This week’s Food Network Chef’s Cooking Challenge features Claire Robinson.  This is one of the rare weekend only shows (5 Ingredient Fix) that I have actually seen a few times.  When it first premiered I watched several episodes.  I like her; seems very warm and approachable, and her recipes are very easy (with only 5 ingredients + salt, pepper and oil, how could they be tough, right? ;)).   Her food always looks so inviting (at least in the episodes I watched). Honestly, there were several times that I wanted to jump up, buy the ingredients and start cooking before she could even finish.


I will say that *most* of her recipes that I have seen are basic recipes, and really directed at a novice cook.  Her creamed spinach for instance is (shock) spinach and cream.


Bonus Review!


I have made her Sunday Roast Beef and Gravy and Thyme for Yorkshire Puddings twice before.  The roast is not budget friendly; for us at least it’s a special occasion cut of meat  (we had it for Easter and for my birthday).  But it came out PERFECTLY with her directions.  Perfectly pink, tender and soooooo good, which is why we had it again on my birthday.  I requested that for my meal, as I had only been home from the hospital a few days, recovering from the c-section, and mom was there to cook, as there was no way we were going out 😉  I’d never had Yorkshire puddings before I made them on Easter, so having a basic recipe was good.  They are like eggy popovers and with a little gravy drizzled over them, I thought they were fantastic.  However, I was not thrilled with the gravy that is listed with the roast.  Because it’s part of the roast recipe, she didn’t have many ingredients left for gravy I guess.  In order to get it thick enough to really BE gravy and not a pan sauce, it would have to reduce a very long time.  The second time we had it my mom just made a basic beef gravy, which was heavenly on the puddings.  The only other note is — read the Yorkshire pudding recipe all the way through well before you want to cook.  It’s got some resting time, and uses fat from the roast, so you want to plan for those things.


Anyway, on to the current review!


So far,  I’ve always picked a main dish to review.  Not this week.  I love Brussels Sprouts.  I’ve never met one that I didn’t like.  Fresh, frozen.  Cooked crisp tender or boiled until its limp as a wet noodle — I just love them.  I’ve never imagined them with apples.  Even more confusing is having them with *raw* apples. So I just had to try this one.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts


4 ounces thick slab applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved lengthwise

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a sheet pan, lay out bacon slices. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and the fat has rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Carefully toss Brussels sprouts in the hot pan, and season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven, and roast, turning once, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, [add] the walnuts and apples and toss to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the bacon, and serve warm.

I ended up making this on Monday, and the hubby was gone for dinner, so it was just me.  I thought they were just OK.  I like brussels with nuts, but the apples were very strange with it.   The texture was nice, the crisp apples with the crispy outsides, soft insides of the sprouts was a nice contrast.  But I couldn’t get past the weird (to me) flavor combonation of apples and brussels.  I would probably eat it again if someone else made it (I never met a brussels that I didn’t like, remember!) but I wouldn’t make these again, with the apples.  I do like them roasted wth the walnuts.  If you’ve never tried them roasted before, you should!


Edit:  DOH!  Reading Mubs review of these, I was reminded that I forgot to post that the time was off for roasting.  My oven is on its last legs (so sad, I adore my stove), and things generally take a little longer to cook than normal, but it still took a good 30-35 minutes to cook them.  Maybe she was using smaller sprouts.  I picked up mine still on the stalk at a world market near by and they varied from pretty big to down right huge.  I debated quartering them, but in the end I just halved as she said and it took nearly twice as long.


And my camera fritzed out.  I only took a few photos because my DH was out seeing John Cleese and I was juggling the 5 year old kidlet, the 5 month old baby and meal prep.  Because I’ve had so many problems with my camera I usually take 2-3 shots of everything.  I didn’t this time and paid for it with a lack of pictures.  Sorry!