Special of the day: Here’s to a Happy, Healthy New Year

08 Jan Special of the day: Here’s to a Happy, Healthy New Year

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

By now you have most likely tossed around a few New Year’s resolutions aimed at improving yourself in the coming year. Well, good for you. Here’s to a Happy Healthy New Year!

Adopting a healthy eating plan which focuses on food that is seasonal, sustainable, simple and pure is Dr. Andrew Weil’s food philosophy and the basis for his True Food Kitchen restaurants and cookbook of the same name.

Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. You may have read about his Anti-inflammatory Diet which embraces olive oil as its main fat, focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, limits foods of animal origin except for fish and high quality dairy products and avoids sugar but allows moderate consumption of red wine for its protective effects on the heart.

It’s great to have close friends who know you well, and such is the case with our group of high school pals, four of whom live in Great Falls and have been gathering for an annual Christmas Gift Exchange at the City Bar for years now. Luckily for me, my friend Karen had picked up a signed copy of Dr. Weil’s new cookbook, True Food: Seasonable, Sustainable, Simple, Pure, a collection of more than 125 delicious recipes from America’s healthiest restaurant, just for me, and I could not have been more thrilled.
When the Christmas calendar eventually cleared, I took a break and spent a lazy New Year’s Day leafing through the True Food cookbook dreaming up recipes of my own inspired by his simple, seasonal concoctions served at his True Food Kitchens, one of which we were lucky enough to eat at last spring in Scottsdale.

The book is filled with fresh and fabulous looking recipes and enticing photographs of best-selling items from their True Food Kitchen locations. Pick up a copy of your own locally at Barnes and Noble for $29.99. To get a taste of what’s in the cookbook, check out recipes from Dr. Weil’s website at http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03416/TRUE-FOOD-Seasonal-Sustainable-Simple-Pure.html.
If you happen to be traveling to Phoenix, Arizona, Newport Beach, California, Santa Monica, California, San Diego, California or Denver, Colorado, make plans to eat at a True Food Kitchen while you are there and try something delicious that’s good for you, too.

Or whip up a recipe or two inspired by Dr. Andrew Weil and his True Food in this week’s Special of the day column. Wishing you all the best in the coming year is this week’s Special of the day: Here’s to a Happy Healthy New Year! and recipes for Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction, Spicy Kale Chips and Bison Meatball Sliders with Sweet Marinara Sauce. Enjoy!

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction

*Reducing the balsamic vinegar yields a sweet syrupy sauce which offsets the Brussels Sprouts beautifully. Be careful not to cook the balsamic too long.

(Serves 4 as a side dish)

 1 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound fresh Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

¼ tsp. Kosher salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Pour balsamic vinegar into a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat oil in large stir fry pan or wok over medium high heat until hot. Add garlic and sauté until golden. Add Brussels Sprouts and sauté  until light golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and transfer Sautéed Brussels Sprouts to serving plates. Drizzle with Balsamic Reduction. Enjoy!

Spicy Kale Chips

Spicy Kale Chips

*Kale is rich in vitamins and minerals and has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.

(makes about 2 cups chips)

1 pound fresh Kale leaves

3 tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

½ tsp, smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil to cover. Tear Kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Bake in preheated oven 10-12 minutes until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Enjoy!

Bison Meatball Sliders with Sweet Marinara

Bison Meatball Sliders with Sweet Marinara Sauce

*Bison (American buffalo) meat contains about 1/3 the fat and 2/3 the calories of beef.

(makes about 12 meatball sliders)

1 pound ground bison

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbsp. fennel seeds

¾ cup Italian bread crumbs

¾ cup three cheese blend

Olive oil spray, for baking pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients. Use your hands to mix meatball mixture together until well-mixed. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop meatballs onto large baking pan sprayed with olive oil spray. Bake meatballs in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until meat is cooked through.

Sweet Marinara Sauce

2 tsp, olive oil

½ sweet onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil

½ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. dried basil

¼ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tbsp. sugar

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Cook garlic and onions until lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve:

12 whole wheat rolls

12 thin slices provolone

12 fresh basil leaves

Serve meatballs on whole wheat rolls with Sweet Marinara Sauce, a thin slide of provolone cheese and a fresh basil leaf. Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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