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Healthy meets Comfort Food

I’m always looking for a delicious unconventional recipe to try.  I was was recently given a copy of Modern Hospitality MasterChef Season 1 winner Whitney Miller. The book has a lovely feminine, vintage feel and lots of beautiful photos. The recipes are Southern and, for the most part, simple. All of the recipes are true to Southern ingredients and flavor profiles but making them slightly healthier and more modern.

I was intrigued by one recipe – Cauliflower “Mac ‘n’ Cheese” because I am not a fan of cauliflower, but I love mac ‘n’ cheese :)  After trying this, it is sure to be a hit with kids and an awesome way to incorporate a vegetable that I wouldn’t normally serve. My daughter thought that there was cauliflower and macaroni in the dish based on the name and loved it. I would probably reduce the amount of milk in the dish for a slightly thicker sauce, but this was AMAZING!

Miller is actually in town tonight signing Modern Hospitality at Neiman Marcus Willow Bend’s Fashiuon Night Out celebration from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. She will also be signing her cookbook at Barnes & Noble at Preston & Royal from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. You should stop by and talk with her. She LOVES vegetables and baking!

Cauliflower “Mac ‘n’ Cheese”

Ingredients
8 cups cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/8 tablespoon table salt
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.

Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Roast until fork-tender and lightly browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on and reduce the temperature to 350-degrees.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the cream and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in all but 2 tablespoons of cheese, table salt and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until the cheese melts, then cook, stirring often, until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Place the cauliflower florets in an 8×8-inch glass baking dish or 4 10-ounce ramekins. Pour the cheese sauce on top. Sprink the top of the cauliflower witht the remaing 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Bake until cheese is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

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