Italian Cauliflower Bake

I came across a recipe for an Italian Zucchini Bake and planned to make it for dinner with a main course salad.  Off I went to the kitchen and pulled out all of the ingredients and set them, on the counter.  I, then went to get out the zucchini, but the cupboard was bare.  No zucchini.  What is a woman to do?  

Substitute, of course……  Now, what to substitute?  What is like zucchini?  Nothing came to mind.  I thought onions and I knew, I would love it but I would probably  be the only one.  I jumped to tomatoes and I do want to try it but it was too far from zucchini.  Then, I noted the fresh cauliflower just sitting there, crowding the shelf and I knew, this was it.  My Zucchini Bake became an Italian Cauliflower Bake and I even used pizza cheese to keep to the theme.

The recipe came from  Jam’s Corner, a brand new blog to me and one, I want to visit often.  There is something about the spirit of the blog that speaks to me.  I bet, you would like it too.

Italian Cauliflower Bake

2 cups chopped cauliflower

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves  garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup  grated Parmesan
1/8 cup  chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup  shredded  Pizza Jack cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
  1. Saute garlic, onion and cauliflower in olive oil until tender
  2. Meanwhile, chop the basil and parsley.
  3. When the cauliflower mixture is done, remove from the heat.
  4. Whisk the egg, basil, parsley, tarragon, Parmesan cheese and salt together in a large mixing bowl. After mixing well, add the cauliflower mixture, cream cheese and the Pizza Jack cheese. Mix well.
  5. Add the mixture to a greased 1 quart baking dish  and bake at 350 for 25  minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let it cool slightly.  Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Better Homes and Gardens 9 x 13 The Pan That Can

The pan that can what?

9 x 13: The Pan That Can (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking)It is true, most of us have 9 x 13 inch pans, in our kitchens and I agree with the authors of this book, we tend to use it, for many different kinds of recipes.  In this book, it is demonstrated how much use you can get out of this baking dish by sharing a variety of recipes.

I have mixed emotions about the book and I don’t think, there is a necessity to zero in on the pan, especially when many of the recipes can be made in difference shapes and sizes.  On the other hand, this is a gimmick to sell another cookbook and I did buy it.  Silly me.

New information has come my way in this written work.  I had no idea that a 9 x 13 holds 3 quarts (volume) and I should have known this.  This is a shallow pan so it cooks faster than a round 3 quart pan.  If you are in a hurry, this is the pan to use.

The book is has a large soft cover and it is more sturdy than your usual soft-cover book.  There are not many photos and that makes it a loser, for me.  I love photos both for clarification and inspiration.  The few photos, there are, are all together from page 96 to 112.  Each page has one photo and the photos are adequate.  The page number of the recipe is found on the corresponding photo page.

I do like the recipes.  There are few mixes which is a blessing for me.  Kosher recipes are stymied many times when the recipe has some mix that is not kosher and does not have an equivalent.  (The exception is the use of canned soups.)

I looked up the reviews on the book and the seem to agree with me, too few pictures, great recipes, and needs a hard cover.  The directions are clear, ingredients accessible, final dishes looking good……

The Contents are awesome with sections that focus on a particular type of dish like lasagna.  Some recipes that appealed to me, just looking at the titles are Southwest Spaghetti Pie, Baked Chicken Marsala, Mississippi Corn Bread Salad, Chocolava,  Smoked Salmon Lasagna. 24 Hour Dilled Vegetable Salad and Coconut Almond Delight Bars.  There are almost 400 recipes and many of them appeal to me.

Taco Pasta Taco Pasta Hazelnut-Crusted Turkey BreastHazelnut Crusted Turkey Breast  Carrot and Zucchini Bars  Carrot and Zucchini Bars

I think, I have to make some recipes from this book and get back to you.

How To Rush A Meal

The decision was made – salmon would be for dinner.  We love salmon and I wanted to make a side that we care about as much.  That meant pasta or potatoes and the latter won out.  I had the desire for comfort food and that meant potatoes and cheese.  There is something about noodles or potatoes that fills me up emotionally.

When I opened the refrigerator to get the cheese, I saw a little fresh cauliflower left, less than two cups.  That is when the recipe took a turn, for the better, in my opinion.  That is also when the alarms went off …….roaring symbols in the background.  I had about twenty minutes to get dinner on the table and ten minutes prep and probably an hour bake time.  Not going to happen……

You might ask why I had to get dinner on the table in twenty minutes.  Hubby and I have a humorous Q and A.  He calls, when he is on his way home and I ask him, when he will be home.  He gives me an exact time, like 5:23 or 7:16,  My goal becomes getting the meal done by that time.  I usually don’t but I give it the college try.

I am not being totally honest.  When I get home from work or home from shopping, I check my email and the blog.  You are bloggers.  You know how time flies when you are doing these.  It repeats itself, daily…..good intentions and bad timing.  When, I finally get into the kitchen, if I haven’t prepped, in the morning, I move very quickly.

Tonight, it mean cutting potatoes to be close to hash browns, chopping onions, shredding cheese, measuring and solving problems.  Here is my recipe and I will share how I cut down the time, not to 20 minutes but to something more reasonable than 60.

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Bake

4 medium potatoes (I had Idaho), sliced with a mandolin

2 cups cauliflower, broken into little pieces

salt and black pepper to taste

1 onion, chopped

1 cup vegetable broth, more if needed

1 cup light sour cream

2 cups Mexican cheese or cheese of choice

1/4 cup fresh chives or 2 teaspoon dried chives

1 – 2 cups crumbs (taco, corn chips, bread, cracker – your choice)  I used tortilla chips


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray a casserole or baking pan with olive oil.

Layer chopped onions on the bottom of pan.

Place paper thin potato slices (the mandolin took no time to make this happen) on top of the onions.

Cover with sour cream and mix everything slightly.

Cover with half of the cheese and again mix slightly.

Pour cauliflower pieces on top and once again mix gently.

Add remaining cheese and give it a slight mix.

Finally, cover with crumbs and spray olive oil on top of crumbs.

Now the way, I made this happen.

Put the casserole or baking dish into a microwave for about 10 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.

It will be very hot when you remove it so please  take care.  Place it in the 400 degree oven.  Bake, starting to check at 10 minutes.  The top will turn a golden brown when it is done or should be done.  If the potatoes are not cooked through, microwave for another few minutes.

I did not care if the cauliflower cooked through.  I like it crisp and it gives a little crunch to the dish.

This was delicious and went well with the salmon and a tossed salad.

This is linked to  Frugal Food Thursdays       Recipe of the Week – Anything Goes     See Ya in the Gumbo     Seasonal Inspiration    Muffin Monday   Yummy  Inspirations Breakfast     My Meatless Monday  Mop it Up Mondays    Breakfast Ideas Monday   Mix it up Monday     Mealtime Monday Recipe Link  Melt in Your Mouth Mondays      Mangia Mondays      On the Menu Monday

Tomato Vegetable Casserole

This is my disappearing recipe.  I copied it, into the blog and was about to alter the recipe to what I had actually done but decided to get my photos first.  I still am not sure why but I could not find them.  I went through pages of photos and still no photos for this recipe.  I finally gave up and saved this as a draft and promptly forgot about it.

Today, when I was about to blog another recipe, I found the draft and decided to take another look.  Lo and behold, the photos jumped out at me, almost immediately.  Have you had days like this?

Tomato Vegetable Casserole     Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis  (adapted)     6 servings

1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
Salt and pepper
1 large ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons taco chip crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss the potato, yam, bell pepper, carrots, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss until coated. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Arrange the onion slices evenly over the vegetable mixture. Arrange the zucchini over the onion. Drizzle with 1  tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices over the zucchini.
Stir the Parmesan and  crumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the Parmesan bread crumbs over the vegetables in the baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender, and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. 

CookbookSundays    Cast Party Wednesdays      Pennywise Platter   Seasonal Event

Potato, Zucchini, Goat and Cheddar Cheese Gratin

Today  is  the Improv Cooking Challenge which is hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker and our ingredients are potato and cheese.  I make so much with potatoes and cheese, I could have a dozen recipes here.  I wanted to make something new, though, and decided to see what I could do with what I had in the refrigerator to make a new recipe.

This is what I came up with and I really liked it and Romeo liked it a lot but not as much as some of my other cheese dishes.

Potato, Zucchini, Goat Cheese  and Cheddar Gratin
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin

4 medium potatoes, sliced thin

1 red onion, sliced thin

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces plain  goat cheese

2/3 cup white cheddar cheese

1/2 cup Italian Dressing

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pour olive oil in a casserole dish  and spread to cover bottom.

Layer potato zucchini, red onion, goat cheese.  Pour half of the dressing over this.

Repeat layer.

I had enough for a third layer of potatoes so put on another layer and cover that with Cheddar.

Bake  for 30 minutes.  Cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes. 

This is linked to Friday Food      Gallery of Favorites     It’s A Blog Party

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

I made a yummy soup for dinner and needed something for us, to eat, after the soup.   I would normally go to potatoes or pasta or possibly fish.  I was looking to use up some of my frozen vegetables so I did take a potato dish but altered it to share the starring role with spinach, corn and red pepper. 

It is interesting that the corn seemed to be the vegetable that stood out.  It added the most flavor to the mixture which surprised and pleased me.  I like corn more than spinach.  The spinach was more of the background.  The potatoes had onion mixed in them which added to the flavor.


Spray cooking oil

2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped (You could use frozen hash browns.)

1 medium onion, chopped

1  1/2 cups frozen spinach

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 cup Egg Beaters or 4 eggs

1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray bottom and sides of 1 1/2 quart casserole.

Press chopped potatoes and onions on bottom of casserole. Bake 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, mix the remaining ingredients (except cheese) in a large bowl.  Pour on top of potatoes.

Return to oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until center is set.

Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 Ms. enPlace  Makin’ You Crave Mondays       Pennywise Platter Thursday     Friday Food   Gallery of Favorites

 It’s A Blog Party

Stuffed Shells – Meat

I am not sure if it is that I am in a rut or that I really prefer the large shells stuffed with ricotta to meat.  Usually, when I take out the shells, I automatically take out the cheese, without giving meat, a thought.  This time, I thought about the shells, when I made my weekly menu and with the added thinking time, planned to take out the chopped beef and did just that.

I must admit, we enjoyed the change of pace in our eating style.  I did not load the shells with meat.  I added onions and Taco crumbs to the meat to lighten the dish.  I don’t add any fat to the recipe since the meat usually has enough for the purpose of frying.  In other words, in my limited ways, I attempted to keep this from being a heavy dish.  Serving it with carrots and almonds and a zucchini tomato dish, kept the meal light, in general.

Shells Stuffed with Meat  adapted from COOKS.COM
1 box jumbo pasta shells
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup Taco crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup non dairy creamer
1 jar Marinara sauce
Cook pasta shells according to package directions. In large skillet saute onion. Add ground beef. Cook until meat browns.  Remove from heat, stir in  crumbs; set aside to cool.Pour 1/2 bottle Marinara sauce into greased 2 quart baking dish. Using a small spoon, carefully fill each shell with meat filling. Place stuffed shells, side by side, filling side up into baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells. Combine the non dairy creamer and egg and pour over the shells. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 35- 40 minutes.

 Grocery Cart Challenge

A New Combo

Blending colors, textures and ingredients is what cooking is about.  Of course, the best part is the actual eating of the food.  I, almost, did not want to blend these three together.  Look how nice they are side by side.  They would have tasted great like this, as well.  Although, where have you been where you have been served a dish with these three, pumpkin, spinach and mashed potatoes?

I find that the more, I cook without meat, the more creative I become, in choosing a main part of the dish to work around.  If you choose, three vegetables, like this, how could you choose any to be the one to determine the side dishes?

In this case, it was resolved by combining them.

Thanks to Kerstin at Cake, Batter and Bowl for the following recipe.  I made it with chicken and it was a great dinner.  The recipe is adapted from the original which you will find on Kerstin’s blog.

A New Combo


3 medium potatoes

1 medium onion chopped

1 15-ounce cans pure pumpkin puree

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained

1/4 cup Rice milk

1 teaspoon salt


Peel and cut potatoes into chunks (about one inch in size).

Bring water to a boil over high heat in a four quart pot and boil potatoes for 18 to 22 minutes or until tender.

Drain and place in a  large bowl.                                   

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium high heat in a medium skillet and saute onions until lightly browned.

Mash potato chunks in the large bowl with a fork. Mix in onions,  pumpkin puree, spinach, milk, and salt.

4 servings

This makes a tasty side dish.

This is linked to GCC Recipe Swap   Mom’s Crazy Cooking

 Ms. enPlace Confessions of a SAHM


Cheese & Nut Stuffed Shells

    There has been a change in cooking, recently (meaning years) and we see  nuts and cheese and fruits and vegetables being thrown into dishes, probably new to us.  This meal is a good example.  The nuts are added and that crunch that comes with these nuts makes a difference in the texture, thus in the entire dish.  Using the Mexican blend in place of mozzarella also made a taste difference.  I thought my stuffed shells were good but they don’t compare to this recipe.  The fresh parsley also makes a difference.

I made a salad with this, romaine, garden tomatoes, goat cheese with herbs, basil and oregano rice vinegar and a bit of sugar.  A few years ago, there would have been no goat cheese.  Lettuce and Tomato make a fine salad without it but how much better it is, with it.

Cheese & Nut Stuffed Shells  (adapted - CD Kitchen)


12 dried jumbo shell macaroni pasta
1 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 carton (15 ounce size) ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
13 ounces marinara  pasta sauce


Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain shells; rinse with cold water and drain well. Set shells aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a large bowl stir together the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the walnuts, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into each cooked shell. Arrange filled shells in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake, covered, about 45 minutes or until heated through.