Creative Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower is a great vegetable- easy to prepare and a hearty addition to any meal, the the point of taking the place of meat for a meatless meal. Here are two great recipes for cauliflower.

Simply Steamed:

This very simple recipe for cauliflower takes the steamed vegetable and adds a savory element or sweet element to make it more appealing. The key is to steam the cauliflower properly (not too mushy) and choose toppings accordingly.

Steaming:

Place a steamer basket into a pot, fill with water until just below the basket. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Meanwhile, chop down a head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Add the florets to the basket and cover, let steam for 8-10 minutes until fork tender. Remove and place in a bowl, sprinkle salt and pepper then mix with one of the suggested toppings below.

Toppings:

Buttered bread crumbs- Melt 3-4 tablespoons butter with 1/2 seasoned bread crumbs in a small pot. You can add more butter or bread crumbs accordingly. The result should look like wet sand. Sprinkle the hot mixture over your freshly steamed cauliflower.

Spicy Kick- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of spicy chili sauce like Sriracha with 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar. Drizzle over steamed cauliflower.

Cheesy goodness- a step above the process cheese-topped cauliflower you may have enjoyed during childhood, using fresh cheese to top steamed cauliflower will send it over the edge. Stick to cheeses that complement the rest of your meal- sharp cheddar alongside a beef dish, salty parmesan with a pork topped with a creamy sauce, or asiago alongside a roasted chicken.

Place the steamed cauliflower into an overproof casserole dish, then top with your grated the cheese and additional elements if you like (cooked bacon or Pancetta, chopped parsley, etc). Place under the broiler under the cheese is melted and golden brown, don’t walk away!

Italian style- Drizzle balsamic glaze over the steamed cauliflower. If you don’t have balsamic glaze you can make your own by reducing a bottle of balsamic vinegar in a pot until it’s thickened. Garnish with a few basil leaves.

Roasted Bounty:

Roasting cauliflower will bring out a hearty flavor, enough to replace meat in a meal. Heat your over to 450 degrees. Chop a head of cauliflower into bite sized florets and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer onto a sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden brown. This method can act as a side.

For a fuller meal, roast additional vegetables in the same manner- carrots, onion, zucchini, and bell peppers to name a few. The key is to cut each vegetable into uniform pieces and keep everything on a single layer. If you need to do multiple batches, keep roasted vegetables warm under an aluminum foil tent. Finally, mix all the roasted vegetables together and top with your favorite marinara sauce. You won’t even miss the meat.

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Veggie “Pasta”

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Low-carb diets are becoming more popular as people increasingly recognize the negative health effects of overindulging in carbohydrate-rich foods. However, many people find it difficult to give up certain carb sources like bread, potatoes and especially noodles. Fortunately, someone somewhere got creative and discovered that many vegetables, when prepared in certain ways, can mimic and replace traditional pasta in many dishes. Here are some ideas for you to try.

Zucchini

Zucchini and summer squash are ideal for use as a veggie noodles. Their naturally firm yet flexible characteristics make them a convincing and healthy replacement. When sliced into thin circles, you will get larger "noodle" that can be used in place of shells, ravioli or penne. Consider slicing your squash into thin lengthwise strips to use instead of lasagna. When they're julienned into long strings, they're fantastic in soups, salads and lightly steamed dishes.

Carrots

Carrots are slightly more difficult to work with due to their hardness, but they produce a unique and interesting substitute. Julienned carrots are the most commonly used, but you may also shred them on a food grater or make long strips with a peeler. When they're lightly steamed or sauteed, they retain enough of their texture to make a convincing noodle alternative.

Spinach

Pasta can be made from spinach and other greens, but it's a time consuming process for the average person. If you don't want to make it yourself, you can find this unique and versatile product at most health food stores and many grocery stores. Spinach noodles are great for people who are short on time because they work well for make ahead meals. They can be used just like any other noodle, except they're much more convenient since they don't require as much preparation.

Onions

Even onions can provide a noodle-like charm to your meals. Simply take a whole peeled onion and cut it into thin horizontal slices. Take your stack of whole slices, cut them in half and use them in any dish that calls for noodles. Because onions are strongly flavored, it's recommended that you combine them with other veggie noodles. Keep a baggie of them in the fridge for easy use in meals you can make ahead of time.

Scallions

Scallions are practically designed to be used for veggie pasta dishes. Chop off the bulbous bases and set them aside for other parts of your recipe. Save the long, green portions and, depending on their size, slice them in half lengthwise. These are great in onion soups, vegetable soups and many Asian dishes.

 

Summer Dinners to Make in Advance

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Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy family time with vacations and a break from school. These quick, tasty recipes can help you to make ahead meals to give you more time to spend together.

Manicotti

For a quick and easy make ahead meal that you can pop in the oven for dinner or put in the freezer for when your schedule is too hectic to cook, put together an easy, sure to please manicotti dish.

Mix together 1 pint of ricotta cheese and 2 eggs in a medium bowl until blended together. Add in 1 oz. of frozen spinach (thawed, drained, and chopped), 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ½ cup parmesan cheese, 1 ½ tablespoons of white sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until mixed well; stuff into 12 manicotti shells. Large shell shaped pasta would work as well.

Spread out ½ cup of spaghetti sauce on bottom of a baking dish. Arrange stuffed pasta in a single layer on top.

Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight, or wrap and freeze. When ready, bake uncovered from thawed state at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Top with ¼ cup parmesan cheese and diced, fresh tomatoes and peppers from the garden, and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes.

Vegetable Casserole

One of the best things about summer is pulling out a fresh vegetable straight from the garden to use in dinner. Fresh zucchini and squash are a wonderful addition to corn to make crowd pleasing casserole that the whole family will love. Plus, it freezes beautifully for a quick, convenient, and light summer vegetarian meal.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 cups each of shredded or chopped zucchini and squash with ¼ cup of chopped red onion about 10 minutes until softened. Season to taste with pepper and garlic powder.

Stir in ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese; turn off heat and add ½ cup margarine or butter and 8 ounces of cream cheese. Remove pan from burner; add 14.5 ounces of whole kernel corn (fresh or frozen) and 14.5 ounces of creamed corn.

Add 17 ounces of dry corn muffin mix, two eggs, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, and another 1.45 ounces of creamed corn. Mix thoroughly and pour into baking dish.

Bake about 40 minutes until browned and firm on top. Allow to cool before serving, or cool completely and wrap to put in the refrigerator or freezer for a later meal.