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…

Pulled Turkey Sandwiches

I made this last weekend for Sunday dinner, and wow, was it good!  Comfort food with a little bit of modern flair.  The pulled turkey sandwich recipe is from Nadia G’s Bitchin Kitchen – she calls it pulled turkey sandwiches w/ bbq sauce.  Must be a Canadian thing, because it’s gravy on there — not what I think of as bbq sauce (the red, yummy stuff).  Nadia’s recipe calls for 4 cups of cooked turkey — I’ll show you how I made mine.  I’ve made a few of Nadia’s recipes, and they are all super yummy.  She’s also a lot of fun to watch – you should check her out.  The Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin is inspired by Bobby Flay and his Bar Americain cookbook.  I added the sprouts because I wanted them and changed up the cheese just a little…  (You can get that recipe here)

Let’s start with the turkey.

Best way to make pulled anything?  Slow cooker.  I put this on around noon, so we could eat at 6 or 7ish.  I think it turned out to be more like 8 – the cauliflower stuff took much longer than I expected.

Start with a couple plump turkey thighs, salt & peppered, and whatever veggies happen to be lying around.  I used onions, carrots & celery.  (That’s Hawaiian black salt – I love its flavor but really only use it in the black Crock Pot, because it does turn my other pans black – it washes off, but I don’t like to see it)

Turkey thighs and veggies

On top of that, pile on a turkey breast, more salt and pepper and a sprig of sage.  Add chicken stock or water and let it cook.  Slowly.

This turkey breast was labeled as a London Broil. Is that weird?

At this point, I took the dog for a walk on the beach and then took a nice long nap.  I like waking up to the smell of cooking turkey.  So does the dog.

I rotated the thighs and breast about halfway through.  I like to mix things up like that.

Getting a nice color

About 4 hours into the cooking, I started on the gravy and the cauliflower.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the flour to make a roux.  It will turn a beautiful caramel color.  Set aside and get ready to cry (onions!)

I love butter.

Time to saute the onions.  Let them get a little crispy around the edges.

They smell so good

Deglaze the pan with the turkey stock and whisk in the roux.  Add the spices, brown sugar and balsamic.

That should give it a kick

Let it bubble up for a second then turn the heat down and simmer until it thickens up.  Mine took quite a while, but I think it’s because I used a Le Creuset rather than a regular frying pan.  Keep an eye on it and whisk occasionally.

Thicken up! I’m hungry!

While that thickens up, pull the turkey.  After 6 or 7 hours in the slow cooker, that turkey is falling off the bone.  I take the meat out of the broth and shred with 2 forks.  The broth and veggies left behind can be saved for soup or something, if you want.

Shred it

At this point, I put a little aside for the dog – once the gravy goes on, it’ll be too spicy for him.

Add gravy to the turkey to soak it, but make sure to leave enough behind for smothering the sandwiches.   When you’re ready to eat, toast up some bread, prep some peas (I boiled frozen for about 30 seconds or so) and wipe the drool from the corner of your mouth…

Warm, juicy, lovely turkey sandwich                                                                     inspired by Nadia G’s Bitchin’ Kitchen


Pulled Turkey Sandwiches

  • 2 turkey thighs and a turkey breast (or your choice of white and dark meat)
  • onions, celery, carrots to flavor meat
  • 3 cups stock (chicken, turkey – even water will work in the slow cooker)
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh sage – 1 sprig for cooking, 2 leaves minced for gravy
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 flour
  • olive oil 
  • medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups turkey or chicken stock (for gravy)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup green peas 
  • sliced bread of your choice (I used “everything” Italian)

Season turkey meat with salt and pepper and cook in slow cooker with your choice of vegetables and broth or water.  High for 6-8 hours until turkey falls from bone and is easily shredded.  To make the gravy, start by melting the butter.  Whisk in the flour gradually and continue whisking for a few minutes until the roux is a light caramel color.  Be careful not to burn the roux.  Set aside.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the diced onion until it’s a bit crispy.  The pan will have some brown crispy onion stuff stuck to it – deglaze with the stock and whisk in the roux.  Add the sugar, spices and balsamic.  Bring to a slight boil and then reduce heat to simmer until the gravy thickens.  This may take up to half an hour, depending on your pan and desired thickness.  Don’t rush it, stir occasionally and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Shred the turkey meat with 2 forks and add about half the gravy.  Blanch the peas in salted water – only about 30 seconds for frozen (add another minute or so for fresh).  Toast the bread, if desired.  Pile the turkey on the bread, pour on more gravy and top with a handful of peas.

Hopefully you’ll have some leftovers, because this is even better the next day!

Cauliflower and Brussel Sprout Gratin makes a great side dish for the turkey sandwiches, but you can’t go wrong with mashed potatoes or french fries, either…

Pulled Turkey Sandwich with Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin

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.


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?)

Bratwurst Pie

Eating very few carbs is fun, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world.  You need a good, solid go-to dish that travels well, can be used as a snack or a meal, and is easy to make in large quantities.  For me, that’s Bratwurst Pie.  Oh, how I love bratwurst.


This started out as sausage pie at some point, but I like to make a lot of it and the bulk sausage they sell at my local Sam’s Club has carbs.  But… the bratwurst doesn’t.  Score!  There aren’t too many ingredients: eggs, cream, onion, cheese, salt & pepper, and, of course, brats.

Brat Pie Fixins

Start by chopping up your onion and squeezing the brats out of their casings.  Cook these up together, crumbling the brats as you go, and drain.

Chopping onions makes me happy. It also makes me cry. Go figure.
Naked Bratwurst

When that’s done, put into a lasagna/baking dish and mix in the cheese.  Different cheeses make slightly different pies, so use what you like.  Today I grated some Red Leicester (an Irish cheddar) and mixed it with bagged Mexican mix.  There is Havarti in the picture, but I decided not to use it and keep to the cheddars.  A mix of Swiss and Gruyère is also really good.  Play around with whatever you have/like.  Mozzarella and Havarti would probably be good.

Grated Red Leicester

While all that cheesy brat goodness sits there waiting, mix up the eggs and cream and salt & pepper in a bowl.  Pour this as evenly as you can over the meat and cheese.

Eggs and Cream

Shake the dish a little and the creamy stuff will fill in the gaps.  Now pop that in a 350° oven and find something to take your mind off of it for 40 minutes or so.

Ready for the heat

Be careful when you take the dish out of the oven, there tends to be a little bubbling oil around the edges.

Hey – I said it was low carb – NOT low fat!  🙂

Oh so good...

And that’s that!

Word to the wise – start with a small portion.  It’s wicked good, but very rich.

Bratwurst Pie

  • 2 lbs of bratwurst (about half of the package pictured)
  • 8-10 oz grated cheese of your choice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt & pepper to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp salt and slightly less pepper)

Remove the bratwurst from its casing and brown in a large skillet along with the chopped onion.  Drain.  Spread into a baking pan large enough to hold the meat and egg mixture.  Mix in the cheese.  In a medium bowl, mix the eggs and cream until combined, add in seasonings and pour over meat and cheese.  Bake for about 40 minutes at 350°.

I think I’m going to add in broccoli and mushrooms next time I make this.

Sooooo good!