Roasted Bacon Cauliflower and Hash Brown Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Cauliflower w/ Bacon & Parmesan

I was pondering side dishes, and came to the conclusion that I have overlooked them for far too long. They are worthy of more attention. They can perk up a meal, shed light on an unappealing vegetable, and sometimes even steal the show. I was playing around with the idea of starting my very own once-a-month food blogging event featuring side dishes as the star. To test the waters here are two of my favorites. The first is a creation from my Mom. Potatoes, onions and Brussels sprouts are pan-fried hash brown style for a crispy and delicious result. They’re a terrific combo and I won’t eat Brussels sprouts any other way.

The second is oven-roasted cauliflower with bacon, garlic and Parmesan. Talk about melt-in-your mouth. I can seriously eat a whole pan of these for dinner, nothing else is needed or even desired. These are the show-stealers I was alluding to earlier that truly deserve your undivided attention. They are that good. Please let me know in your comments what you think of a monthly side dish event and if you would be interested in sending me a dish or two. And then go make one of these! Or both. You’ll love them!

Hash Browns & Brussels Sprouts

Hash Browns & Brussels Sprouts
(by Reeni’s Mom)
Canola or Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
1 large yellow Onion, thinly sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 cups Potatoes, diced 1/2 inch cubes
Sea salt and fresh pepper
2 cups Brussels Sprouts
1. In a large skillet or saute pan add enough Vegetable oil to generously cover the bottom. Heat the oil on medium and add the potatoes and onions. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Let cook until golden brown, then turn, allowing each side to cook to a golden brown.
3. In the mean time lightly steam the Brussels sprouts.
4. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half.
5. When the potatoes are golden brown and tender push them to the side of the pan. Add a tiny bit of oil to the center and the Brussels sprouts cut side down. When the Brussels sprouts are lightly toasted toss with the potatoes. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper if needed.

Roasted Cauliflower w/ Bacon & Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower w/ Bacon & Parmesan
(by Reeni)
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Sea Salt and fresh pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl toss everything together using your hands making sure to coat the cauliflower well with the oil. Add the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and toss again.
3. Add to a 9×13 baking pan(line with aluminum foil/non-stick spray for easy clean-up) and spread out evenly.
4. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and toasted.

Hash Browns & Brussels Sprouts

Red Hot Macaroni and Cheese

Cajun Mac 'n' Cheese

From its humble beginnings to the endless gourmet ‘twists’ that have been thrust upon it, Macaroni and Cheese continues to reign as one of the kings of comfort cuisine!

If you like spicy foods you will love this variation on the classic. It’s simple, fast, and easy to make but tastes like you spent a lot of time in the kitchen. While the pasta boils a béchamel sauce is whisked up with a ton of spices including cayenne pepper. It’s as simple as pouring the sauce over top of the pasta in a baking pan and sprinkling bread crumbs over top. There is a nice balance between the heat and the cheesy milkiness that is totally delicious!

Red Hot Mac 'n' Cheese

Red Hot Macaroni and Cheese
(by Reeni)
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 and ½ teaspoon onion powder
1 and ½ teaspoon cayenne or 1 teaspoon peperoncino
1 and ½ teaspoon oregano
1 and ½ teaspoon thyme
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoon flour
2 cups half ‘n’ half or whole milk
8 ounces shredded or diced Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese
8 ounces shredded or diced Colby Jack cheese
Italian Bread Crumbs for topping
1 tablespoon Butter for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook macaroni to al dente according to package directions.
3. Into a small bowl measure out the seasonings and combine. Set aside.
4. While the macaroni is cooking in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan melt the butter on medium-low heat, whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes continuously whisking. Add the spice mixture and whisk into the flour mixture. Slowly add half ‘n’ half, continuously whisking. Bring to a slow simmer and continue to whisk for another 2-3 minutes, the milk should begin to thicken up. At this point add in the cheeses and whisk until melted. Remove from heat.
5. Grease a 2 quart casserole – pour in macaroni. Pour béchamel over the macaroni.
6. Top with bread crumbs and dot with butter.
7. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes until bubbly and top is golden.

Red Hot Macaroni and Cheese