Ginger-Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted brussels sprouts are dressed up with fresh ginger and rosemary for a bright and flavorful side dish.

Ginger-Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts | thepajamachef.com

I guess this is Thanksgiving side dish week on the blog! Monday was Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin. Today is Ginger-Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts. And Friday? Well, you’ll just have to be surprised. But let’s focus on today, mmmkay? I know brussels sprouts are popular in the blogging world. How ’bout in the real world? Well, I have no idea. I don’t know many non-foodies who like them. My own mother doesn’t even like ‘em! So sorry, brussels sprouts! Fortunately… Ben and I both do, much to my surprise.

Ginger-Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts | thepajamachef.com

Roasting brussels sprouts is the ONLY way to go, in my opinion. It’s easy, delicious, and takes almost no work. Roasting veggies is a classic way to get a deep, sweet, caramelized flavor into your veggies. Then you can play around with your seasonings. The sky is the limit!

Ginger-Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts | thepajamachef.com

This time, I chose to season my dish with fresh grated ginger and rosemary, mainly out of convenience. I had some fresh ginger leftover from another recipe and I thought the spicy, peppery sweetness of ginger would be awesome with the piney, fresh rosemary from my mom’s friend’s plant. Ooooh was that combo delicious! I know ginger and rosemary together might not sound super traditional, but it works. Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls
three years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
four years ago: Hawaiian Chicken

Ginger-Rosemary Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 40 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice brussels sprouts in half, trimming edges as necessary. Place in a large bowl, then drizzle with olive oil. Grate ginger over top, then add chopped rosemary. Season with pepper and salt, then toss. Spread in an even layer on baking sheet. Don’t worry if some slivers fall off–they can be roasted and are great when crispy.

Roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Serve immediately, seasoning with more pepper as necessary.

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Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin

An easy, cheesy butternut squash side dish… with an impressive presentation! The best new Thanksgiving side dish. :)

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | thepajamachef.com #Thanksgiving

If you make ONE new Thanksgiving side dish this year, this totally should be the one! It is absolutely perfect, and a great way to introduce butternut squash to squash skeptics. I mean, isn’t it gorgeous… golden and beautiful?!? One of the fun things about butternut squash is it’s shape. It’s just so BIG for a vegetable! It’s always a shame to take the fun shape and puree it up into soup, mac and cheese, etc. Don’t get me wrong, those are delicious ways to enjoy this sweet ‘n nutty squash. But I always like to do something different! And this au gratin starring butternut squash is definitely different. Ben looked a picture and asked if it was potatoes. No, no, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not amazing!

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | thepajamachef.com #Thanksgiving

With this Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin you’ve got SO many layers of flavor. Sweet squash, garlic butter, crisp bread crumbs, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. Ohhh yum. It’s just so good. I’m not sure how anyone could resist. I couldn’t keep my fork outta the serving dish!

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | thepajamachef.com #Thanksgiving

It’s the kind of side that’s perfect on its own–hearty, cheesy, and delicious with the perfect balance of flavors. However, I’m sitting here on my couch dreaming of ways to, shall we say, enhance the amazingness for Thanksgiving day. Isn’t Thanksgiving about going all over the top? Adding some chopped bacon to the topping, layering butternut squash with sliced apples, or even drizzling the whole dish with some pesto just sounds wonderful to me! But even without those enhancements, this butternut squash dish is such a winner! Hope it brings joy to your table this year. So sorry, so cheesy. :)

Parmesan Butternut Squash Au Gratin | thepajamachef.com #Thanksgiving

one year ago: Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
two years ago: Pork, Apple, and Ginger Stir Fry
three years ago: Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, and Coconut
four years ago: Stovetop Mac & Cheese with Broccoli

Parmesan-Butternut Squash Au Gratin

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 75 minutes
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from Betty Crocker

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash [about 2 1/2 pounds]
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs – like oregano or parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish [9×13 inch pan, or a 10 inch round baking dish] with cooking spray.

Poke butternut squash all over with a fork, then microwave for about 2 minutes. Remove and cool for a few minutes before peeling. This makes it much easier to peel and slice the squash. Peel butternut squash, then halve and deseed. Slice squash into 1/2 inch thick slices, then arrange in bottom of baking dish, overlapping as necessary.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Turn to low and add garlic. Stir constantly as butter cooks for 2-3 minutes. Don’t brown the butter, just cook until garlic softens.

In a small bowl, stir together panko, Parmesan, pepper, and 1 tablespoon garlic butter. Brush  remaining garlic butter over squash, then sprinkle with panko mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until squash is cooked through. Turn oven up to 425 degrees F and cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until topping turns golden brown. Top with herbs before serving.

Cranberry Mint Relish + What To Do With All That Mint

A refreshing take on a traditional cranberry relish!

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.com

My favorite part of any holiday meal is the cranberry sauce. I’m picky about it though–it can’t be canned, and it can’t have nuts. I used to be a purist and only liked the traditional cranberry orange relish. But these gingered cranberry-apricot sauce and cranberry-pineapple sauce have opened up the doors for some experimentation. So this weekend, when I had a bag of cranberries in one hand and a ginormously huge mint plant in the other that had to be used up before the weather goes whacko this week, I thought, what the heck, and threw some mint in the mix. And you know what? It was pretty awesome. Adding mint to traditional cranberry relish seems pretty novel [but I’m sure others have done it] and it lends a little pop to this sweet-tart side dish. You should totally try it this fall! And it only takes a few minutes to make so you’ve got nothing to lose. :)

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.comAs for all the rest of that mint plant… quite a bit went into that jar of mint sugar on the left and those jars of mint extract on the right. There are tons of tutorials online for both delicacies, but I just layered fresh mint with sugar in one jar and have been shaking it once a day since Sunday. In about a week it’s supposed to be ready to enjoy. I can’t wait! And to make the mint extract I added vodka [eeeekkkkk] to mint that had been gently mashed in a mason jar. There’s a technical term for “mashed” but it’s escaping me at the moment. :) Easy easy! My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I needed some cheap alcohol for cooking. Hahaha. COOKING not drinking, haha don’t worry. That’s how you do things in homemade-everything-land. We’ll see how they turn out. I’ll have to give you guys an update, k? In the meantime, this cranberry mint relish is FAB so don’t wait til Thanksgiving to enjoy. I can’t wait to taste it on turkey!

one year ago: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
two years ago: Carnitas
three years ago: Best Pancakes Ever
four years ago: Pumpkin French Toast Sandwich

Cranberry Mint Relish

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 5 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 1 orange, scrubbed clean and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Place cranberries, orange, mint, and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor. Pulse until processed to desired consistency. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to set flavors.

Sriracha Fried Rice

A unique, spicy fried rice with the egg on top! If spice isn’t your thing, just use a little Sriracha for flavor!

Sriracha Fried Rice | thepajamachef.comOhhh yeah. This dinner is my new BFF. I’ve made it more times in the last few months than I can count. It’s full of flavor, is super simple, and uses one of my favorite under-appreciated vegetables–cabbage! It’s rare for us not have have some leftover rice in the fridge because Ben lives on that stuff. And lucky for me–rice is cheap, and it lasts in the fridge or freezer for awhile. But that “lasting’ sometimes means there’s more leftover rice than I know what to do with. Enter fried rice. You can make a normal fried rice like this one or a kale fried rice or a pineapple fried rice, or you can make a kicked up vegetarian version. Like this one! Sriracha is everyone’s favorite spicy condiment so now you have another use for it!

Sriracha Fried Rice | thepajamachef.comThis dinner hits the spot when you want something homey and comforting but don’t want to wait or take the time to cook a big meal. Sriracha Fried Rice takes a bunch of leftovers [like that cabbage you bought for slaw or to add to salad] and turns them into something amazing! I love the nuttiness of the sesame oil and sesame seeds that are added at the end. They give it another dimension of flavor…. and the leftovers are even better the next day! Just don’t forget the fried egg on top. Drippy yolk + spicy rice = amazing. I bet this would be great for breakfast too! Enjoy!

two years ago: Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
three years ago: Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake
four years ago: Pumpkin Ginger Bread

Sriracha Fried Rice

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, chopped or shredded [I usually use at least 2-3 cups cabbage, and sometimes even add in mustard greens too]
  • 1 splash Shaoxing wine [or dry sherry or Mirin]
  • 1 pinch sugar [omit if using Mirin since it’s already sweet]
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1-3 tablespoons Sriracha depending on your spice preferences
  • 4 cups cold, cooked rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoons oil and heat, then cook garlic for 30 seconds. Add onion, stirring to coat with oil, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add cabbage, wine/sherry/Mirin, and sugar and cook for another 4-5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add soy sauce and Sriracha, stirring well, then cook for another minute or so. Add rice, breaking up larger pieces with a wooden spoon, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook rice for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lastly, stir in sesame oil and green onions.

In another pan, heat remaining tablespoon of oil to fry your eggs to desired doneness.

Serve eggs on top of fried rice. Enjoy!

Menu Plan + Old Factory Candles Review

Menu Plan | thepajamachef.com

Week of November 9

Sunday: beef stroganoff with egg noodles
Monday: mexican rice & black beans
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: salad & baked potatoes
Thursday: out to eat
Friday: roast chicken
Saturday: some kind of pasta

A few weeks ago I received an email from Old Factory Candles asking if I’d like to try their candle gift set for review. Ben is obsessed with candles so of course I said yes! They have a bunch of different scents–all sold in sets of three complementary scents on Amazon. They seemed like a great company, committed to natural ingredients and quality products. Their candles are made of soy wax and are hand poured. After much deliberation we chose the fall harvest gift set and quickly received three flavors in the mail: Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry, and Autumn Leaves. They arrived neatly packaged and they smelled wonderful! Nothing fake or headache-inducing. Just like fall in a box. :)

fall harvest candles - a review on thepajamachef.com

So, what did I think? Overall these were great candles. They claim to burn for 20 hours each–quite an accomplishment since each is only 2 ounces. I haven’t burned any of them for quite that long, but I’m guessing that’s fairly accurate based on the amount of wax left after burning for about 5 hours in one stretch. I have heard that candles in general burn better if you can let them go for a long stretch as opposed to short bursts [no idea if that’s true or not] and I could see that may be true here. The scents were perfect for fall and smelled good without being overpowering. Pumpkin spice seemed the strongest of the ones I tried, and that’s a-okay with me! The packaging is simple and attractive and would match any decor. I liked that the candles were just white instead of being some crazy color. No need to coordinate with decor. Now, the cost. Would I pay $25 for three small candles, even if they did burn 20 hours each? Well, that’s a toss up. Depends on the day, honestly, and how spendy I’m feeling. Most of the large jar candles are sold for over $20 so it may be a good deal after all. They giftwrap and are sold through Amazon so that’s a win right there! I’m glad I was able to try these candles. I think they’d be a great Christmas gift. Thanks for the opportunity!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary gift set of Old Factory Candles to try and review on my blog and on Amazon. I was not compensated for my time or to publish positive comments. My opinions are my own.