Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-1Move over macaroni, there is a new cheesy side dish in town. This cheesy, decadent side is lighter on carbs, but I guarantee you won’t miss them. Cauliflower always makes its way onto my dining room table for the holidays, whether steamed, roasted or baked, and this would be a perfect side for Thanksgiving. This recipe makes a large batch, enough for a family gathering, but could easily be halved for a weeknight meal.

 

 

cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-2Ingredients (Serves 6-8):
2 heads cauliflower (approx. 2lb), cut into small bite sized florets
4 oz. Colby, Monterrey jack or a Colby-jack blend, cut into cubes
4 oz. cheddar, cut into cubes
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
⅛ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

For the crumb topping:
1 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. breadcrumbs

cheesy-cauliflower-gratin-3To make the crumb topping: Melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium low, then add breadcrumbs. Stir until just starting to turn golden brown. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces and place in a large baking dish. Make sure they are cut small enough to allow an even coating of cheese sauce.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium saucepan, melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter on low, add flour, stir for 2-3 minutes while bubbling but not brown. Add milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder and half of the cheese. Stir for 2-3 minutes until starting to melt, then add remaining cheese. Continue stirring until cheese is melted, being careful not to let the milk boil. Once melted, pour over cauliflower, coating evenly. Let sit 5 minutes (this will let the cheese sauce firm up slightly so the crumbs sit on top rather than sink into the cheese sauce). Add crumb topping and bake for 35-45 minutes until cheese is bubbling and cauliflower is cooked. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Pistachio and Basil Pesto

Pistachio and Basil PestoWhew! The last few weeks have been hectic. Packing, moving, unpacking… but we are all settled in to our new home and ready to enjoy the summer. Basil is my all-time favorite summertime herb, so much so, that one basil plant just isn’t enough in my house. Of course when I make pesto, I think pasta, but it’s also great on pizza, in soups, and – my newest favorite – on sandwiches. Doesn’t a grilled cheese with mozzarella and prosciutto, topped with bright and aromatic pesto sound indulgent?  This pesto sauce also takes less than 5 minutes to make; all the ingredients are thrown in a food processor and blended until smooth.  Easy and delicious!

Pesto is traditionally made with toasted pine nuts, but the grocery store sells pistachios in the bulk section, where I can buy just what I need for a single recipe. Pistachios are also less expensive than pine nuts, so it’s a win-win to me.

Pistachio and Basil Pesto 2Ingredients (serves 4):
¼ cup unsalted pistachios, toasted (see below)
3-4 cups loosely packed basil leaves
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, quartered
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

To toast the pistachios, preheat a small skillet on medium heat. Add pistachios and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place toasted pistachios, basil leaves, parmesan cheese, garlic, crushed red pepper and olive oil to a food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are smooth, scraping the sides with a spatula as necessary. Season with salt and pepper and toss with your favorite pasta for an easy weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean SaladSummer means grilling, and if the cooking is being done outside, it’s time to whip up some easy sides that are packed with veggies and don’t require turning on the oven. I love making dishes that use a bunch of fresh ingredients, but sometimes if I’m using a piece of an onion or half a bunch of cilantro, as much as I plan to make something with the other half, a few days later I wind up throwing a wilted bunch of cilantro in the trash. Making this Corn and Black Bean Salad on a night when I also make Guacamole for an appetizer, uses several of the same ingredients, so less waste and the flavors complement each other nicely. Besides, everyone loves to snack on Guacamole while waiting for dinner!

Corn and Black Bean Salad 2Ingredients:
16 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
2 tbsp. red onion, minced
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, stems removed and chopped

For the dressing:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. canola oil
¼ tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper

Corn and Black Bean Salad 3In a medium bowl, mix together corn, black beans, diced bell pepper, diced jalapeno, minced red onion and chopped cilantro. In a separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, lime juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in canola oil, cumin, salt and pepper and pour dressing over vegetable mixture. Stir and refrigerate for one hour before serving to let flavors fully incorporate.

Enjoy!

 

Note: this makes a great summer side, but I’ve also been known to make this as an appetizer and scoop it up with some chips!

Honey Sriracha Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts have really soared in popularity over the last few years, and it seems like every restaurant has their version of spicy-but-sweet Brussel sprouts on their menu. Here is an easy recipe for those delicious sprouts at home!

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1 lb. Brussel sprouts
½ tbsp. coconut oil
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. sriracha
Juice of half lime

Washed Brussel sproutsCombine honey, sriracha and lime juice. Wisk to combine.  Cut stems off Brussel sprouts, slice in half and wash under cold water in a colander.  Let drain.

 

 

 

Charred sprouts

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. When oil is shiny, add Brussel sprouts and cook 12-14 minutes, until slightly charred. Add honey mixture and continue to stir for approximately 2 minutes until slightly sticky.

 

Enjoy!Finished sprouts