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

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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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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Meatless meals can be so darn good! Spinach and Feta Shakshuka is a quick and easy vegetarian meal that has a crazy amount of nutrition packed into it. Eggs on their own are very nutritious, add in spinach, leeks and legumes and you’ve got a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, K and D, not to mention loads of protein and fibre. This lovely dish packs a lot of flavour too, plus it’s prime for serving for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The preparation of ingredients for Spinach and Feta Shakshuka.
Spinach and Feta Shakshuka in a shallow braiser ready to cook the eggs.

There are plenty of green shakshuka variations out there, but I love the classic feta and dill combination of this one. It’s bursting with fresh flavours of dill and lemon, and the spinach is a great pairing with the eggs. I’ve opted to use cannellini beans, however, other legumes such as chickpeas would be great as well. I find the beans round out the dish and make it rustic and very satisfying. I also suggest serving this dish with crusty, toasted bread. You’ll need it to dunk into the perfectly soft eggs and scoop up the saucy greens. Enjoy!

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.

Spinach and Feta Shakshuka ready to serve from a shallow braiser.
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Spinach and Feta Shakshuka

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, well cleaned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 7 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans, see note
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 each lemon
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 each green onions

Instructions

  • Thinly slice the leeks and green onions. Heat oil in a large shallow skillet or braiser. Add leeks and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in broth, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Simmer for 4-5 until leels are tender and most of the broth has cooked out.
  • Add spinach and toss gently with leeks until wilted. Stir in beans, dill and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Make 6 large indentations and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle evenly with feta cheese. Cover and cook on medium heat until egg whites are just set and the centers still jiggle, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with sliced green onions and the remaining tbsp of fresh dill. Serve with toasted bread.

Notes

-I used cannellini beans for this recipe and enjoyed them in the dish.   Chickpeas would be another great choice.

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Nut Butter Granola Bars

Nut Butter Granola Bars

NUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS

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Baked Nut Butter Granola Bars cut and wrapped with a ribbon.

These slightly chewy, a little bit crunchy Nut Butter Granola Bars are the perfect snack or grab and go breakfast. As the name implies, they are made with nut butter, and my personal preference is natural chunky peanut butter. I’ve also made them with almond butter, which is tasty too, however the peanut flavour really comes through when using peanut butter and it’s a great flavour that marries up nicely with the honey. So tasty!

Nut Butter Granola Bars pressed into a 9x13 pan and ready for baking.

From this recipe, you get 16 nicely sized bars that wrap and freeze well for those of you who like to get a little meal prep done. If it’s likely that your hungry family will hoover through these is a short time, they’ll last for several days in a sealed container at room temperature.

Nut Butter Granola Bars are gluten-free, packed full of protein from the goodness of nuts and egg whites. The fat from the peanut butter and ground-up nuts helps to keep you feeling full and dried fruit and honey give a little chewiness and natural sweetness. There’s no excuse not to have a batch of these ready for snacking, enjoy!

Baked Nut Butter Granola Bars cut and wrapped with a ribbon.

Author:  Compelled to Cook, adapted slightly from Bon Appétit

Nut Butter Granola Bars
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    16 bars 30 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    30-35 minutes 5 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    16 bars 30 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    30-35 minutes 5 minutes
    Nut Butter Granola Bars
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      16 bars 30 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      30-35 minutes 5 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      16 bars 30 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      30-35 minutes 5 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: bars
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange nuts and pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes until golden, stirring once. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
      2. Meanwhile, reduce the oven to 300°F. Spray a 13x9" pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper, overhanging the long sides.
      3. Using a food processor, pulse cooled nuts and 1 cup of oats until a sandy consistency and no large pieces of oats remain. Transfer to a large bowl, along with the remaining cup of whole oats. To the same bowl stir in dried fruit and oil (chop any dried fruit bigger than a raisin).
      4. In a medium saucepan whisk together honey, salt and vanilla over medium heat until at a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes until bubbling vigorously and smells like caramel.
      5. Add peanut butter to oat mixture along with the hot honey and stir to fully combine. By adding together, the hot honey will help melt the peanut butter. Whisk egg white in a small bowl and stir into oat mixture until fully incorporated.
      6. Scoop into prepared pan and pack down firmly and evenly. Using the bottom of a measuring cup helps to compact the mixture and get it flat.
      7. Bake until golden and no longer sticky 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before scoring into 16 pieces (2x8). Let cool completely in the pan before lifting out using the parchment overhang. Cut along score marks into bars.
      Recipe Notes

      -don't skimp on the amount of listed salt.

      -I used a combination of almonds, pecans and cashews.

      -cut bars can be wrapped and frozen, kept in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

      -cut bars will last for about 5 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

      -other nut butter such as almond butter work well too.

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      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon

      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon

      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon

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      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon served on a cedar plank with mango salsa.

      It’s not summer without enjoying grilled cedar plank salmon, especially one brushed with mango and chipotle glaze and served with fresh mango salsa.  Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon is just a little spicy and bursting with flavour. This great recipe was found flipping through the Costco Connection magazine and it’s a must to make this summer.

      Fresh salmon fillets on a cedar plank ready for the grill and Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon.

      As with any cedar plank cooking, it’s important to properly soak your plank.  I recommend an hour for the thinner boards even though the package suggests only 30 minutes.  I’ve done both and find that the edges don’t burn away as fast when the plank is soaked a bit longer. It can be easy to overcook salmon, and because everyone’s grill is different it’s difficult to give an exact length of time and temperature to cook the salmon.  What you want to watch is the internal temperature of the salmon. You’re looking to obtain an internal temperature of 130°F-135°F before resting the fish.  As it rests for a few minutes the temperature will continue to rise about 5-10 degrees which will give you a final 135°F-145°F temperature.  The salmon will take 12-20 minutes on the grill depending on your grill temperature and how often you open the lid.  Start checking after 12 minutes. 

      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon on a cedar plank with a dish of mango salsa in the background.

      The mango salsa and glaze can both be prepared up to one day in advance, making it easy to bring this delicious dish together for a weeknight meal. They’re a great combination with salmon and wonderful served with rice.  The glaze and the mango salsa are also great with grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs. So if you don’t like salmon or can’t source it easily, chicken is a delicious option.  The mango salsa will keep for a couple of days, so use up any leftovers with other proteins such as chicken or even goat cheese crostini.  Enjoy!

      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon served over rice in a shallow yellow bowl.

      Author: Compelled to Cook, adapted from Costco Connection magazine.

      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon served over rice in a shallow yellow bowl.
      Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        4 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        12-20 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        4 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        12-20 minutes
        Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon served over rice in a shallow yellow bowl.
        Mango Chipotle Glazed Salmon
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          4 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          12-20 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          4 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          12-20 minutes
          Ingredients
          Salmon
          Mango Salsa
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          Salmon
          1. Soak cedar plank for a minimum of 60 minutes.
          2. While the cedar plank is soaking make the salsa and glaze.
          3. In a medium saucepan whisk together mango juice, maple syrup, chipotle powder, ground ginger, garlic, and onion powder. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
          4. Remove from heat and whisk in lime juice, butter and Dijon mustard. Divide glaze into two portions. One to brush on the salmon and one to drizzle over salmon for serving.
          5. Preheat grill to 400°F.
          6. In a small bowl combine salt, smoked paprika and a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides of the salmon fillets. Lay fillets out evenly spaced on the prepared cedar plank.
          7. Brush salmon with glaze and place on preheated grill. Close the lid and cook for 12-20 minutes depending on grill temperature. Brush with additional glaze once or twice while cooking until your fish reaches an internal temperature of 130-135. Time to cook will be dependent on your grill temperature.
          8. Remove salmon from plank, cover and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes which will allow the fish to rise in temperature. Serve immediately with additional glaze and mango salsa.
          Mango Salsa
          1. Add ingredients to a medium bowl and toss gently to combine. Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.

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          Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

          Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

          Broccoli Cheddar Frittata

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          Broccoli Cheddar Frittata cooked in a cream coloured cast iron skillet and resting on a wicker trivet.

          Simple is delicious, and this lovely Broccoli Cheddar Frittata is an excellent example! Easy to prepare and cook, and it’s made with ingredients you likely have on hand. Ready in about 45 minutes and makes a great brunch or breakfast dish. But I think it makes an equally delicious light lunch served with a salad or a heartier dinner served with pan-fried potatoes. It’s one of those dishes that is multi-serving and perfect for any meal.

          Cooked broccoli in a cast iron skillet with a bowl of whisked eggs and milk in the background in preparation for Broccoli Cheddar Frittata.

          This dish is one of the reasons I love eggs so much. They pack plenty of nutrition and cook quickly, allowing you to get a healthy and satisfying meal on the table without too much fuss. Lots of melty cheese means the kids just might like it too. Enjoy!

          Tips:

          -Don’t overcook! The frittata is done when the centre is just starting to set and still jiggles a little. It will continue to firm up as it rests.

          -Use good quality eggs.

          -Be sure to let the frittata rest as it allows the eggs to firm up and makes for easy cutting.

          -Don’t be shy with your favourite ingredients. If you don’t like onions, add a little red pepper or spice it up with a few chill flakes or different herbs.

          -Use full fat cheddar cheese as it melts nicer than light or reduced fat cheese.

          -A lower fat sour cream can be used but the full fat adds to the frittata’s creaminess and overall texture.

          A slice of Broccoli Chedddar Frittata served with a garden salad on a white plate and resting on a green and white checkered kitchen towel.

          A slice of Broccoli Chedddar Frittata served with a garden salad on a white plate and resting on a green and white checkered kitchen towel.
          Broccoli Cheddar Frittata
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            6-8 servings 20 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            15-18 minutes 5-10 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            6-8 servings 20 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            15-18 minutes 5-10 minutes
            A slice of Broccoli Chedddar Frittata served with a garden salad on a white plate and resting on a green and white checkered kitchen towel.
            Broccoli Cheddar Frittata
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              6-8 servings 20 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              15-18 minutes 5-10 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              6-8 servings 20 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              15-18 minutes 5-10 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: servings
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set a rack in the middle position.
              2. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and sour cream. Add milk, mustard powder, oregano, salt and pepper and whisk to fully combine. Stir in half of the cheese. Set aside.
              3. Add oil to a 10" cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot add the onion and garlic and sauté until starting to soften about 3 minutes.
              4. Add broccoli and water to the pan and cover to steam the broccoli until just tender about 3 minutes. Remove lid and stir in green onions and whisked egg mixture. Allow to cook over medium-low on the stove for 3-5 until the edge is just starting to set. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just starting to set in the centre (it should jiggle a little in the centre). Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
              5. Cut into desired wedges and serve immediately.
              Recipe Notes

              -Use frozen broccoli if that's what you have, just be sure to thaw completely and pat dry before using.  Add to skillet after cooking the onion and cook just to warm (don't add water) before continuing with the recipe.

              -Gruyére cheese would also be a nice substitute for the cheddar.

              -The cooked frittata will keep for several days well wrapped in the fridge and can be rewarmed gently in the microwave.  It does not freeze well.

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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