How To Know If A Recipe Is A Keeper

This afternoon was quite different from the norm. Because it was a teacher work day, we were allowed an hour for lunch. I didn’t realize that lunch was at 11, which is an hour earlier then I usually eat…so I was pretty pumped about this considering I am starving by 11 for lunch (is that normal??).

I decided to make a recipe from my favorite cookbook at the moment from the Weight Watchers Points Plus program called the “Power Foods Cookbook”. I do try to follow the Weight Watchers program, and find that many of their recipes are simple and delicious! I was excited to be able to have a fresh cooked meal at lunch time instead of my usual packed lunch which can tend to get boring as we all know.

Me with my favorite cookbook! My hair is always so pretty on Fridays 🙂 
Brussel Sprouts with Chickpeas and Grapes


1 pound of Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved (I completely missed this part and ended up not cutting mine in half, it made for a nice big mouth full of a full on brussel sprout…this is what happens when I am starving and try to follow a recipe)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced (I didn’t have this so I subbed in a half of a red onion, use what ya got!)
2 garlic cloves, minced (see below my favorite “Mama trick”)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (I didn’t have fresh, but the dry kind worked just fine)
1 1/2 cups halved seedless red grapes (plus about 1 cup extra to munch on while cooking:)
1/2 cup canned chickpeas (I used the entire can…I have having left over beans, don’t know why but it is a pet peeve of mine)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon salt (or just a little shake shake shake)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (this seems like a not so important ingredient but it is a MUST)
How to Make It:

1. Steam brussel sprouts, I put mine in a microwave safe bowl with 4 tbsp of water and put plastic wrap on top with a little venting, pop in microwave for 5 minutes…walaaa
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme and cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Add grapes and cook for about 3 minutes.
4. Add brussel sprouts, chickpeas, sherry and salt. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add lemon zest!
Serves 4, Serving size: 1 cup, Points + 4
Result/My Critique:
My first bite made me think of Thanksgiving. It was delicious and hit the spot. I also felt really full from just one cup, usually I need more then the serving size to feel satisfied (maybe thats my problem:). I would suggest making as a side with some chicken or great to take and heat up for lunch!
The way I know a recipe is a keeper…. is if you “pick” and eat more before you put away in a Tupperware:) I definitely did that with this one!
If you know me, you know I cannot go a day with out a dessert of some sort. Heck, I can’t go a MEAL with out dessert! So today I had a Chobani Apple Cinnamon Yogurt with a sliced banana…it was delightful or as my Mom would say “lovely”…she is probably just now eating her “Cottage Cheese and Pineapple”…She is usually eating breakfast when I eat dinner:) love ya mom!
A Mama Trick:
 I will try and share “Mama Tricks” when I think of them. My mom is a pretty smart lady when it comes to cooking and she always shares little “tid bits” with me when I am in her kitchen. Sometimes I like them, and sometimes I have to tell her to “back off”…but what she doesn’t know is that I always listen to the tricks (I just may act like I’m not). You can find these little Gourmet Garden herbs in the Herb Section (go figure)…but it is right near the dry stuff. It is awesome because it stays fresh in fridge or freezer so just pull it out and it’s like you have your own herb garden in your fridge! OKay, Okay it may not be as good as the fresh garden stuff, but close enough! They have all different kinds…cilantro, basil, parsley…you name it. That is your Mama Trick for the day:)
What do you like to have for dessert at breakfast, lunch or dinner? Or maybe you are normal and don’t do this:)

Have you learned any tricks from parents, aunts, uncles to help make you a better cook or baker?

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