions:

Brown bacon in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan. Add shallots to the pan and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels spouts and coat in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften, then add broth. Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer sprouts to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and top with cooked bacon bits.Yields: 4 servings

Recipe from: Rachel Ray
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Banana Bread Muffins

There are some benefits to being extremely tall. Like getting drinks faster at a bar because I’m taller than all the other waiting girls and thus, the bartender spots me more easily. And I can reach that awkwardly high window in my bathroom without having to stand on a chair. And if I’m living with short roommates, I can hide the last cupcake in the kitchen on a shelf that is too high for them to find said cupcake.

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Something that is not so great about being tall? That when a tall person gains weight, they can gain a lot more before anyone starts to notice…all that weight spreads out. Which you might think is a good thing, but really, it’s not. Because here you are, stuffing your face with food and cracking jokes about putting on your “winter coat”, and then after a couple months, you realize you did, indeed, put on a winter coat. Like, ten pounds worth. Fine. Eleven. It’s eleven.

So what’s a girl to do? Make banana bread muffins, of course. Non-diet banana bread muffins. Naturally. But they’re in festive Christmas-y cupcake liners, and EVERYBODY knows that festive foods don’t have calories. And even if they did, these are so worth it. Perfectly moist, fluffy, and with just the right amount of banana flavor. Cheers to your winter coat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with liners.Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

*If you don’t plan to eat immediately, once muffins have cooled, you can freeze in ziplock bag and remove from freezer one at a time as desired!
Yields: 12 large muffins
Recipe from: Food Network

Slow-Cooker BBQ Beer Chicken

BBQ. Beer. Need I say more?

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Ladies and gents, another recipe that could.not.be.easier. to throw in the crock pot and walk away. It’s warm. It’s delicious. It’s satisfying. And it’s lighter than your traditional pulled pork slathered in BBQ sauce. Like, do I even need to keep talking?

This makes a large batch, so save some for leftovers and throw the rest in the freezer for a later meal…like when you open the fridge and realize the only things in there are half an onion, some satsuma oranges, and bacon. Actually, minus the onion, bacon and satsumas wouldn’t be the worst meal ever…

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Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces of beer (I used a Shock Top, which is similar to Blue Moon, but I’m sure anything will work)
  • 32 ounces of barbecue sauce — the thinner kind of sauce works better here because it keeps it from burning/thickening too much. I used Bone Suckin’ and thought it was awesome

Instructions:

Season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to crockpot, then add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired. After 8 hours, shred and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss chicken to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. Serve as desired.

Yields: 8-10 servings

Recipe from: How Sweet It Is