Friday, March 20, 2015

Cheese and Cauliflower for Crazy Ingredient Challenge

This month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge is upon us once again. Our hostess with the mostest is Dawn from Spatula's on Parade.  Each month Dawn works hard to help us choose 2 items that we are going to turn into a meal.  This month the items chosen were Cauliflower and Cheese.


Each month we are given two lists of ingredients and we vote on them to see which two we will be using.  If you would like to join us, just contact Dawn at, we would love to have you.

Now Cauliflower and Cheese are not too crazy, I don't think.  In fact, they complement each other extremely well.  I thought about doing a cauliflower salad to have as a side dish with cheese and dried cranberries and slice almonds.  I thought about a cauliflower and cheese casserole to serve as a hot side dish with a meal.  I thought about a cauliflower and cheese soup....yum.  But in the end, it was my weekly menu that made the decision for me.  I had decided to make Mac and Cheese for Meatless Monday and thought I would add the cauliflower and call it a day.  Then I thought "way to wimp out Klik" and started feeling bad so I decided to amp it up a bit.  I don't know about you but when I want to add something special to a dish my first thought is always bacon.  Bacon makes everything better.  

Yes, I know it was Meatless Monday but C'est La Vie.  I normally make a dry Mac and Cheese and you can find that recipe here but for CIC, I  decided to make a roux because why waste all that wonderful bacon grease???  

So I diced and fried up some bacon and then added some flour to the rendered fat, seasoning with salt and pepper and stirring until it was brown and nutty smelling.  Then I added some cheese and a little bit of some Smokey Chipotle Mustard I had on hand from El Diablo.  Whisked in the milk and had a delicous creamy sauce for my mac and cauliflower.  Mix it all together in the same pan you have been using all along and then turn it into your baking dish.  I added another cup of cheese for good measure and topped it with some bread crumbs before putting it in the oven for a while.

It was creamy and smokey and delicious.  It was very rich.  It was fine for a mainn course for my hubby and Tingting ate two servings but I would have preferred it as a side dish with something with which to cut the richness of the dish.  Perhaps if I had served a salad along with it I would have been happier with it as a main dish.  I don't have any young ones at home right now that I have to try to fool into eating their veggies but if I did this would be a perfect dish to serve for that purpose.  

Bacon and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

3 slices lean, thick cut bacon, diced
2 T. flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. cheese, divided
2 c. milk
2 t. Smokey Chipotle Mustard
8 oz. elbow macaroni
1 small head of cauliflower, separated into small florets

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cauliflower and cook for 8 minutes.

While waiting for the water to boil, brown the bacon in a large skillet over med high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon to a plate and set aside.  With the skillet still over med high heat, add the flour and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes until brown and nutty smelling, whisk in the milk until thick and bubbly, add 1 1/2 c.  the cheese and mustard. Stir until smooth.

Drain the macaroni and cauliflower and add it to the skillet with the cheese sauce.  Toss to coat and then turn it into an 8" square baking dish.  Add the remaining 1/2 c, of cheese and toss lightly. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 20-25 minutes.  Print Recipe


  1. Adding the smokey chipotle mustard sounds heavenly! Love your cauliflower mac N cheese.

  2. Bacon makes everything better. And so does chipotle mustard, I'll bet.

    Looks awesome.

  3. Bacon, cheese and cauliflower- what a perfect trio!

  4. I bet the bacon put this over the top!

  5. oh yeah, bacon makes everything better! No, the combo wasn't really "crazy" this month, but it was the vote. Glad you joined us!!

  6. I have to admit that I never heard of Smokey Chipotle Mustard. Will have to look for some to kick up my mac 'n cheese. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    1. The brand I use Dena is El Diablo, they have all different flavors of spicy mustards.

  7. Bacon definitely makes everything better. Way to go, Kik! *smile*


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