Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Many Sides of Cauliflower

I love(d) potatoes.  But now I don't eat very many grains or starchy vegetables and don't cook them at home ever so I have to find other sides for my meals.  I eat a lot of zucchini and cauliflower.  Here are a couple of recipes for cauliflower.  The first one, Twice Baked Cauliflower, we have only tried a couple of times but both times it was delicious and we will be making it again.  The second recipe, "Mash", is my go-to vegetable recipe when I want something fairly easy and delicious.  We probably have it at least once a week. 

from Kayln's Kitchen

1 large head cauliflower
4 oz. cream cheese (I use Neufchatel)
1/2 cup sour cream
green onions, sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4slices bacon, crispy & crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

This really isn't twice baked, as the first time you actually boil the cauliflower.  But it is very similar to twice baked potatoes.  Take your cauliflower and break/cut it into smaller pieces and boil it in water until tender.  Drain the cauliflower.  I use my potato masher with all my cauliflower recipes.  So take your masher and break the cauliflower into smaller pieces.  You can judge how much you like the cauliflower smaller or larger pieces but I get mine pretty small.  Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese, about half the bacon & about 1/2 of the cheddar cheese.  Pour your mixture into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle on the remainder of the cheese & bacon pieces.  Bake at 350 F for about half an hour or until the edges are browned and the casserole is bubbly.  D and I really liked the flavor of the crispy browned edges so we let ours cook as long as we could without burning.  Sprinkle some green onions on top for a fresh crisp and enjoy your side dish.  This is so yummy! 

First time - without green onions, bacon & zucchini.

Second time - with everything!
A couple of notes about variations:
The first time we made this we didn't have bacon or green onions.  Still very tasty!  They definitely add a layer of flavor but without the dish is still super super yummy!
The second time we had all the ingredients (bacon & green onions) but I also added a little zucchini (imagine, me adding zucchini to something! hah!).  I boiled it with the cauliflower and we thought it was very tasty.  I will be making this dish with or without the zucchini, with or without the bacon & green onions.  It is a hit around my house! 

aka faux 'tatoes

zucchini (if you choose)
cream cheese
salt & pepper

This is another of my almost-recipes as I don't have measurements.  :)  I typically will cook a full head of cauliflower & 1 or 2 zucchinis, depending on what I have in the house & how big they are.  Slice the veggies into manageable chunks and boil the cauliflower & zucchini until fork tender.  The more tender you can get your cauliflower, the smoother your mash can be.  This is something I may vary from time to time, just like you have mashed potatoes that are more home-style with chunks or buttery smooth.  Once the cauliflower is done to your liking, drain the vegetables & add butter & cream cheese.  As usual, I use neufchatel (or 1/3 less fat) cheese as I just like the flavor of it better.  I would say you will use about 2-3 T butter & 2-4 oz of cream cheese.  This will depend on how big your cauliflower & zucchini was and how creamy you want it.  You can use your hand masher or an electric hand mixer to mash your vegetables, butter & cream cheese together. Add salt & pepper to taste and enjoy! 

A little side note...when D and I vacationed in San Francisco we had mashed potatoes with zucchini at a restaurant.  I loved it!  Of course I love potatoes & zucchini are my favorite vegetable so it was a dream come true but I just as equally love my cauliflower mash with zucchini added.  It is also nice to be able to vary the recipe to give you a bit of a different side dish:  just cauliflower, zucchini & cauliflower, or even lots of zucchini with a little cauliflower.  

Hope you enjoy these two recipes.  Cauliflower has become a staple in our household and we are loving it! 

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