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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Spinach Potato Cauliflower Casserole

This New Year's Eve, we had a potluck lunch planned with some friends. Throw in an allergy induced visit to the ER with the little one, followed by dinner, drinks and movie with another friend ending with an impromptu midnight dance performance by the kiddos with a resounding "Happy New Year" - I'd had just about more than enough of a roller coaster ride of emotions to last me through the new year!

The day started of harmlessly enough though! My contribution for the potluck was a spinach potato and cauliflower casserole.


What I had in mind initially was a simple spinach casserole. I wanted to use some grain to go with it - a perusal of the pantry produced some Orzo and I thought, why not - spinach casserole with some orzo.

When I got down to getting the casserole ready, I realized there was not enough orzo and spinach for all of us. That's when I added the cauliflower. Finally, the dried potato flakes just made perfect sense and brought it all together!

When it came to the sauce, I wanted something that would be thick and gooey! So I just opened the refrigerator and took out EVERY kind of cheese that I had! To balance the salty flavors of the cheese, I added a bit of sour cream and Greek Yogurt. I did console myself with the fact that, wherever available, I used non-fat or part-skim versions and the portion size was very small!

One special mention is the deli style sliced pepper jack cheese that I used. The habanero and jalapeno peppers pop out with a burst of heat, but in tune with the rest of the ingredients, are not overpoweringly spicy.

I did not want to add too much spice as the kids were also going to eat it. I just used some nutmeg and fresh cracked pepper. I also topped the casserole with some red chilli flakes (I figured I could always remove the top layer before serving the kids) and dusted a bit of cocoa powder over it.

The end result was this rich creamy and flavorful casserole that was a tad on the heavy side, but go easy on the portion size and it spells absolute comfort food!

Preparation & Cooking: 40 minutes          Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:

Spinach - 1 bunch, finely chopped
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Cauliflower - 1 cup, broken into small florets
Dried Potato Flakes - ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon
Ready Made Marinara Pasta Sauce - 2 tables spoons
Orzo - 1 cup
Nutmeg - a pinch
Red Chilli Flakes - 1 teaspoon
Fresh Cracked Pepper - to taste
Salt - to taste
Kraft Fine Shredded 4 Cheese Mexican Blend - ¼ cup
(Cheddar, Montery Jack, Asadero and Queso Blanco)
Kraft Shredded Natural Italian Five Cheese Blend - 4 tablespoon
(Mozarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan)
Sargento Deli Style Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese - 4 slices
Ricotta Cheese - 2 tablespoons
Sour Cream - 2 tablespoons
Greek Yogurt - 2 tablespoons
Cocoa Powder - 1 teaspoon
Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
Cooking Spray - to grease the casserole dish
Pillsbury Crescent Roll - 1 tube

Method:
  1. Preheat  the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cook the orzo al dente. Drain and keep aside.
  3. Saute the onions in olive oil till they turn translucent. Then add in the spinach, cauliflower and marinara sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Now add in the potato flakes (set aside1 tablespoon for the topping), orzo, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let everything mix well.
  5. Finally add all the cheeses (except the Mexican blend), sour cream and Greek yogurt and let them melt and blend in.

  6. Grease a casserole dish with cooking spray and pour in the vegetable and cheese mixture. Now cover this with the crescent roll dough.

  7. Top this with the Mexican blend of cheese, making sure to cover the entire surface. Finally, sprinkle the red chilli flakes, freshly cracked pepper and potato flakes and dust the cocoa powder on top.

  8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes till the top is nicely browned.
  9. Serve hot.

Sending this across to

6 comments:

  1. casserole looks very delicious priya..

    Shree
    http://easycooknbake.blogspot.com/2012/12/event-announcement-hot-beverages-and.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Casserole looks rich and creamy.. Yummm... thnx for linking it up

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOAH - everything but the kitchen sink - even cocoa powder - truly amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Chef Mireille! I have realized that an adventurous spirit in the kitchen has lead to many a pleasant discoveries!

      Delete

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