photo by www.LaylaMays.com
Desperate times call for delicious dinners!
This dish was posted on Facebook during this time of confinement and my friends were going nuts over it so I decided to write an article and share the recipe. It’s so simple and the ingredients can always be on hand that it’s easy to serve this or some version of it often. Brussel sprouts are taken to a whole new level of deliciousness with crisp, smokey bacon, tangy salty feta cheese, crunchy salty|sweet pecans and slathered spicy, sweet Hot Honey!
Yes, I am one of those who always keep a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. This time, it paid off. I’m writing this article during Covid-19 Pandemic and forced to get creative with what we already have at home. I need a break from standing in line to get into the grocery store just to see empty shelves so I decided to see what I could do with what I already have stocked.
Cooking from your pantry and refrigerator|freezer is the perfect way to have your favorite dishes on hand for “desperate dinner” times. You can transform plain, basic foods into a gourmet meal with a few ingredients that store easily in the refrigerator and pantry without taking up a lot of room. On any given day, you’ll find Brussels sprouts in my refrigerator or freezer as well broccoli, cauliflower and bacon. Also, we love salty, tangy feta cheese as well as shredded parmesan and other cheeses that keep for a while. One of my essential ingredients that I have on hand at all times are a variety of jarred chilies.
So many brands and types of spicy,tangy,garlic infused jarred chili peppers are available now, I keep at least two or three different styles including Trader Joe’s Bomba Italian Calabrian ground chilies, Harissa Chili paste as well as the Asian versions of Sambal Oelek, Chili Garlic sauce and Sriracha. Trader Joe’s has a fabulous selection and just by adding these, you can change the whole recipe up of whatever you are cooking.
Like many devoted Trader Joe’s shoppers, I scour the shelves to find what creative condiments and nuts that I can keep on hand to create many dishes including salads and pastas as well as chicken and beef.
There are a bazillion recipes for roasted Brussels sprouts on line for a reason. People have found that if you take the once maligned Brussel sprout, toss in olive oil and spices, roast until crispy in the oven, they become drool-worthy. Now, diners fight over the last sprout at restaurants, tapas bars and at home. Regardless of whether it’s a side dish, appetizer or main course, Brussel sprouts are now loved!
Benton’s Bacon, a fabulously intensely smoked bacon from Tennessee is always in my freezer. Bacon’s not just for breakfast you know. As far as I am concerned, Benton’s Bacon is THE perfect bacon. Adding some chopped up bacon to Brussels sprouts while roasting gives the dish a whole new dimension of flavor and texture.
Ohhhh, hot honey! How I love you so!
Why buy it when you can make it! Just a spoonful or two (depending on taste) of Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba Fermented and Crushed Calabrian Chiles with garlic to about a half cup of honey and you’ll be slathering it on everything!
The heat is tamed by the honey and all the flavors combine to something so special that you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before.
How about those Trader Joe’s nuts!
Trader Joe’s has one of the best selections of nuts of any grocery store that I’ve ever been. Those Sweet & Spicy Pecans are not just for snacking. They are fabulous finishing touch to salads and vegetable dishes.
If you serve these Hot Honey Brussels sprouts as a side dish, I’ve included what I served with them. I pan-seared/bronzed Strip Steaks and Caprese Salad. And, YES, I had all of this in the refrigerator.
The good thing is, these dishes are fantastic even during better times, of which I hope come our way soon!
Pro Wine Pairing Tip
A nice rose’ pairs with this meal and we enjoyed Dandy Pink, a nice and juicy, fruity Texas Rose’. As a matter of fact, all of Rae’s wines will pair very well with all the flavors in this dish.
- 2-3 packages of fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts
- 3 TB or more Olive Oil
- 1-2 heaping TB Trader Joe's Calabrian Ground Chili paste OR your favorite
- ½ cup of your favorite honey
- 1 TSP finely chopped garlic
- ¼ to ½ cup Feta Cheese crumbles
- 4-5 Benton's Bacon chopped into small OR your favorite smokey bacon
- ¼ to ½ cup Trader Joe's Sweet and Spicy Pecans
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Mix chili paste, chopped garlic and honey in a small bowl and set aside
- Slice each Brussel sprout in half and place on baking sheet or roasting pan
- Toss sprouts in olive oil, chopped bacon, garlic, salt and pepper
- Mix well and distribute evenly around the pan
- Roast sprout mixture for 25 to 35 minutes until browned and crispy but not burnt
- Oven cooking times vary so keep and eye on them
- Once done, remove from oven and toss to distribute bacon and sprouts, taste to adjust for s/p
- Toss cooked sprouts with a couple of spoonfuls of Honey Honey mixture distributing evenly
- Top with Feta and pecans and then more of the Hot Honey Mixture
- Scoop onto a serving platter and enjoy!
Benton’s Bacon is the absolute best bacon on this planet!
Caprese salad: Fresh tomatoes and creamy fresh mozzarella are slathered with olive oil and finished with fresh basil and homemade Balsamic glaze
Pan-Seared steaks with a crunchy bronzed finish are easy to create if you get your skillet hot!
CHEERS! Stay well and well fed!