I bet you didn’t expect me back so soon did you? Well, SURPRISE! Here I am. Todays pic is of the mess I discovered around one of our pine trees in the back yard after we got home from vacation. I guess the squirrels have decided which tree is the most fun to have a picnic in as the ground around the other trees is all pretty much clear of debris.
Todays recipe is not an original from my kitchen, it’s a fantastic recipe that I got from my friend Lynn, The Low Carb Traveler. She suggested this recipe to me a few years ago as a side for my thanksgiving dinner. I finally tried it last year as my experiment for the holidays. I really should have tried it when she first told me about it. It’s fantastic. Really and truly fantastic. You can find the original recipe on her site at the link above as you know I had to tweak it just a touch to make it perfect for my own use. Personally I loved it just the way it was but hubby thought it had a bit too much cream cheese and onion so I tweaked until we hit a level we both love. I’ve been making this thing 3 and 4 times a month since then and we just cannot get enough of it!
Cauliflower Casserole – 1
2 lb frozen or fresh cauliflower florets <I use frozen>
8 oz cream cheese
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 oz diced green onion
butter to lube the casserole dish with
This is some seriously simple cooking. First set out the cream cheese to start warming while you put the casserole together. Then you dump the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and zap it for 10 mins on power 8. If you don’t have an awesome plate cover for reheating in the micro like I do then just cover the bowl with plastic wrap, it’ll work just fine. When the 10 mins is up take the bowl out, carefully remove the cover and stir the cauli well as the center will still be cold and mostly frozen. Re-cover the dish and pop it back into the microwave for another 10 mins, again at power 8.
When the microwave is done take out the bowl, uncover it and plop in the cream cheese. Chunk it up with a spatula and start gently mixing it in. The hot cauli will melt the cream cheese lumps to help you along with this. My hubby did not like the way I left big lumps of cream cheese when I made this the very first time so I am careful to mix it well to avoid any more complaints. I liked the lumps myself but marriage is the art of compromise.
Once all the cream cheese is melted and nice and creamy toss in the shredded cheddar and the diced green onion. I usually just put the whole bowl on my scale and weigh the cheese and onion that way as I think it’s silly to deliberately make more dirty dishes for myself to deal with later. If you own a dishwasher then go right ahead and weigh these ingredients out in seperate containers if you like. Once you have the cheddar and onions in the bowl give it a good stirring up.
Now grab your casserole pan and butter the inside really well. A nice thick layer but don’t go crazy. The pan I used is a 2 qt casserole dish, both oven and microwave safe. If you need this dish fast you can nuke it. The only difference is that it won’t brown on top and be all pretty. Since I am rarely in a hurry in my kitchen and I like pretty on occasion I prefer to bake mine. It also makes for some lovely crunchy brown bits at the sides and edges. I prefer to use clear baking dishes as it makes it super easy to tell when I need to pull something out before it burns.
Now just dump the whole mixture into the buttered dish, scrape the bowl well and level it out sorta. Turn your oven on to 400F, pop the dish in and bake it, uncovered, for 40 minutes. As you can see I start with a cold oven. I have a huge fear of shattering a glass baking pan by putting it in a hot oven. Perhaps this is no longer a real concern with today’s better bakeware but not all of my baking dishes are modern ones so it’s best to be safe. If you prefer to preheat your oven then be sure and check the dish after 30 minutes as you don’t want it to burn. You are only baking it until it is nicely brown and a bit bubbly. Remove it from the oven and serve hot.
This casserole freezes fantastically and reheats like a dream in the microwave. If you top it with crumbled, cooked bacon like in the original recipe from Lynn, I would suggest you not freeze it as the bacon loses all crispness and gets a bit chewy after freezing. So if you plan to freeze it and you want bacon on it then freeze it plain and add the bacon just before serving.
A double batch of this casserole fits perfectly in a 9 x 13 inch pan. I have also subbed broccoli for some of the cauli, up to a half and half mixture, with excellent results.
I really hope you give this recipe a try instead of pondering for a few years like I did. You will not regret it!
Have a happy!