Parmesan and Cauliflower “Risotto”

Parmesan and Cauliflower "Risotto"

 

My husband is back on the low carb diet so I am back to being creative with cauliflower. This hand mashed cauliflower has the same texture and flavors of a risotto without the rice and carbs. I don’t even think my kids noticed the difference.

Parmesan and Cauliflower “Risotto”

1 head cauliflower cut into florets

1/2 c ricotta cheese

3 T- 1/4 c cream

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

juice of 1/2 lemon ( about 2 T)

salt and pepper

 

Steam or cook cauliflower until fork tender. Drain excess water, Add to a med sized pot and hand mash with a potato masher. Add ricotta, lemon juice, cream (start with 3 T and add more if needed) stir in Parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat over low until heated through.

Parmesan and Cauliflower "Risotto"

 

Here is a close up of the texture. If you prefer a puree of cauliflower instead just add to a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Parmesan and Cauliflower "Risotto"

Rapini and Sausage

Rapini and Sausage

If you know me or follow my blog you know that I am a sucker for produce. I love all the colors and textures and the way all the fruits and vegetables look stacked in neat piles. I wish I could decorate my kitchen to look like a farmer’s market. I also will buy anything I haven’t seen or eaten before, or anything out of the ordinary, my youngest son and I are suckers for any exotic fruit or vegetable. So I have tried Rapini, otherwise known as Broccoli Rabe or Broccoletti before but I am sure many people haven’t. It looks like greens with little pieces of broccoli attached and is actually a member of the turnip family.

Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

It can be prepared like most any leafy green, sautéed, blanched etc… It is somewhere between cabbage and collards as far as bitterness. To prepare just wash and chop off the very bottom of the stems, the rest of the plant is edible. Great as a side dish or part of a main meal like this Rapini and Sausage dish.

Rapini and Sausage

1 bunch Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

1 t salt

2T oil

1 lb smoked turkey sausage ( you could use any sausage in this dish)

1 small onion chopped

1 t garlic chopped

1 t red pepper flakes

1 T lemon juice

1 c mushrooms sliced ( I used baby bellas)

Bring a pot of water and 1 t salt to a boil, toss in rapini and cook for 4 minutes. drain.

Blanched Rapini

In a large pan heat oil over med high heat, add sausage and onions saute until sausage in cooked through. add garlic, red pepper flakes, rapini and mushrooms (add another T of oil if needed). Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, squeeze lemon juice over dish and salt and pepper to taste.

Rapini and Sausage

Buffalo Cauliflower

IMG_6653

Yes I am mean, this is what I tried to serve my husband and kids as so called wings. But guess what it was delicious, maybe not low fat but it sure is healthier than regular buffalo wings and if you don’t over think it , it tastes pretty similar. The heat and crunch are there and dip anything in blue cheese and its a winner. Mix it up this Super Bowl and try this, perfect for vegetarians and dieters.

3 T butter

2 T hot sauce

1 head cauliflower , cut into florets

blue cheese dressing (optional)

Met butter in a pan

add hot sauce and stir over med high heat. Add cauliflower and saute for about 4 minutes, until coated, but still crunchy.

Buffalo Cauliflower

Sprinkle with salt. Serve with blue cheese dressing

Buffalo  Cauliflower

Twice Baked Cauliflower Casserole

 

Cauliflower replaces the higher carb potatoes or grits in this easy cheesy casserole.

Twice Baked Cauliflower

1 1/2 heads of Cauliflower, cut  into large pieces

1/4 c water

1/4 c cream

4 oz cream cheese

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 T butter

1/4 t cayenne pepper, 1/4 t salt

1/8 t black pepper

2 eggs (beaten)

6 strips of cooked bacon crumbled

Place cauliflower and water in a large pot, bring to a boil reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 7-10 minute or until cauliflower is soft. Drain Water. Add cream and butter. Using a hand held blender, puree the cauliflower until smooth. (you could mash, use a blender of food processor too)

Mix in cream cheese, cheddar, salt, cayenne and pepper. Add in eggs. Pour into a large baking pan and top with cooked bacon (omit for a vegetarian option).

 

Bake at 350 for about 30 min.

 

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

To low carb or not to low carb, that is the question. Yes, I know I lose weight this way, especially belly fat. But sometimes it is unrealistic, I have 2 teen boys, there is no way they are giving up on bread, pizza crust and cookies. My husband wants to, but he loves cereal and beer too much. I don’t think I can ever swear off potatoes for ever. So where does that leave us, weeknight dinners that cut down on the big bad carbs, pasta, white refined sugars, rice, potatoes and bread. We are still keeping fruits and veggies, all types. Beans and legumes are ok in our book. An occasional splurge on weekends and whole grain cereals for breakfast are fine too. I am not saying that we are going on a big strict diet, we are just going to try and incorporate more vegetables into our diets and leave out bad carbs when they are not necessary.

So that brings us to my Greek stuffed zucchini, it has all the flavor of yummy stuffed zucchini, just without the bread crumbs, which don’t add flavor anyway, just filler.

Greek Stuffed Zucchini

3 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup chopped or grape tomatoes

1 T lemon juice

1 T minced garlic

1 T fresh oregeno

3 oz  feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a spoon, scoop out the middle of the zucchini halves and add to a food processor bowl.

Add remaining ingrediants to food processor and pulse until it forms a smooth mixture, Fill the empty zucchini shells with the tomato and cheese filling.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until zucchini shell is tender and filling is bubbling.

Serve as a side dish, snack or appetizer.

Eat Your Veggies, Mashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

Trying to get kids and some adults to eat vegetables can be tricky. Trying to limit you carbs and find hearty, comforting, side dishes can be challenging. Mixing up your week night dinners and getting out of a rut can be tiring. This recipe solves all of these problem and is quick and easy, and I even like it better than mashed potatoes.

Mashed Broccoli and Cauliflower

16 oz of broccoli and cauliflower florets (I bought them already mixed in a bag at my supermarket)

1 oz cream cheese (from the brick, not soft)

1/2 tsp salt

2T half and half or milk

Steam broccoli and cauliflower until soft, you could use a microwave steam bag or steamer ( you could even boil it in a small amount of water). Add cooked veggies, cream cheese, salt and half and half to a food processor and pulse until “mashed”, mash by hand if you don’t have a food processor, it just may be slightly chunkier. Serve, see I told you it was easy. Try doing cauliflower or broccoli solo too.

No Stress Breakfast: Bacon and Egg Cups with Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Tomatoes

I am not a fan of breakfast, not because I don’t like to eat it, just because I am not a morning person. Also it can be hard to get everything ready on time to feed a whole family or god forbid guests. I feel like a harried short order cook with a huge mess in my kitchen. It can ruin my whole day. This is an easy way to serve a crowd or just make ahead for the week to save you time and stress.

Bacon, love it probably more than any other food, but it can be messy. When I was a young bride I was not such a great cook and I tried making bacon in a fry pan on the stove, what a mess, it doesn’t really fit in the pan, and it never cooks evenly. Who wants to stand over the stove with grease flying at you? Then there is the microwave, sure it cooks but your oven is covered in a layer of grease that will take forever to clean, there goes the 5 minutes you saved choosing that method of cooking. For whatever reason one day I tried it in the oven, why had I not ever tried this before? There was no mess, no standing like a slave to the cook top and guess what it came out better and more evenly cooked. Not to mention you can make a whole pound at one time if you are feeding a crowd or in my case a family of 4, who loves bacon.

Lay your slices on a heavy-duty sheet pan with sides. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Take out and drain on paper towels. My family likes it “well done” this was cooked for about 17 minutes.Unused bacon can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds or warmed in a skillet pan.

For the Egg Cups:

8 eggs

3T half and half or milk

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t black pepper

1/2 t salt

3 T creamy goat cheese

1/2 c chopped arugula

1/2 c chopped tomatoes

Grease or spray a 6 muffin tin. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a large bowl add eggs, spices, goat cheese and half and half, whisk until combined.

Pour into muffin tins, I used a large ice cream scoop. Then add about a tablespoon of tomatoes and a tablespoon of arugula to each cup. and stir with a fork.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Eggs will rise but with deflate when removed from the oven. If you are worried about spillage in your oven, place muffin tin on a cookie sheet before baking. You can put any uneaten cups in a large freezer bag  and place into the freezer for future use.