Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin

This Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin is inspired by Bobby Flay and his Bar Americain recipes.  I was looking for a cheesy side dish to go with my pulled turkey sandwiches.  Something that wasn’t potato based (although I do LOVE potatoes).  When I was shopping for the ingredients, I came across some beautiful brussel sprouts and thought they would make a great addition.  I’m never quite sure if I like goat cheese, so I used cheddar jack as one of my cheeses, to counteract some of the sourness.

This is not a particularly quick or easy recipe, but it’s well worth it and the leftovers just keep getting better.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Shred your cheeses and cut up the cauliflower and broccoli.

Flowers and Sprouts

Bring the milk to a simmer in a small pan.  In a larger saucepan, melt the butter and make a roux by whisking in the flour.  Whisk and cook for about a minute, but don’t let the roux get too dark.

This happens a lot in my kitchen
Roux, who?

Whisk in the milk bit by bit and bring up the heat.  Keep whisking until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in about half the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste – if needed.  The cheese may be salty enough already.

Cheese rocks!

Add the cheese sauce to the cauliflower and brussel sprouts in a large bowl and mix to coat the veggies.  Spoon into a buttered baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

Look at the sunlight glinting off that cheese…

Bake for about an hour.  The cheese will be bubbly and gooey and the veggies will be tender.  If you are using a shallow pan, put it on a baking sheet to keep the oven clean.

Inspired by Bobby Flay

Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin

  • 3 cups whole milk (I do use the “real stuff” for this)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • medium head of cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
  • dozen (or so) brussel sprouts

Preheat oven to 350º and butter a baking dish big enough for your veggies plus cheese.  Bring the milk to a simmer in a small pan.  Make a light roux by melting the butter in a larger sauce pan and whisking in the flour.  Whisk for about a minute until blended, but not dark.  Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously until thickened.  Remove from heat and whisk in half the cheese.  Add to the cauliflower and brussel sprouts and mix until veggies are well coated.  Scoop into the baking dish, top with the rest of the cheese and bake for about an hour.  Let it settle a bit before serving.

Worth all the whisking

I served this with pulled turkey sandwiches and it was even better when some of the gravy snuck over and mixed with the cheese.  So, soooooo good!  I can also see this going really well with a nice steak or other chunk of meat.

As I think about it, some crispy bacon or pancetta would be pretty awesome baked into this…

Great Value?

I was at Walmart the other day and I came across this bag of chicken things.  I was hungry, and they have no carbs, so I picked up a bag.  I didn’t have very high hopes, but I brought them home, microwaved a couple, and… they were good!

I made a “sandwich” using 2 patties, with shredded lettuce, chipotle ranch dressing, cheese and ketchup


And a salad with guacamole and a kumato…

They have a little bit of a rubbery texture that I really like, and they are surprisingly tasty.  Score one for Walmart’s Great Value!

Pepperoni Pizza – Hold the Crust!

The Fixin's

Mmmm.  Pizza.  A food group unto itself.  And if you’re doing the low carb thing, there are still several ways to eat it!  Yay!  You can order a pie and scrape off the top, but here’s a quick way to get a pizza fix at home – where you know exactly what’s going into your food.  (No, I don’t know what’s in pepperoni.  And I don’t want to.)

Start off sautéing some mushrooms in a nice pat of butter (remember it’s low carb, not low fat…)  I like to add Italian seasoning at this point – use your favorite.


Then throw in the pepperoni and fry that up until it just starts getting crispy (or however you like your pepperoni).

This is getting good

Transfer all that goodness to a plate lined with paper towels and let some of the grease drain off.  Might be a good idea to pat it with another paper towel…

Pat it Dry

Now turn the heat down to low and add your cheese to the frying pan (leave a little of the pepperoni grease in it to keep it from sticking like crazy).  It won’t take long to melt.  I add a little more seasoning here.


Pour on some pizza sauce (check the labels out at the store – some have way less carbs than others), and top with the mushrooms and pepperoni.  Turn off the heat and let the stuff sit and cool off just slightly.  Then fold over like an omelet and you’ve got all the pizza love without the carbs.

Gooey Goodness

Chances are good that you will have something that looks less like an omelet and more like a big mess.  But, trust me – no matter what it looks like, it’s still gonna taste like heaven.

You can do this with pretty much whatever toppings float your boat.  I would have added a little sausage, but this was a quick fix and the sausage is frozen…

Pepperoni Pizza – Hold the Crust!

  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 4 oz pepperoni, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (or more if you’d like)
  • Italian seasoning
  • pat of butter (or cooking spray)

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms in a pat of butter or cooking spray.  Add seasoning when they start giving off juice.  Don’t over cook the mushrooms — they’re good with a little bite left in them.  Add in the pepperoni and fry until desired crispness.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off any excess grease. While the pan is still warm, add the cheese and melt over low heat.  Sprinkle seasoning on the melting cheese and top with sauce, pepperoni and mushrooms.  Remove from heat and let the cheese set just a bit, then fold over and serve warm and gooey.


Team Bacon – Week 1

Taken with my iPhone4

2, 4, 6, 8 – who do we appreciate? I-iiiit’s Bacon!  Go Team Bacon!

So I’m off carbs for a little while.  I gained some weight over the holidays (more on that later), and I need to get my cravings under control.  I’m not sure how healthy it would be long term, but since there’s no way I’m giving up pasta forever, I’m not too worried about that.   I do plan on throwing in a cheat day here and there.

I’ve done both Atkins and South Beach in the past.  They both worked wonders the first time and a little less every time after that.  Yes, I’ve been on a diet most of my adult life.  I am seriously fighting genetics here.  I know that I feel so much better when I restrict the carbs.  My mood is more even, my skin glows and my nails grow like crazy.  But not the first week.  It takes a little while for my body to settle in, and that first week can be nasty.  I get very crabby.  My digestive system rebels in every way it can.  I’m tired.  The upside?  I’ve lost 4 pounds!  Yay!

Hot Legs (Who’s that knocking’ on my door?)

Bonus points if you know what the heck I’m talking about…

Anyfootballsnackfood – there was a giant package of chicken drumsticks in my fridge, and I was hungry.  And the playoffs were on.  Hot legs!

Enough to share

I originally intended to deep fry these, but it just seemed like too much work.  I’m tired from shoveling snow and sledding with the dog and trudging 2 miles through knee-high snow to Dunkin Donuts (uphill both ways).  Baking sounds good.

Line those little legs up on a cookie sheet or two lined with parchment paper.  Aren’t they cute?

Naked Drumsticks

Salt & pepper them.  I used Hawaiian black salt.  Mostly because I just bought it at Eataly last week and really wanted to use it.

Salty legs

Bake at 375° until they are cooked to your likeness.  I can’t stand any undercooking in my chicken so I left them in there for about an hour.  Your experience may vary.  A poultry thermometer is handy to make sure they are done.

When they are safely done, leave them in the oven to keep warm and make the sauce.  Since I’m being low carb these days, I started with about a third of a cup of reduced sugar ketchup.

Still tastes good

Add to that one stick of melted butter.  Yes, butter.  I’ve heard that fake butter/margarine won’t work as well because it breaks down differently…

Butter. Ketchup. Nice.

Whisk that up and start adding your favorite hot sauce.  I like Frank’s Red Hot.  It doesn’t have that weird rotten egg smell that another popular brand has.  I’m sure some of you will want to use something with more heat.

Red Hot

I use about a quarter cup of hot sauce, but this is really where you need to taste as you go.


When you get the hot/sweet ratio right, toss in those drumsticks and coat them well.

Lookin' Good

Make sure they are well coated on all sides…

Chop up some celery, pour out some blue cheese dressing, grab the beverage of your choice and you’re ready for game time!

Who needs wings when you've got legs?

Hot Legs

  • 12-18 chicken drumsticks
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (I used reduced sugar)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (or to taste)

Place salt & peppered drumsticks on baking sheet(s) lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 375° until poultry thermometer indicates they are done.  In a large bowl, mix melted butter and ketchup.  Add in hot sauce a little at a time until sauce reaches desired hotness.  Toss warm drumsticks a couple at a time to coat and transfer to a bowl or platter with rounded edges (so the sauce doesn’t run everywhere – it’s what sauce does).  Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

I love ya honey!          (Whatever happened to Rod Stewart?)