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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Bacon

The ultimate Low Carb Comfort Food!! Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is so cheesy and is the most comforting perfect dish minus the pasta! It is low carb comfort food that is packed with vegetables and protein. 

This is the perfect dish when you are craving mac and cheese. I was in my kitchen preparing my Perfect Mashed Potatoes to bring to my in-laws for Thanksgiving and I could not stop thinking about how much I wanted mac and cheese!  So while the potatoes were boiling I stared on the epic Cauliflower Mac and Cheese!

I had an incredible spin class in the morning and could not hold off until our thanksgiving lunch at my in-laws. While I forged through the fridge I stumbled upon 3 heads of cauliflower. I guess I was feeling rather ambitious about cauliflower during my weekly grocery shop, ha! Sometimes I am guilty of being over-ambitious grocery produce shopper. 

I would consider this cauliflower mac and cheese to be a thanksgiving gift I gave to myself! It was pouring outside and after my killer spin class, I needed some Comfort Food that wasn’t going to undo all the work I just had put in at spin, haha! It is not often that I crave comfort food but for some reason today was the day! You are going to LOVE this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, oh and the added bits of bacon…OH MY YUM! I was in a blissful comfort food coma!

Can I make this vegetarian?

YES!! Get yourself some bacon bits, they are vegan-friendly and sprinkle in 1/4 of what the recipe calls for! Or you can completely omit it!

Make the perfect Mac and Cheese Sauce 

  • Use real cheese: To make a sauce that isn’t grain or gritty you need to use real cheese. The kind you grate yourself! Pre shredded cheese contains chemicals that make the sauce grainy and gritty. You are not limited to cheddar, play around with your favorites, mild cheddar just happens to be my absolute favorite!  
  • Sauce first: combine all sauce ingredients but your cheese. Once it is combined turn off heat and stir in your cheese in small batches. 

How to make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese 

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Start by chopping your cauliflower into florets, then place them on your prepared baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. You want 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Bake your cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, fork-tender. 
  • Prepare the sauce while the cauliflower is baking. Start by heating the butter and oil over medium heat. Add in your shallot and sautè for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in flour. Cook on low for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour.
  • Add in milk and bring the heat back to medium, whisk continuously for 2 minutes. Once milk begins to boil turn off heat and season with salt( I used a 1/2 tsp) and pepper. 
  • Add in 2 cups of cheese in slowly, mix well till cheese is melted and velvety.
  • Stir in your bacon pieces and cauliflower then transfer to a casserole dish and top with the rest of the cheese. 
  • Bake at 400 for 17-20 minutes, or till hot and bubbly. 
  • If you like a browed top broil for 2 minutes, watch closely so it does not burn!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Bacon

The ultimate Low Carb Comfort Food!! Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is so cheesy and is the most comforting perfect dish minus the pasta! This dish is low carb comfort food that is packed with vegetables and protein. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 heads of cauliflower florets (about 9 cups) 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 2 1/2 cups mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup cooked bacon chopped in small pieces
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

    Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
    Start by chopping your cauliflower into florets, then place them on your prepared baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. You want 1/2 inch pieces.
    Bake your cauliflower for 15-20 minutes, fork-tender. 
    Prepare the sauce while the cauliflower is baking. Start by heating the butter and oil over medium heat. Add in your shallot and sautè for 2 minutes.
    Stir in flour. Cook on low for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour.
    Add in milk and bring the heat back to medium, whisk continuously for 2 minutes. Once milk begins to boil and thicken turn off heat and season with salt( I used a 1/2 tsp) and pepper. 
    Add in 2 cups of cheese in slowly, mix well till cheese is melted and velvety.
    Stir in your bacon pieces and cauliflower into the cheese sauce, then transfer to a casserole dish and top with the rest of the cheese. 
    Bake at 400 for 17-20 minutes, or till hot and bubbly. 
    If you like a browed top broil for 2 minutes, watch closely so it does not burn!
    Serve, Dish, Enjoy!!

Notes

Depending on the size of your cauliflower florets you may need to add additional roasting time.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12 | 8 freestyle points |

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 40mg Sodium: 352mg Carbohydrates: 11g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 12g

Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf

Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf is an amazing side dish filled with so much flavor and texture. The combination of sweet potatoes, nuts, herbs, cranberries, and wild rice come together and make this dish unforgettable!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is all the gatherings. I love getting together with family and friends and sharing in the spirit of gratitude for all we are so grateful for. It is a beautiful time of year and for me feels like newness is upon us. Before my parents went their separate ways we would always have the most beautiful and over the top thanksgivings spreads! I am one of 5 kids, so there were always tons of delicious food! My mom is one of the best cooks I know!! Now that, that chapter has come to a close the torch has been passed my way! 

Okay, I’m not trying to make this a sob story, I swear its happy! Now that I get to host I do very much still make the original family mashed potato and stuffing recipes, however, I add my own twist things! That’s the beauty of starting something new its a chance to change and make things better!! I can not wait to get a bigger place and start hosting for my friends too! Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf is a dish nobody will forget and my favorite part about it is the various levels of texture and delicious flavor. You get it all with this dish!

Incorporating fall flavors is easy and makes everything taste like you’ve been working at it all day. This Nutted Rice Pilaf goes great as a side dish but I also love it on its on! Its hearty and taste great with a side arugula salad. 

How do I cook Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf:

In a medium sauce pan bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Next, stir in your wild rice blend. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30-35 minutes. Uncover and fluff wild rice blend with a fork, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. 

While the rice is simmering in another skillet add olive oil, sweet potato and onion, cook till tender. Add in pecans, walnuts, cranberries, and garlic, keep cooking for 2 minutes. Lastly add in the rice, spices and combine.

Love an easy side dish also try, Easy Greek Pasta Salad.

Yield: 6

Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf

Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf

Nutted Wild Rice Pilaf is an amazing side dish filled with so much flavor and texture. The combination of sweet potatoes, nuts, herbs, cranberries, and wild rice come together and make this dish unforgettable!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice blend
  • 2 cups chicken broth (veggie broth vegan option)
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

    In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Next, stir in your wild rice blend. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30-35 minutes. Uncover and fluff wild rice blend with a fork, cooking for an additional 5 minutes. While the rice is simmering in another skillet add olive oil, sweet potato, and onion, cook till tender. Add in pecans, walnuts, cranberries, and garlic, keep cooking for 2 minutes. Lastly, add in rice and spices and combine.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6 | 7 freestyle points |

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 240 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 2mg Sodium: 420mg Carbohydrates: 31g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 14g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

Roasted Brussels sprouts with Sausage is a great gluten-free side and perfect for the holidays, with only a handful of ingredients this is an easy dish with the most delicious flavor. 

Brussels sprouts always seems to make an appearance on our holiday table. Tossed together with sweet Italian sausage makes for such a delicious combo. Never did I think I would love Brussels sprouts so much until I made this low carb dish. I must say I’ve come along way in my love for this veggie, in fact as a kid I would never even come close to trying it, the smell alone would make me cringe! However, today I will strongly stand by my love for Brussels sprouts, they are so versatile, and those charred crispy pieces are my favorite! 

Made on a sheet pan and packed with  flavor, this recipe is an easy clean up and only has about 10 minuets of active cooking! The flavors from  sage, rosemary, thyme, and chives make this recipe so festive tasting! Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sausage can be eaten as a side dish but also a meal. If you like a spicy dish try using spicy Italian sausage. I have little ones at home so sometimes spicy will cause dinner drama, ha!

How do I make Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sausage:

  • First, half your Brussels sprouts lengthwise. 
  • On a large rimmed baking sheet combine your Brussels, sausage broken up into small clumps, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss gently breaking up any big clumps of sausage. 
  • Next, roast and give it a nice stir halfway through roasting. 
  • Transfer the Brussels sprouts & sausage to a bowl and add in pomegranate seeds and feta.
  • Before serving sprinkle with pistachios and a drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar/glaze. 

Cooks Tips

  • Brown is good. If you never had a charred Brussels sprouts pieces, you are missing out! The burnt little pieces are the best!
  • Dry the Brussels sprouts. If you’re not buying pre-washed Brussels sprouts make sure you pat them dry before baking to ensure those crispy pieces. 
  • Are you into spicer foods, add hot Italian sausage or do a combo of both sweet and spicy for a flavorful kick!
  • Always taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sausage would be tasty with any combination of herbs so my recommendation would be to use what you like! 

If you love this dish also try, Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowls and Roasted Tomato Soup.

 

Yield: 6-8

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

Roasted Brussels sprouts with Sausage is a great gluten-free side and perfect for the holidays, with only a handful of ingredients this is an easy dish with the most delicious flavor. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, ground
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pom poms (pomegranate seeds)
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 1/4 cup pistachio's
  • Thick balsamic vinegar or glaze

Instructions

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
    Wash and trim your Brussels sprouts. Pat them dry and cut in half lengthwise.

    On a large rimmed baking sheet combine your Brussels, sausage broken up into small clumps, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss gently breaking up any big clumps of sausage.

    Roast for 40 minutes giving it a nice stir halfway thru.

    Transfer the Brussels sprouts & sausage to a bowl and toss in pomegranate seeds and feta.

    Before serving sprinkle with pistachios and a thick balsamic vinegar/glaze.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8 | 9 Freestyle Points |

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 284 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 14g Cholesterol: 41mg Sodium: 548mg Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 4g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 16g

Rosemary Honey Chicken with Roasted Veggies + Video

 Rosemary Honey Chicken with Roasted Veggies makes for a perfectly easy and healthy weeknight dinner.  This sheet pan dinner is full of Autumnal flavor. Made with tender chicken thighs in the most delicious sticky honey mustard and rosemary marinade and loaded with hearty veggies like sweet potato and Brussels sprouts. Dinner will be out in 35 minutes!

No need for complicated dinners during the week around here. My afternoons are consumed with the kid’s sports and coaching. Cooking sheet pan dinners make life just a little easier, especially cause there is only 1 dish to wash afterward! Who loves doing the dishes anyway, not me! 

Being completely honest, throwing in the rosemary was a last-minute decision.  As a matter of fact, Fall meals call for fall flavors therfore rosemary was the perfect addition to the marinade! It was absolutely delicious!! Sheet Pan Rosemary Honey Chicken with Roasted Veggies is a FAMILY FAVORITE! Don’t let dinner stress you out, make this delicious Sheet Pan Rosemary Honey Chicken with Roasted Veggies. Truly the perfect weeknight dinner with all the perfect autumnal flavors, eating seasonal has never tasted this good!

Recipe Tips:

  •  Create an even layer of veggies across your sheet pan, do not overcrowd the pan. 
  •  Choose veggies you like. Cauliflower, onions, broccoli, squash, asparagus, and potatoes are also great choices. 
  • I used boneless & skinless chicken thighs. You can use skin-on just brown the skin in a skillet before adding it to the sheet pan. 
  • If you don’t have honey you can sub maple syrup. 
  • Eat as is and keep it low carb or serve it with some noodles or rice.

Love easy and healthy dinners? Also, try Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo SoupChicken Street Tacos, or 15 – Minute Chickpea Curry and Quinoa

  • Yield: 3-4

    Rosemary Mustard Chicken and Veggies

    Rosemary Mustard Chicken and Veggies

    This sheet pan dinner is full of flavor with tender chicken thighs in the most delicious sticky honey mustard and rosemary marinade. Packed with hearty veggies like sweet potato and Brussels sprouts and ready to eat in 35-40 minutes! |9 Freestyle Points, 381 Calories|

    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 35 minutes
    Total Time 40 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 2 lbs chicken thighs, skinless
    • 1 small red onion, diced
    • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
    • 2 cups sweet potatoes, diced
    • 2 cups cauliflower forlets
    • 1 apple, sliced thin
    • 2 small carrots, diced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tbsp oregano
    • salt and pepper ( i used 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp of pepper)
    • Rosemary Mustard Marinade:
    • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 2 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare your sheet pan with parchment paper.

    Chop veggies if need be. Place veggies on your sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the veggies with onion powder, oregano, salt, and pepper.

    Toss veggies till well combined.

    Place chicken thighs on top of veggies and sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.

    In a small bowl prepare the rosemary mustard marinade by whisking together yellow mustard, honey, lemon juice, minced garlic, rosemary leaves, and olive oil.

    Coat each chicken thigh with rosemary mustard marinade on both sides.

    Bake for 30 minutes and then broil for 3-5 to get nice brown edges on your chicken and veggies.

    Dish, Serve & Enjoy!

    Notes

    Optional: Serve it with a side of brown rice or noodles.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    4 approximation

    Serving Size:

    1 | 9 Freestyle Points|

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 70mg Sodium: 416mg Carbohydrates: 54g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 28g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 21g

Maple Pear Baked Oatmeal

Maple Pear  Baked  Oatmeal is a vegan-friendly, easy and healthy breakfast. Made with wholesome ingredients and comes together in 1 bowl. 

It’s fall and I am all in on all the cozy dishes. Baked Oats are the perfect grab and go breakfast, however, it can be enjoyed as a snack too. As much as I love my eggs and toast in the morning it is nice to change it up. 

The pecans used in this baked oatmeal give it an amazing nutty flavor and crunch. They can be omitted or subbed for any nut of your preference.

This baked oatmeal is nutritious enough to keep you full all morning and it tastes amazing. It has all the cozy fall flavors but honestly, it is perfect year-round! I enjoy mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon! Sometimes after dinner, I will also eat it as dessert warmed up with a light drizzle of peanut butter and a few chocolate chips, amazing! SO you see, you can not go wrong with this baked oatmeal! The versatility of this dish is endless!

 

The flavor is:

  • comforting
  • nutty
  • hearty
  • & naturally sweet

Into easy breakfast? Also, check out Vegan Banana Cinnamon Muffins

If you make this recipe, share a photo on social media tagging @kayscleaneats and using the hashtag #kayscleaneats . 

Yield: 8 servings

Maple Pear Baked Oatmeal

Maple Pear Baked Oatmeal

This Baked Oatmeal combines wholesome ingredients that can be adjusted to fit any dietary preference. You can make ahead and enjoy all week long! | 12 freestyle Points |

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 2 cups old fashioned whole oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup pecan pieces
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Whisk all ingredients together in one bowl. Pour into your prepared baking dish and top with pear slices. Alternatively, you can mix in the pear too.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is set.

Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 81mg Carbohydrates: 19g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
12 freestyle points