Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cauliflower Sauce Mac n Cheese

Blogging Marathon #78 Week 2 Day 3
Theme: Secret Ingredients
Dish: Cauliflower Sauce Mac n Cheese

Can't give up on Mac n Cheese, but do not want the guilty ingredients? Make your own with this incredibly easy Cauliflower sauce! 


Any pasta lovers here?? I am definitely one. And when it comes to Mac n Cheese, I am the first one to reach out for it! I eat a lot of it and then I feel guilty of consuming all the packaged food ingredients. But it is definitely difficult to resist the urge to gobble a bowl full of Mac n Cheese. 

To make sure I can eat my pasta without feeling guilty, I decided to try making it with Cauliflower sauce. Yes, it is the same sauce I posted a couple of days back. I really loved how the Mac n Cheese came out and we definitely did not miss the authentic one! 

At first I was skeptic of tasting cauliflower in my pasta. However, after adding garlic, cheese and bread crumbs, I could definitely not tell it had half a head of cauliflower hidden in it! And I made a big plate and a few ramekins, making sure I have enough for TWO meals! 


For the longest time my definition of Mac n Cheese was to get a package and prepare it according to the instructions. Then I happened to travel to Tucson, AZ some time ago. The University town has a small place that serves just one dish; Mac n Cheese. Wondering how it runs? They have a long menu with tons of variations to Mac n Cheese. Flavors like Caprese, Cheddar, Pizza, Jalapeño, Bacon, Hawaiian, Baked Potato make an appearance on their menu! 

I had a few flavors there and felt like they changed Mac n Cheese for me forever! Once back, I finally started experimenting with this staple and it has been super fun. Cauliflower sauce is my latest obsession! 


Variations

Coming to the recipe, this one is pretty versatile. The only required ingredients are pasta, cauliflower sauce and some cheese. Everything else from peppers and seasoning to breadcrumbs is optional. 

I baked mine to melt the cheese and get a wonderful topping of crumbs and cheese. However, the step can be eliminated and the whole thing can be made on the stove top. It all depends how you like it. 

For this recipe use any short pasta like mini farfalle or elbows. The smaller pasta helps in a way that the sauce clings well to them. As this recipe does not have too much butter or oil and vegetables, it is important that the sauce and pasta cling well. 


What to do with left-over Cauliflower sauce? 

This recipe needs one cup of sauce, but I made about 2 cups. The sauce was yummy by itself and I ate quite a bit even before making anything out of it. 

The sauce is super creamy given the ingredients. I like it a little thick, so that it can be served with chips. I also like to serve it with chopped vegetables and on top of french fries. 

Wait no further and head straight to the recipe. You need to make this TODAY!!


Ingredients

Dried Elbow or Shell Pasta 1 cup
Cauliflower Sauce 1 cup
Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese 1/4 cup, shredded
Oregano and Chilli Flakes 1 tsp
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Olive Oil 1 tsp
Bread Crumbs 1/4 cup
Salt and Pepper to taste


Method

Heat 4 cups water in a pan. Add the dried pasta and cook till al-dente. Drain and set aside.

In a pan heat olive oil and add garlic. Sauté till the raw flavors vanish. Then add this Cauliflower sauce and mix in oregano, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. 

Add the boiled pasta, mix well and turn down the heat. In ramekins or oven safe tray add the pasta. Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs. 

Place in a preheated oven at 350 F/ 180 C for 10-12 minutes. Once the cheese starts to melt and the bread crumb is light brown, remove. Serve with a side of Garlic Bread or this delicious Whole wheat Pizza Braid Bread.



Want more Cauliflower recipes? Check these Grilled Cauliflower SteakGobi Musallam: Roasted Whole Cauliflower and Spiced Roasted Cauliflower


BMLogo 



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Za'atar Spiced Greek Mushrooms Wraps

What is better than Za'atar Spiced Mushrooms for weekend grilling?Super quick recipe for a filling and yummy meal!


Summers are made for grilling! I love grilling all kinds of vegetables marinated in different sauces and ingredients. Not to forget the grilled peaches and pineapple that scream S-U-M-M-E-R! 

I have tried quite a few combinations; most work, some fail. A couple of combinations taste really bland once cooked. Then I have to season it before serving. My favorites are these: Super Quick Balsamic Grilled Vegetables, Grilled Cauliflower SteakOven Grilled Tandoori Vegetables


This weekend I wanted to grill something different. I recently bought a large package of Za'atar Spice and decided to use that. And what better than garlic and olive oil to go with it? So I put all this together and made these yummy grilled Mushrooms. 

I served it with some grilled tortilla, olives and salad. These wraps were made perfect with some Blazing Hummus. And yes, and extra dash of Za'atar spice on it completed the taste and flavor. However, tortilla can be substituted with pita breads. They complete the Greek feel to the meal. 

This recipe is inspired from my trip to Dubai some time ago. We had a traditional meal as part of a Dessert Safari and had something similar there. Since then, I have been wanting to make these. Finally, I got myself to make these over the weekend. We had a great meal with everything! 


Variations

If you are one of those who do not like or consume mushrooms, do not worry. The recipe can be used for any vegetable that you like best! Whether it is zucchini, peppers or even paneer; the spice is great with all of these. It will make a perfect grilled dish! 

I used store bought Za'atar Spice. However, you can  make your own using any of the recipes that are easily available online. I would suggest you make a BIG batch and use it for all your Greek recipes. They become 'even better' with that! 


Finally, as I mentioned above, use Pita breads, homemade flatbreads or tortillas to make the wraps. And I used traditional hummus but any of these flavored hummus work really well too: Roasted Butternut Squash HummusGreen Chickpea HummusLime Cilantro Hummus or Roasted Beetroot Hummus. You can even add in Tzatziki or Muhammara.

Not a fan of wraps? Just enjoy the Mushroom Skewers and enjoy them! I would love to make these again with my Oven Grilled Tandoori Vegetables.


Ingredients

Brown Mushrooms 12-14
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
Za'atar Spice 1 tbsp
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp

Tortilla/ Pita 
Hummus (Store bought or home-made)
Kalamata Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, Onion and Persian Cucumbers 


Method

Wash and dry the mushrooms. In a bowl mix together Olive oil, garlic, za'atar spice and salt. Add in mushrooms, and toss well. 

Start the grill and set to medium heat. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C.

Divide the mushrooms among three skewers. Grill on the grill or in the oven till it cooks (Mine takes 15 minutes in the oven or 8-10 minutes on the grill).


Also, grill the tortillas or pita breads. To assemble, spread hummus on the bread and place a skewer of grilled mushrooms. Sprinkle some more Za'atar Spice and add tomatoes, onion, olives and cucumbers. Roll and serve.