Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Lebanese Rice Pilaf

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Lebanese Rice Pilaf is a wonderful side dish for any occasion.  Tender rice gets speckled with toasted vermicelli noodles and topped with toasted pine nuts or almonds for added flavour and crunch.  The toasted vermicelli brings the rice to life with its nutty flavour and chewy texture.  Using ghee in this recipe adds extra flavour and helps the vermicelli turn deep amber in colour.  Ghee is butter, in which the milk solids have been toasted and then removed by straining to leave behind a nutty-tasting butter that can be used for higher-heat cooking because the milk solids have been removed and therefore don’t burn.

What makes a rice dish a pilaf?  This definition seems to vary a little between sources but generally refers to rice that is seasoned by using stock/broth and sometimes meat and vegetables. In other definitions, the rice is sautéed in butter or oil before adding the stock or broth.  Today’s recipe includes the use of chicken broth to add extra flavour and also lightly sautés the rice with ghee-laden vermicelli.  The benefit of sautéing the rice is to coat the rice grains with fat to create a fluffier rice that does not stick together.  Rinsing the rice well with cool water to remove the excess starch also helps to ensure fluffy rice. 

Today’s Lebanese Rice Pilaf is easy and produces fluffy, flavourful rice every time, so there’s no excuse to eat boring rice. Enjoy!

Looking for more delicious side dishes?

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Creamy Caper Smashed Potatoes

Mushroom Herb Rice

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Lebanese Rice Pilaf

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
  • 3/4 cup vermicelli pasta
  • 2 cups long grain rice like basmati
  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds

Instructions

  • Heat ghee in a large skillet. Add vermicelli and cook stirring frequently until a deep amber colour.
  • Rinse rice with cool water to remove the excess starch. Drain well and add to the pasta stirring to coat the rice grains in the fat.
  • Add chicken broth and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice and move it to a serving dish if desired. Garnish with parsley and toasted nuts.

Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

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Today’s Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns are so good served warm and fresh with flecks of garlic and Parmesan cheese. They’re a little crispy around the bottom and each bite is buttery and delicious. That is why this is a small-batch recipe. Simply put, they are best enjoyed the day they are made, warm and fresh from the oven, and you don’t always need a dozen of them for one meal.

They are easy to mix by hand with no special equipment required. Six is the perfect number for a small family enjoying a bowl of soup, stew or chili. I like to say they are meal-specific and made to tear apart and dunk into a luscious tomato sauce or hearty stew rather than sliced and piled with lunch meat.

These Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns do take a few hours, so plan accordingly. I like to initially mix a wet dough and allow it to rest to hydrate most of the flour. This will help with the first stages of kneading because the moisture has been absorbed by the flour. From here, the flour you knead into the dough can be readily absorbed.

The final dough should be tacky but not sticking to your fingers. The exact amount of flour will depend on your environment and measuring of the ingredients. Once the initial cup of flour has been kneaded into the dough, add flour by the teaspoon if needed until the dough is soft and a little tacky to the touch.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Garlic Parmesan Monkey Buns

Total Time 3 hours
Servings 6 Buns

Ingredients

.

Buns

  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Garlic Butter

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  • Warm the milk to 90 – 110°F.  Stir in the sugar and yeast and allow to bloom for 10 minutes.
  • To the milk add ¾ cup of the bread flour, melted butter,  salt, and garlic powder.  Stir to combine into a wet dough.  Cover and allow to hydrate for 15-20 minutes.
  • Spread the remaining ¼ cup of flour onto your work surface.  Scoop the dough onto the flour and sprinkle the top with flour as you start to knead.  Knead the dough, absorbing the flour gradually as you go until all the flour has been absorbed.  Knead for a total of 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and tacky to the touch.  If you require more flour, add it to your work surface a teaspoon at a time.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and allow to proof until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes depending on your environment.
  • Meanwhile, chop two cloves of garlic.  Add the parsley leaves to the garlic and finely mince together.  Set aside in a large bowl.
  • Once the dough has risen, scoop it out onto your work surface and knead gently two or three times to remove the air.  Divide dough evenly into six portions.
  • To the garlic and parsley add ¼ cup of butter that has been melted along with the Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
  • Cut each dough portion into 6 equal pieces and add to the butter.  Toss gently to combine.
  • Using a non-stick muffin tin, place 6 dough pieces into each tin cup, nestling them gently as you go.  Top each with any remaining butter mixture.
  • Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until puffy, about 30-40 minutes.
     
  • Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 20 minutes until golden.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a serving dish or cooling rack.

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Low Carb Almond Bread

Low Carb Almond Bread

Low Carb Almond Bread

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A stack of Low Carb Almond Bread resting on a wire rack with a fresh parsley garnish.

It is crazy how cheese can be made into something so bread-like!! Low Carb Almond Bread has a spongy texture and a chewy bread-like feel. It’s sturdy enough for your favourite sandwich and warms nicely in the toaster for your fried egg. This low carb, Keto-friendly bread also tastes great!!

A baked slab of Low Carb Almond Bread cooling on a wire rack.

You can use regular cream cheese, but I like to use flavoured for this recipe for something a little different. I like the garden vegetable for regular sandwiches and the herb and garlic for bread to serve with soup or stew. This great recipe is also super quick, being ready in about half an hour. Serve slightly warm right out of the pan, room temperature or lightly toasted in the toaster. You can use Low Carb Almond Bread for sandwiches, croutons, as a dipping bread, or a base for fried eggs and tuna melts. It’s a great way to keep your Keto diet on track with only 2.4 net carbs per slice. Enjoy!

An egg salad sandwich made with Low Carb Almond Bread is cut on the diagonal and speared with a toothpick olive.

Here’s the breakdown per slice when cutting into 12 slices per recipe.

Calories per slice: 202kcal

Net Carbs per slice: 2.4g

Fat per slice: 17.4g

Protein per slice: 9.25g

Want more low carb options?

Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

Beef Roulade

Tarragon Chicken Cutlets

A stack of Low Carb Almond Bread resting on a wire rack with a fresh parsley garnish.

Author:  Compelled to Cook, adapted from Pork Rind Keto Bread

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A stack of Low Carb Almond Bread resting on a wire rack with a fresh parsley garnish.
Low Carb Almond Bread
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    12 slices 15 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    12 slices 15 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    A stack of Low Carb Almond Bread resting on a wire rack with a fresh parsley garnish.
    Low Carb Almond Bread
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      12 slices 15 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      12 slices 15 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly spray a 10"x15" baking tray with non-stick spray and line with parchment if desired.
      2. Stir together almond flour and baking powder.
      3. To a large bowl add the cream cheese and mozzarella. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir and return to microwave for another minute. Stir until smoothed out. Add eggs one at a time whisking with a fork to incorporate each fully. Stir in parmesan cheese and dry ingredients. Spread evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 17-20 minutes.
      4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool cut into 12 squares.
      Recipe Notes

      -I like to use garden vegetable or herb and garlic cream cheese.  They add a nice twist to the taste.

      -The cut squares will last up to a month in the freezer in an airtight container or Ziplock bag.

      -Room temperature squares can be warmed in the toaster.

      -This bread holds up well when used for sandwiches, but also great topped with a fried egg or as a tuna melt.

       

      Braised Kale with Bacon

      Braised Kale with Bacon

      Braised Kale with Bacon

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      Braised Kale with Bacon served in a shallow white bowl resting on a wooden trivel and blue checkered kitchen towel.

      Bacon has its own food group for a reason, it makes people actually want to eat Kale, LOL! At least in my world it does, and autumn is the perfect season to enjoy plenty of robust braised greens. While this recipe has been made with kale, other greens like Swiss chard, beet greens or collards will work very well also. Braised Kale with Bacon is a great side dish with roasted meats, and if by chance you have any leftovers, it’s perfect to add to a frittata, baked pasta or simply topped with a runny egg. The latter being my personal favourite because I’m a firm believer that a runny egg makes the world a tastier place and the bacon is already included, so it’s a win-win scenario.

      Ingredients for Braised Kale with Bacon nestled in a shallow white tray.
      Sauteed onions in an off white dutch oven in preparation of Braised Kale with Bacon.

      Eating kale doesn’t have to mean you’re on a diet. The ratio of bacon and parmesan cheese in this recipe tips the healthy scale a little, but it’s also the reason it’s so tasty. Don’t be skimpy on the cheese my friends. Enjoy!

      Can’t eat kale, even with bacon? Here’s a few more veggie sides to choose from.

      Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli

      Garlicky Buttered Beans

      Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

      Author:  Compelled to Cook

       

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      Braised Kale with Bacon

      Prep Time 30 minutes
      Cook Time 15 minutes
      Total Time 45 minutes
      Servings 6 1/2 cup servings

      Ingredients

      • 10 ounces kale about 6 ounces trimmed
      • 4 ounces bacon, 3-4 slices, diced
      • 1 tbsp olive oil
      • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
      • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
      • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
      • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
      • 1/4 tsp pepper
      • 1 cup vegetable broth
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
      • 1/2 medium juice of 1/2 a lemon

      Instructions

      • Trim kale of ribs and stems and tear them into bite-size pieces.
      • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until rendered and crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
      • Add enough olive oil to the remaining bacon fat to equal 2 tbsp (you may not need it).
      • Add sliced onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add sliced garlic and chili flakes and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
      • Toss in trimmed kale and salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until kale is starting to wilt 3-5 minutes.
      • Pour in broth and water, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until kale is soft. Remove lid and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked out.
      • Add parmesan cheese and bacon and toss to combine. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately.

      Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins

      Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins

      Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins

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      A shallow wooden serving bowl stacked with freshly baked Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins.

      Cheesy and spicy with crispy, golden edges make these tender Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins one of my favourites. I have made them more times than I can remember because I like them that much. They are the perfect accompaniment to chili, stew, tomato soup or green salad and so good about ten minutes out of the oven. Just long enough for them to cool down enough to handle but are still warm on the inside and crispy on the outside.

      Baking ingredients being prepared for Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins with a muffin tin in the background.

      This lovely recipe originates with one of my favourite food bloggers, Joy the Baker. Joy notes that you can bake these muffins with liners in the muffin tins. You certainly can, but trust me, you do not want to! I find it is best to generously butter non-stick muffin tins to achieve a wonderfully golden muffin bottom that is crispy and chewy when eaten while still slightly warm. They will pop right out of the muffin tins too. When using liners, the muffins need to cool completely before peeling away the liner, otherwise, they will stick and you’ll miss out on the best part. In a nutshell, it’s lots of butter, no liners!!

      Freshly baked Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins on a wire rack..

      Do not be skimpy on the cheese!! It will seem like a lot, and the batter will be thick with an abundance of cheese, but the result is a gloriously cheesy muffin. It is also important not to over mix the batter. This is a quick bread and does not require gluten development, so only mix the wet and dry ingredients until they are combined. The batter won’t be completely smooth and that’s okay. The cheese needs to be folded in last so it doesn’t clog up the whisk and make everything gummy. It’s a quick and easy recipe that freezes well too. Simply store cooled muffins in an airtight container or bag for up to a month. Allow to thaw and warm gently in the oven or microwave. They don’t retain their crisp exterior, but they’re still delicious. Enjoy!

      Freshly baked Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins on a wooden serving board garnished with a pickled jalapeño.

      Author:  Compelled to Cook

       

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      Freshly baked Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins on a wooden serving board garnished with a pickled jalapeño.
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      Cheddar Jalapeño Muffins

      Prep Time 15 minutes
      Cook Time 20 minutes
      Servings 12 muffins

      Ingredients

      • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 tbsp baking powder
      • 1 tbsp sugar
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1 cup milk
      • 1 large egg
      • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted plus more for pan
      • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese about 8 ounces
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped drained pickled jalapeños plus more for garnishing

      Instructions

      • Preheat oven to 350°F and generously butter a 12 cup non-stick muffin tin.
      • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside.
      • Whisk the egg, add the milk and melted butter and continue to whisk to fully combine. Stir in jalapeños.
      • Add the dry ingredients to the wet stirring until just combined. Fold in cheese until evenly distributed in the batter.
      • Scoop batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
      • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan. Gently loosen the muffin tops if any have slightly stuck and pluck out the muffins placing them on a wire rack to cool further.

      Notes

      -these muffins are best served slightly warm out of the oven.
      -use a non-stick muffin tin for this recipe and be sure to butter generously. The butter not only helps the muffins not to stick but ensures a crisp and golden bottom. 
      -you can use muffin liners but the muffins will need to cool completely before trying to peel off the liner.
       

      Garlicky Buttered Beans

      Garlicky Buttered Beans

      Garlicky Buttered Beans

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      Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.

      Some will say it’s all about the turkey or roast, but how many of us scour through recipes looking for the perfect side dishes to serve with the turkey? We search for recipes because we dream of the perfect meal, and the meal generally includes side dishes. I definitely fall into this group of recipe searchers, partly because it’s nice to try something new and because I believe accompanying dishes are equally as important to any meal as the main item. Even though everyone will not agree with this sentiment, it’s hard to resist buttery green beans. Add in a good dose of garlic, Dijon and lemon juice and you’ve got a bright and zesty veggie that is perfect served with roast turkey, beef or ham. These Garlicky Buttered Beans just might steal the show.

      Sauteed garlic, butter and Dijon mustard in a stainless steel pan with blanched green beans in the background prepared for Garlicky Buttered Beans.

      Garlicky Buttered Beans start with simple ingredients and the whole dish comes together quickly with little fuss. To help with a busy day in the kitchen, the beans can be cooked and cooled in advance, leaving only a quick sauté in garlicky butter. The Dijon, lemon juice and chili flakes help to liven up plain old green beans. If it’s weeknight cooking for just a few people, go ahead and use only half the amount of the green beans, they’re just saucier. What’s not to love about that. Enjoy!

      Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.

      Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.
      Garlicky Buttered Beans
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6-8 people 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        6-8 people 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.
        Garlicky Buttered Beans
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6-8 people 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          6-8 people 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook at a gentle simmer until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
          2. Meanwhile, gather remaining ingredients and melt butter in a medium skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute on low heat until fragrant and slightly softened, about 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Whisk in lemon juice, Dijon, salt and pepper.
          3. Add cooked beans and toss until evenly coated with butter sauce. Serve immediately.
          Recipe Notes

          -Green beans can be cooked and cooled in an ice bath up to one day in advance.  They will need more time to warm in the butter sauce if adding from a chilled state.

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          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com