Whole Foods & Home Garden

Cauliflower-n-Cheese

May 09, 2013

In recent years, I’ve come to appreciate the many healthy alternatives to classic American comfort dishes, my favorite being macaroni and cheese. This particular recipe is for those of you comfort-foodies who will order anything ending in n-cheese. While this recipe is not the model of health, it contains phytonutrient rich veggies and no refined carbohydrates. Also, by substituting conventional pasta with cauliflower, you can eliminate 258 empty calories per serving.

This rich and creamy twist on a classic is for those who err on the side of healthy and also love cheesy deliciousness. Enjoy!


Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 Large Cauliflower; Cut into small florets
  • 2 Cups Grated Extra-Sharp Cheddar
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil Butter
  • 3 Cloves Garlic; Minced
  • 1 Medium Shallot; Minced
  • 1 Leek; Minced
  • ½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs (Whole grain, preservative free breads make the best homemade breadcrumbs)


Prep & Cooking Directions

  • Cauliflower (2)
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter in medium-large pot over high heat. Sautee minced garlic, shallots and leeks until golden and tender. Add milk, basil, red pepper, salt and pepper and allow to heat but not burn. Once hot, add cheddar and constantly stir until cheese is completely melted. Add chopped cauliflower to the pot and fold into the milk-cheese mixture. (If you choose to use breadcrumbs, add now.) Once the cauliflower is complete coated with the mixture, transfer the contents of pot to a greased baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until dish is golden and bubbly and cauliflower is tender.

Optional Topping: Sprinkle top with coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar and breadcrumbs and bake for additional 5 minutes.

Roasted Chayote & Risotto

February 25, 2013

On a recent visit with my cousin, Jetson Brown, head farmer of EAT South farm in Montgomery, Alabama, we had the delight of being introduced to chayote squash. Among the beautiful array of fresh, vibrant produce that Jet brought over to prepare for dinner, sat two green pear-shaped squash that had, for lack of a better term, little butt shaped bottoms. After making several butt-crack jokes, we tried the roasted squash and were all blown away by how delicious and unique it was. Native to Central America, these moderately dense squash have a light, yet distinctive flavor. I hope you enjoy this hearty dish featuring my new favorite squash, chayote.

  • squash-ingredients
    Roasted Chayote & Tomato ingredients

Roasted Chayote & Risotto

  • 2 Chayote Squash
  • 20 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic
  • ¼ Cup Dried Basil
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • Jalapeno Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 Cups Light Veggie Broth
  • 1/8 Cup Shredded Parmesan


There are two separate cooking dishes needed for this entrée. Grab a large mixing bowl and ceramic baking dish for the roasted chayote. Grab a sauté pan for the risotto.


  • IMG_20130121_215712
    Piping hot and delicious!
First, let us focus on the roasted goodies. I like to toss veggies in a large mixing bowl as I chop. It keeps your cutting board tidy. Deseed and dice the two chayote squash. Halve cherry tomatoes. Finely dice yellow onion, put half to the side for the risotto. Finely slice garlic, put half to the side for the risotto. Add in Jalapeno Pepper flakes, salt and pepper for your particular taste. Drizzle 1/8 cup EVOO into mixing bowl. Toss around veggies, seasoning and oil until evenly coated. Then, transfer contents of mixing bowl into ceramic baking dish and place in a 400 degree preheated oven. Start the timer for 35 minutes. Check periodically and cook until tender.


Now, time for the risotto. Place 1/8 cup EVOO in a 3 quart sauté pan. Add rice, onions and garlic and sauté until rice is golden brown—stirring continuously. Add veggie broth along with the dried basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes for your particular taste. Stir every couple minutes. Cook until rice is tender.


Now for the fun part, presentation! In a medium-large serving bowl, distribute the rice evenly along the bottom, then the roasted veggies and top with the shredded parmesan.


Enjoy!

Introducing: Whole Foods & Home Garden

February 25, 2013

My name is Megan Elyse and my passion is vegetable gardening and natural cooking. My goal is simple: I would like to illustrate how easy it is to grow, prepare and cook whole foods. Over the years, I have spent countless hours researching nutrition, organic gardening and whole food cooking with the hope of discovering the keys to a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I found that it really is as simple as the saying you are what you eat. If you eat a plant-based, nutrient dense food and avoid foods that have been processed, the health benefits are limitless. I wish to share how rewarding and fun it can be to have even the smallest garden, the health benefits that come with eating whole foods and how delicious cooking naturally can be.