Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Success With Cooking Light

     When my family went home to Virginia last June to visit my parents and (most of) my little brothers my mom gave me some cooking magazines that she didn't want any more. My mom knows that I horde cookbooks, so I guess she figured I could always use a little more clutter. I mean, who doesn't need more clutter in their life?
     Little did I know that one of the magazines she had given me was going to be a goldmine. She gave me the "Best-Ever Recipe Makeovers" edition of Cooking Light magazine and I have yet to try a recipe from this edition that I haven't liked.

      And it's not just me. My husband has loved everything I've made, and I've even had rave reviews from my friends for one of the side dishes I made for them. One of my very picky children even liked the crispy chicken nugget recipe that I made. So far I've made the following recipes with rave results: Cheesy Potato Soup, 30-Minute Filet Beef Bourguignonne with Mashed Potatoes, Savory Pan-Fried Chicken with Hot Sauce and Stewed Collards, Chicken Nuggets, Mongolian Beef, Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots, and Crispy Topped Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Gratin. One of the things I really enjoyed about the magazine was that along with seriously cutting the fat content in some classically fattening dishes, Cooking Light also provided nutritional information for each recipe so I knew exactly how many grams of fat/fiber/protein/carbs along with the caloric count for all the recipes.
     The recipe that I was completely shocked was a success was the Brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin. I've been conditioned since childhood to gag at the mere mention of Brussels sprouts, but the picture of the dish in the magazine looked so tasty, I thought maybe I could stand to give the tiny cabbages another try. I made this side dish with a roasted chicken and schmaltzy potatoes one Sunday when some friends came over for dinner. Not only did I not gag when I ate this dish, I (and everyone else, actually) got seconds! The Brussels sprouts weren't soggy, smushy, and they didn't even taste like sweaty old socks. Since I enjoyed this recipe so much, I decided to include it here, in case you'd like to try something from Cooking Light before purchasing an issue. So, without further ado:

Crispy Topped Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Gratin
Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 lb)
  • 4 cups trimmed quartered Brussels sprouts (about 1 3/4 lbs)
  • 1.1 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup half & half
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • cooking spray
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Cook cauliflower florets and Brussels sprouts in boiling water 2 mins, drain.
  • Weigh or lightly  spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine milk, and next 4 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a bowl; stir well with a wisk.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon to pan, cook 3 minutes or until bacon begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk mixture; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 mins or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Spoon vegetable mixture into a 11x7 inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover dish with foil coated with cooking spray and bake at 375 for 20 mins or until bubbly. Remove dish to oven.
  • Preheat broiler to high.
  • Remove foil from dish. Combine cheese and panko; sprinkle evenly over vegetables. Broil 5 inches from heat for 4 mins or until browned. Let strand 5 mins before serving