The Cauliflower Comeback

I've been trying to branch out a little with our family's dinner options. We kind of got into a rut over the past year, short on time, short on sleep, and definitely short on creativity. I wasn't doing any sort of meal planning or trying new recipes, so our weekly dinners mainly consisted of a salad with chicken, pasta, takeout, or a frozen meal. We just bought the same items over and over because it was easy and quick -- that's the name of the game with littles running around and needing attention.

I got really bored with my cooking choices, and though he never said anything, I know my husband did too. So, that led to one of my goals for this year, organizing meals and trying new recipes. I have to give myself a little pat on the back, because the past few weeks have included at least 5 dinners I've never made before, and one veggie that has made a serious comeback -- cauliflower.

I was not on the cauliflower bandwagon. I know it was everywhere being roasted, mashed, used as rice, etc., but I just couldn't get past my memories of it in frozen form with broccoli, carrots, and cheese sauce. No thanks -- not a fan.

However, after having whipped cauliflower with gouda sauce (recipe below) at a cooking class recently, holy smokes my mind changed. It was SO GOOD! I even loved the bites without that rich sauce. Bonus? It was easy. We watched the chef prepare it that night, and we were able to recreate it at home in a cinch. My husband was actually the one who made the gouda sauce and thought it was super simple as well. The hardest part of the whole thing was finding the gouda in our grocery's deli. I got distracted looking at all the fancy cheeses.

So, I wondered if that meal was just a fluke. What else is cauliflower good for? I was flipping through my favorite cookbook last weekend as I planned our week and came across cauliflower fried rice (recipe below). I love fried rice and this was definitely a new recipe to try, so I put it on our list and made it Friday for dinner with some sauteed shrimp.

I had no idea how this dinner adventure was going to turn out, so it floored me how delicious it was, with all the flavors of amazing hibachi rice, but much more nutrition and much less fat and carbs. We gave the girls some little bites too, and they were big fans. Win win! We ate the leftovers last night and there's just a little bit left that I'm going to have to snack on this afternoon. Friends, this is a must-try that will probably become a regular in our house.

Here is the recipe from Skinnytaste. You won't be sorry! Just bear in mind your house will smell like Chinese food for a couple days.

As promised, here's the recipe from Chef Aimee Blume at Thyme in the Kitchen.

Creamy Whipped Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Sauce
Serves 8-10 (we must eat big portions because I'd actually say 4-6)

1 large head of cauliflower, in florets
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
White pepper and nutmeg to taste

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil.
2. Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet, drizzle with butter and salt lightly.
3. Roast until edges are slightly brown, about 40 minutes.
4. Remove cauliflower from oven and add to food processor with cream. Blend 2-3 minutes until smooth.
5. Taste and add more salt if desired, add white pepper and nutmeg.

For the gouda sauce:

2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk, warmed in microwave (we used 2%)
1/2 cup smoke gouda cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and add flour. Stir until mixture bubbles and cooks for about 30 seconds.
2. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
3. Add the cheese, salt, and black pepper, stir until smooth.

Enjoy!! Hope you are able to try these.  I think both of these would be hits with kiddos too. Anything to incorporate some veggies, right?

Let me know what you think!!

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