Thanksgiving will likely be a little different for many of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy each other's great food and company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I will enjoy cooking less. volume adding a little more to burst. Maybe opt for this refined cheese. Add this extra garnish. Cook a sauce from scratch. It's easier and more affordable when cooking for a small crowd. So that's what I did with this super cheesy and loaded cauliflower casserole dish. It's a rich, indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, perfect for a smaller Thanksgiving 2020 feast.
Adding that extra touch is also more affordable thanks to the impressive selection at my local ALDI store. They have everything I need for a traditional Thanksgiving holiday, more those fun specialty ingredients that can take your meal to the next level, all at great prices. And their selection of cheeses? Ah-maz-ing. So I had a little fun with the cheese in this dish and used of them different varieties of cheddar. #no regrets
What type of cheese is the best?
Cheddar is definitely the best choice for this cheesy cauliflower casserole because it melts gently and has a rich, creamy flavor. But you can play with different flavors cheddar cheese to add extra shine to the dish. I used ALDI's Emporium Selection Vintage Selection white cheddar for the cheese sauce and their classic Happy Farms Mild Cheddar for the garnish. If you want to try something more fun, they have tons of flavored seasonal cheddars like smoked cheddar, chili chili cheddar or Cajun spiced cheddar, which would all look amazing in this casserole.
Use the ALDI store search here to find a store near you, then tell me in the comments below what kind of cheese you've tried, so I can go and try it too. 😉
What else can I add?
If you want to add even more to your already "loaded" cauliflower casserole, I have a few ideas. I tend to like things spicy, so a few thinly sliced jalapeños would be awesome, especially if paired with a few teaspoonfuls of refreshing sour cream. Avocado slices could also be good. Or, if you want to take another direction, a light drizzle of the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce would be an amazing addition to the creamy sauce and cheese.
Want to make a casserole dish? Add grated chicken or golden Italian sausage before dipping the cauliflower with the sauce.
What is the serving size?
While I can probably easily eat half of it myself, I don't think that would be a reasonable portion, considering how rich this casserole is. This recipe makes about six smaller Thanksgiving-sized servings (the portions tend to shrink when you try to fit more items on a plate), or maybe four regular servings of the week's side dish in evening. It all depends on how many other items you serve with your meal.
Can the recipe be doubled?
Absolutely yes! I purposely made a smaller batch size recipe, but if you have more mouths to feed, this recipe is easily doubled. As long as you use a 9x13 inch casserole dish to keep everything evenly distributed, the cooking times should all stay the same.
Cauliflower and cheese casserole
This rich, cheesy cauliflower casserole is an indulgent Thanksgiving side dish with lots of flare.
Portions: 6 about ¾ cup each
- 4 oz. Appleton Farms Hickory Bacon ($ 1.63)
- 1 head cauliflower ($ 2.29)
- 3 Tablespoon Country creamery salted butter (0.42)
- 3 Tablespoon Baker's Corner All Purpose Flour (0.03 USD)
- 2 cups Simply Nature organic whole milk (0.75 USD)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (0.02 USD)
- 1/4 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Garlic Powder (0.02 USD)
- 1/4 teaspoon Black Stonemill Pepper (0.02 USD)
- 6 oz. Emporium Selection vintage cheddar, grated ($ 3.16)
- 2 oz. Grated Happy Farms Mild Cheddar (0.42 USD)
- 1/4 Chopped off French fried onions ($ 0.16)
- 2 green onions, sliced (0.11 USD)
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the bacon out of the fat in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Remove the leaves and stems from the cauliflower, then cut it into small florets. Add the cauliflower florets to a saucepan and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil the cauliflower for about 5 minutes or until tender with a fork. Drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
While the cauliflower is drained, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat, then continue cooking and stir the flour and butter for about two more minutes.
Whisk the milk into the flour and butter until completely dissolved and no lumps remain. Continue to heat and stir over medium heat until the milk is simmering gently, in which case it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.
Season the white sauce with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat, then start adding the grated vintage cheddar one handful at a time, making sure it has melted well before adding the next handful. If the sauce gets too cold to melt the cheese, place it over low heat until all of the cheese has melted in the sauce.
Place the boiled and drained cauliflower in a 2-liter saucepan. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, making sure it is well covered. Top with remaining 2 ounces. grated mild cheddar cheese and French fried onions.
Cook the cauliflower for only ten minutes, then broil and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned (broiling is optional) . Do not overcook the pan, otherwise the cheese sauce will split.
Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the cooked bacon and chopped green onions. Serve hot.
Portion: 0.75Chopped off ・ Calories: 418.13kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 16.67g ・ Protein: 08.21g ・ Fat: 30.43g ・ Sodium: 962.32mg ・ Fiber: 2.68gNutritional values are only estimates. See our full nutrition disclosure here.
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How to Make a Cheese Loaded Cauliflower Casserole - Step by Step Photos
Cook about 4 oz. bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to scoop it out of the fat in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel-lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Remove the leaves and the stem of a cauliflower head, then cut it into florets. Add the florets to a large saucepan, cover with water, place a lid on them, then bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the cauliflower until tender with a fork (about 5 minutes). Drain the cauliflower in a colander.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat (I used the same pot of cauliflower to avoid soiling another pot). Add 3 tablespoons of flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes.
Whisk two cups of milk into the butter and flour mixture until completely dissolved and no more lumps remain. Continue to cook and stir the milk over medium heat until it simmers gently, in which case it will thicken to about the same consistency as heavy cream.
Season the sauce with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon of pepper and ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Remove the sauce from the heat and start adding the shredded cheddar cheese, a handful at a time, making sure it is completely melted before adding more. If the sauce gets too cold to continue melting the cheese, place it on low heat only while you melt the rest of the cheese.
When all of the cheese has been melted in the sauce, it will be thick and cheesy.
Place the cooked, drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish, then pour the cheese sauce on top, making sure to cover the cauliflower well.
Add the final 2 oz. grated mild cheddar cheese and ¼ cup French fried onions on top. Bake the casserole dish for ten minutes, then change the oven setting from broil to broil. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.
After cooking, add the final garnishes: cooked bacon and minced green onions. Serve hot and enjoy the creamy and cheesy benefits!
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