Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Minute Holiday Party Ideas Ch. 2: Mushroom wraps and Brussels sprouts

Here are three easy recipes that can be pulled out last minute for any holiday party! Sorry that two of them are with Brussels sprouts, but 'tis the season! 

Chicken and mushroom pastry wrap
8oz chicken
1 box mushrooms (button or portabello) 
1 onion
1 pastry sheet (I used Pillsbury)
1 egg
4 slices American cheese (I used Kraft)
5 cloves of garlic
spices: salt, pepper, thyme

1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
2. Chop the chicken, mushroom, and onion into small pieces. Pan fry all those ingredients with the garlic (add the chicken in last). 
3. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.
4. Lay out the pastry sheet on a flat baking tray and line the ingredients down the middle of the sheet. 
5. Then place the cheese slices over the cooked ingredients and fold the pastry over (I have yet to perfect a technique). 
6. Brush over with a beaten egg. Bake for 35 minutes. 


Brussels Sprouts with Truffle Oil
1 stalk Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoon canola oil
5 cloves of garlic 
salt, pepper
3 tablespoon white truffle oil (I had a bottle leftover from Thanksgiving that I'm trying to incorporate into all my cooking)

1. Quickly blanch the brussel sprouts in boiling water. This supposedly helps removes some of the bitter flavor. 
2. Then sautee the garlic in the heated vegetable oil. Add the brussel sprouts and pan fry them until thoroughly cooked and they have a nice brown or slightly burnt color on the outside. This should take about 8 minutes (I used baby brussel sprouts, so they were a bit smaller). 
3. Remove from heat and mix with the truffle oil. 


Festive Holiday Brussels Sprouts (in a Darth Vader pan)
1 stalk Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup whole dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans, toasted
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs canola oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake Brussels sprouts with olive oil for 10 minutes.
2. Heat the pan with canola oil. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir fry until browned. Add balsamic vinegar.
3. Mix in the cranberries and pecans. 

✓ fiber
✓ vegetable
✓ monounsaturated fats

Wishing everyone a happy holidays filled with great food and warm company! 


  1. you seem a bit heavy-handed in your oil use. don't you think 1 tablespoon of oil total is plenty for each of these recipes? 3-5 tbspns for a recipe that serves about four is slightly insane... it makes a healthy vegetable dish quite calorie-laden!

    1. Insane is a strong word. Even with the calories from the oil, this is still most definitely a healthy vegetable dish. I'm a strong advocate for high fat diets, and I aim to have about 25-35% of my calories in “healthy fats”, which amounts to about 55-78g of fat a day. Consuming enough monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and Omega-3’s help clear your body of excess cholesterol and maintain healthy blood pressure. I get my “healthy fats” mostly from fish, nuts, seeds, and oils.

      When I cook, I alternate between using olive, canola, and peanut oil depending on how high of a temperature the food will be prepared with and the flavor palette I am trying to achieve. All these oils are a combination of different proportions of mostly monounsaturated, then polyunsaturated and saturated fats. The oils are about 14g of fat per tablespoon, which is only about 18-25% of my daily fat allowance and 6% of my daily caloric needs (I'm basing this off of a 2000kcal diet).

      With my fat-calorie-laden diet, I also try to make sure that >50% of the volume of the food that I am eating is from vegetables. In this case, Brussels sprouts are low in calories and packed with nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. You also need to use some amount of oil to help absorb the fat soluble vitamins (especially vitamins A, D, and K) found in vegetables. Furthermore, both fiber and fat aid in satiety, so I will be happily full and bloated after dinner. Plus, going to the bathroom the next morning will be a breeze.

      For the recipe with the truffle oil, you unfortunately really can't get the proper essence of the truffle without using more of the oil. Truffle oil is typically made with either olive or grapeseed oil plus infused truffle accents. I am willing to eat a few more extra calories here to make sure my senses are appeased.

      And yes, the festive holiday Brussels sprouts will definitely be a bit more energy dense because of the oil, nuts, and dried fruit combined, but it is also very nutritiously dense as well! Think about all the nutrients you are getting from all the different ingredients in the dish.

      You should obviously use less oil if you feel that 3-5tbs is too excessive. Whenever I borrow recipes, I make a lot of minor changes to make them more attuned to what I need to balance my diet. If you believe that you need to watch your calories, I would recommend reviewing your overall diet and looking for places to cut saturated fat, refined grain, or added sugar intake.

      And come on, fat makes everything taste better.