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no canned vegetables allowed

When I was growing up, we very seldom had fresh vegetables. No frozen vegetables either. Canned vegetables, that’s what we ate.

There was the occasional fresh corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and of course, lettuce – mostly iceberg. But tinny-tasting canned veggies were king at our house.

  • Canned peas (mushy with an unappetizing dull green-gray in color)
  • Canned green beans (ditto)
  • Canned beets (I can’t even!)
  • Canned lima beans (Please, NO!)
  • Canned spinach (especially tinny, watery, and gray-green)
  • Canned carrots (the worst of them all!)
  • Canned corn (this is the only one that I will eat today – I admit to  a strange weakness for canned cream corn)

Exceptions: Canned beans (pinto, black, kidney, etc.) and canned tomatoes – these are allowed in my pantry and in my cooking. Although I’m always using them as a component in a dish, not just heating them up and eating them as is.

It goes without saying, that I hated most vegetables throughout my childhood and into early adulthood. And it took years to get up the courage to taste fresh versions of those canned nightmares.

It took decades longer to try “exotic” (think asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and the like) vegetables. Today, I love almost all vegetables. The only holdouts that I still can’t acquire a taste for are beets (taste like dirt to me) and carrots. I know, carrots, of all things, but I still don’t like them cooked or even raw.

I didn’t have my first Brussels sprout until 1999 or 2000 and I didn’t see them fresh on the stalk until 2013 when I posted this recipe. Seriously, I never had seen them on the stalk before that day when I walked into Trader Joe’s and there was that strange-looking thing!  Now they are one of my favorite, especially roasted, as in this easy side dish.

**Please feel free to share any of your childhood “food nightmares” in the comments section. I have more, a real whopper of a tale involving hot cereals.

* After all, that nightmare talk, let me say that growing up in Scottsdale wasn’t all that bad. I mean when you wake up to a sunrise like this, you know that life is nothing but good!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Chili Sauce

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 5 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place one rack in the top third of the oven.

On a baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts in the olive oil to evenly coat.

Roast on the lower rack of the oven for 20 minutes, tossing after the first 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the broiler to high.

In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, fish sauce, and 3 tablespoons of the sweet chili sauce, then pour over the Brussels sprouts, tossing to evenly coat.

Broil the Brussels sprouts for 5 minutes or until the chili sauce is bubbling and caramelizing. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a serving bowl.

Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce and sprinkle with cilantro, then serve immediately.

Serves 4




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1 Betsy { 03.02.17 at 7:40 AM }

Totally agree with you on caned vegetables! But like carrots roasted or cooked in chicken broth.
Love Brussel Sprouts but not sure about fish sauce

2 Shelley { 03.02.17 at 10:41 AM }

This looks great! Elizabeth and I love roasted Brussel Sprouts, and this will be an interesting variation to try 🙂 Thanks!
Oh, Elizabeth got accepted to a summer camp in University of Florida where meals are not provided. She will either eat out or cook her own food. The cooking skills she learned from you would come in handy 🙂 Big Thanks!

3 Amy G { 03.02.17 at 2:25 PM }

Hi Linda! Your mention of hot cereal reminded me of my food nightmare….
Summer after 5th grade, I’m at Girl Scout camp… any locals remember Camp Maripai outside of Prescott? So, breakfast one day was my worst…Shredded Wheat! I was served one of the EXTRA LARGE nasty blocks, dosed with hot water to soften it and of course, it started to expand. Ugh, I couldn’t even eat one bite. Which consequently meant I had to sit at the table (hard bench seat), by myself in the dining hall, staring at the wheat pellet growing larger by the minute, while everyone else got to leave for the morning activity, which was a hike! I sat until lunch, when they finally let me throw my breakfast in the trash!
To this day, I will not touch Shredded Wheat, not even the cute, little frosted variety available now!

4 Lori Vento { 03.02.17 at 5:53 PM }

I think I have shared this with you before, but maybe not . . .so here goes. When I was a child- the cuisine night I feared and dreaded more than any was the night my mom served brussel sprouts! I’m sure it was the old-school way my mom prepared them . . . and no shaming here @ all. It was the way EVERYONE prepared them in the old days. Steamed with some good, old American Velvetta Cheese melted over the top to please my dad. Around 5, the whole house was permeated with the rank smell of the offending vegetable-no where to run, no where to hide from it. And of course, as in many households- my parents dinner table rule was “there are starving children in India” . . . .eat everything on your plate. No matter how much I pushed them around on my plate or how long I had to sit there- I had to each those suckers. Cold, dead brussel sprouts. I can still recall their taste and odor to this day. YUK!! Being an resourceful kid- of course I figured out if I waited long enough-my parents would eventually vacate the kitchen and I could strategically spit the offenders into my dinner napkin and walk away. Sadly, I was resourceful but apparently not very smart. Instead of getting rid of the evidence down the toilet and flushing (which I felt was way too obvious.) A much better solution in my 8-year old mind, was to hide them in one of my bureau drawers in my room. Wow-so not smart. . . . and obviously this was fatal flaw in my brussel sprout scam. After a month, my mom came into my room one day while I was school and could not take the weird, rank smell eminating from it. It had troubled her for some time. Well, you can imagine the scene when I got home from school. My mom met me @ the door with a handful of the worst looking crap in a napkin I had ever seen. For a few seconds, I was half-afraid she was going to make me eat it again. . . . .but she busted into laughter and promised I could with just this one dreaded vegetable be let off the hook from the clean plate club in the future. I could have danced a jig.

Fast forward to today and one of my favorite vegetables to fix or eat out are of course the amazing brussel sprout and the way they are prepared today. My mom just shakes her head in amazement 🙂

Thanks for the beautiful recipe Miss Linda! Can’t wait to try it!

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