The Tasty Tuesday initiative in Barrington 220 elementary schools is inspiring parents to incorporate the featured ingredient of the month into more of their recipes at home. I know our family will be preparing more meals in the weeks ahead with Clementines, December’s Tasty Tuesday featured food of the month. As part of the Tasty Tuesday initiative, elementary school students will try a sample of the citrus fruit during their school lunches on December 10th. Our school cafeterias will offer clementines intermittently in the lunch menu for the remainder of the month in their ongoing effort to encourage healthy eating habits.
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Sodexho Food Service and our school PTOs are behind the Tasty Tuesday initiative, which was introduced in our schools in October of 2012.
Last month’s “Tasty Tuesday” ingredient was Brussels sprouts. Sixty-five percent of students gave the veggie a “thumbs-up” and 35 percent voted “thumbs-down/sideways.”
Brussels sprouts happen to be one of my favorites and apparently I’m not the only one on the band wagon. According to The Worlds Healthiest Foods website at whfoods.com, Brussels sprout consumption has doubled in recent years.
My guess is the popularity of these delicious nuggets comes with the increase in eating raw and blanched vegetables versus the heavy steaming and sautéing of years past. When you overcook Brussels sprouts, they begin to omit the sulfurous smell that gives them a stinky reputation.
As we now know, overcooking also depletes the nutrients of the sprout. Which you definitely don’t want to do in this case. Brussels sprouts are high in fiber and Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Iron, folate and other minerals and they are often cited as one of the top cancer-fighting foods. Also, due to their cruciferous nature, they reduce inflammation and heart disease.
When cooked right, Brussels sprouts can be one of the most delicious, hearty vegetables on your plate.
My friend and fellow Roslyn mom Lisa Olszewski brings Brussels sprouts to many local gatherings, and has converted many moms and kids alike to huge fans. Lisa’s cooking method is a perfect and simple:
Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and bake at 400 degrees just until edges brown.
Lisa says, “For me, the crunchy outside combined with an almost creamy inside make Brussels sprouts surprisingly yummy. They are also super healthy, and idiot-proof because they are so easy to make! They have become a guilt-free go-to snack for my family.”
For a holiday preparation, include ½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds and ½ cup dried cranberries before preparing and baking.
Salads of raw Brussels sprouts can be delicious including similar sweet and savory additions and Lisa Olszewski’s Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe is always a winner.
3-1/2 cups Brussels sprout leaves, coarsely chopped
½ cup almonds
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ minced green onions
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Dash garlic salt
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital registered dietician, Melodi Peters, says – love them or hate them – Brussels sprouts are extremely nutritious.
“At only about 10 calories each, Brussels sprouts are low in fat and sodium, high in dietary fiber and are cholesterol free. They also contain high levels of specific health-promoting compounds called glucosinolates which have proven health benefits in the area of cancer prevention.”
So as you plan your holiday menus this month, give Brussels sprouts another thought and help take that Tasty Tuesday talk from the school cafeterias to our dinner tables at home.
Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.
Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our regular food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!
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