Debbie Dance Uhrig
The warmth over the past few days has definitely put many of us into the ‘get er’ done’ mode. Seems like I start one project and I quickly bounce into another one.
One project today wasn’t so grand. I decided to clean my blow dryer from top to bottom. Caution: I don’t highly recommend taking apart a hand held dryer. Better to just buy another one. What happened? I took out the two screws and things just started falling out, before I had a chance to see where they were originally.
I’ve had a good week just resting, cleaning, and shopping. The shopping was the best, as the sales here in Southwest Missouri, at this time of the year, are outstanding. I won’t go into my shopping success, I’ll just say my friend, Linda, and I had a great time this week in Springfield.
Hopefully this simple casserole dish will provide a good change for the winter menu. I know there are times when we get burnt out on green beans, corn, and broccoli. We just need to experiment a little bit more with side dishes in order to up the routine. Many have heard me say over the years that it’s the little things that can change a regular meal. Take the green bean. Tonight we enjoyed sautéed beans with garlic and Italian spices. You can prepare them in a pressure cooker, make them into a casserole or marinate with additional vegies in a cold salad. I enjoy steamed cold green beans on a salad. How about green beans sautéed with mushrooms and pearl onions? Keep them even simpler and prepare green beans with lemon, for a fresh/lite approach.
Cauliflower is no different. Prepare it like mashed potatoes, steam and serve with a light sauce or just butter. Cut into pieces and create a casserole. One of the ‘Dance’ family favorite recipes is cauliflower sausage soup. Here’s one I really like too, ‘creamed cauliflower’. In my second cookbook I have a recipe for smoked cauliflower spread. Which happens to be our son, Phillip’s favorite dip!
To speed things along in your preparations wash and chop the cauliflower the night before you make the dish. Re-bag in the refrigerator and the side will come together ‘after work’ quickly. Add bacon or ham to the recipe, or alter the type of cheese implemented. I would not cut back and use milk or skim milk versus the half and half. You won’t need a large amount of bacon to up the flavor of any recipe. Just remember on Sunday to prepare a little extra, then mark it with, ‘do not eat’, so you have it later in the week! My mom used to do this when I was growing up because we were so far from a grocery store, at times. I distinctly recall her chocolate chip bags with sticky notes on them!
Everyone has been asking me when I return to work. Monday, February 27th is the big day for me. I’ll still have weekends off until park opens on the 15th of March. My recent road trip to McPherson, Kansas, last weekend, was filled with lots of fun and a great class, on Saturday morning. I learned the new ‘Fieldhouse’ in McPherson has some great menu items. I was particularly impressed with the linen napkins and good quality cutlery. Funny how we cooks/foodies look for specific things when we go out to dine.
Keep pushing forward everyone and enjoy the ‘funky’ weather we are experiencing here in the Midwest. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces, cooked & drained
3 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Cook cauliflower until tender; draining well. Place 1/4 cup Ritz cracker in
Bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Place cooked/drained cauliflower on top of the cracker crumbs. Top cauliflower with all the cheeses. Beat together eggs and half and half; pour over cheese mixture. Mix remaining 3/4 cup of Ritz cracker crumbs with melted butter and smoked paprika; spread over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes.
There’s lots of space to play around with this casserole. Change out the cheeses and the types of crackers used. Bring in another vegetable with the cauliflower.