From My Kitchen: Kale with Bacon and White Beans (via WeightWatchers.com)

We quaintrelles spend the majority of our time enjoying life’s pleasures. For me, most often, that comes in the form of food, and, while I love to eat out… like, LOVE it… sometimes, those pleasures even come from my own kitchen.

On a regular evening, I won’t get fancy with my dinners. After work and the gym (or, more often, work and then happy hour), I am too tired to come up with creative dishes. But on Sundays, I usually go all-in. This past Sunday, I made a meatloaf that was to die-for and was seeking a side dish to accompany my main course.

For those of us who are Christians, we are in the midst of Lenten season and, in observance, I always make some sort of sacrifice. This year, I decided to give up the carbs I eat most often, specifically rice (white AND brown), bread, pasta, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. As a self-proclaimed foodie, this was a HUGE sacrifice for me. I’m two weeks into this plan and I still feel like something is missing when I sit down to a plate of food that doesn’t feature a starchy side. Meat and vegetables make a balanced meal, but they do not keep me full. So now that my tummy rumbles regularly, I’ve been searching for ways to fill my belly without resorting to my old starchy standbys. In that effort, I’ve discovered that beans, while high in protein, are also pretty starchy and, so, they keep my belly full. I’m now on the hunt for ways to incorporate beans into my diet in creative ways.

On this quest for bean-laden meal plans, I discovered this gem of a recipe on WeightWatchers.com. That’s right, this recipe for Kale with Bacon and White Beans is not only delicious, but also low-cal and low-fat (but definitely NOT low on tastiness)! I made it more scrumptious by adding four slices of regular bacon instead of the three slices of reduced fat bacon the original recipe calls for (reduced fat bacon doesn’t even sound right… I’m not messing around with that. As we already know, bacon makes EVERYTHING better.) Other than that modification, I stayed true to the recipe and it turned out amazing!

No, I’m not on WeightWatchers, but who couldn’t stand to eat a little healthier?  I also find the Points designation to be helpful so I know just how “bad” (or “good”) something is before I partake in it, so I like using WW recipes when they seem like they might be palatable.  Well, this one here is a winner and is great for girls like me who are watching their figures.  And not only is this an awesome side dish, it could also be an entrée on days I plan to eat lightly. I will definitely be making this again. If you decide to try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Kale with Bacon and Cannellini Beans

I've got my kale, bacon, and beans ready to go!

I’ve got my kale, bacon, and beans ready to go!

Ingredients
4 slice(s) uncooked bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup uncooked onions, diced
1 pound uncooked kale, roughly chopped (Make sure you wash your kale very, VERY well… things live in there!  You’ve been warned!)
1 cup chicken or beef broth
15 oz can cannellini (white beans), rinsed and drained
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar (try Sugar in the Raw)

All done!

All done!

Instructions

Set a large, heavy pot or skillet over medium heat; add bacon and cook to desired crispness. Remove bacon from pot and set aside; leave bacon drippings in pot.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes to bacon drippings; cook, stirring, until garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add kale; cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to wilt, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add broth; cover and simmer over low heat until kale is just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add beans; simmer, uncovered, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in salt, vinegar and sugar; sprinkle with crumbled bacon and serve immediately.

Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.  Bon apetit!