May 13, 2014

Cauliflower Bites (with bacon and cheese and sour cream... oh my!)

One of the first dishes I started to make back in 2002 to replace mashed potatoes was to use turnips and cauliflower to make faux mashed potatoes.  When you have mashed cauliflower you can then do almost anything with it that you normally make with potatoes.  One of the dishes I used to make prior to 2002 was mashed potatoes in muffin tins topped with various toppings from green onions to sour cream, butter, cheese, bacon, etc.   After 2002 they were often made with mashed cauliflower.

This week I did something different I've never done before.  Because my kids are young adults now and 2 of them have 'flown the nest' with just the one remaining, we can't eat a whole batch of these anymore in one sitting.  So this time around I decided to freeze the remainder and make a "kit" for future meals I could throw together in mere minutes. 

I tried it first - before posting - to make sure I liked the texture.  And?  It's a hit.  

Play with this to make it yours.

Steam or microwave cauliflower until it's very, very tender.  Drain in a colander very well.  Use the back of a spoon to press out extra water.  Process it in a food processor to get it smooth.  I add a bit of butter and cream cheese or sour cream to mine.  You usually don't need to add liquid because cauliflower holds so much - but if yours is too dry you can add cream - only a tablespoon or so.  You will end up with soup before you know it.  If I'm serving these as "mashed fauxtatoes" I then put in a serving bowl with some butter, salt and pepper.  But since I want to form these into their own patties I added 1 egg to my mixture.

Press into muffin tins.  I chose to use cupcake liners because I wanted to try freezing them - but usually I just bake them in the tins for serving immediately for dinner.

I used a coffee scoop to press down to a little bowl shape which makes it easier for me to fill them with toppings later.
Baked at 350 for about 30-35 minutes.  I didn't time them.  I just watched until they were turning golden brown at the edges and looked like they had dried.

I used the first 6 for dinner and made a 'kit' for the freezer out of the rest.  I wanted to use cheese and bacon - and just to make sure I would have it ready to go when I needed them in the future, filled two snack sized Zip Locs with shredded cheese and some bacon I made, cooled and crumbled.  I froze the pan (with the cauliflower in it) until they were solid and then took them out and put them in a gallon ZipLoc with the 2 smaller toppings.  Sealed and back into the freezer they went.

Last night I took 6 cauliflower bites out of the freezer, removed the liners and set them on a foil lined baking sheet I had lightly greased.  I used cheese and bacon to top them before putting them in the oven with the stuffed chicken breasts we were having.  When the cheese was melted, the bacon crisped and the cauliflower bites golden brown, I took them out.  We topped them with sour cream at serving time.  I would have sprinkled some green onion on them too (yum!) but my green onions are currently growing in my newly planted garden and are only about 2 inches tall.   Ha ha.

Here they are ready to put into the oven.

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