Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on Whisk Together Blog

Book:  The reviews for “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo are quite amusing.  Here are the major points of the book.  I like how they are highlighted in bold.  That way I can just read the bold font and skip over the rest 🙂

Let’s start with one of the funniest lines.  The rest isn’t too bad.  But page 70 is where she really gets me: “If you are a woman, try wearing something elegant as nightwear.  The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit.”

Oh, and make sure you don’t “ball up your socks.”  They need to rest and breathe.  Seriously.  I couldn’t make this stuff up myself.  Seriously, the book has some good points.  Here are some from the first half:

page 16:  “If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set.”  (I do agree with this one… tackle it once and get ‘er done.  Otherwise it feels like I always have something left to do.)

page 22: “A booby trap lies within the term ‘storage’.”   (I thought this was interesting.  Anyway, it is the irony of buying and obtaining more stuff (organizing storage) to store more stuff.  Not that it is wrong to store things.  But I like the reflection and the thought process behind whether it is important to keep it to begin with.)

page 23:  “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.”  Hmmm…

page 25: “Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.”  (Again with doing it in one shot, you don’t have to buy things you couldn’t find because they were in another location.)

page 41: “…we should choose what we want to keep instead of choosing what we want to get rid of.”  (Ahh, the priorities game…Does this apply to family and friends?  Ha ha.  Just kidding!)

11694122_10206713063483334_7262394879101562266_nCheck out this workshop!!  There are few that I would LOVE everything in it and this is one of them.  It is a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop.  I provide the shopping list, the labels for the bags, extra ingredients and the kitchen.  You purchase the food bundle and get ready to party!  I used to do freezer workshops and loved them, but I would have loved it even more to take home some of the extra ingredients which you get to do here.  Email me or Facebook on how to get on board.  If you don’t live in the area – that is fine!  I send the bundles out all the time and email you all of the recipes, step by step shopping lists, and workshop checklist for your freezer full of meals.

Which reminds me the kids are going to school soon.  I’m going to miss my buddy 🙁  At least we will have some meals ready to go!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on Whisk Together

Recipe:  This is another weeknight recipe from Food Network Magazine (Jan/Feb. 2014).  It is paired with BBQ chicken or taste great all on its own.  The cauliflower used is 3 cups or 8 ounces – I bought a whole head of cauliflower and used half of it.  The pasta is a typical elbow macaroni, but you could substitute your own favorite shape or even a gluten free variety.  Trader Joe’s carries a brown rice and quinoa pasta.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. elbow macaroni (1 and 3/4 cups)
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about 8 oz/half a head)
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tb. grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, on medium high heat boil the milk and cauliflower together.
  2. Put on the lid, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 8 minutes. The cauliflower should be tender and a fork should pierce through it easily.
  3. Put everything in the pot into a blender or food processor and turn it on until the mixture is smooth. Pour back into the pot and add only 1 and 1/4 cup of the cheddar and all the Parmesan cheese.
  4. While the sauce is cooking: In a medium pot, boil some lightly salted water. Add pasta and cook 6-7 minutes (or what the package says). Keep about 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
  5. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce you made. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to the sauce or as much or little as needed to make the sauce to how thick you want it. Heat through over low heat. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese.
Notes
Serve with BBQ chicken, or add ground beef, or add chili for chili mac, etc.[br][br]Recipe from Food Network Magazine Jan/Feb 2014

The hubby and kiddos all ate it.  I try to tell them about halfway through what is in it because I’m mean like that.  Plus, I do offer them regular cauliflower when we have it.  They don’t like cauliflower roasted/steamed/cooked/raw, but we’ll keep trying.  I don’t agree with”hiding” vegetables in kids’ food for every meal, but this added interesting flavor and texture.   Plus, I don’t need to cook a separate vegetable because it is already in the side dish!  Two for one!  Woot woot!

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice on Whisk Together

TED Talks “Math Class Needs a Makeover”:  I always find these TED talks sooooo mind-bendingly interesting.  This one is my new latest favorite.  Dan Meyer speaks to the audience about the backwards way students are presented with problems.  His premise is that the math problems in textbooks are nothing like real life.  No one in real life asks you a series of small questions to get the real answer they want.  No one in real life is going to label your items neatly “A”, “B”, and “C”.  Instead, he proposes that students receive only the basic picture and the last question – what the person really wants to know.  From that information, students need to work to figure out what steps they need to take in order to formulate the final answer.  (It sounds more complicated than it really is.)  Here is the link if you are interested. 

Recipe:  I made this recipe to go with the Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry posted yesterday.  If only cauliflower was as cheap as rice and spaghetti squash as cheap as pasta!  Oh what a wonderful world that would be 🙂  I should just get off my butt and grow my own I guess….

Well, anyway, this recipe was awesome and no one really cared or noticed that cauliflower was substituted for rice.  The soy sauce pretty much covers up all flavor profiles anyway.  Due to running out of soy sauce, I used Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce instead.  The main ingredient is soy sauce, so it does make a great substitute if you have that instead.  Someone asked at the dinner table, “What’s it really called?”  They still didn’t believe me.  Of course, we were also joking around and I kept calling it Island “So-Yucky” sauce.

flyer-islandsoyaki(photo credit:  Trader Joe’s)

Anything related to the bathroom or yuck brings forth immense giggling in the under age 10 set.  Sigh.

Cauliflower Fried Rice_2 on Whisk Together

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower or 24 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 Tb. sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped and keep the greens separate from the white
  • 3 Tb. soy sauce (use less or more to your tastes)

Instructions

  1. In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is the size of grains of rice. Do not simply turn it on and let it run, or the cauliflower will be mush. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tb. sesame oil on medium heat. Add egg and scramble. Cook until cooked through (firm). Set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the sesame oil (1/2 Tb) to the skillet. Cook the onion for 2 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and white scallion and cook 30 seconds.
  4. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the cauliflower and cook with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes. You will need to stir it quite often.
  5. Add the egg back in and add the soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Take the skillet off the stove and sprinkle the top with the green scallions. Serve warm with extra soy sauce.
  6. Recipe from Skinnytaste
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/02/10/cauliflower-fried-rice/

Cauliflower Fried Rice
serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower or 24 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tb. sesame oil
2 eggs
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 scallions, chopped and keep the greens separate from the white
3 Tb. soy sauce (use less or more to your tastes)

In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is the size of grains of rice.  Do not simply turn it on and let it run, or the cauliflower will be mush.  You will need to do this in 2-3 batches and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tb. sesame oil on medium heat.  Add egg and scramble.  Cook until cooked through (firm).  Set aside.
Add the rest of the sesame oil (1/2 Tb) to the skillet.  Cook the onion for 2 minutes.  Add the peas and carrots and cook 5 minutes.  Add garlic and white scallion and cook 30 seconds.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add the cauliflower and cook with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes.  You will need to stir it quite often.
Add the egg back in and add the soy sauce.  Stir until heated through.  Take the skillet off the stove and sprinkle the top with the green scallions.

Recipe from Skinnytaste

Cauliflower Popcorn and Healthy Solutions

Healthy Solutions on Whisk Together

Below I have a summary of updates, a product review and recipe for my new FAVORITE side dish right now: Cauliflower Popcorn!

Update:  Boy, do I have some cool crafts waiting for the blog!  This summer we made chalkboard coasters from the 2 cent tiles at Lowes and pom pom flowers out of $2 tissue paper.  Our house closes soon… so I should be back up and running with lots more recipes and LIGHT to photograph them!  Woo hoo!

I have several presentations coming up including: Freezer Meals (expect more of those plans), another cake/cupcake decorating presentation and currently working on my new idea “Trive”.  Most of us moms are trying to survive, let alone thrive.  I think we all need to just try.  We don’t need to be perfect at it… so I married the word TRY and THRIVE together to come up with my new positive psychology concept: Trive.  Well, we will see.  I am still working on the outline of the presentation of techniques I’ve read or learned from class about thriving and become a happier, wholer, better self.

Product Review:  As you know, I love to find healthy shortcuts.  Healthy Solutions Spice Blends was kind enough to send me four samples of their seasonings.  The contents are similar to Wildtree if you are familiar with that product line.  These Healthy Solutions Spice Blends come in many different combinations for meat, seafood, Chili/Tacos, Pork and Poultry Rub, Bold Beef Rub and Savory Meatloaf.  They are all natural, low carb, no MSG, no fillers, no preservatives.  I think what I loved most about these products – other than they taste good – is that it gave me a menu.  I didn’t have to think of what to make or buy.  I just purchased the items on the packet from the store like fresh meat, canned tomatoes (canned at home or from the store), and canned beans – and dinner planning was done.

 

Healthy Solution Chili at Whisk Together

 

 

We loved the chili packet.  No mixing and stirring 10-20 spices.  Just heat up some meat, add the seasoning with some cans of tomatoes, and dinner is done.

 

Healthy Solutions Chicken_1 at Whisk Together

 

I never thought of cooking chicken with orange juice before, but it worked well with the dried orange inside the seasoning packet.  The beef rub really kicks up the umami flavors with soy sauce and of course everyone loves meatloaf.  

 

Recipe:  It is difficult to make cauliflower super tasty sometimes.  My friend has had great luck with the pizza dough recipe that uses cauliflower instead of flour.  This recipe is a fast, easy and delicious side dish.  For fun, you could put it in some popcorn boxes for a snack.  Or eat it with a protein for dinner.

Cauliflower Popcorn at Whisk Together

Cauliflower Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower (or equivalent in florets)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (I like garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees or convection oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Make sure the cauliflower is washed and dry. Cut into florets unless it is already cut this way.
  3. Toss the cauliflower in a bowl with the olive to coat. Add garlic salt (or combination of salt and garlic powder) and cheese.
  4. Place the cauliflower onto a rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Sometimes, mine goes another 5 minutes depending how large the florets were cut. The cauliflower should have a few brown spots.
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/09/04/cauliflower-popcorn-and-healthy-solutions/

Cauliflower Popcorn

1 head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or  1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees or convection oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Make sure the cauliflower is washed and dry.  Cut into florets unless it is already cut this way.
3.  Toss the cauliflower in a bowl with the olive to coat.  Add garlic salt (or combination of salt and garlic powder) and cheese.
4.  Place the cauliflower onto a rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Sometimes, mine goes another 5 minutes depending how large the florets were cut.  The cauliflower should have a few brown spots.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

 

Copyright 2014 Mary Ellen P. Riley

Paleo Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup

Broccoli Cauliflower Soup_6 on WT

Book Update:  I went to the King Arthur Flour presentation for whole grains and yeast.  I can’t wait to show you step by step what I learned!  I wanted to bake through and photograph a couple recipes first.  They are such a cool company!  Totally employee owned, they answer EVERY single question you ask online or over the phone, they use the best wheat from USA farmers only, they don’t bleach any of their flour EVER, and have some of the best recipes online.

Recipe Update:  This is another hit from “Practical Paleo.”  I do not follow the paleo diet FYI.  I simply enjoy finding healthier recipes that use real ingredients and more fruits and vegetables that seem so desperately needed in the American diet.

Flavor:  Great!  Even better with a little sprinkled cheddar cheese on top 🙂
Time:  Very time consuming.  This is not something I could make often.  Perhaps if I had steamed all the veggies in the veggie bags that are already precut, then it wouldn’t have been so bad.
Texture:  Like pureed veggies.  But tasty.
Would I make it again?  Probably.  Especially for health conscious visitors.

**TIP**  Roasting garlic is VERY easy.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Simply cut off the tips of the head of garlic.  This should expose the garlic cloves.  Throw that into a piece of foil.  Drizzle a wee bit of olive oil on top.  Seal up with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  You can do one or several at a time.

Roasted Garlic_1 on WT

Roasted Garlic_3 on WT

Paleo Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup
serves 4

2 cups broccoli, steamed and chopped
2 cups cauliflower, steamed and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
4-6 cloves of roasted garlic
4-6 slices of bacon

1.  Use steam bags for the broccoli and cauliflower, or do what I did and use whole broccoli heads and cauliflower chopped up.  It took me 1 – 14 ounce package of broccoli crowns and less than 1 head of cauliflower to make the 2 cups for each vegetable.  I steamed them in my steamer bowl in the microwave, but a steaming basket on the stove works as well.

Broccoli Cauliflower Soup on WT  My little girl’s chopping station.

2.  Cook the bacon in the microwave, stovetop or oven.
3.  The chicken broth and vegetables need pureed.  I did this with my immersion blender on LOW.  (If you use it on HIGH, then you will get a mess.  Believe me.)  Or you can put 2 cups of veggies and 1/2 cup of broth in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Repeat with the rest of the broth, vegetables AND roasted garlic this time.  Pour all of it into a large soup pot and heat through over medium or medium low heat.
4.  Salt and pepper to taste.
5.  When serving, place the soup in the soup bowl and crumble bacon on top.  Cheddar cheese is also yummy.

Recipe from Practical Paleo

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