Friday, October 7, 2011

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Yesterday was like any other day for me in the kitchen.  I open the fridge and think to myself "what am I going to make today?"  I start digging around and I find this cauliflower that I bought at the beginning of the month.  How do you forget that you bought a cauliflower?  I usually have a few things in my fridge that I forget about but this one did not smell and was not slimy…thank goodness!

We love cauliflower and often times when I buy it, we make a yummy salad mix that is great on a grilled cheese sandwich.  That recipe can be found HERE.

What I love about this picture is the cow on the right with her calf…they are so subtle and make this image.  I shot this picture driving up behind our house in UT.
I was not thinking of a sandwich, I wanted something cheesy, warm and, possibly, something I could use as a side dish for the fall.  I saw the Brat sausage, that was not used the day before,  in the fridge from my Kraut and Brat Potato Soup. Then my mind caught fire and I started pulling things from the fridge left and right.  My family must have thought I was in a hurry or something because it just clicked.  I went for some cheese and discovered I had bought a package of gorgonzola cheese!  YES…here was my secret ingredient to give it that extra "woodsy" taste.

This is a common sight in UT..beautiful yellow leaves!

Fall always reminds me of trees and color; hiking in the mountains.   Smelling the fresh air and sometimes the damp air.  I wanted all of this to be in one dish…color, woodsy and a perfect fall/autumn dish.

This was a tree in our neighborhood.

As we anticipate the turning of the leaves in our beautiful east coast state, I am reflecting on our home we left in Utah and how beautiful our fall was every year.  The colors were so inspirational: red, yellow and orange.  It was truly a sight to see and often brought lots of visitors to our small valley to enjoy the beauty of it all.

This recipe is a blend of rich flavors, that when paired together make the most mouth-watering side dish or main dish.  You can leave the sausage out and have no meat or change the sausage for bacon or ham. Play with the cheese blend too.  If you don't like what I used, change it.  I encourage you to get "funky" in the kitchen and cook to how you want it to taste.  I just give you a map…you decide which route you will take.  Enjoy!

Recipe:  Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

1 head of cauliflower, steamed and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup celery, diced (3 stalks)
1 T. olive oil
2 bratwursts, fried and diced  (Bratwurst are like polish dogs, but not hotdogs)
2 tsp. garlic
salt and pepper to taste


3/4 stick of butter, soft
1/3 cup of flour (Gluten Free use brown rice flour)
1 1/2 cups of milk  ( I used almond milk because it's what I had and needed to use it.)
1 cup of cream
salt to taste
1 cup of provolone cheese ( I bought the sliced and cut them into small strips)
1 cup of cheddar, grated
2 T. gorgonzola cheese (This should already be crumbled)

NOTE:  The gorgonzola cheese is strong on its own, but when blended with the other two cheese's the flavor is not strong, in fact, it gives it that "woodsy" flavor, ever so slightly.  If you're not prepared to use this strong cheese, just leave it out.

In a large pot, add steamer tray.  Boil 2 inches of water and add cauliflower that has been rinsed and chopped into large chunks.  Cook for 15 minutes.  You do not want this mushy.  It should be firm but soft when pierced with a fork.

While the cauliflower is steaming, prepare the other ingredients.  In a large frying pan, add olive oil and brats.  I usually take the sausage out of the casing and fry.  Remove brat when done and add the veggies.  Fry the veggies and garlic for 5 minutes.  Add the meat back to the veggies and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.  Slowly add the milk and then the cream.  Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring often, until thick.  When thick add the cheese and stir.  The gorgonzola cheese takes a minute to completely melt.

In a large 9X13 pan or two smaller pans, place the steamed cauliflower.

 Add the veggie/meat mix on top of the cauliflower.

Add the cheese sauce on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. It should be bubbly.  You don't want to over cook this dish.

We ate the whole thing yesterday….my family (teenagers included) LOVED it!

Written by Sherron Watson

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  1. must try it thanks for the receipe :)

  2. Can't wait to try this! Thanks for the recipe and great photo's! I got the cauliflower,but what is brat?

  3. Hi Donika, Brat is short for Bratwurst, it's like a polish hotdog..but not a regular hotdog. Sorry for the confusion, I will change that so it is spelled out all the way for others. Have a great day!


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