It’s such a thrill to get into the kitchen with my kids and cook.  Although, they don’t always want to be there, I think it’s important for them to watch.  Cooking starts with watching (hence the obsession with cooking shows!)

Thinking back to my first experiences in the kitchen, I think about my grandmother’s small kitchen in Astoria, NY.  I watched.  I observed.  I tasted my grandmother’s delectable creations right from the oven.  She didn’t follow recipes; she followed her culinary instincts.   Little did she know, she was a master chef in our family.  We devoured everything she made.  She had the golden touch in the kitchen (miss you, Gram!).

For today’s Recipe Redux theme: First Cooking Recollections, I am going to “share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of your first cooking memories.”

I know if my grandmother was still here on Earth, she would have embraced cauliflower rice. (I get mine at my local Trader Joe’s).  One of her signature dishes was creamy cauliflower for a Thanksgiving side dish.  It was never overcooked or mushy - it was semi-firm, crisp florets.  Although it was not particularly healthy after adding the butter, cheese and salt - it was made with love (and that was good for our souls!)

I enjoy flavoring my cauliflower rice with pesto — as it harkens of orzo to me more than rice in this dish.  Plus, it’s low-carb and takes on the pesto flavors well.  I make my pesto with pistachios in lieu of pine nuts and use loads of fresh basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic cloves and extra-virgin olive oil.

 Then you just scrape every last bit of pesto from the food processor and dollop into heated cauliflower rice.  Mix until blended well (about 2 minutes).  You can also bake in the oven like a casserole and top with a sprinkle of cheese and allow it to bubble and become crispy.

Cauliflower Rice with Pistachio Basil Pesto

Serves 4 (1 cup each)


2 Tablespoons grape seed oil

2 – 16 oz. bags cauliflower rice

2 cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup lightly-salted pistachios, shells removed

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 cloves fresh garlic


On stovetop over medium-low heat, place oil in a skillet and heat for a minute.  Add cauliflower rice and saute for 3 – 5 minutes until started to turn golden brown.  Remove from heat.

For pesto, add basil into a food processor and blend.  Add pistachios and pulse until combined.  Pour in oil and continue to blend. Slowly add cheese and garlic.  Pulse together until smooth and thickened for about a minute.

Place cooked rice in a bowl and spoon in pesto; toss lightly until blended. Serve as a side with grilled chicken breast, seafood or tofu.

Enjoy eating simply,




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