Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower has become the rage in recent years. People have been using it to make pizza crust, rice, and it’s a great substitute for pasta, especially in Mac and Cheese. Hence the recipe I am sharing with you today.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that I actually enjoyed this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese more so than the traditional Mac and Cheese I normally make. Using cauliflower as opposed to pasta makes the dish a lot lighter and the cheese sauce was much lighter as well since the base is heavy cream and cream cheese as opposed to milk and flour.

I began by cutting a large head of cauliflower into small florets. I then boiled them in salted boiling water for 5 minutes until the cauliflower was crisp tender. You don’t want to boil them too long as you don’t want your Mac and Cheese to become mushy. After draining the cauliflower I patted it dry with a few paper towels and then transferred it to a greased 8 x 8 baking dish. You could use frozen cauliflower and steam it in your microwave oven. Once again, don’t overcook it.

Next, I made the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan I simmered heavy cream and then added in cream cheese and mustard, whisking it until it was smooth. I then stirred in cup of cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder until the cheese melted. Not a fan of cheddar, try mozzarella, Monterey jack cheese for a little kick, or a combination of your favorite cheeses. I then poured the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, stirred it together and then topped it with more shredded cheddar cheese. I baked it in a preheated 375 oven for about 15 minutes and it was ready to enjoy.

This recipe would also be delicious with broccoli!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 cup heavy cream

2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter, or spray with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with salt.

Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then pat dry between paper towels. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking dish.

In a small saucepan bring the heavy cream to a simmer and then whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder and continue whisking until the cheese melts. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and stir to combine.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Recipe from Food Network

Rigatoni with Sausage & Peas

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but, I’m always on the search for quick and easy meals that flavorful, don’t require a slew of ingredients and gives me enough leftovers for a few days. This pasta dish checks all of those boxes.

I started by cooking the pasta. Then, I sautéed garlic, browned the sausage, added frozen peas and finally heavy cream and butter. After bringing it to a boil I added in the pasta and that was it. You can’t top something as simple as that.

Rigatoni with Sausage & Peas

Ingredients:

1 pound rigatoni

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound sweet Italian sausage meat or sausages with casings removed

12 ounces frozen green peas

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter

Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cooking for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente and then drain.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic. Add the sausage and brown. Then add the green peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly add the heave cream and butter and bring to a slight boil. Cook for 5 minutes and then toss with cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese.

Recipe from allrecipes

Slow Cooker Sunday: Vegetarian Minestrone

While spring may be a few days away the weather is still cold enough for some hearty soup. And while this soup may not have any meat in it, it’s still filling thanks to the array of vegetables. I was a bit intimidated by the amount of ingredients – I tend to avoid recipes that have too many ingredients – but, they are all pretty simple and some I actually had on hand.

I added most of my ingredients to my slow cooker and then set it to cook on low for 8 hours. I began checking on it after 5.5 hours as I didn’t want my vegetables to over-cook and break down, especially the zucchini. Ultimately my soup was ready in 6 hours, my vegetables were tender and still intact.

I then cooked the elbow macaroni in pot of boiling salted water and added it to the soup along with chopped baby spinach. I cooked it on low for an additional 15 minutes and it was done.

The Minestrone was flavorful and as I said earlier hearty and, the leftovers tasted even better the next day and even better the day after that.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Minestrone

Ingredients:

6 cups vegetable broth

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 cup frozen green beans

1 small zucchini, cut into quarter moons

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoons thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup elbow macaroni

4 cups chopped fresh spinach

Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Combine all ingredients from the broth through the black pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetable are tender.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the elbow macaroni for about 8 minutes, until cooked through but still firm, drain.

Add the macaroni and spinach to slow cooker and cook for another 15 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.

Recipe from allrecipes

Slow Cooker Sunday: Turkey Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce

The book I got this recipe from touts them as satisfying your craving for Thanksgiving, while that may be true, I think they are a great appetizer if you are having a small get together, a game night, or a nice accompaniment to stuffing – if you are really hankering for that Thanksgiving flavor.

Begin by combining ground turkey along with panko breadcrumbs, an egg, chopped onion, sage and salt. Gently mix to combine. I used a cookie scoop to scoop the mixture and then rolled it into golf ball-sized meatballs. I baked them in a 425 F preheated oven on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

While the meatballs were in the oven I combined a can of jellied cranberry sauce and chili sauce in the insert of my slow cooker and stirred it until the cranberry sauce had completed broken down and the two ingredients were well combined. Once the meatballs were cooked I added them to the sauce and gently mixed them in. I covered the slow cooker and cooked it on low for 90 minutes, until the sauce was heated.

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce

  • Servings: Makes about 20
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Ingredients:

1 lb. ground turkey

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

12 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 teaspoon ground sage

1 teaspoon salt

1 14 oz. can jellied cranberry sauce

3/4 cup chili sauce

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except the cranberry sauce & chili sauce. Gently mix the turkey mixture until just combined and roll into golf ball-sized meatballs.

Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

In a slow cooker mix the cranberry sauce and chili sauce together. Add the meatballs gently toss with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 90 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Homemade Gnocchi In A Mushroom Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make Gnocchi for quite some time. Not really sure why though because I’ve only had it once or twice. I think it’s the challenge of it all… Can I really make it? One thing that was holding me back is that most recipes call for a potato ricer. Something I don’t own and was reluctant to purchase. I went to a couple of stores and couldn’t find one and truthfully didn’t want order one online. I did find a few recipes that said you could mash the potatoes but then I found some recipe reviews that said mashing the potatoes wouldn’t turn out good gnocchi. And then, I found a recipe that used a large hole grater and I was ready to go.

To make the dough I baked 3 medium Russet potatoes at 400 F for about 45 minutes. I let them cool for a few minutes, then peeled them and grated them using the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. I added in a lightly beaten egg and salt and then added in flour, a little at a time, until the dough wasn’t sticky. I then dumped it out on a lightly floured surface and kneaded it.

Next, I divided the dough into 6 smaller balls and rolled out each ball into a rope about 3/4-inch thick.

I then cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.

Once I had rolled out all of the dough and cut it. I boiled them in a pot of well-salted water. I knew the gnocchi was ready once it floated to the surface of the water.

Next, I finished off the gnocchi in a mushroom sauce. And here’s the funny thing about this… the first day it tasted good, the 2nd day it was delicious, but, on the 3rd day not so much. I think by then the gnocchi had absorbed a lot of the sauce and it just turned an odd color and the flavor was off. So, apparently homemade gnocchi is good for 2 days and that’s it.

 

Homemade Gnocchi In A Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:

3 medium Russet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Mushroom Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup shallots

1 14.5 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

5 ounces baby spinach

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

For the Gnocchi:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Flip the potatoes halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.

Peel the potatoes and then grate them over the large holes of a box grated over a large bowl. Add the egg and the salt and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add the flour to the potatoes, a little at a time, using only as much as you need so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated dump it and any remaining floury bits onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hands, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn and repeat. Knead for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball and then divide into 6 smaller balls. Using your fingertips roll each ball into a rope about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 1-inch pieces.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the gnocchi in batches. Once it rises to the surface remove from the water and set aside on a baking sheet.

For the Mushroom Sauce:

Cook the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter begins to brown. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and parsley; simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the gnocchi and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Divide among bowls and drizzle with parmesan cheese.

Gnocchi Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Mushroom Sauce adapted from Epicurious

Zucchini, Corn and Basil Stir-Fry with Chicken

Quick and delicious meals are something I am always searching for. And, meals that aren’t written for 6 or more servings. Since I cook for just myself 4 or less is perfect. It gives me enough for leftovers for the following day. While you can find quick to prepare food at the supermarket, you know those flavored rice’s and pasta sides, have you ever noticed how much sodium is in them. I am by no means a health nut, but, I do try to avoid certain things whenever possible. Sodium being one of them. Today, I am bringing you a quick dish that can be made with tofu, chicken or shrimp and has a healthy amount of vegetables… A Zucchini, Corn and Basil Stir Fry. What’s really nice about this dish is that there are no sauces that are giving this dish a flavor. Just some salt, pepper, garlic, onions and basil. Yum! And, it’s written for 2 servings… Perfect for me.

Zucchini, Corn and Basil Stir Fry

Ingredients:

8 ounces tofu, chicken breast or sausage, or shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

3 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into half-moons a 1/2 inch thick

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off*

1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons

Salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes, optional

*This is approximately 3/4 cup of corn if you want to sub frozen or canned corn

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, season the oil with salt and pepper. Cook your chosen protein to your liking, fully cooked if chicken or shrimp. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add more oil if necessary, add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the zucchini, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the zucchini is golden, stirring frequently.

Add the garlic and corn and cook for an addition 2 minutes, stirring. Add more salt and pepper.

Cover the skillet and let it steam for 3-4 minutes. Check the zucchini with a fork for doneness. When the zucchini is ready add the basil and adjust the salt.

Add the red pepper flakes, if using and return your protein the skillet and heat through.

Recipe from Feasting At Home

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

So, funny thing, pretty much the only reason why I made this was because I had celery in my fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That always happens when I buy celery. I use a few a few stalks and then the rest gets thrown out. I was determined not to let that happen again. So, I knew I wanted to make something in my slow cooker but wasn’t sure what and then came across this recipe in my favorite slow cooker cookbook.

What was even better, this is one of my favorite types of slow cooker recipes – throw it in there and let it cook. I know that doesn’t sound to proper considering we are talking about food, but, I will assume that you know what I mean. In my slow cooker I added in chicken, andouille sausage, okra, green bell pepper, celery, onion, cayenne pepper, salt, can of diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Now, it may look like there isn’t enough liquid in there….

But, after cooking on low for about 4 hours there was more than enough liquid. One thing I didn’t do that the recipe called for was adding a cornstarch-water mixture after 3 hours to thicken the liquid. I find that I am not too keen on thickening the liquid because it tends to look congealed after refrigerating it. Granted, all is well once it is warmed up, but, since I am cool with the thinner liquid I stick with that. One more thing, this was delicious, but, if you don’t like spice, I suggest using less cayenne pepper. To go along with the gumbo I made white rice and it’s the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the juices.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 pound okra, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 celery stacks, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup cornstarch

White rice, for serving (optional)

Directions

In a slow cooker combine the chicken, sausage, okra, pepper, celery, onion, cayenne pepper and salt. Add the diced tomatoes, along with their juices, and the chicken broth and give everything a few good stirs to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch along with 1/4 cup water. Stir into the gumbo to thicken it, cover and continue cooking for an additional hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with white rice.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites