Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is from Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Foolproof. 

This cookbook is beautiful and has some amazing looking recipes.  I look forward making dishes from it.  She also has really great tips on entertaining that make it possible to enjoy your dinner party because you’re not frantically cooking while your guests are at the table.  This recipe is delicious and could easily be made without the pancetta for vegetarians.  It is amazing what happens when you roast vegetables at high heat.

My only experience with brussels sprouts growing up was seeing them at Luby’s and being too scared to order them (after all –the LuAnn platter of one main dish and two sides required me to have the 1/2 breaded fish filet, with mashed potatoes and corn!)

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core

4 oz. pancetta, sliced ¼” thick (I used Columbus pancetta, that is already cut into ¼” dice)

1/4 Cup good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar (see note)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted.  Cut the pancetta into ½” dice and add to pan.  Add the olive oil, 1 ½ tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss with your hands.  Spread out the mixture in a single layer.

Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked.  Toss once during roasting.  Remove from oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar and toss again.  Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Note:  You can buy aged balsamic vinegar, which can be very expensive, or you can boil good balsamic vinegar until reduced to half its volume and it will be become syrupy as well.  (I bought the Kirkland Brand of Balsamic Vinegar from Modena and it is actually quite syrupy and quite reasonable.)

Brussels Sprouts Prior to Roasting

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Roasted Sweet Potatoes

As you know, I love roasted vegetables. Love them! I love roasted mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. I found this recipe on pinterest. I tried it once and mostly followed the recipe (adding some olive oil instead of all butter and adding garlic because garlic makes everything better, in my opinion.) It was a hit with my family. I tried to make it again a month or so later and when I went to retrieve the recipe from pinterest, it was gone! The picture was there but the original website it was linked to was no longer available so I had to improvise since I couldn’t remember exact proportions. This is the recipe I used and they turned out delicious.  I am sure that you and your family will like these! Mine did! Enjoy.


2 sweet potatoes or yams

1 tablespoon of butter

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic sliced

Kosher Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, peel and cube sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place in a glass baking dish. Place slices of garlic in olive oil in a small bowl to coat garlic. Add olive oil mixture to sweet potatoes (this ensures the garlic won’t scorch). Use more or less olive oil depending on how many sweet potatoes or yams you use.  Cut butter into small pieces and add to mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and slightly browned and caramelized. Enjoy!

I served this with red lentils and homemade pita bread. Recipes to come!

Roasted Vegetables

I love to cook vegetables. It has always been my goal to make vegetables that are tasty and I know when I have achieved this when my kids ask for more. I went through a phase where I mainly sautéed vegetables. Then I went through a phase where I blanched them prior to sauteing. But recently, I have cooked vegetables, a variety of vegetables, by roasting them and I must say that this is my new preferred method. Lisa gave me a wonderful cookbook Barefoot Contessa: back to Basics by Ina Garten. I used her method of roasting in her recipe Oven Roasted Vegetables with a variety of vegetables. In Ina Garten’s recipe, she uses fennel bulbs, potatoes, string beans, and asparagus. I am using her method with vegetables that I can find that are in season (mostly). Here is my adaptation of her recipe using mushrooms and zucchini.


Oven Roasted Vegetables


1 and 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (your choice) sliced in half

2 zuchinni cut into 1/4 inch slices

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

2-3 cloves of fresh garlic sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Drizzle Olive Oil at the bottom of a pan and spread around with a brush. Place cut vegetable on the pan and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Sprinkle with salt and two types of pepper. Add as much or as little pepper as you like according to taste. Toss vegetables. Cook for 30 minutes. Place garlic slices in a small bown and mix in enough olive oil to coat garlic. (Garlic tends to burn easily). Add garlic to vegetables in the oven and toss. Cook for additional 10 minutes. Remember that cooking times may vary depending on the pan you use (dark pans will cook vegetables more quickly), and the size of the vegetables (resist the urge to cut the vegetable into pieces that are two small as they will decrease in size greatly during the roasting process).

Serve and enjoy!