Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recipe for Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin

This Ham and Cauliflower Casserole Au Gratin is not too photogenic, but it was a treat for Phase One!

We're continuing the Month of Daily Phase One recipes, and at my house it was starting to feel like time for a Phase One recipe that fit in the category of comfort food.  There was ham and cauliflower in the fridge, and I was definitely thinking about Twice Baked Cauliflower when I got the idea for this casserole with ham and cauliflower in a creamy sauce with cheese.  The good news is that while Twice Baked Cauliflower is definitely a once-in-a-while treat, this recipe uses fat-free Greek yogurt for most of the creaminess, with just a tiny bit of light cream cheese and a few tablespoons of Parmesan.  It also has lean ham instead of the bacon and a very moderate amount of low-fat cheese, making this a recipe you can enjoy more often.  It may not be the most photogenic comfort food dish in the world, but it was clean-your-plate delicious and is definitely something that will become a Phase One stand-by at my house.

You need at least 6 cups of cauliflower, cut into small pieces.  Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water until it's getting soft, about 20 minutes.

Cut up two cups of lean ham.  (If you're making this for South Beach, the guideline is less than 10% fat, and you can often tell by looking at ham if it meets that guideline.)

Cut off 4 oz. of low-fat cream cheese and soften it in the microwave for a few minutes.  (Or let soften on top of the pre-heating oven if you don't have a microwave.)

When the cream cheese is soft, mix in the fat-free Greek yogurt, Parmesan, and sliced green onions.

Drain the cooked cauliflower well (at least 5 minutes).

Then put the cauliflower back into the pan you cooked it in and mash with a potato masher until it's mashed up but still has quite a few chunks.

Mix in the sauce mixture so it's completely mixed with the cauliflower, then gently mix in the ham.  Season to taste with fresh-ground black pepper.  (I didn't use any salt because the ham and Parmesan are both salty.)

Spray the baking dish with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the casserole mixture in, and sprinkle with cheese.  (I purposely used a dish with high sides so I could get by with a relatively small amount of cheese.  This round dish was 8 inches across.)

Bake 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and starting to brown and the mixture is hot throughout and starting to slightly bubble.  Let sit about 10 minutes for any liquid in the dish to be absorbed, then serve hot.


Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Twice Baked Cauliflower.)

Ingredients:
at least 6 cups cauliflower flowerets, cut fairly small (1 large head cauliflower or 1 1/2 small heads)
1/2 tsp. salt (for water to cook cauliflower)
2 cups diced lean ham (use ham with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I used my favorite fat-free Greek yogurt)
2 T finely-grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated low-fat cheese (I used Four Cheese Mexican Blend)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Fill a medium-sized pot half full with water, add 1/2 tsp. salt, and start to bring to a boil.  Cut up the cauliflower into small flowerets, discarding the leaves and core.  Put cauliflower pieces into the water and cook at a low boil until the cauliflower is starting to get soft, about 20 minutes.  (It doesn't need to be completely cooked, but it should be soft enough to mash.)

While cauliflower is cooking, cut the ham into very small cubes, trimming any visible fat, and slice green onions. Put cream cheese into a glass dish or measuring cup and soften it in the microwave for a few minutes.   (Or you can soften it on top of the pre-heating oven if you don't have a microwave.)  When cream cheese is soft stir in the Greek yogurt, Parmesan, and sliced green onions.

When cauliflower is cooked enough to start to soften, pour into a colander placed in the sink and let it drain well (at least 5 minutes.)  Put the drained cauliflower back into the pot you cooked it in and mash with a potato masher until it's partly mashed but still has quite a few chunks left.  Stir in the sauce mixture and combine well with the cauliflower; then gently mix in the diced ham.  Season to taste with fresh-ground black pepper.  (I didn't use salt because the ham and the Parmesan are both salty.)

Spray glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.  (I used a round dish that was 8 inches across, with fairly high sides.)  Pour cauliflower mixture into the dish, spread out evenly, and sprinkle with the low-fat cheese.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned and all the mixture is hot throughout and starting to bubble.  Let sit 10 minutes for any liquid to be absorbed, then serve hot.

I am assuming that this freezes well, but I haven't tried freezing it because I didn't have any leftovers.



South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is made with low-glycemic ingredients, but if you're making it for the South Beach Diet it's important to use lean ham, reduced-fat cream cheese, fat-free Greek yogurt, and low-fat cheese.  Those cautions would make this recipe approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

More Tasty Phase One Ideas with Cauliflower:
Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives, and Pine Nuts - Christmas Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan
"Cauliflower Rice" with Fried Onions and Sumac
Mashed Cauliflower with Cheese and Dill
Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese    

68 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try this! Looks amazing and has so many ingredients that I love.

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  2. I feel like this is the time when some willpower starts to wane, so yes comfort food is necessary! Bring on the cheese and cauliflower!

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  3. I just finished making my way through a whole ham (last of it is in the slow cooker right now!), but now I'm wishinig I had more! This looks fantastic!

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  4. Looks delicious! The recipe "makes about 6 servings" -- is that main dish or side dish servings? Also, could I use 4 laughing cow wedges in place of reduced fat cream cheese?

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  5. Thanks Brenda, Joanne, and Deborah!

    The recipe makes about 6 main dish servings, but a moderate serving meant to be eaten with a green salad or some vegetables on the side. I haven't tried cooking with laughing cow, but I'm guessing it would work. The wedges are not one ounce though, they are .75 oz. so you'd need about 5.5 wedges to equal the same amount as the cream cheese. If you try it, would love to hear how it works.

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  6. I am loving all of that cheese!

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  7. Looks wonderful! How many servings does this make and what are the nutritional facts (calories, protein, fat, carbs) per serving?

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  8. Oh. My. Goodness. I just made your Cauliflower Gratin with Sharp Cheddar last week and my DH was bowled over. This sounds amazing and I can't wait to try it!!! Thank you so much from those of us who try to trim our DH waistlines!

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  9. The recipe says that it makes about 6 servings. One reason I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight was because I didn't want to have to count the calories, carbs, or points for everything I ate. Since I'm not calculating that information for my own use, I'm not able to include it for recipes on the blog.

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    1. Hi Kalyn--

      Long time reader - thanks so much for your great recipes - you really make South Beach doable and delicious! I've noticed you get a lot of questions about the nutritional stats of your recipes. I'm guessing these requests are from people like me - I'm doing the SBD but need the extra accountability of logging food when I'm in the weight loss phase (this is my second go-around with this diet; I originally lost over 40 lbs., but life happened and I gained it back).

      ANYWAY, that was a long way of saying that Calorie Count (http://caloriecount.about.com) has a really nice recipe analyzer. I've used it many times to analyze your recipes and it's easy to use (in fact, much easier than it was even a year ago). Thought some of your readers might be interested to know about this - it's a free site and just as robust as some of the meal planning/logging sites you have to pay for (been there, done that).

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    2. Wendy, we are thinking alike because I recently found out about Calorie Count and added a link to the frequently asked questions page for the blog! Thanks for sharing here as well.

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    3. Cool! I love the site. There's a little bit of a learning curve, but it's not too bad and there's lots of community support and whatnot.

      BTW, my daughter made this recipe for our family last night and paired it with the Kale & Romaine Caesar salad - I had the leftovers of both for lunch today. This recipe is outta the ballpark (and so is the salad - SO yummy)! Thanks again!

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  10. Hi Kalyn, looks like a great recipe - and I have everything in my Fridge! I think, I try and use a piece of The Laughing Cow (light Queso Fresco - I like it spicy) for part of the Cream Cheese, because its lowfat and low in Sugar and Cholest.
    Let you know, how it went.
    By the way, I made your Roasted Cauliflower With Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives... again a few days ago and it vanished in no time.
    Claudia

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  11. Kalyn, a delicious recipe as usual. I don't often use fresh cauliflower, but rather the frozen florets. Is there anything I should do differently when using frozen cauliflower rather than fresh?

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    1. I don't think I would make this with frozen cauliflower. Since the frozen cauliflower is pre-cooked I think it would be overly done and probably too watery by the time it was done. (Let me know if you try it and I'm wrong, but personally I would use fresh cauliflower.)

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  12. That looks so sinful but when you dig apart the layers it is made very thoughtfully. I love 'responsible cooking'! Very nice.

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  13. I know this will be good! I tried the teice baked cauliflower and loved it, who wouldn't like it with ham!

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  14. Thanks for the nice feedback everyone. I like the idea of replacing the cream cheese with Laughing Cow.

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  15. I made this last night and it was delicious! I was getting stuck in the chicken breast and green beans rut and this casserole was a welcomed change! Thank you so much for your awesome recipes!

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  16. YES! I want to eat this right now. Are you sure this is phase 1???

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  17. I just found your website by accident and I am so glad I did. Struggling with the 'same old' SB phase 1 recipes, it's nice to find some fresh ones. I am going to try this, and several other recipes from the site, this next week.

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  18. Cristy if you use the lower fat ingredients like I did you can definitely eat this for phase one. Some people have suggested replacing the lowfat cream cheese with an equal amount of Laughing Cow cheese, which would make it even lower in fat.

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  19. Oh sweet holy Mary this was TO DIE FOR especially because we're in the middle of phase 1-well, half a week left :) and I think we were all feeling like splurging ;) I think it's good for phase one, but maybe just once a week? I dunno.I checked out the fat content, etc. ah, I don't care it's cauliflower! And Greek yogurt I SWEAR is the greatest thing that EVER happened to me omg! Very very good!!! Sharing with *everyone*!

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  20. Made this last night and it was delicious! I doubled the recipe and it fit perfectly in a 9X13 dish. Everyone in my family loved it and the best part is I have leftovers for lunch today!

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  21. Jill so glad everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing about the pan size; that will help others who might want to double it.

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  22. Kalyn,
    You may think your photo isn't photogenic but it was so pretty that it caught my attention enough to want it for dinner this week!
    Just finished reading the entire recipe, comments and all, and cannot wait to try it.

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  23. Can I use broccoli instead?

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  24. Wendy, glad you liked the photo!

    I am not sure how this would work with broccoli, but if anyone tries it I'd love to know what you think.

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  25. My wife & I made this last night. It was great, but it's even better today! Some things just need to sit in the fridge overnight to reach their full potential.

    Next time, we plan to try it with a can of well-drained Rotel thrown in.

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  26. Keith, I do like the idea of adding some Rotel tomatoes to this for a slightly spicy touch!

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  27. I made this Sunday night and my family loved it. So far, every Phase 1 recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen has been very good. Many thanks for helping me make it through the hardest part of South Beach!

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  28. Made this for dinner tonight and it is absolutely delicious! Thanks for all you do.

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  29. Wow - this was so good! I needed comfort food after a very long day at hospital with mom. Thank you for a great recipe!

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  30. Holly, glad you liked it. Sending good thoughts for your mom.

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  31. I made this again tonight, my son is having potatoe withdrawals and this seems to help. I left out the ham and added garlic. I am going to try the moke kale lasagana tomorrow night. I just discovered I don't have fennel. How critical is it to the success of the recipe? I am a huge fan. Many thanks,
    Gay

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  32. Gay, glad you have been enjoying the recipes! I do like the flavor the ground fennel adds to the sauce for the Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna, but if you have flavorful sausage it will probably be fine without it.

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  33. Oh my goodness the mock kale lasagna was wonderful. Many thanks for the great recipes!
    Gay

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  34. Now this is a tasty looking casserole! What a great way to finish off that ham languishing in my freezer.

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  35. Kevin, everyone in my family who's made it has loved the recipe, even people who "don't like cauliflower."

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  36. Looks amazing! I've done the SB diet several times before. My husband and I were just talking yesterday and decided it was time to go back to Phase 1 for a couple of weeks. I'm so thankful to have found your site and all the wonderful ideas! Phase 1 has always been hard, but with these new recipes it should be a lot of fun!

    Willa
    www.armstrongfamilyfare.com

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  37. oh man this is good! re-heats very well and tasted great with spinach.

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  38. Cheri, so glad you enjoyed it!

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  39. Just cooked this for SB phase 1. It was delicious (as is the pesto chicken too!)

    Thanks! You're a legend!

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  40. Thanks Stuart. Not sure I am a legend, but I'm really glad you're enjoying the rcipes!

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  41. A great recipe that adapts well to different veggies and meats. I threw in a handful of leftover broccoli and it was excellent. It adds a bit more bulk and holds up well during baking. Will use half broccoli and half cauliflower next time. When the cauliflower was nearly cooked, I threw the broccoli florets into the boiling water to blanch them slightly and then drained it all together. I also used turkey sausage instead of ham and it turned out great!

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  42. Alisha, thanks for the ideas. Love the sound of this with some broccoli mixed in.

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  43. What could I use instead of ham? Don't care for ham at all. Recipe sounds so good though.
    Thanks!

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  44. It's hard for me to know what you would like in this, but maybe some type of sausage?

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  45. This was amazing! New fan over here. It was just the comfort we needed. My husband and I are doing South Beach...we are newly into Phase 2, but (mostly me) we are struggling and I try to do 2 Phase 1 meals a day. And my 9 year old gobbled it up! YUM!

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  46. Oh and I'm a Salt Lake girl living far from home in Cleveland, Ohio!

    Can't wait to try more recipes!

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  47. Misty, thanks; so glad you liked it. (When you're on phase two but you're partly doing phase one, my brother and I call that Phase 1.5!)

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  48. Just made this for my family and WOW! I was very skeptical because my previous attempts at using cauliflower as a "faker" have been major flops. When I put it in the oven I was sure I would be eating sugar free jello for dinner, but when I opened the oven to check on it 30 minutes later a delicious smell wafted out! The taste did NOT disappoint! I'll be adding this to our regular menu! Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!

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  49. Cristin, I know what you mean about those "not quite right" cauliflower recipes. Glad you liked this one!

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  50. I found your recipe on Pinterest and tried it out today for lunch. I've started the first phase of the SBD and was tired of eating eggs and fish for the past few days. This was delicious. Thank you for sharing. I marked your blog and will be coming back for more ideas.

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  51. This is a really great recipe Kalyn!! My hubby and I make this at least once a month. Thanks!

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  52. I LOVED this recipe! I've been on South Beach for three weeks and still really miss potatoes, which are my favorite food. This recipe did a great job of making me feel like I was eating a yummy potato casserole. Thank you!

    Mine easily filled a 9X13 baking dish, by the way.

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  53. I started making this recipe about six months ago and just LOVE it!!! I play around with it a lot too. My partner and I both love spicy food so I add sautéed jalapeños to the cream cheese mixture instead of the spring onions which is always tasty! We've tried adding broccoli to the mix too which gives it a rich color and another nice dimension.

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  54. Hannah, love hearing how you've switched it up!

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  55. This recipe is delicious! I tasted it cold and it reminded me of like a potato salad and baked was like eating scalloped potatoes and ham without all the guilt. Thanks so much for your great recipes!

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  56. Used goat cheese in place of the sour cream and some chopped green chilies, made for a yummy twist

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  57. This is delicious! My husband and I have it almost once a week. I use turkey ham and I put 1/2 the mixture into the casserole, add 1/2 the cheese and then the other 1/2 of the mixture and top with the rest of the cheese. It makes it seem cheesier.

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  58. Delicious! I used mostly cauliflower, but part broccoli, and finely diced onion instead of green onions. I also tried a bite with a tiny bit of spicy brown mustard and it was really good,so next time I might add a little to the recipe.

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