Tag Archives: sides

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

I wish I had taken better pictures tonight because this was so tasty and satisfying.  When Brussels are caramelized and covered in bacon, you wonder why they got a bad rap for so long.   These bad boys are super filling and low carb to boot.  Just give me a whole bowl for dinner – I don’t even need the chicken.

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

1 pound of Brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed

5 slices of nitrate-free bacon, sliced (I like to use the pre-cooked bacon from Trader Joe’s – see below)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup chicken broth

Trim and halve Brussels and set aside.  Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add bacon.  Cook until the bacon starts to brown and render.  Add shallots and cook until translucent.  Off heat, whisk in red wine vinegar and mustard.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Clean out the pan and add remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.  Over medium high heat, cook Brussels in the olive oil until browned and caramelized.   De-glaze the pan with the chicken broth and cover until Brussels are cooked through (about 5 minutes).  When the chicken broth has evaporated, add reserved bacon mixture and cook for an additional five to eight minutes.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Spicy Slaw

Spicy Slaw

I always get asked for this recipe so it’s about time that I write it down.  This is (yet another) low cal favorite that packs in lots of veggies and lasts at least a week in the fridge.  I’ve been eating the leftovers all week tossed with chicken and avocado.  I love it with BBQ, grilled pork and burgers.


Spicy Slaw

4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup low fat mayo
2 limes, juiced
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 bag of shredded cabbage
1/2 bag of broccoli slaw
3 carrots, shredded
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeños, finely chopped

Whisk together vinegar, lime juice, mayo, hot sauce and honey.  Adjust seasoning as needed.  It should be a nice balance of salty, sweet and tart with a little kick from the hot sauce.  Toss with remaining ingredients and chill it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  It’s even better the next day.

Sneaky Tzatziki

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  It’s super easy, healthy and I make a big batch to put on everything.  It’s particularly amazing with grilled chicken or lamb kebabs, or even as pita dip or salad dressing.  It’s sneaky because if you make it with 0% yogurt, no one knows it’s actually healthy.  I’ve also made it with dill, feta, parsley and cilantro for a different twist.

Tzatziki

2 cups 0% Greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons spicy Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 large cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped
1-2 teaspoons honey (just enough to round out the yogurt)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 bunch of mint
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Blend everything in the food processor, check for seasoning and enjoy.  That is it my friends.

Goon Approved (somewhat) Healthy Sides

To the dismay of the goons, the lean and light eating continues.  On most days less dairy, less gluten, less sugar, less meat and more veggies seem to be the way to go.

Other than the non-goon-approved calorie free noodles, below are a few of my favorite sides on the healthy side.  They’re great for meals where you want to indulge a little without totally blowing your diet.

No calories, no carbs, guilt free cheese vehicle….

Light Mac-n-Cheese

1 package of no calorie noodles – drained (in the fridge section @ Whole Foods)

1 tablespoon light butter (or butter substitute)

1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (or spelt flour)

1 cup of warm skim milk (or dairy substitute)

1 cup of light cheese (parmesan and cheddar are my faves; does dairy free cheese actually melt?)

1 cup of thawed frozen peas

Drain the noodles and press out any remaining liquid.  Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook down until it’s a nutty brown color.  Add the milk and whisk to combine.  Bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes until thick.  Off heat, add cheese, noodles, peas, salt and pepper to taste.

Mom’s Brussels Sprouts

1 large bag of Brussels, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise

3 slices of nitrate free bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon of light butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 shallot, minced

½-1 cup chicken stock

2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Sautee the bacon in the butter and olive oil until it starts to release its fat.  Add the Brussels, toss to coat, and brown on each side to caramelize.  Add the shallot and cook until softened.  Add the chicken stock and cover for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat to soften the Brussels.  Drizzle with maple syrup, add salt and pepper to taste.  Add a little more butter if you’re not watching your waistline.  Add to save calories, just brown the Brussels in some cooking spray and sprinkle with cooked crumbled turkey bacon.

They taste like candy.  So good you forget they’re good for you.

And now for more bacon…..

 Goon Approved Stuffed Potato Salad (with less fat/calories)
1 pound of small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into bite size pieces
1/4 cup light mayo
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (or more to taste)
5-6 scallions – chopped
5 slices of precooked, nitrate-free bacon – cooked and crumbled
Boil potatoes until they are fork tender.  Cool slightly and mix with the rest of the ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I like to eat this when it’s all warm and creamy, but it’s also great after spending some time in the fridge.  Perfect for summer grillin.

Crack ‘n Cheese

This recipe might be the best excuse to break a low carb diet (so I make it often).  Cheesy, salty, gooey, slightly spicy, satisfying and seriously addicting.

It is the perfect crowd pleaser side dish to bring to a dinner party or cookout.  Once baked off and cooled, it travels well, and if you lack confidence in the chef’s skills, crack ‘n cheese is a filling and reliable back up plan.

Take your lactose pills

Crack ‘n Cheese

1 box large shells pasta

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour

5 cups milk, heated lightly

5 cups shredded cheese (parm, pecorino, aged cheddar, and gruyere are my faves, but it’s a great way to clean out the cheese drawer)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/3 cup bread crumbs

Cook shells al dente.  Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and melt butter.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Cook until the flour and butter mixture until the roux becomes caramel colored.  Add warm milk, whisk to combine, and stirring frequently, bright to a boil.  Let the sauce thicken, approx 3-5 mins, and add the cheese off heat.  Taste for seasoning.  Add the pasta and toss to coat.  Put the mixture into the greased pan, and top with extra cheese and bread crumbs.  Bake 30 minutes until bubbly and brown on top.

Serves 10-12 goons.

Mmmmmm....crack