Since joining an organic produce co-op a few weeks ago, I have found myself looking for recipes with vegetables that I never thought we would eat. Besides a green salad with dinner (if I have salad dressing made…), I don’t eat many vegetables and I don’t incorporate many into our dinners. I guess we eat the “standard” stuff – peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots, spinach, beans – but not much else. Seeing tons and tons of organic vegetables and reading the recipes members post on our membership page has been really inspiring.
So, this week I went crazy. Ready for it? First, I bought cauliflower. And, rutabaga! I haven’t cooked the rutabaga yet, but the cauliflower is a success story.
I make this Chicken Alfredo Ziti recipe from Gimme Some Oven about every other week. As I’ve said before, it gives us two full dinners and the toddler gets a few lunches. This week I even made the cheese sauce a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. This wasn’t planned, but yesterday afternoon we were busy working outside and by 4:30 dinner still wasn’t prepped. We ended up ordering pizza and eating outside, which was thrilling to our oldest!
Great, but what about the cauliflower? Early in the week I planned on making the chicken alfredo ziti, but considered making a cauliflower sauce instead of the cheese sauce. I decided that would be too bold and I’d better take baby steps. Here’s what I did:
- A few days ahead I steamed some frozen cauliflower (I chickened out and didn’t buy a whole head from my co-op), pureed and stored in the fridge. Cauliflower has a strong smell, and I admit I don’t enjoy it. I can really smell it when I’m pureeing the vegetable.
- I made the chicken alfredo ziti recipe as stated, except I use 3T of butter and 3T of flour for the roux. Incorporate the broth and milk a little at a time. Add a T or two, then stir, then add some more. This is the secret! Not a slow, steady stream of liquid. Little. At. A. Time. I used homemade chicken broth! (hence, the specks in the sauce)
- I mixed in the cauliflower puree, also a little at a time, tasting each time to make sure the mixture wasn’t too cauliflower-y.
- Today I assembled the cauliflower-cheese sauce, chicken (shredded chicken I cooked and froze ahead of time), and pasta
- Follow the rest of the recipe
YUM. The speed and intensity the toddler ate this dish was astounding. The tot didn’t eat it, but that is not uncommon, although sometimes he will at least eat the chicken. My husband and I enjoyed the dinner though I always seem to under season. I can’t say enough good things about the original ziti recipe, and this modification. I don’t see us eating large pieces of cauliflower so this is a good way to incorporate it into our diet. I wonder what else I can do with cauliflower?!
Happy, healthy eating.