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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Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

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The Keto diet continues to be very popular and I was asked by a friend to whip up a few Keto treats. Although I am familiar with the diet, having done it with my husband about a year and a half ago, we did not eat any sweets. Not only were we not hungry, my husband (who has the sweet tooth) didn’t seem to miss sugar. We were all about the savoury side of the Keto diet, eating meat, avocado, eggs and cheese mostly. So I jumped in with both feet to experiment and learn the world of Keto baking. My Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites are delicious proof that perseverance pays off. They’re rich, chocolatey, not too sweet and the perfect size to treat yourself while staying within the parameters of the Keto Diet.

Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites being prepared in a mini muffin tin on a blue background.

Baking sweets for Keto was new to me as I’d never baked with artificial sweeteners. I started by baking a batch of cookies, and they were dry, bland and had an odd texture. I then moved on to make mini cheesecakes with greater success. Probably the biggest part of why cheesecake is a great Keto treat option is because the texture is as it should be, smooth and creamy.  With other baked items such as cookies, cupcakes and brownies the texture is not necessarily bad, but just a little different than what you would expect. Next came the cupcakes. I experimented with chocolate, chocolate chip and coconut cupcakes. I found a blend of almond flour and coconut flour work well, along with the addition of Xanthan gum which helps give structure to risen products when there is no gluten to fulfill that job.

I quickly learned that artificial sweeteners are not created equal!! If you’re just starting out using sweeteners in baked products, I highly recommend doing some research first. I started by using Splenda because I just happen to have a big bag of it. But several recipes later I learn that Splenda contains dextrose and maltodextrin, both of which are sugars and starches. So while the items made with Splenda were still considered low carb, they were not Keto-friendly.  Because Splenda was a bust, I moved on to using a monk fruit /Erythritol granulated blend, powdered Erythritol and a brown sugar Erythritol. The products worked well, tasted good and are suitable for the Keto diet. The problem with Erythritol is it has the tendency to crystallize when cooled. I found this out the hard way after chilling a batch of chocolate cupcakes. The frosting which was made with powdered Erythritol was smooth and creamy when I piped it but when I tasted a chilled chocolate cupcake from the fridge, the frosting had a gritty feel. Again, with some prior research, I would have known this could happen. I was rather disappointed but left the cupcake to sit a room temperature and tasted it again. Although the icing was not as smooth as when first made and piped, the grittiness was almost non-existent and the cupcake was good to eat. So it is important to bring items to room temperature before eating if you’re using a Erythritol sweetener that is prone to crystallizing. 

Baked Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites displayed on a wooden board with fresh raspberries on a blue background.

I think the biggest issue I have with artificial sweeteners and no added sugar chocolate is the availability and cost. Not all sweetener varieties are available for purchase in my area. I have to travel almost an hour to find some varieties at a health food store or Costco, otherwise, I have to order online. The cost seems to vary but even the best priced Erythritol blend at Costco works out to about $2.25CND per cup of sweetener. The other sweeteners I purchased which included powdered and brown sugar were more expensive yet. No added sugar chocolate is also very expensive and not a convenient item to shop for.

There are many different sweeteners to choose from, each with pros and cons. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read and learn about the varieties. Some can be a 1:1 substitution, some have a cooling sensation and some are better for baking than others. Here’s a good article from The Spruce Eats to help get you started. Happy Keto baking!!

Per one Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bite:

Calories: 85

Fat: 8 grams

Net carbs: 2 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Baked Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites displayed on a wooden board with fresh raspberries and almonds on a blue background.

Baked Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites displayed on a wooden board with fresh raspberries and almonds on a blue background.
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Keto Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 20 mini bites

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 4 tsp granulated sweetener I used monk fruit/Erythritol blend
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp espresso powder optional
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Cheesecake

  • 8 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sweetener I used monk fruit/Erythritol blend
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp espresso powder optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 ounces no added sugar semi-sweet or milk chocolate I used Lily's milk chocolate bar
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp no added sugar seedless raspberry jam see note

Instructions

Crust

  • Preheat oven to 300°F and line 20 mini muffin cups with mini liners.
  • Add all the dry crust ingredients to a medium bowl and mix until there are no lumps. Add melted butter and mix until combined.
  • Scoop approximately 1 tsp of crust mixture into each mini muffin liner and press down evenly with your fingers.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, remove and allow to cool slightly while proceeding.

Cheesecake

  • Beat cream cheese until smooth using an electric mixer. Add egg and beat until combined. Add sweetener, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder and salt. Beat until combined and smooth.
  • Finely chop the chocolate and melt in the microwave using 30-second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Add to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Using a 1 1/2 tbsp cookie scoop, scoop mixture generously into prepared cheesecake bases. Smooth out each using a spoon that is moistened with water. They will appear quite full.
  • Warm the raspberry jam slightly in the microwave and drizzle evenly over the cheesecake. Using a toothpick swirl the jam two or three turns.
  • Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes at 300°F. The centers should be slightly soft but not sloppy. Remove and allow to cool before removing from the mini muffin tin.

Notes

-I did not use liners for the pictures, however, they were a challenge to remove, so liners are recommended.
-If you can not find seedless no added sugar jam, warm jam and press through a mesh strainer.
-I used a disposable piping bag with no tip (just cut a very small hole) to drizzle the jam. 
-Alternatively, you can drizzle the jam over the baked cheesecake base prior to adding the cheesecake filling, eliminating the need to swirl it.  I've done it both ways and while the jam on the base is easier, they have a nicer appearance with the swirl on the top.
-The cheesecake bites can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3-4 days or several weeks in the freezer.  It is recommend to allow cheesecakes to come to room temperature before eating.

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Low Carb Almond Bread

Low Carb Almond Bread

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

Low Carb Almond Bread

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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

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.
      2. 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 fully incorporate after each. Stir in almond flour, parmesan cheese and baking powder. Spread evenly into prepared pan and bake for 17-20 minutes.
      3. 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.

       

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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
      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
      Print Recipe
        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
          Grilled Steak Salad

          Grilled Steak Salad

          Grilled Steak Salad is just that!  Tender, juicy, spiced rubbed steak thinly sliced and served with crisp mixed greens, goat cheese and zesty Catalina dressing.  It’s low in carbs, high in protein and filling enough for lunch or dinner.   

          For this recipe I used sirloin steaks that were about 1” thick.  They’re relatively lean and price friendly compared to their classy cousin the tenderloin. Either steak works here, choose what suits your mood and budget.  Fattier cuts like ribeyes are not the best option even though all that marbling makes for the ultimate juicy grilled steak, it sorta defeats the purpose of eating a salad for the main course.  Kinda like drinking diet pop while eating a hamburger and fries. I’m sure you get my point. 

          Of great importance is to “rest” the meat.  The resting allows all the juices to be reabsorbed back into the muscle of the meat, helping to retain its moisture and therefore tenderness and juiciness.  Cutting a steak or roast without letting it rest will spill out all the meat juices that have accumulated towards the centre of the meat from the heat of cooking.

          Once your steak is cooked and rested to perfection, those slightly charred and thinly sliced pieces are fantastic drizzled with a vibrant Catalina dressing.  Of course homemade is preferred and you can get the recipe here Catalina Dressing  It’s easier than you think and you probably have everything on hand already.  Enjoy!

          Recipe source for Grilled Steak Salad:  Compelled To Cook

          Grilled Steak Salad
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            2 people 25 minutes
            Cook Time
            10 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            2 people 25 minutes
            Cook Time
            10 minutes
            Grilled Steak Salad
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              2 people 25 minutes
              Cook Time
              10 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              2 people 25 minutes
              Cook Time
              10 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. In a small bowl stir together first 10 ingredients. Sprinkle steaks generously on both sides with spice rub, pressing gently to slightly adhere. Drizzle with oil and rub paste evenly over steak. Cover and set aside at room temperature while grill preheats.
              2. Preheat grill to medium high.
              3. Clean and dry mixed greens ( I like to use a salad spinner). Clean and slice vegetables, subbing in others as you like.
              4. Grill steak to desired doneness. 4-5 minutes per side for a medium 1" steak. It will depend on thickness of steak. Remove steak and cover with foil and allow to rest at least 5 minutes.
              5. While steak rests, arrange mixed greens on plate and top with sliced vegetables and crumbled goat cheese.
              6. Slice steak across the grain and arrange on salad. Drizzle with Catalina dressing and serve immediately.
              Recipe Notes

              I recommend using homemade dressing, you just can't beat it.  Here's a link to my Catalina Dressing.

              Catalina Dressing