If there is ever a time to stick with traditions, it is Christmas. I love my Christmas traditions, it just won't feel like Christmas without a big Christmas Eve dinner, new Holiday pajamas for the family to wear to bed, cinnamon rolls and Southwestern Hashbrown Casserole for Christmas morning breakfast, and most important... Staying home in our pj's all day long playing with the kids new toys!
While I enjoy keeping with these particular traditions it is quite the opposite when it comes to Christmas Eve dinner. This is a big meal that Jon and I really have fun with. New meats, crazy side dishes, new and interesting twists on old classics, and fun desserts. I spend the weeks before the big meal hunting down new side dish recipes to try out while Jon comes up with big plans for the main meat dish. One thing remains certain though, we must have Brussels Sprouts on the table! I never grew up eating Brussels Sprouts, in fact I never tried them until I married Jon and he requested I cook some up. I grew up in a house where vegetables of every shape and size were in every meal, and we were not allowed to snub them. But my Dad would not touch the sprouts with a ten foot pole; therefore it was the one vegetable we never had to eat! Boy were we missing out, and I'm pretty sure even Dad would like my new Brussels Sprouts recipe. My Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Blue Cheese will turn even the biggest sprout hater into an all out fan!
The trick to cooking up good Brussels sprouts is blanching them quickly in salted boiling water before roasting or pan frying. This takes out the bitter cabbage taste that turns off most folks. Crumbled bacon and blue cheese add a salty creamy richness, the cranberries a sweet surprise, and orange juice keeps the dish bright and fresh. The key to all of this goodness is Litehouse's Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Center Cuts. We are a family full of blue cheese lovers and this stuff is simply the best, hands down. It is perfectly salty without being too pungent in taste. Creamy, rich, and everything blue cheese is supposed to be. Even my younger kids love this Litehouse product. During the making of this dish many blue cheese pieces were stolen from my cutting board and eaten on top of stolen cranberries and bacon crumbles. Cooking with good ingredients can be made difficult by my little food ninjas...
Before you turn up your nose to Brussels Sprouts, try this recipe. Bring it to Christmas potlucks and you'll turn many haters into lovers. Skewer the ingredients onto toothpicks for an appetizer sized version perfect for Holiday and New Years parties. Lighten it up by using raw shaved Brussels Sprouts and serving this dish as a tossed side salad (one of my Mom's favorite ways to eat the vegetable). This recipe is perfect for any occasion and may just end up becoming a new tradition in your house.