Bacon Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese

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Foodie babies say cheese. (pg. 4) – PART II

Foodie Babies Wear Bibs” by Michelle Sinclair Colman, Illustrations by Nathalie Dion

“Foodie babies say cheese”…and this time we’re talking about the kind you eat! Ever since K was 9 months old, she’s eaten a variety of cheeses. She especially likes raw milk cheddar, monterey jack and sharp white cheddar cheese. One of her favorite recipes (and mine too) is Bacon Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese. In fact she loves it so much, she’s got her Nana making it in her kitchen!

When my husband and I decided to eat grain-free last year (at least in our home), I spent a lot of time researching fun, toddler-friendly, healthy, delicious recipes. After trying a variety of 4-5 star grain-free recipes here and there, I quickly discovered that it’s very hard to find recipes that fit all those categories (especially including the “delicious” one). But low and behold, I stumbled upon this mac n’ cheese recipe on the Food Network website and with some tinkering and additions, I think I’ve perfected it (at least for baby K)! If you have a hankering for some mac n’ cheese, have about 45 minutes of time and need a side for 4-6 people or an entire meal for 2-3, this is the recipe for you.

Here’s how I made this dish:

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I took my large head of organic cauliflower, scrubbed and washed it.

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Next, I peeled off its outer leaves and cut off its stem.

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I chopped the cauliflower lengthwise…

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and then widthwise, making sure the pieces were about the size of actual macaroni pasta.

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I placed the cauliflower “macaroni” into a steamer pot…

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and then steamed it for 7 minutes or so.

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Once cooled, I pat the cauliflower dry and tried to squeeze out as much water as possible.

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I shredded enough cheese to make about 3 cups.

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I placed the organic heavy whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat and waited until it simmered. I then added the cream cheese and stirred until fully combined. I finally added half of the grated cheese and seasoning (fresh cracked black peppercorn and garlic powder) and stirred until smooth and fully combined.

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I combined the cauliflower and sauce in the glass baking pan and then topped it with the rest of the grated cheese.

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I baked it for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F and set it out to cool.

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While the mac n’ cheese was baking in the oven, I pan fried some bacon on the griddle over medium heat. Once fully cooked, I chopped and crumbled it up into small pieces to sprinkle over the dish.

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I scooped out a portion for baby K and topped it with some crumbled bacon and served it as a side for dinner.

Here’s my recipe (adapted from Food Network’s Cauliflower “Mac” n’ Cheese Casserole)

What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
Cutting board
Medium or large kitchen knife
Baking dish
Steamer
Sauce pan
Griddle or pan
Measuring cups/spoons
Paper towels or a few large dish towels

Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower (or 2 small heads)
Filtered Water
Coconut oil or grass-fed butter
12 oz block of grass-fed cheese
2 oz of cream cheese (whipped or block that is cut into small pieces)
1 C organic heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black peppercorn
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Pasture-raised bacon slices (number of slices based on how much you like bacon!)

Directions:
1. Fill your pot with some filtered water and put your steamer on the stove over medium heat.
2. Grease your baking dish with some coconut oil or grass-fed butter.
3. Wash cauliflower, peel leaves and cut off stem.
4. Chop lengthwise and then widthwise, making sure pieces are about the size of small macaroni pasta.
5. Steam your cauliflower for about 7 minutes or until crisp-tender and remove from heat to cool.
6. Pat and press dry with a paper towel or clean dish towel and then place into baking dish.
7. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
8. Bring your heavy whipping cream to a simmer in a small saucepan and whisk in the cream cheese until nice and smooth.
9. Stir in half of your shredded cheese, freshly cracked pepper and garlic powder and whisk together until the cheese is melted.
10. Remove the cheesy sauce from heat (and try resist eating it by the spoonful!), pour it over the cauliflower, and stir to combine it in the baking dish
11. Top the cauliflower with the rest of your shredded cheese and bake it for about 15 minutes.
12. In the mean time, pan fry the bacon strips in your pan or griddle for a few minutes, flipping it over, until fully cooked.
13. Take the bacon, pat off the grease off with a paper towel and let it cool until crisp.
14. Chop and crumble the bacon into bits and then sprinkle over the mac n’ cheese.

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