Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, & Kale Casserole

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Hands-on:55 Minutes
Total:1 Hour, 45 Minutes

1 head cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 lb.), cut into small florets
1 (8-oz.) package fresh cremini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 large sweet potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chopped fresh kale, collards, or mustard greens
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 (14-oz.) can butter beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
Easy Cheese Sauce (see below for recipe)
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 475°. Toss together cauliflower, mushrooms, 2 1/2 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl. Spread cauliflower/mushroom mixture in a single layer in jelly-roll pan.

2. Toss together sweet potatoes, 2 1/2 Tbsp. oil, and remaining cumin, salt, and pepper. Spread in a single layer in another jelly-roll pan.

3. Bake potatoes and cauliflower at 475° for 10 to 12 minutes or until browned and just tender, turning once. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Add kale; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste; stir in vinegar.

5. Layer half each of sweet potatoes, cauliflower mixture, beans (if desired), kale, and 1 1/2 cups Easy Cheese Sauce in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese sauce. Stir together panko, chopped cilantro, and olive oil, and sprinkle crumb mixture over casserole. Note - I only did one layer of each. 

6. Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated, bubbly, and golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Cheese Sauce Recipe (You can get away with only making a half of this recipe)

Yield: Makes 3 1/2 cups
Hands-on:25 Minutes
Total:25 Minutes

1/3 cup dry vermouth*
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups half-and-half
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese

1. Bring vermouth and garlic to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 7 to 10 minutes or until vermouth is reduced to 1 Tbsp.

2. Whisk together half-and-half and cornstarch. Whisk half-and-half mixture, salt, and pepper into vermouth mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute or until mixture is thickened. Add pepper Jack cheese. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute or until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat, and use immediately.

*Dry sherry may be substituted.

Recipe from Southern Living's January 2014 issue.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Peppermint Pretzel White Chocolate Bark

Makes 12 servings * Hands on time 15 minutes * Ready in 25 minutes

1 (16-oz.) package vanilla candy coating, chopped (Log House CandiQuik Vanilla Candy Coatingrks great)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Parchment paper
1 cup coarsely chopped pretzel sticks
2/3 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candy canes

1. Microwave candy coating in a 1-qt. microwave-safe glass bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 minute; stir. Microwave until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stir in peppermint extract.
Note - My GE Microwave requires you to change the temperature to medium each time you microwave. Last time I tried doing this without lowering my temperature, it burnt the chocolate so this is an important step to take. It took me 1 minute, plus an additional three 30 second intervals for the chocolate to fully melt.)
2. Spread half of melted candy coating about 1/8 inch thick in a parchment paper-lined jelly-roll pan.You can use a soft rubber spatula to smooth out the coating on the pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pretzels and 1/3 cup chopped candy canes over melted candy coating, and press into coating. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients on another parchment paper-lined jelly-roll pan. Chill 5 minutes or until cool and firm. Break into pieces.

Recipe from Southern Living's DECEMBER 2013 issue

Here are a couple more cool Log House CandiQuick recipes that are ready in 30 minutes or less: Heart Candies (or any other shape cookie cutters you have) and St Patty's Pretzel Rods.

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