Twice Baked Cauliflower

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I’m continually looking for new low carb recipes. When this video for a twice baked cauliflower dish popped up in my news feed on facebook, I thought to myself, that’s a new recipe I haven’t seen yet & it looked too good not to try! 

I’ve always loved cauliflower, raw or cooked. The internet has countless recipes that are using cauliflower in place of proteins and other high carb foods. The cauliflower head is very versatile and can be used grated as a rice or other grain substitute, cut thick to mock a “steak”, mashed up as a side dish, pureed as a sauce or into a soup, pulsed fine to mimic “cheese” on a salad. Cauliflower can be a substitute for flour and made into a pizza “dough”, cut into florets and tossed in buffalo as “wings”, even molded together and fried as a “tater tot” in place of potatoes. The Cauliflower possibilities are literally endless.  

I had tweaked this recipe a little bit from the original. I always love the inspiration from other food bloggers but will always put my own twist on a recipe. Obviously this recipe is made vegetarian, but if you would like to go full loaded twice baked, add bacon into the mix! The end result of this is super creamy & makes a great side dish with dinner. I served this as a side of pan seared salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. This baked cauliflower dish is even great on its own! I am looking forward to making this again and next time adding in some different spices or vegetables. 

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Mise En Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, florets removed, chopped up small
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Scallions, as a Garnish
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 350 degrees. Remove core and stem from cauliflower. Cut florets into smaller chunks. Cook in a medium pot of salted boiling water until cauliflower is tender but not soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Drain well and & mash with a potato masher, still leaving some chunks.
  • Mix in butter & cream cheese until smooth. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Once cauliflower is mixed well and creamy, add into a gently greased casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in the oven, uncovered 15-20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
  • Garnish with scallions & Enjoy!

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Roasted Beets

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You can’t beat beets. One of my favorite root veggies the sweet, earthy and colorful beet. They’re not only a chock-full of everyday nutrients like B Vitamins, Iron, Copper, Magnesium & Potassium, these ruby gems also are a gold mine of health boosting nutrients. 

Beets are rich in nitrates—a compound that relaxes and dilates blood vessels. That means better circulation, and possibly lower blood pressure.  Beets are good for lowering inflammation and blood pressure. They also help to detoxify the body, boost immunity, and prevent respiratory issues. They also help lower your risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and stroke. I think you get the idea when I say, nothing beats a beet. 

I don’t know too many folks who dislike beets, but I’m thinking the ones that do, have never had a freshly roasted beet. They are probably used to something from a can & ya’ll don’t want to know my feelings on canned vegetables! Beets can be prepared numerous ways but roasted is the way to go. The beets in this recipe are rich and firm bursting with juicy flavor. They take a bit to cook but absolutely worth the wait. You be the judge of how you want to drop the beet..If you know what I mean! 

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Mise en Place:

  • 4 Medium Red Beets
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P
  • Tin Foil
  • Latex Gloves
  • Kitchen Towl

Method of Prep:

  • Turn oven to 300 degrees farenheit
  • Trim beets off the green and rinse under cold water cleaning away any dirt from skin
  • Pull a long sheet of tin foil, about the length of a sheet pan
  • Place the beets on the foil, drizzle enough oil to lightly glaze each beet. Use your hands to massage the oil around each beet. Sprinkle with S&P
  • Close the foil around the beets, creating a pouch. Place on a sheet tray and set in oven for 50 Minutes
  • Check to see if the beets are cooked through by taking a pairing knife and inserting it through the center of a beet. If the knife slides through softly, beets are ready to pull. if beet still feels firm in the center, place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Open up foil to remove the steam and allow the beets to cool down to room temperature for approximately 20 minutes.

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Peeling the Beets:

All beets purchased from the produce section of the grocery store, need to be peeled before eating. How to do this is simple but I highly recommend you wear latex or rubber gloves to keep your hands from turning purple from the beets bleeding as the skin is removed. I start with placing a kitchen towel in both hands. Placing the beet in my left hand, on top of the towel (because i’m right handed), take the towel in your right hand and begin to push downwards  on skin. If the beets have been cooked all the way the skin will peel off very easily. If the skin is harder to peel, your beets need to be cooked a little longer. Continue to do this around the whole beet until all the of the skin is removed. Cut into quarters, or slice into rounds and add to any meal of your choice!

Enjoy, Cheers!

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Cauliflower Steaks

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It’s a well known fact that fresh is always better than frozen products. When it comes to vegetables though, the shelf life for them being fresh and kept in the fridge goes faster than I can keep up with in my back and forth work schedule.

During the slow winter months, also knows as our off season at the Country Club, I try to use this free time to do a lot more cooking at home. The only thing I wish this side of Cleveland would offer is more farmers markets. I would much rather spend my money there than at the grocery store any day. Even though I’m doing a lot more cooking at home, I’m still watching how much produce I bring home. I can only use up so much of it at one time during the week. Like I said, fresh vegetable always seem to wilt or rot on me before I get to using them.

I’ve always had a liking for cauliflower, raw or cooked didn’t matter to me. A fellow co-worker mentioned how she will make roasted cauliflower for her 2 little kids at home. She roasts it in the over with oil, salt and pepper and then sprinkles loads of Parmesan cheese and tops it with fresh made pesto, she really talked the roasted cauliflower recipe up. I figured if 2 kids under the age of 6 will eat it, it’s gotta be good. Usually I steam cauliflower so I was ready to try something different with roasting it. I took the basic ingredients: salt, pepper, and EVOO and added a few more spices to it to really make the flavor pop. The recipe makes the best entree, or side dish, you choose.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem & leaves removed, cut (You will get 3 steaks out of 1 head)
  • 1/2 Cup EVOO
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Heat Oven to 350
  • Once cauliflower is cut, place on a sheet tray
  • In a small bowl mix together EVOO & seasonings
  • Using a pastry brush, brush oil over the front and back of cauliflower, brush along the tops and sides as well. Season with S&P.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 10 Minutes. Turn over and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until tops of cauliflower are golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

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Rumor has it there’s a super bowl game going on tomorrow; talk about a Sunday-funday, eh. Anyways, if you’re a last-minute planner or for lack of a better term a procrastinator, I’ve got a dip for you that is always a huge hit amongst a group of football advocates and alcohol connoisseurs. If you’re hosting a party of your own for the big game and looking to please a crowd, spinach artichoke dip is a great compliment. If you’re looking for more snack ideas, be sure to check out last years Superbowl post for other healthy alternatives and quick recipes!

Of course this doesn’t have to be made just for football season. This is a great dip to serve for birthday parties, picnics or appetizers before a holiday feast! You can serve this dip hot or cold and it only takes 15 minutes, if that, to assemble. If you’re a big cheese head, you can sprinkle your favorite cheese on top and bake it in the oven until melted. Extra cheese is always okay.

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Gluten Free/Vegetarian/Grain Free

Mise en Place:

-1 Can Artichoke Hearts, drained, rough chop

-1 10 OZ Pack Frozen Spinach, Thawed, drained

-1 8 OZ Pack Cream Cheese, softened

-1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

-1 Teaspoon Salt

-1 Teaspoon Paprika

-1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

-Tortilla chips (or desired food to dip with)

Method of Prep:

-Drain the chopped spinach and make sure to squeeze out as much excess water as possible.

-In a large bowl add all ingredients and mix well to combine with a spoon.

-Taste and adjust seasonings if possible. I started out small with using a teaspoon of each spice. You may find that it’s not enough. Just add a little more at a time and keep tasting until it meets your satisfaction.

-If you plan to bake your dip, pop it in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until hot.

Enjoy!

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Honey Glazed Brussels With Bacon

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Brussels sprouts are becoming a lot more popular on menus now than ever before. Brussels weren’t very commonly  served for dinner, in fact I don’t think I knew a single person who loved Brussels sprouts enough to even have them around.  As for me, it’s not than I ever disliked Brussels, it’s just I’d never eaten them before. Being a cook at heart, there’s a lot more to do with sprouts other than seasoning them with salt and pepper. Yes salt and pepper go a very long way in cooking, but sometimes you need to include the help of other spices that just sit on the shelf unnoticed half the time.

My absolute favorite way to enjoy Brussels, aside from being tossed in balsamic vinegar then roasted, is caramelized with honey and cooked with bacon; nom to the nom. This side dish is excellent for all holidays or makes a great snack for in between meals. If you have picky eaters at home, I recommend this recipe. The honey gives a great naturally sweet flavor, and why would anyone turn down a vegetable cooked with bacon!?

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Mise en Place:

-16 OZ Brussels, cut in half, stem removed

-8 Oz Honey

-4 Strips bacon, cut into lardons (julienne), cooked crispy

-1/2 Yellow onion, julienne

-Salt, TT

-1 Teaspoon Pepper

-1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne (optional)

-1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

Method of Prep:

-Heat oven to 350 degrees.

-Toss the cut Brussels and onion in a large bowl with a splash of Olive oil and spices.

-Pour sprouts into a baking dish and drizzle the honey over the top. Mix with a spoon.

-Bake in the oven until crispy, approximately 30 minutes. It’s okay if they burn, it’s what you want.

-Add more honey and adjust seasoning if needed.

-Remove from the oven once crispy and mix in bacon.

-Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

***Another way to caramelize the sprouts (way I prefer more) is on the stove top. Using a very hot pan, cook with the inside of the sprout face down until golden and then flip over and cook the back until dark. crisp in the oven.

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