Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto



I really enjoy risotto. But I do not make it because I just do not have the time and patience needed to stand and stir for 45 minutes while the arborio rice absorbs the stock. Nope, not this gal.

But luckily, you can make a baked risotto that tastes really, really good. I admit, a baked risotto will never be as creamy as a properly made stove top risotto, but I can let go of some of that creaminess for not having to stir and stir and stir. And then stir some more.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto



I do admit you do have to stir a bit while making this recipe, but I promise it will not be 45 minutes. Unless something goes terribly wrong. Seriously.

Be sure to use arborio rice, or a rice that is labeled specifically for risotto.

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut ‘N’ Clean Greens, but you can substitute with a large bunch of kale. Just remove the stems and cut it into strips.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto


Kale and Bacon Risotto

Servings 8 servings


  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag (10 ounce) Tuscan Kale
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces


  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.

  2. In a large oven proof pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. 

  3. Add the onion, stirring occasionally,  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

  4. Add the salt, thyme, red pepper and kale. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted.

  5. Add the rice, stirring to mix it into the vegetable mixture.

  6. Add the hot stock, stir to mix well, cover and place in the hot oven.

  7. Bake the risotto for 30, then remove from the oven.

  8. Carefully, stir in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, until all the butter is incorporated.

  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut 'N' Clean Greens, which was already prepped for me. You can substitute with a large bunch of kale, stems removed and cut into strips.

Smoky Date Pulled Pork Packets

Smoky Date Pulled Pork Packets


Pulled pork is generally thought of as something you put into a soft bun, sometimes topped with coleslaw. You get it from a BBQ joint.  Smoky Date Pulled Pork Packets might raise some eyebrows. It also will raise a lot of forks to mouths.

Pulled pork tends to be slathered with BBQ sauce, but this one is slightly different. My base sauce is Smoky Date Not Ketchup, a sauce that starts with fruit instead of tomatoes.  Add in a few more ingredients, and you have an Artisan fruit ketchup.

If you have a favorite pulled pork, or maybe have some stashed in your freezer, feel free to use that. BBQ shredded chicken would also be delicious in these packets.

If you make the pulled pork but do not want to make packets, enjoy it on a bun or rolled in a tortilla. Eat it any way you like.

I had a package of Egg Roll Wraps from Melissa’s Produce that needed filling, and I just didn’t feel like chopping and sautéing vegetables to make traditional egg rolls. And who needs tradition when you have some really good Smoky Date Pulled Pork in the refrigerator?

I loved these with Chinese hot mustard, which balances the sweetness of the pork. Try your favorite hot sauce with these packets of perfection.


Smoky Date Pulled Pork Packets


Smoky Date Pulled Pork Packets
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 packets
  • 3 pounds country style pork ribs
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle Smoky Date Not Ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 8 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water
  1. Sprinkle the ribs with the salt and pepper.
  2. Place the ribs into a large slow cooker.
  3. Add the Not Ketchup, water and vinegar to the slow cooker.
  4. Gently stir to cover the pork in the sauce.
  5. Cook the pork on high for 5 hours, until the pork is very tender.
  6. Using two forks shred the pork.
  7. When ready to make the packets, heat the oven to 350° F.
  8. Place one egg roll wrapper on to a clean and dry surface.
  9. Spoon 2 tablespoons of pork onto the middle of the wrapper.
  10. Brush the edges of the wrapper with the egg wash.
  11. Fold the wrapper into a triangle, gently pressing the edges together.
  12. Brush the edges of the wrapper with egg wash.
  13. Fold one corner of the triangle into the center, then repeat with the other corner.
  14. Press the edges together to seal the packet.
  15. Repeat with the remaining egg roll wrappers.
  16. Place all the packets onto a large baking sheet.
  17. Brush the packets with the remaining egg wash.
  18. Bake the packets for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
  19. Serve with Chinese mustard or hot sauce.



How to Make Pulled Pork Packets




Although I received product samples for recipe development purposes, all opinions are my own.

Caramelized Red Onion and Bacon Quiche

Now that my daughter is in kindergarten, there are a lot more things that I am expected to do as a parent. She has homework, she wears uniforms, she has to be at school at a certain time vs. rolling into the preschool yard whenever I am damn well felt like it.

I also have mandatory donations of certain items, such as recently I had to donate two dozen egg shells to make confetti eggs for the Winter Fest. Two dozen egg shells! And with confetti eggs, you have to carefully crack off just the top part of the egg, so you have most of the shell left to fill up with confetti! You want maximum shell so when you hit skull it makes that really loud crunching sound as the confetti explodes in your friend’s face! Well, I just took a little detour down memory lane. . .

Anyway, just how many eggs can we eat for  breakfast in this house? So I put on my chef’s coat, and made a quiche.

This quiche was made with what was in the house the day I developed it. Since I had no whole milk or cream, it was made with 2% milk. But, because I used the bacon fat that was rendered to caramelize the onions it is still very rich in flavor. If you want an even richer flavor, use a higher fat dairy product or even goat’s milk.

Recipe: Caramelized Red Onion and Bacon Quiche


  • 6 slices bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbes De Provence
  • 1/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups 2 % milk
  • 2 deep dish pie shells


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the bacon until crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan, drain on a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Add the onions, Herbes De Provence, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, stir to mix the ingredients well.
  4. Cook the onions slowly, until lightly golden and caramelized, about 40-45 minutes.
  5. Remove the onions from the heat and let cool.
  6. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, remaining salt and pepper.
  8. Divided the bacon and onion between the pie shells.
  9. Pour the custard mixture over the bacon and onions in the pie shells.
  10. Bake the quiche for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown on top and the custard is set.
  11. Let the quiche rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Tri-Color Potatoes, Japanese Eggplant and Fennel in Wine Sauce

Sometimes vegetables get the short end of the stick. They are an after thought, if even thought of at all. Many vegetables are not familiar to people, so they will not buy them and cook them. I count eggplant and fennel among those.

See those lovely Japanese eggplants in the photo above. I am proud to say I grew them all by myself! My little backyard garden has been providing my family and I with fresh herbs, Tuscan kale, cucumbers, sugar snap peas and eggplant this summer.  There really is nothing better than picking something, rinsing it and eating it all within moments. And I know there are no dangerous pesticides on my vegetables, so I can feel good giving them to my family.

I recently planted some yams which had sprouted in my kitchen. I was a bit slow cooking them, so when they started growing some nice roots, I figured I may as well plant them and see what I get! I may plant some other potatoes too, since I can eat potatoes daily. Must be the Irish ancestors influence. . .

Speaking of potatoes, I received a sample bag of potatoes from The Little Potato Company, called the Terrific Trio. There were red, yellow and blue varieties mixed together. I had just picked some of the ripe eggplant, and wanted to cook them as soon as possible. Potatoes and eggplants together sounded tasty.

And then this arrived at my door. . .

Is this not the most gorgeous pot? It’s a Martha Stewart Collection Enameled Cast Iron 6 quart Dutch oven. Seriously, I have been dreaming of an enameled cast iron pot forever. Mind you, I have enough pots and pans to open a cook’s store, but I still coveted this particular piece of cookware.  Like some people dream of a red sports car, I dreamed of a red Dutch oven. Oh, and I’ll take a red sports car too.

Now I could cook my eggplant in style, with the additional of the fancy potatoes and some fennel. And wine. Lots of wine. As I always say, don’t cook with a wine you will not drink. I would recommend a lighter, fruity wine for this dish, one that is not too acidic.

Once the vegetables are cut, most of the work in done. The shallots are slightly caramelized, the fennel is softened, then everything else goes in to simmer.

Cover the pot, set the timer and walk away.And then you get this. . .

A colorful, flavorful and fabulous vegetarian main dish or side dish. Don’t be afraid to use vegetables with different textures and different colors. They will hopefully become staples on your dinner table.

Recipe: Tri-Color Potatoes, Japanese Eggplant and Fennel in Wine Sauce


  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes
  • 2 cups white wine


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil over medium low heat in a large, deep pot.
  2. Cook the shallots for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized.
  3. Add the fennel, salt, thyme and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the fennel is softened.
  5. Add the eggplant, potatoes and wine, stirring to mix well.
  6. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
  7. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through.
  8. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the remaining butter.
  9. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)


Cheryl D Lee on Foodista


* I received my dream enameled cast iron pot as part of a promotion sponsored by GigaSavvy Marketing

Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs

Ground lamb, unlike ground beef, is not a meat that graces the American table as often as it should. Shepherds Pie is one of the few dishes that has ground lamb as an ingredient, but it is often substituted with ground beef or ground turkey.

Lamb is a very popular meat in other areas of the world, including Europe, countries along the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia. Australia and New Zealand not only eat a good amount of lamb, but export it to others countries, as well.

This simple recipe for lamb meatballs makes cooking lamb accessible to all. The meatballs make an excellent appetizer or hors d’oeuvre. Serve the meatballs along with rice pilaf and a salad for a delicious meal.


Recipe: Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed marash chile pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
  2. Pinch off about a tablespoon of meat at a time, rolling it between your palms, forming the meat into small meatballs.
  3. Heat the oil over medium high flame in a large nonstick skillet.
  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan, and let the meatballs cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista