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Last week in my meal planning post I mentioned how much I was craving a meal reminiscent of my 5-year old taste buds. Everyone had macaroni and cheese with cut up hotdogs at some point, right? Seeing as I haven’t eaten wheat for the better part of a year, I decided to go about finding a way to recreate the idea of macaroni and cheese sans the macaroni. The resulting dish was quite delicious, but be warned that you really have to want to make it…it’s not nearly as simple as making a box of Kraft’s “The Cheesiest” and throwing in some Bar-S Franks.

So, if you’re up for a bit of a culinary adventure, here you go:

Franky-Cheesey Cauliflower (amounts listed should serve 6, but you’ll want the leftovers, I promise!)

2 heads of Cauliflower, cut into small pieces (think the size of macaroni)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
12 oz of your favorite Cheddar Cheese, shredded (I chose 8 oz of Wisconsin Cheddar, and 4 oz of Seaside English Extra Aged White Cheddar for kick). Reserve 1/3 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top.
1 tablespoon Rice Flour (to thicken your roux)
6 tablespoons Heavy Cream (or half and half or whole milk)
1 tablespoon Butter
4 cloves Garlic, diced or pressed
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 pound of your favorite *all natural* Hot Dogs (look for something with no preservatives, and nothing with “mechanically separated pork”…I didn’t make that up)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spread your chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake the cauliflower for 20 minutes, stir, and bake 15 minutes more. Doing so will make help your cheese sauce stay thick, rather than getting watery from steamed or boiled cauliflower.
2. While the cauliflower is baking, heat the butter in a sauce pan. Sautee the onions and garlic until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
3. When the onions and garlic are done, toss in the rice flour and stir.
4. Reduce heat to medium low, pour in your heavy cream, stir, then pour in all but the 1/3 cup of reserved cheddar cheese. Stir and watch your sauce closely, so as not to burn the bottom. Season with salt and pepper.
5. While your cauliflower is still baking, cut up the hotdogs into bite sized pieces.
6. When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to a 9×13 baking dish. Toss in the hotdogs, and then pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.
7. Put the dish back in the 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the top of your cheese is golden brown and bubbly. (I used the broiler for about 2 minutes at the very end).
8. Let it cool for a few minutes, and Serve with something green!

I said it, Hot Dogs! But not just any hot dogs, I’m talking about real hot dogs, made from actual pork with no added ingredients and a natural casing. Thanks to Kroeger Meats at my beloved Findlay Market, I can actually get natural pork products minus the industrial ingredients. This coming week’s meal plan represents quite a spectrum, from fancy-schmancy salmon wrapped scallops, to cheesy cauliflower and hot dogs. We haven’t had the latter yet, but I’m hoping for another “kid worthy” stamp of approval from Adam on that one.

So without further ado, next week we will be filling up on:

1. Salmon Wrapped Scallops with a lemon-herb butter and Grilled Asparagus (recipe and pictures to follow)
2. Roast Chicken with Roasted Broccoli…I can only leave this off the menu for so long, I do love roast chicken!
3. Asian Chicken Salad with the leftover chicken (instead of the usual cobb salad)
4. Cheesy Cauliflower with Natural Hot Dogs…which does sound like something a two-year old would love, right? And a salad.
5. Turkey Meatballs with Marinara and Spaghetti Squash (using the same spices as this recipe, just with ground turkey because I feel like doing something different!)

I’m also going to check out Tewe’s Poultry Farm tomorrow for my roasting chicken and ground turkey, a poultry farm that specializes in hormone-free, pastured, antibiotic-free turkey and chicken. They are only about 20 minutes away from my home, and have better prices than I can find just about anywhere else! What can beat that? Hopefully I’ll have a new, local source for buying chicken, supporting a family owned business to boot!

If you’re like me, your favorite parts of any stir fry are the vegetable and meat, not the piles of rice that they usually sit on top of. Fortunately, there is an awesome alternative to regular old white rice that’s both more nutritious and less bloat inducing! You may have heard of using cauliflower “rice” before, as the idea has been around for quite some time, but you probably haven’t tried it. It cooks quickly, readily takes on the flavor of your stir fry sauce, and doesn’t give you that fake “full” feeling that leaves you hungry again 2 hours later (a common complaint with stir frys and rice bowls!). So, if you’ve got a food processor with a grating wheel handy, give this one a try:

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1 large bunch broccoli
10 oz box of baby bella mushrooms (sliced makes it easy)
1 pound raw shrimp
4 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Wheat Free Tamari (I used low sodium)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 generous tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fat (I used bacon grease, lard or butter would work as well)

1. Chop the cauliflower into pieces that will fit into your food processor shaft. Using your grating wheel, “rice” the whole head of cauliflower. You will only need about 4 cups of cauliflower rice, so if your head of cauliflower makes more than that you can easily freeze the rest.
2. Cut the broccoli into florets.
3. Heat the bacon grease (or lard or butter) in a large skillet (I used my 12″ cast iron skillet), and sautee the broccoli and mushrooms until crisp-tender (about 8-9 minutes).
4. Add in the cauliflower rice, and press in the garlic as well. As they begin to cook, add in the peeled raw shrimp. If you have cooked shrimp, wait until the very end to add them in.
5. After about 5 minutes, when the raw shrimp are turning pink, add in the black pepper, Tamari, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. **Toasted sesame oil has a strong flavor so don’t overdo it, but don’t leave it out! It’s the secret ingredient making this stir fry extra tastey!
6. Stir everything together, cook until all shrimp are just pink (don’t overcook), and serve!

If you really want to cook the cauliflower rice separately and serve it under the vegetables and shrimp, have at it. I really like that doing it all at once only uses one pan though, and let’s face it, it all gets eaten together anyway!