Braised Kale with Bacon

Braised Kale with Bacon

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

Braised Kale with Bacon

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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

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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.

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Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops garnished with fresh herbs and served on a wooden board.

Grilled Lamb Chops

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Moving sucks!! It’s not only an awful lot of work, it has also kept me away from food blogging for a couple of months now. Today I am getting back into the swing of things and quickly realizing that my hiatus has taken its toll. Lagging page views and technical issues are at the forefront today, but I am back and excited to share these delicious Grilled Lamb Chops with you. Don’t worry there’s a little bit of summer left to fire up the grill for this quick and easy elevated dinner.

Lamb chops, lemon, Dijon, garlic and fresh herbs on a wooden board in preparation for Grilled Lamb Chops.
Lamb chops coated with a herbed mustard paste are ready for the grill in preparation for Grilled Lamb Chops.

Lamb chops are my absolute favourite way to enjoy lamb. They’re mild tasting and get a nice char on them from their extra bit of fat. The mustard rub used on today’s Grilled Lamb Chops is a variation of my go-to favourite grilling/roasting rub. A good dose of garlic, Dijon and rosemary are perfect to compliment the lamb. Sadly, lamb is quite expensive in my area, so these delicious chops are not usually on regular rotation, but they are a fantastic option for a special dinner or entertaining occasion. Enjoy.

Grilled Lamb Chops arranged on a wooden board and garnished with fresh lemon, herbs and red pepper jelly.
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Grilled Lamb Chops

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 3 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 each rack of spring lamb
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 each juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Trim any excess fat from the rack of lamb. Cut the rack into chops by cutting evenly between each rib. A medium-size rack will yield approximately 8 chops.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the lamb chops in a shallow dish and evenly coat with mustard paste. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill the lamb chops 6-7 minutes per side for medium-well.
  • Remove from the grill and cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with red pepper or mint jelly.

Notes

The grilling time per side may vary depending on the temperature of your grill.

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Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

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Sliced mushrooms, gruyere cheese and potatoes in a basket are being prepped for Potato and Mushroom Gratin.

With Easter just around the corner, you’ll want to be dinner ready for family and friends. Hopefully, with some luck, the Covid-19 gathering restrictions will ease in my area and a modest gathering can take place. I do miss my family and friends, and I miss cooking for them. It’s the best part of any gathering, in my opinion. You’re gonna love this easy and delicious Potato and Mushroom Gratin. It feeds 8 people, it’s easy to assemble and bakes up golden and creamy every time. There’s no messing around with cooking a white sauce, there’s no boilovers and no pre-cooking potatoes. It’s a no-fuss casserole, loaded with earthy mushrooms and Gruyere cheese, and has become my favourite to serve with ham. It’s also fantastic served with roast chicken, pork or grilled steak.

Sauteed mushroom in a stainless steel skillet that have been cooked for Potato and Mushroom Gratin.
A prepped and layered Potato and Mushroom Gratin in a red casserole dish ready for the oven.

What makes this potato casserole a winner in my books is the simplicity of the sauce. The mixture of cream and sour cream makes it extra creamy and the sour cream gives a little tang. The sauce is whisked together cold and poured over the potato slices. I find there’s no need to be fussy with the potato arrangement either. Simply toss the slices into the casserole dish and spread them around evenly instead of trying to layer them ever so carefully. If you don’t have a mandolin for thinly slicing the potatoes, that’s no problem, simply slice as thin as you can by hand and cook for the longest time suggested in the recipe. Remember, dinner doesn’t need to be fussy. This simple casserole is not only delicious, but it also feeds a small crowd and is worthy of your family gathering. Enjoy!

Potato and Mushroom Gratin baked golden in a red casserole dish and garnished with chopped green onions.

Potato and Mushroom Gratin baked golden in a red casserole dish and garnished with chopped green onions.
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Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp salted butter plus more for dish
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced see note
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream, full fat
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes see note
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a large 3-quart casserole dish.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until starting to foam. Add mushroom and cook until lightly browned and the moisture has evaporated. Add minced garlic and continue to cook, stirring often for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  • While mushrooms are cooking, whisk together cream, sour cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. In a separate bowl whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add to the sour cream and cream and whisk until incorporated. Grate the cheese and set it aside.
  • Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Spread half of the potato slices evenly in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Scatter half of the sauteed mushroom and half of the cheese evenly over the potatoes. Repeat with remaining potatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
  • Pour cream mixture evenly over potatoes. Give the pan a gentle shake to help flatten everything out. Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes (this will depend on how thin you've sliced the potatoes) Start checking at 45 minutes. The potatoes should be almost tender in the center. Remove cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the top is golden.
  • Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or sliced green onions if desired.

Notes

-Russet potatoes work well for this recipe, however,  I've also used red potatoes with equally good results.
-The covered cooking time will vary slightly depending on how thin you've sliced the potatoes.  I find cutting them by hand instead of using a mandolin requires closer to 60 minutes covered.
-I like using cremini mushrooms for this recipe as they have a little more earthiness than regular white mushrooms, however, either work well as does a mix of mushrooms.

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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza baked hot and bubbly and garnished with fennel fronds.

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

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I say start the new year with pizza! Yes, that’s right, crispy, cheesy, flavour-packed Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza. We can not make just any pizza, it truly needs to be a cast-iron pizza to start the new year right. It creates the best golden and crisp underside that you’ll ever create at home, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making all your pizzas this way. Most new year resolutions include some form of healthy eating, but I think the new year (because it’s gonna be great) deserves full-on, carefree, in your face deliciousness. The sausage and fennel combination has not only become my new favourite, cooking it in a cast-iron pan tips it over the edge of my pizza nirvana. So move over plain ol’ pepperoni pizza… grown-up pizza just walked in.

A cast iron skillet full of of ingredients for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.
Pizza dough, marinara sauce and fennel ready for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.

With the new year upon us, we have no choice but to be hopeful for a more user-friendly year. Even though I can consider 2020 a good year, it hasn’t been without its frustrations, and for many people, it has been a year of hardship and heartache. While we can’t eat cheesy, sausage laden pizza all the time, it’s a good reminder to enjoy a few of the simpler things that we can. It’s also great fun to create homemade pizza at home with loved ones lending a helping hand.

All the best in 2021, let’s eat!

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.
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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Course Main Course
Keyword baked, cast iron, cast iron pizza, fennel, garlic, Italian sausage, mozzerella, olive oil, pizza, pizza dough
Cook Time 14 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage about 2 links, casing removed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced plus fronds for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set oven rack to its uppermost position. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Drizzle room temperature pizza dough with 1 tbsp olive oil and press out to a 10" round. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 10" cast-iron skillet. Add Italian sausage and cook over medium, breaking up any large pieces. Once cooked and slightly crisp remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • With the heat still on medium/low, immediately lay pizza dough in the pan, stretching out to the edges using a spatula or spoon if necessary. Top dough with marinara, then mozzarella, fennel, garlic and sausage. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and check the underside which should be starting to brown and crisp. Transfer pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds or fresh basil. Lift out of the pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

-The dough will press out better on a wooden surface such as a cutting board as opposed to granite or super-smooth surfaces.
-I prefer a thinner crust and opt for 8 ounces of dough vs 10.  It is 10 ounces pictured in the blog.
-Makes one 10" pizza, however, a 12" cast-iron skillet would work too, just use the 10 ounces of dough.  There's plenty of topping, so there's no need to adjust unless you'd like more cheese.
-The original recipe from Bon Appétit suggests garnishing with fresh basil, however, I enjoy using fresh fennel fronds instead, but it's a matter of preference and both are delicious. 

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Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole in an off white oval casserole dish ready to be served.

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole

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This Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole is just that, very cheesy! It’s also a great low carb dinner option. Pair it with a mixed green salad for about 10 grams of net carbs. It’s very filling, so you don’t feel that you’re missing out on anything. I like that it makes a large casserole, and leftovers freeze well.

Ingredients for Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole arranged on a colourful checkered dish towel.

Although I’m not a fan of fad diets per se, I do at times watch what I eat and cut back on high carb foods such as rice, bread and pasta. This creamy casserole is perfect for doing just that with little sacrifice. It has a hint of curry powder for a deliciously different twist, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re goal isn’t carb counting, this yummy casserole is wonderful with potatoes, rice or simply a slice of crusty bread. The creamy mushroom soup and cheesiness also make it kid-friendly.

Here’s the breakdown based on 6 servings for those of you who are following low carb/keto diets.

Calories per serving: 435kcal

Net Carbs per serving: 8.3g

Fat per serving: 32g

Protein per serving: 28.4g

Unbaked Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole in an off white oval casserole dish ready for the oven.
Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole in an off white oval casserole dish ready to be served.

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole in an off white oval casserole dish ready to be served.
Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole
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    Servings
    5-6 people
    Servings
    5-6 people
    Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole in an off white oval casserole dish ready to be served.
    Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Casserole
    Print Recipe
      Servings
      5-6 people
      Servings
      5-6 people
      Ingredients
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
      2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Add cauliflower and broccoli and simmer until just tender 5-6 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Allow to drain well, see note.
      3. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium and add oil. When oil is hot add chicken thighs, searing and cooking 4-5 minutes per side until just cooked. Remove to a plate and set aside. To the same skillet add mushrooms and cook until browned and most of the moisture has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
      4. In a large bowl whisk together mushroom soup, mayonnaise, curry powder, onion powder, pepper and lemon juice.
      5. Cut cook chicken into large strips and add to mushroom soup mixture along with mushrooms, vegetables and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Stir gently to combine. Spread into a lightly greased casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbling.
      Recipe Notes

      -I find rolling drained vegetables in a clean kitchen towel removes more moisture.

      -A great low carb dinner option on its own, but also wonderful with rice, mashed potatoes, quinoa or crusty bread.

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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