Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brown Belts and Cauliflower

Not sure if I've mentioned it here but I know I've commented on other blogs about how cauliflower is a vegetable I really want to like but just haven't been able to. I mean, I'll put some in a soup if I have it in a frozen mixed veggie medley but otherwise it's not even something I buy anymore.  I've tried it every which way but.... mashed as in fake mashed potatoes.  Why?  Because I don't even care for real mashed potatoes and I think it's a consistency thing.  I didn't want to waste cauliflower trying it.  Then a while ago I came across a recipe on Kayln's Kitchen that intrigued me so I Pinned it.  Then I came across a recipe for cauliflower 'rice' and Pinned that.  Then cauliflower went on sale so I bought a head.  We all know last week I was still in my vacation haze and I never got around to making the cauliflower rice.  Last Sunday when I was prepping food I looked at that cauliflower and knew I had to do something with it before it went bad so as I had all the ingredients for the recipe I'd seen on Kayln's Kitchen I decided to go with that.  I figured if it was awful, I'd just never, ever try cauliflower again.  

Sunday was Mother's Day and I spent a few hours with my mom and had a lovely grilled vegetable salad that I'd purchased.  When I got home I wasn't all that hungry but Mr. Helen needed to eat so I grilled a flank steak I'd been marinating and served it with some ratatouille I'd also made.  I baked off the cauliflower casserole and for my own dinner just had a spoonful of it and a spoonful of ratatouille.  When I dished up the casserole Mr. Helen asked me what it was and decided to try some.

We sat down and both of us immediately forked the casserole first and.... HOLY CARP WE LOVED IT! Good googly moogly this is something that is going into the permanent rotation and I've got all sorts of variations for it rotating around in my head.   I kid you not when I say I have NEVER seen Mr. Helen voluntarily go back for seconds on vegetable like this.  He says it's the ham.  I think it's the cheese! Sorry there's no picture, which just goes to show you how much I didn't think we'd like it.  But here's the way I did the recipe and if you don't like cauliflower try it this way.  Honestly, I could eat this with large salad, no other protein necessary.

Cauliflower Au Gratin with Ham

10 cups cauliflower pieces (this was one very large head of cauliflower for me)

2 cups diced extra lean ham

4 oz. light cream cheese, softened

2 T grated parmesan cheese

6 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup sliced scallions          

1/2 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (I used Sargento)

Spray a two quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.

Put cauliflower in a pot, cover with water and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain well and return to pot.

Using a potato masher, smash (do not whip or mash too much) the cauliflower leaving some chunks. Stir in ham pieces.

In a separate bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt, scallions, and pepper together. Pour over cauliflower and ham and mix well then pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the grated cheddar.

Bake for 35 minutes until bubbly and the cheese on top has melted. Let sit for 10 minutes to reabsorb some of the liquids and set up before serving.

Makes about 8 servings 3/4 cup each. 150 calories, 6.3 g. fat, 9.6g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 15.2g protein


The brown belt?  Well I thought since I didn't have a proper photo of the casserole I'd give you a photo of me in my brown belt! I probably should have made a mean face, huh?

Don't let that smile fool you...


  1. This way the cauliflower sounds eatable. I ate it a lot when I was a child because Mom cooked it but since I live on my own I hardly ever eat it. It doesn't help that R. doesn't like it too.

    Wow, hot looking sporty woman! Love it!

  2. I actually love cauliflower even just plain, but the recipe you have, I will definitely have to try. It is also good if you slightly brown some bread crumbs in butter and drizzle on top, but this might not be the healthiest way.

  3. LOL, well, yeah, what's not to like about ham and three kinds of cheese! And you're right, it sounds absolutely perfect with a salad on the side. It almost sounds too cheesy to me, since I love cauliflower. Maybe I'll fool around with it this week. I have been wanting ham for a while.

    Congrats on your brown belt. I am in awe of your skills.

    1. It's really not all that cheesy Debby - the consistency is almost souffle-like. If you're going to fool around with it I'd suggest leaving the cheese off the top maybe. But I wouldn't even do that! ;)

  4. The only time I saw cauliflower growing up was on a veggie tray - raw and gross. I didn't try it until a few years ago - and cooked is definitely the way to go.

    Um, pretty sure your dish was a bit healthier than my popcorn cauliflower!

    I thought of you this morning - I made scrambed eggs with green peppers then lined them on a thin slice of roast beef and rolled them up, kinda like a beef enchilada - topped with a bit of cheese and avocado - sans the cheese I think its Paleo worthy! I'll post it tomorrow.

    Congrats again on the brown belt!

  5. I like you non-cauliflower eaters because that means I can snag it from the veggie tray at parties! I'm with Katrin - I like mine plain, but this dish sounds really good.

    Love the sweet smiling brown belt picture. Big congrats on that!!!

  6. Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and I'm not a person who really likes a lot of vegetables. This recipe sounds good, and I will try it for sure! BTW, you look very cute in the photo, but I can tell you mean business. Congrats!!

  7. That casserole does sound good - yay for cheese! I love mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower is *not ever* a sub for real mashed potatoes. I need to try this recipe if I can get off the broccoli wagon.

  8. That sounds great. I love cauliflower, but I can't get my hubby to eat it much. Maybe he and the kids would like this. Congrats on the brown belt! My brown belt test is in....gulp....16 days. Can't wait.

  9. I LOVE cauliflower. Just hand it over steamed w/butter, salt n' pepper! Your casserole sound absolute delish. We will be trying this soon!

  10. I love caulflower, my husband...less so. I REALLY like proud face more than mean face. Brown (belts) suit you! Congrats again Helen. Have a wonderful Wed.

  11. Way back years ago when I was doing a very low carb diet I use to make a cauliflower dish with cheese, bacon and cream cheese that we devoured! Your version is much healthier and one that I might have to try.

    Love the brown belt!

  12. I adore cauliflower and am always looking for a new recipe, so thanks!! Our friends Damien and Heather recently posted a recipe for cauliflower "wings" and it delish too!

  13. Love the Cauliflower - and look at your face - you are glowing!
    Have you ever had Celery Root - its awesome!

  14. I will give it a try. Anything with cheese is a hit with me!

    Also, my office partner- the former chef and vegetarian- she slices it like portabello steaks- and grills it with salt, pepper and olive oil. I haven't tried it yet. I guess it gives it a pork chop like consistency?

    1. That is intriguing. Hunh, thanks for the idea!


    now to pass that on to my CHILD...

  16. Cutting, pasting, making this weekend! :) Thank you, oh brown belt.

    Hubby will be glad; he likes cauliflower but not spaghetti squash. Oooh, I am intrigued by Mama Bean's comment about slicing cauliflower and grilling it. I think we might try that too this summer.