home-made & healthy {2} cauliflower casserole; cauliflower-crust pizza

imageI have bought heads of cauliflower before, intending to make something with them, but I chickened out and let the veggie go bad before I had a chance to make something of it. Last weekend I got two heads while grocery shopping and decided I would actually make something of them. And I did ūüôā

On Sunday, baking/cooking day here at our house, I made a Cauliflower Casserole. It does have probably just as much cheese in it as it does cauliflower, but hey, you take what you can get. I’ve never in my life had more than the tiniest bite of cauliflower, to solidify my distaste for it. But this casserole is actually good! It taste a lot like cheesy potatoes, but it just has a slightly weird texture. It’s not chunky like some versions, nor is it completely smooth like other versions of cheesy potatoes. But I’m working on that texture thing. The taste is good, even if it feels weird. (I definitely think this would be a good recipe to use with kids to hide a vegetable in the meal.) Here’s the recipe, found on Louanne’s Kitchen, which I found first on Pinterest:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs cauliflower florets
  • 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 8 oz block cream cheese, softened¬†(I substituted plain Greek yogurt)
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream¬†(I substituted plain Greek yogurt)
  • 2 bunches green onions, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • Salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Steam cauliflower florets until tender. (I think this took 15-20 minutes in my steamer)
  3. While cauliflower steams, cream together 6 oz of the shredded cheddar, 6 oz of the Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and heavy cream.
  4. Stir in sliced green onions, chopped bacon, and garlic.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Drain any liquid from steamed cauliflower and add to cheese mixture.
  7. Stir cauliflower and cheese mixture together.
  8. Taste for seasoning, and add as necessary.
  9. If you want a finer texture, give a few mashes with the potato masher.
  10. Pour into a 2-3 quart casserole and sprinkle on remaining cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.¬†(I used one head of cauliflower and halved the rest of the ingredients and it fit perfectly in a 9×9 pan, which I greased because of all the cheese.)
  11. Cover dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbly.

image

Today I made the Cauliflower Crust Pizza, the recipe for which I found at Cook Lisa Cook (to which I was directed by Pinterest, of course!) I had already prepped the cauliflower because, at least according to this recipe, it should be very dry when you go to make the crust. It was Saturday that I prepped it (not that it needed 3 days to dry, just that’s what happened). I was surprised at how the crust did firm up in the oven and it really could be eaten like pizza. My sauce had dripped through a little, though, so I just ate it with a fork to stay cleaner. Anyways, the pizza was good. A little bland, but good. I hardly tasted the cauliflower at all–mostly the taste was just the cheese and sauce. Right after I ate this pizza (not the whole thing!), I CRAVED bread. It was like my body just knew I was trying to trick it! But hopefully, if I make it again, I’ll be able to control my urges ūüôā I would recommend this if I was trying to incorporate more veggies to my diet, which I should, but I think it’ll probably be awhile before I make it again, honestly. It’s not bad, but it’s not great ūüėē

This is a two-recipe item. To start with, you make a batch of Cauli-Rice, using just one head of cauliflower:

  1. Remove the leaves and hard center core of the cauliflower.  Cut into florets.
  2. Wash and then allow the cauliflower to dry completely.  (You want the cauliflower completely dry and you will NOT be adding any water when cooking, this helps to cut down on the boiled cauliflower taste and smell.)
  3. Once dry, fill the bowl of a food processor about half full and using the chopping blade and the pulse action, process the cauliflower until it looks like the size of grains of rice.
  4. Add the processed cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.  Once all the Cauliflower has been processed and added to the microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid.
  5. Microwave on high for 7 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and fluff up the Cauli-Rice with a fork and if desired add a pat of butter, salt & pepper.

Gotta be honest, I skipped the microwaving part. So I don’t know how that affected the taste or construction, but I still got a good, solid crust.

For the pizza…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 recipe of¬†Cauli-Rice¬†(see above)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 tsp¬†fennel seed¬†(I skipped this, I don’t like the hard seeds in my food)
  • 1 TBS.¬†Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with either a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Place the cooked¬†Cauli-Rice¬†into a tea towel and squeeze all the water out of the¬†Cauli-Rice.¬† It is important to get the rice as dry as possible so that there won‚Äôt be extra moisture in the crust which will prevent it from crisping up properly.¬†(After I processed the cauliflower, I just let it sit in an open container on the counter for a few days, stirring it occasionally, so as to make sure it’s dry)
  3. In a medium bowl combine the dry Cauli-Rice, egg, 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper and mix to combine well.
  4. Press the cauliflower mixture into an even thickness on the prepared pan, either into a round or rectangular shaped pizza.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is firm and golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and turn off the oven. Turn on the broiler and move the rack to up close to the broiler.
  6. Top the cooked crust with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.  Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
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2 thoughts on “home-made & healthy {2} cauliflower casserole; cauliflower-crust pizza

  1. For what it is worth, the pizza looks good. The casserole looks great,too. How different was the texture? i can tell by the picture that the texture is a little weird…

    • The texture was sort of like cottage cheese. I mean, it had small, little lumps. So it was between like a cheesy potato casserole that is made with the little cubes and mashed potatoes.

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