Perfectly Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce | Cook Well. Eat Better. Live Happily

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower (or any veggie, really)

So, you don’t like cauliflower, huh? Lies, I tell you. People perpetuate this lie to themselves all the time. Cauliflower is amazing. It’s pretty neutral in taste, so if it hasn’t been prepared right, then yes…I can see why you think you don’t like cauliflower. My husband was one of you, until just recently…he’s not real keen on my faux-nola bars, but as long as it’s cooked and on his dinner plate, he’s been pretty happy with it lately.

Anywho, I typically microwave it and puree it into a most delicious mash, however a few nights ago, I was craving mac and cheese…and since I don’t eat “mac” as of late due to blood sugar issues and our gluten-free-dom, I needed something else…enter a lowly head of orange cauliflower, just beckoning me to roast it. Of course, I obliged…who doesn’t oblige when their veggies beckon them? What, you don’t??

So, this couldn’t be easier. I hacked off the leaves, rinsed it well and shook it off the best I could. Whacked it into florets and prepped the rest of the recipe before I started bedtime with my little ones. By the time I was done with bath and stories, my cauliflower was just about done and I had a quick 10 minutes to throw the OMG BEST. CHEESE. SAUCE. EVER. together. I might have eaten the whole head of cauliflower. (Luckily, my husband wasn’t home, so I didn’t have to share 🙂 Make extras…it’s that good.

Here’s the recipe broken down.

1 head of cauliflower (or 2…I would make 2 if I had to share)
Olive oil, about 3 Tbsp per head
5-8 slices of bacon
salt & pepper

Clean up your cauliflower, cut it into florets and put it in a roasting pan. I used my Pampered Chef stone, because I love it, but you could use whatever. If stuff sticks on it, usually, I would use parchment first, but that’s up to you.

Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower and then sprinkle salt and pepper (sprinkle like you mean it.) all over. Toss it around with your hands and try a piece, it should taste well-seasoned. If not, add more and toss again. Once everything is coated and seasoned, lay the strips of bacon across the top of the veggies. (the fat will drip down as it cooks…2 birds, 1 stone…)

Roast at 450 for 45 minutes to an hour, checking on the bacon after about 30 to make sure it’s not burning. You can remove it when it’s crispy. Set it aside, eat it while you wait, add it to your cheese sauce…whatever, it’s bacon, it’s delicious…I don’t really have to tell you what to do with it, do I?

Remove from the oven when there are beautiful little crunchy parts on your cauliflower, it’s hard to over-do it. If you need more time before the rest of your meal is ready, you can always turn down the oven to around 350 after about 35 minutes. That will buy you about another 30-40 minutes.

Remove, plate and eat. Or, for a totally life changing experience, top it with some Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce.

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Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce | Cook Well. Eat Better. Live Happily

Roasted Orange Cauliflower with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce

Oh holy night….make this and then put it on everything. Meat, veggies, bread (if you eat that). I considered eating it by the spoonful and then settled for scooping another spoonful onto my cauliflower and licking the spoon. I felt better about myself that way.

It’s kind of a cross between an alfredo and a macaroni and cheese sauce, nice and thick with awesome texture. Seriously, you will not be disappointed! (In the photo, it’s on some awesome roasted orange cauliflower…yes, it was orange when I bought it, it’s not bad lighting. Promise!)

1/2 cup butter
5 oz cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 ounces of smoked gouda (not exact because I ate about 3 chunks while I was cooking)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder

Melt the butter and cream cheese in the heavy cream over medium-low heat. Stir frequently, you’ll cry if it scorches! Add the shredded gouda and the spices, stirring until it’s all smooth and melty. Try not to eat the entire recipe.

Meatballs in Marinara…Perfected

These are the perfect meatball.

Meatballs Marinara

Meatballs Marinara, simmering in sauce

Seriously, I have made them over and over and I don’t change the recipe, because they come out mouth-wateringly perfect Every. Single. Time. No joke.

You can make homemade marinara…and I do that sometimes, but they are just as good in a (sugar free), store bought sauce. The trick it to simmer them for 3-5 hours, that is not a typo. You can make a double batch and freeze them prior to cooking too, then you get like 4 meals for the work of 1! Double win 🙂

Enjoy!

Meatballs
2 lbs lean ground beef 93/7
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Mix, form into 2 inch balls, simmer in sauce for 3-5 hours. (If using store bought, you will need 3 bottles for 1 recipe or 4-5 bottles for a double recipe. Serve on bread, over pasta, spaghetti squash, or just eat plain with a side salad for a full meal.

Note: You can also make these in the crock pot on low, all day.

Cha Cha Cha Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies

I did it. In the holy grail hunt for a nut-free, grain free & gluten free chocolate chip cookie, I have succeeded. “How did you get that Tollhouse buttery flavor? These are really, really good.” (That’s a direct quote from my husband). I must agree…and I owe it all to my Chia Pet, Fred. Well, not really, I haven’t had a chia pet in like 20 years. Sad that I’m old enough to have done something worth blogging about 20 years ago. Not really. I like being 30 🙂

Anywho – back to my chia. I read somewhere recently that some people have used chia flour (ground up chia seeds) in baking, with great success. Most of the recipes I found were for a chia blend with rice flour, which I only use to make my 3 year old’s gluten free playdoh, due to the blood sugar bomb that it is, so I set about ready to try it out in an old blend formula that I used to use with great success for almond flour. It was a sad day when I realized that I couldn’t eat almonds without stomach upset and major inflammation, really because coconut flour cookies suck. I mean, I’ve made some edible ones, but coconut flour just doesn’t lend itself to that kinda crisp outside, chewy-soft inside that I remember. I’ve had some luck with the addition of pork rinds and protein powder, but nothing like my old almond/coconut blend recipe that was a pretty phenomenal knockoff, if I do say so myself. Regardless, I digress…I made cookies today with a combo of ground up chia seeds (chia flour), coconut flour and pork rinds that were perfect. I ate 7 of them, just to be sure…

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies [low carb, gluten free, grain free, sugar free, keto]

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies

Without further ado…

Low Carb Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 24-30 cookies)
1 cup butter (2 sticks, melted)
1/4 cup Birch Xylitol
1/2 tsp Now Foods Stevia Glycerite
1/2 tsp English Toffee Liquid Stevia
2 eggs
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chia seeds – ground into flour
(should double in size, so 1 cup chia flour)
1/2 cup pork rind flour – measure after being ground finely and finger sifted to remove lumps.
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet, which ups the carb count a bit, but you could use sugar free for a completely guilt-free treat…)
1 cup pecans or walnuts (if they don’t make you blow up…I’m jealous!)

Blend the butter and sweeteners with a hand mixer. Add eggs and mix to a thoroughly combined, pale yellow. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the chia flour, pork rind flour and coconut flour. Mix or whisk well. Add in the baking soda and salt. Add the dry to the wet and blend until combined. Add the chocolate chips and nuts, should you so choose.

Drop on a parchment lined cookie sheet by the tablespoon and flatten slightly. They don’t really spread, so flattening before baking is kind of important for them to turn out as cookies instead of muffin balls.

Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes, or until set in the middle. Cool for a minute or so before removing them to a cooling rack. Try not to burn your mouth on the molten chocolate, that you know you can’t wait for.

Enjoy! (And let me know what you think, if you try them!)

Cha Cha Cha Chia!!!

Parsley Pesto Turkey Thighs & Roasted Cauliflower

Parsley Pesto Turkey Thighs & Roasted Cauliflower

photo:Parsley Pesto Turkey Thighs

Parsley Pesto Turkey Thighs with Roasted Cauliflower

2 Turkey Thighs (approx. 3 lbs total)
8 Oz (about ½ cup) Parsley Pesto – I get mine from my AWESOME CSA, but you could make*/buy it.
1 Head cauliflower
Salt & Pepper to taste
*If you are making the pesto…leave out the nuts, it will change the texture to something not as good.

Defrost turkey thighs and pull back skin, leaving it attached along the back edge. Spoon approximately 1 Tbsp of parsley pesto onto the meat, spread it as evenly as you can, then salt and pepper liberally and then lay the skin back over. Turn thighs over and spoon another Tbsp of the pesto onto each one and salt and pepper again. Allow to marinate in the fridge for a couple hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375. Remove thighs from the fridge and add an additional tablespoon of pesto onto each one, on the top of the skin. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, ideally one with at least a small lip.

{If you plan to eat in 1 hour and 15 minutes}
Line another sheet pan with parchment paper. I like this one {If You Care FSC Certified Parchment Baking Paper} (Haven’t used parchment paper before??? It will change your life, seriously. Use it under everything. Nothing sticks, and sometimes you can even get away without cleaning your pans…did I just admit that?!?) Dump your washed and “floretted” cauliflower out in a single layer. Pour about 3 Tbsp olive oil over them and mix with your hands. Add the remaining Parsley Pesto and mix well. Give a little sprinkle with the salt and pepper, if you choose and call it a day.

Bake both pans (at 375) for 1 hour and 10 minutes. If you think about it, around the 45 minute mark, stir your cauliflower. It will improve it, but it’s not a deal breaker.

{If you cook ahead and plan to reheat}
Remove turkey from oven, put on a plate and cover with foil. Crank the heat to 435.

Place your (washed and cut into florets) cauliflower onto the pan that you cooked your turkey in. Stir it around to coat it in the pan juices. Spoon the remaining pesto onto the coated cauliflower and (optional) give it a good sprinkling with salt and pepper. Roast it for 20 minutes, stir it around and then roast for another 10-20 minutes. I like it to be roasty-toasty with browned edges, but if you’re impatient (you should have used the other cooking method), it will be done in 30 minutes.

Simply throw your turkey thighs back on the cauliflower pan for the last minutes to re-warm them and serve everything on a fancy platter. People with think you slaved all day 🙂