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Cauliflower (Not Mac) and Cheese

Posted Jan 23 2013 8:34am

Cauliflower is not one of those vegetables I get really giddy about.

I mean, I like cauliflower and all – but you won’t see me running to the produce section while shouting and hip-hip-hooray-ing with my arms flailing above my head like a wild woman when I see that cauliflower is on sale.

I’m probably more likely to say “oh, cauliflower is on sale this week? that’s cool.”

This recipe makes me slightly more giddy about cauliflower than usual though. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese? I didn’t invent this idea, but I did think “I’d eat that” when the idea was presented to me. My next thought was “I need to make that.”

It took me a couple tries to get right though. First I steamed the cauliflower, I added too much cheese, I cut the cauliflower pieces too big. We ate it, but I didn’t go running from the kitchen while shouting and hip-hip-hooraying with my arms flailing above my head like a wild woman.

This time though? Prepare your arms, they will soon be flailing.

The key to making this recipe work is cutting the cauliflower into small, bite sized pieces. It comes out more casserole-y that way. All this slicing is a good warm up for your arms anyway.

Chopped Cauliflower

(or Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole)

(or Cauliflower Au Gratin)

1 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 mayan onion, diced
1 cup of milk
1 egg, beaten
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp dijon mustard (or dry mustard powder)
1/2 tsp of salt
pepper to taste
sprinkling of paprika for topping

Roasting vs. steaming was another key to making this work. Did you know a whole head of cauliflower will fill an entire baking sheet? Well you do now!

Fill Baking Sheet

Roasting your cauliflower helps dry it out and saves it from being too watery. 20 minutes at 350 was plenty, or long enough until the cauliflower starts to brown slightly.

Roasted Cauliflower

While your cauliflower is roasting, saute onions and garlic in butter and put together your cheese sauce. Definitely go with a sweet (mayan) onion here, it works really well with the cheese, mustard and cauli.

Onions Garlic Cheese Sauce

(How cute is “cauli” as a nickname for Cauliflower?)

Cook your vegetables in a large pan so you can easily combine your cauliflower and cheese sauce without needing to dirty another dish. Fewer dishes definitely gets me hip-hip-hooray-ing.

Sauteed Veggies Baking Dish

Transfer cauliflower mixture to a little oiled baking dish, top with a little paprika and then bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This would make a great side dish for dinner, or perhaps dinner itself on a cold Saturday night when you’re in the mood for some comfort food with your vegetables built right in.

Cauliflower (Not Mac) and Cheese

Or in my case, for lunch on a random week day while I’m puttering around the kitchen feeding kids and cooking six other things to stock our fridge with food to eat for the rest of the week.

Watch out gang, Mom’s arms are in the air again!

A colorful variation on this could be to add some spinach or other greens, I’d eat it that way too.

Maybe next time though. My arms are tired.

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