kim’s loaded cauliflower casserole

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole RecipeCauliflower Power

This recipe comes to Betty’s Cook Nook via my Niece Kimberly.

Halloween 2018 proved to be the perfect time for Kim and her fiancé Chris to come for a visit. They were both on the keto diet, being just two months before their wedding date. Kim raved about this dish and was so excited to make and share it with us.

After tasting her loaded cauliflower casserole creation, we understood why – we could each easily devour the entire casserole! This dish reminded me so much of loaded mashed potatoes, but it’s low in carbs, the hallmark of the ketogenic diet. And it only calls for six ingredients!

I’m parking this recipe here at my Mom “Betty’s” Cook Nook because it’s a family favorite and Mom would wholeheartedly approve! Plus, now I know where to turn whenever I get a hankering for bacon, cheese, sour cream, and mayo delight.

i. Time

Total prep: About 45 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

6-8 strips | bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large head (about 6 cups) | cauliflower, cut up into bite-sized pieces
2 cups | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 tablespoons | fresh chives, chopped
½ cup | mayonnaise
½ cup | sour cream

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Recipe

Ladies And Gentlemen – Start Your Engines! CHEESE!

iii. What to do

1. Cook your bacon as you like (skillet or oven). Drain off the grease and set the bacon aside to cool.

2. Add the cauliflower into a large pot, fill it with water, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and set it aside to cool.

3. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Now’s a good time to crumble your bacon.

How To Make Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

4. Combine 1 cup of cheddar cheese, ½ of the crumbled bacon, ½ of the chives, all the mayonnaise, sour cream, and the cauliflower. Mix well.
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Going Into The Oven
5.
Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese and bacon on top.

6. Place the casserole into the oven and bake it for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

7. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the reminder of the chives on top and serve.

Serves: One to a few, depending on your ability to resist deliciousness.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Kim and Cauliflower

Kimberly ❤ Forever Loved

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Recipe


pimiento cheese

Pimiento Cheese Recipe From Betty's Cook NookPimiento Cheese: A Texan’s North Star

Whether you enjoy it as a side dish or a main course, there’s one recipe that’s an essential for the southern foodie – pimiento cheese!

Ironically my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook didn’t contain a pimiento cheese recipe… likely because making the stuff was a culinary instinct for my Texas born and bred Mom – the recipe was memorized.

I interviewed my family (Jennifer!) and friends and curated the recipe below which makes a nice staple for your kitchen or as a gift for friends. Whether you serve pimiento cheese from a china plate or at a tailgate, “P.C.” is one dish that’s an undisputed crowd pleaser.

Pimento vs. Pimiento?

Pretty much my entire adult foodie life I’ve been plagued with how pimiento is spelled. I’ve often heard it referred to as “pimento” (3 syllables) or “pimiento” (4 syllables). Pimiento appears to be the correct spelling according to the Southern’s Bible, Southern Living, as well as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. While either pronunciation will work, I prefer “pimiento” to “pimento.” Just pronounce it with confidence and don’t second guess the raised eyebrows you may receive. :)

I encourage you to explore the numerous ways to enjoy pimiento cheese including:

  • Pimiento cheese-bacon cheeseburgers (score Bobby Flay’s recipe here)
  • Pimiento cheese grits
  • Pimiento cheese dip (see the bonus recipe below)
  • Grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches
  • Macaroni and pimiento cheese
  • Pimiento cheese deviled eggs
  • Pimiento cheese sausage balls
  • Pimiento cheese ravioli
  • Pimiento cheese schmeared on celery (my long-standing favorite)

Growing up my Mom would simply spread ¾ – ½ inch of the Texas gold between some sliced ButterKrust bread and that was that. Heaven!

Foodie Tips

  In a pinch for a few of the ingredients? There is an actual difference between pimientos and red bell peppers. So if you don’t use true pimientos, you can use a jar of roasted red bell peppers (drained and chopped) or red bell peppers, (roasted, seeded, and chopped). You can substitute white wine vinegar for the sherry vinegar.

  There are several alternate ingredients for making pimiento cheese including paprika or cayenne spices, yellow onion, finely chopped green onion tops – even toasted and chopped Texas pecans. Try your hand at finding the ones you like best!

  There are also several options to pair with your pimiento cheese – Triscuit crackers, naan, artisan breads, toasted breads, pita chips, vegetables… or as my Cousin Jennifer suggests “amply by spoon.”

i. Time

Total prep: Same day or longer… depending on your patience. And your palette.

ii. Ingredients

½ pound | cream cheese, softened
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | goya brand jarred pimientos, chopped (see substitute above)
1 teaspoon | lea and perrin’s worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon | sherry vinegar (see substitute above)
¼ teaspoon | cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon | kosher salt
½ pound | monterrey jack cheese, grated
¾ pound | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
handful | green onion tops, chopped (optional, but wildly suggested)

iii. What to do

0. Set out the cream cheese to soften (about 45 minutes to an hour).

1. In a medium-sized bowl stir the first seven ingredients with a spatula or spoon.

2. With a spatula, fold in the Monterrey and Cheddar cheeses and mix well. If you prefer a smoother (vs. chunkier) cheese you can continue to mash the cheese with a fork. If desired add the green onions inside the pimiento cheese and or sprinkle them on top for some color.

3. Transfer the cheese into storage/serving containers. Spreads easiest fresh; if you store it in the fridge until you’re ready to devour, you’ll likely want to let it rest, uncovered, until it’s creamy and pliable.

Cheers to the gold and red!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

*** BONUS RECIPE > PIMIENTO CHEESE DIP ***

My cousin Julie emailed me a recipe she said she saw in Southern Living for their spin on a melty Pimiento Cheese Dip. I couldn’t find the recipe online so this is extra special:

4 ounces | velveeta
¼ cup | whole milk
3 tablespoons | pimientos
½ teaspoon | paprika
½ teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper

what to do: 

1. Microwave the Velveeta for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Microwave a few more seconds until the cheese is melted.

2. Whisk in the milk, pimentos, paprika, and pepper.

Serve while it’s warm with your favorite pairings (pita, celery, etc. per above).

Pimiento Cheese Bacon Burger

Pimiento Cheese-Bacon Burgers > Can You Dig It ?

Southern Pimiento Cheese

Southerners Share A Lot. Go On… Share This Recipe!


chicken divan

Chicken Divan Recipe From Betty's Cook NookDivine Divan

This delicious recipe comes to my kitchen via my awesome Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Julie had the best taste in many things – art, decorating, food, and Cousins!

My Cousin Jennifer said Chicken Divan was a Sunday staple that they enjoyed quite regularly. So if you want to help create a few cherished family memories, chicken divan may be a wonderfully tasty starting place!

While the original recipe is not vintage per se it comes to our bellies via Paula Dean, so you know it’s gotta be good.

I hope you try this dish that’s been known as a classic American casserole since the 1960s. In fact, the dish has origins back much earlier to its birthplace as the signature dish of New York City’s Chatham Hotel.

“In English, the word “divan” came to mean sofa, from the council chamber’s benches. In France it meant a meeting place or great hall. It was this meaning that attracted the notice of the owners of the New York restaurant as they searched for a name that would imply continental elegance.” ~ GlutenSugarDairyFree.com

Foodie Tips

  Pull up a chair and let’s talk cheese. I try to refrain from buying bagged shredded cheese. For years I used it but as my hunger for knowing more about food intensified I realized I preferred freshly grated cheese vs. bagged cheese. I found it melted better and on closer inspection discovered bagged cheese has a coating on it that prevents clumping. Some posts I read said this dusty white coating was actually cellulose, which is made from wood pulp. I’m out.

  Is Parmesan Cheese the same thing as Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese? You might be surprised after reading this article! And this one, too. Hint: No shaker cheese for this recipe!
Shredded Chicken For Chicken Divan
  In a flurry to get this dish made? We used shredded chicken from our grocery and it shaved some serious time time off of the food prep clock.

i. Time

Total prep: About an hour.

ii. Ingredients

2 10-ounce packages | frozen broccoli, chopped
6 cups | shredded chicken, cooked
2 10¾-ounce cans | condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup | mayonnaise
1 cup | sour cream
1 cup | sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon | fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon | curry powder
to taste | kosher salt
to taste | fresh cracked black pepper
½ cup | dry white wine
½ cup | parmesan cheese, freshly grated
½ cup | soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons | unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
1-2 handfuls | gruyere or more sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional and highly suggested)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open one end of each box and microwave on full power for 2 minutes, or until thawed. Drain the broccoli into a strainer and add the shredded chicken and let rest.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and the wine. Whisk everything together to make a sauce. Transfer the broccoli-chicken mixture to the bowl with the sauce and gently mix things well using a spatula.

How To Make Chicken Divan

3. Place the mixture into an 11-inch x 7-inch casserole dish that’s been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat the Divan mixture down evenly and smooth with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl combine the parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle this over the top of the Divan mixture.

A Chicken Divan Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes until bubbly. If desired, about halfway through baking remove from oven, top with cheese, and return to bake until toasty. Remove from oven let rest and serve!

Pairs well with a salad – enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Chicken Divan With Cheese


mexican chef’s salad

Mexican Chefs Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook“…a whole meal in itself…”

I’m not sure who coined the phrase atop this recipe but after enjoying this hearty salad I discovered it to be quite true!

Even more surprising – this Mexican Chef’s Salad calls for Thousand Island (with Canadian roots) or French Dressing (um, with American roots?) – hey where’s the south of the border taste with those?

The mere mention of Thousand Island dressing takes my laughs back to the 1980s with this memorable scene from the movie “Cracked Up” where Jerry Lewis’ character gets a little more service than he bargained for thanks to this rigorously exhaustive waitress!

Despite my salad sign as a Leo, fate had a fresh bottle of Thousand Island dressing in my hands so that’s what I used. What’s your salad sign?

foodie tips

❤  I’ve included Mom’s original recipe scan below. I enjoyed the way the ingredients were organized (chop, toss, crunch, slice, brown, decorate) but I’ve taken liberties to put the typed instructions in order to help make it easy for you to prepare.

❤ Red, white, or yellow onion – it’s all up to you! If you prefer your onion cooked you can add it to the beef medley when browning; otherwise get ready for a little “oompf” from the uncooked fresh onion kick, as did I.

  While I’m 99% confident that Mom used tortilla chips for this dish I went with tortilla strips – their multi-colors are more festive than their typical chip cousin plus they’re easier to eat with a fork! Tip: HEB makes tasty Tri Color Tortilla Strips that I stock in my kitchen. Now if you’re eating this dish with your hands, step up to the plate (or bowl) and get some full-sized tortilla chips … or better yet a bag of Fritos Scoops!

  This recipe makes A LOT of salad. I believe in its entirety this dish will serve up to 6 as a main course and even more as a sidekick! You can easily half the ingredients for 2-3 people.

❤  Make sure and introduce your tortilla chips (strips), avocado, and tomatoes just before serving; nobody likes a limp tortilla chip, brown avocado or mushy tomato! As you would guess it this dish is best consumed fresh as with leftovers the dressing will make your lettuce turn sad and soggy.

i. ingredients

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe Central Market Kidney Beansbrown together:
1 pound | ground beef
1 can (15 ounces) | kidney beans, drained
¼ teaspoon (or to taste) | salt

for the salad:
1 head | lettuce, chopped
| onion, chopped
| tomatoes, chopped
8 ounces | thousand island or french dressing
4 ounces | cheddar cheese, grated
to top | tortilla chips or strips
to top | avocado, sliced or cubed

ii. what to do

1. In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat brown the beef. Halfway through browining add the kidney beans and the salt. While the meat-medley is simmering for 10 minutes…

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe Ingredients

Why yes! I do like my salad with cheese and a side of lettuce!

2. In a large serving bowl introduce the salad ingredients – lettuce, onion (unless browning), tomatoes. Pour your dressing on top and mix well. You can set this into your refrigerator to chill for a few minutes or if your beef is ready…Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe

3. Give one last mix to stir things up a bit… then toss in your beef mixture, top with cheese, chips, and your avocado. Serve pronto!

A Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe To Share

Yields up to 6 servings (using full ingredients)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Mexican Chef's Salad Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe PLUS a Bonus Recipe Found On The Back… For Moist Carrot Cake!


cheese crackers

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
cheese, glorious cheese!

What would life be without the creamy, gooey deliciousness of cheese?

A ho-hum, dud of a day, that’s what! Grilled cheese sandwiches would be “just toast.” Macaroni and cheese would be macaroni without the sunshine [ insert sad face here ]. Pizza and lasagna? I shutter to think what the absence of mozzarella and ricotta would mean to these dishes!

Just thinking about cheese makes me want to strap on some dancing shoes, grab a top hat, and bust out a few bars and moves to this all-time favorite jingle that would light up eyes and the commercial breaks between television shows of the 1980s:

So the magic ingredient of these crackers is none other than CHEESE! I hope you enjoy this crispy, crunchy, cheddary treat that will brighten any gathering.

foodie tips

  I experimented with forming 1″ balls with my cookie dough scoop and the crackers were large and great. I realized I was blazing through the dough and reduced the size a bit by using a heaping ½ tablespoon of the dough. The end result was more of a bite-sized cracker, which means the more you can make, the more you can eat!

  Don’t be afraid to add the cayenne; it adds a subtle warm note to the cracker and makes everything seem all the better.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 ½ cups | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | salt
1 tablespoon | fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
½ cup | room temperature unsalted butter (my Grandmother insisted on falfurrias brand butter)
½ pounds (~2 cups) | sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and at room temperature

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. what to do

1. Measure then sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the salt, chives and cayenne.
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
2. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the cheese. Add the flour mixture and mix everything well. The mixture will be coarse and grainy but should stick together in step 4 (below).
A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook NookA Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
3. About this time preheat your oven to 350°F.

4. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place them on a baking sheet. Flatten the balls to 1/4″ thickness by using the bottom of a glass or another flat-bottomed object. Prick the tops with a fork.A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Place your cookies into the oven for 12-15 minutes – do not burn!

Yields up to 5 dozen crackers, depending on the size of the cracker.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Cheese Crackers Recipe

Hailing from December 1962, this is a scan of my Mom’s cheese cracker recipe. It found its way into her cookbook from Elizabeth Cain, who must have been one of her foodie friends.

A Cheese Cracker Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


biscuits

A Biscuit Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Two Birds. One Biscuit.

I love it when you can enjoy two great things from one! Like:

  • Two tasty recipes that are born from one simple ingredient.
  • A history lesson served with a delicious slice of quiche lorraine.
  • And this biscuit recipe – a fast way to make some homemade biscuits that are infused with the taste of beer. Why just drink a beer when you can eat one, too! Read more about cooking with beer!

foodie tips

  If you don’t want a hint of sweet in your biscuits you can dial back on the sugar to 1 tablespoon… or none. But as Joe taught me… “It’s not nice to fool with Betty’s Cook Nook!” You can always adjust after you make *and try* a recipe the first time.

  Use your favorite flavor of beer. I used what I had in my refrigerator’s drink drawer which was Modelo Especial. My Mom “Betty” would have Pearl Light handy. And my Dad would be alongside to share a Budweiser with you. Thirsting for more beer? Enjoy some vintage beer commercials below!

  I brushed some melted Falfurrias butter on my biscuits and gave them a slight sprinkle of garlic salt. For a second round of biscuits I added a handful of cheddar cheese and they tasted great! The cheesy biscuit pic is below.

A Biscuit Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Cooking with your fur babies makes everything better. Shown here is my amazing Chesapeake Bay Retriever, “Lucca.”
He has his eyes on the prize!

i. ingredients

2 cups | bisquick
2 tablespoons | sugar
½ can | beer
optional: to serve | butter
optional: to serve | dash of garlic salt
optional: ½ – 1 cup | cheddar cheese, grated

How to make homemade biscuits

Using a cookie scoop makes biscuit-making a snap!

Homemade Biscuits Recipe

A scan of Mom’s original biscuit recipe!

ii. what to do

0. Preheat your oven to 450°F.

1. In a medium-sized bowl add the bisquick, sugar and beer. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until well combined.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a prepared cookie sheet.

I used a cookie dough scoop to keep things consistent in size. If you want your biscuits a little taller than they are wide you can also scoop the batter into a prepared muffin tin (sprayed with Pam baking spray)

3. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately alongside your favorite breakfast spread.

Yields: About 10 biscuits!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 

Biscuits with Cheese

Everything’s betta’ with chedda’!

 


quiche lorraine

A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook
Quiche Masterpiece

I love when I get a little history lesson along with a recipe. It’s like two treats in one! Found along with this recipe my Mom clipped from The San Antonio Express-News in 1970 the article tells an interesting story about this recipe’s creator, Ester MacMillan.

Ester helped introduce quiche to foodies near and far after it arrived at the 1968 World’s Fair dubbed “HemisFair” that was held in San Antonio. What a sight that must have been when the Tower of the Americas – an observation tower more than 600 feet tall complete with a spinning 360° top – debuted at the expo! You can read more about Ester and her story about the origin of quiche via the original recipe scan I scored from my Mom’s cookbook below. A postcard from HemisFair 1968, San Antonio, Texas

As a child I remember my Mom, “Betty,” talking about Quiche Lorraine and a few decades later (ahem, just a few) this was the first time I made it. I absolutely loved it! I found the recipe extremely forgiving, meaning you can adapt it to your liking by adjusting the ingredients you introduce into the custard.

Perfect for a brunch-time gathering or  a couch-side treat this recipe scored a well-deserved spot in “The Best Of The Best Recipes” category (at right) … as well as my heart.

I’ve discovered more than one quiche recipe in Mom’s cookbook so I’ll be trying other versions soon and will share them here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

foodie tips

  “Blind baking.” I had never heard of it before until my friend and colleague Suzanne told me about it when I commented that I longed for a crispier quiche crust. Essentially all you do is pre-bake the crust a few minutes before filling it; doing so will help give it more “fluff.” I’ll give blind baking a try on the next making of this dish. And there will be a next time.

  I may have “accidentally” used a teeny bit more meat than the recipe suggests. In fact, Ester called for bacon or ham. A lover of both, I used bacon and ham. #Carnivore. This recipe presumes you will follow suit and use both. I scored some peppered ham at my local HEB and I loved the extra peppery kick.

  After reading the recipe below if you want to learn more about NIOSA and score some of the festival’s recipes, click this link and enjoy!

Quiche Lorraine Ingredients

i. ingredients

9 inch | pie crust
¼ pound | bacon or ham (or both)
1 ½ cup | gruyere or aged cheddar, grated (I used gruyere)
| cage free eggs
1 cup | cream, half and half or undiluted evaporated milk
½ teaspoon | salt
dash | white pepper
dash | nutmeg, grated
1 teaspoon | dried onion
dash | cayenne pepper

ii. what to do

0. Preheat your oven to 400°F. That was easy, right?

1. Line a 9-inch pie pan or fluted quiche pan with pie crust. If you choose, blind bake the doughy crust (per above) and set aside.

2. Cook until crisp the bacon – and or – lightly brown the ham. Set the dynamic duo aside to cool off a bit.A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

3. Place your grated cheese (yum, cheese!) in the bottom of your pastry-lined pie pan. Over that, sprinkle your meats.

4. In a medium-sized bowl beat the eggs. Add the cream and the four seasonings and beat a little longer until everything is well-mingled. Pour this egg mixture over the cheese-meat medley.A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden and custard is set. Remove from oven and cool a bit to lukewarm and serve.

Yield: About 8 servings. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

 

A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A Quiche Lorraine Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

A scan of Mom’s recipe for Quiche Lorraine. Click to read the interesting story!

Watch this interesting video series about HemisFair 1968! I learned much about my hometown city!