Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family with small, bright green heads of compact leaves. Prepare them with simple, healthy ingredients to create interesting, low-calorie dishes for your family that take advantage of the vegetable's natural sweet flavor. The key to delicious Brussels sprouts is not overcooking them. The stem end of the sprout should be just tender when you insert a knife into the base.
Trim any yellowing outer leaves and slice off the stems. Microwave them for about 3 minutes so that they are partly cooked. Thread the Brussels sprouts onto metal skewers, leaving about 1/2-inch of space between each sprout and sprinkle them with dried seasoning mix. Grill them covered over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning them once halfway through cooking. Select Brussels sprouts of uniform size to ensure even cooking. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the sprouts before serving.
Sauteing Brussels sprouts gives you lots of flexibility for experimenting with ingredients. Halve or slice trimmed Brussels sprouts and saute them in a teaspoon or so of olive oil for several minutes until they are tender but still firm. The sprouts' green color will brighten when cooked to the correct degree. Mix the sprouts with garlic, chopped nuts or chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries or apricots, or top them with a dusting of grated cheese.
Boiling is a basic way to prepare Brussels sprouts. Unfortunately, sprouts prepared in this manner are often overcooked, leaving them mushy, gray-looking and unappealing. A properly boiled Brussels sprout is tender yet crisp, not soggy. Place trimmed and rinsed sprouts in a pot of boiling water and cook them over high heat for 10 minutes. For more even cooking, score an "X" shape in the stem end of each Brussels sprout so the core will cook faster. Plunge the boiled sprouts in cold water to stop the cooking and slice them for inclusion in a green salad tossed with light dressing.
Steaming is a healthful way of preparing Brussels sprouts because no oil is needed and vegetables retain their nutritional content when steamed. Place whole or halved trimmed Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket over an inch or two of boiling water, making sure the bottom of the basket sits above the water. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 7 or 8 minutes. Remove the sprouts when they are just tender. Combine the steamed sprouts with roast potatoes and carrots for a hearty and healthy side.