Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Slaw 'n Sprouts - 2 Easy Cures for Weeknight Meal Fatigue

Take it from me, it's easy to fall into a cooking slump with your go-to proteins. My solution? Whipping up a quick and delicious complimentary side dish is one way to add variety. Another tactic I often employ is to create fast slaws or salsas to top off meat, fish, or poultry (some ideas here and here). Don't be afraid to use the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you have on hand! You'll be surprised what you can come up with. These quick accompaniments are a great way to add interest to your meals without adding much extra time or effort. Who has either of those to spare on a hectic work night? Today's slaw is one of my favorites because it uses the classic apple and pork pairing in a more modern way than a tired old dollop of apple sauce. We used beautiful Opal Apples that we found at the market (check out their striking yellow hue), but any apples, green, yellow, or red, will do. Try to target whatever variety is in season.  

Pork Chops with Apple & Onion Slaw + Weeknight Brussels Sprouts, Photo: NK
Now, without further delay, please enjoy Apple & Onion Slaw and a bonus veggie side dish too. 

Simple Apple & Onion Slaw (for Pork or Chicken)
Serves 2

1 Yellow Apple or other variety, halved, cored, and sliced into 1/4 thick slices
1 Tablespoon Salted Butter
1/4 large Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Light Agave 
3 fresh Sage Leaves, minced
Salt and Pepper

Melt Butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. 
Add Apples and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. 
Add Red Onion. Cook another few minutes until Onions soften.
Add Apple Cider Vinegar and Agave. Sprinkle on Sage and stir everything gently. 
Add a pinch of Salt and some Pepper.
Portion slaw onto your favorite protein, serve, and enjoy! 

Now for our go-to fall/winter side dish, our absolute FAVORITE Brussels Sprouts recipe for lazy weekday dinners or any dinner, might I add:

Weeknight Brussels Sprouts (originally published here) are wonderfully satisfying in all their naked sprout glory. To cook then, we combine sautéing and braising which shaves time off the preparation and enhances texture. Our sprouts are so flavorful that they require no zhushing (bacon and all those other popular extras are simply not necessary) to be delicious. Test the sprouts for doneness as you go. A bit of firmness should remain in them. Nothing's worse than a mushy brussels sprout. ENJOY! 

Weeknight Brussels Sprouts - preps in a flash, Photo: NK

Weeknight Brussels Sprouts
Serves 3-4
Cooks in 15 minutes, 5 minutes active time

One small basket of Brussels Sprouts, washed, a few of the stiff outer leaves peeled off and discarded, then cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup of chicken broth or vegetable broth (for vegetarian preparation)
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil 
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add oil and butter to a large sauté pan. Melt butter over medium heat.
When butter is melted, shake the pan to totally cover the bottom of the pan
Place Brussels Sprout halves, cut side down, in the pan - as many as you can fit.

2. Saute the sprouts Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until slightly browned and golden (see photo above).

3. Add broth to the pan, pouring until liquid reaches about halfway up the height of the sprouts. Allow liquid to reach a gentle boil.

4. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook another 7 minutes for al dente or 9 minutes for slightly more tender. Drain off the liquid and season sprouts to taste with salt and pepper to taste. Serve! 

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