Monday, December 26, 2011

Cauliflower and Cheddar Cheese Casserole

I often forget to include cauliflower in my diet, but when I make this decadent, cheesy side dish I'm as happy as a gal can be. According to my Food Benefits Chart, cauliflower helps to combat breast and prostate cancer, strengthen bones, banish bruises and guard against heart disease. Great credentials for a bland looking veggie that dresses up beautifully and stars in this casserole.

Cauliflower and Cheddar Casserole

1 head of cauliflower separated into florettes, cooked and cooled (I microwave for 3-4 minutes on high)

1 can cream of celery soup (I use low fat, low sodium)

1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese shredded

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1 T chopped onion (I use the frozen that comes in a bag)

2 large eggs beaten

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 T hot sauce

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 T butter (optional)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking pan with cooking spray. I like to bake this in a soufflet dish, but an 8x8 square pan would work fine. Combine all ingredients (from cooked cauliflower to hot sauce) in a bowl. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with Panko. If you're feeling decadent, break apart a tablespoon of butter and add to the top of the bread crumbs.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. You'll have a creamy, delicious side dish that goes well with any protein you decide to serve it with. I enjoyed mine with a mushroom, onion and pepper meat loaf with store bought, low-cal mushroom gravy. I highly recommend this simple casserole. I promise you'll eat it up! And it re-heats like a dream.

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