The end of the school year is quickly giving away to the first days of summer break. Parents, teachers, and students everywhere are racing towards the finish line with arms outstretched, ready to clutch the freedom that summer brings, the ultimate prize. Except we have spent all year building up summer vacation in our minds. We’ve envisioned lazy mornings spent sleeping in. Beach days so numerous that sand begins collecting at the front door. For most of us, the reality of summer doesn’t quite hit the expectations. In reality, it’s the usual 8am wake-up call, sand caked into crevices it doesn’t belong and long days under the hot sun for tee ball and day camp. It’s juggling schedules so someone is home for the kids. It’s the same chaos of the school year without the organized structure of consistent schedules. Somehow it all works out in the end but one of our greatest struggles is dinner. I often find myself muttering about the injustice that dinner comes around every single night when we finally have free time.
So while I strive for homemade meals on a regular basis, sometimes it’s about saving my sanity. While homemade meals are the “golden standard” for many families, we live in a busy world where whipping up homemade dishes every night can be challenging. Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese is an easy solution that you can feel good about feeding your family.
Life’s all about balance and one of the ways you can save your sanity and build a balanced meal is by using frozen prepared foods as your base and pair with an easy-to-make side dish made of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and/or low-fat dairy. Frozen prepared foods are a great time saver and there are so many new dishes and flavors to choose from.
One of my favorite easy weekday dinner recipes is Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts. The sweet veggie pairs perfectly with nearly any protein and savory side, like simple shrimp scampi and Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese recipe includes real, simple ingredients, like freshly made pasta, cheddar cheese, milk and butter. Just add a cup of fresh fruit and you will have hit all the major food groups for a balanced plate with minimal effort!
Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts Recipe
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tsbp light or dark brown sugar, packed
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Add brussels sprouts and olive oil to a 1 gallon zip lock bag. Zip close and shake to coat evenly.
- Place brussels sprouts on aluminum foil lined baking sheet with the cut-side (flat side) face down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the tops of some of the sprouts begin to crisp/turn light brown.
- While the brussels sprouts bake, stir together vinegar and 2 tbsp brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring often. Reduce to medium heat and allow to boil for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced by half. You can go longer or shorter depending on desired thickness. Stir occasionally. Set saucepan aside.
- Remove brussels sprouts from oven and turn over with tongs or a fork. Sprinkle salt and pepper then drizzle with balsamic reduction. Use remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar and sprinkle each sprout.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until sprouts are as caramelized and browned as desired.
*NOTE* To save calories and make this low to no sugar side, I use Xylitol! It tastes exactly the same as sugar but without the guilt!
For more deliciousness, check out Stouffer’s Pinterest Page.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.