Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

We love mac & cheese more than most things in life. It’s our favorite accompaniment for any bbq menu and most family gatherings. In the spirit of keeping ourselves “bikini ready” this summer, we wanted to create our version of a healthier mac & cheese recipe. Our goal was to create an alternative that is healthier than most recipes without sacrificing taste. 

To do this we used cauliflower as the base of our cheese sauce! It might sound like an odd choice, but steamed cauliflower is a delicious, mostly neutral, creamy base and often used for similar vegan recipes. Our mac is hardly vegan, and to help cut having a strong cauliflower taste, we used sharp white cheddar and gruyere to cheese up our macaroni. We chose to steam the cauliflower to preserve most of the vegetable’s nutrients, but you can save some time by boiling the cauliflower or buying frozen cauliflower florets. As long as the cauliflower is fork-tender, it is ready to be made into sauce. The results are pretty darn excellent and we don’t feel bad about digging in all summer long! 

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese 
Makes: 8 servings 
Prep Time: 40 minutes     Total Time: 60 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb pasta 
  • 1 large head cauliflower 
  • 12 oz milk or vegetable stock 
  • 2 tbs butter 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard 
  • 6 oz block sharp white cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 6 oz block Gruyere cheese, grated 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Remove the leaves and excess stem from the cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Fill a large steamer pot with about 2 inches of water and heat on high. Put the cauliflower florets into the steamer basket, cover, and cook the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower can easily be pierced with a fork. 
  3. While the cauliflower is steaming, heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside. 
  4. When the cauliflower is fork-tender, remove it from the steamer and place it directly into a large food processor or blender. Pulse the cauliflower so that it starts to break down. Add the liquid- the milk or vegetable stock- to the blender 1/4 cup at a time, until the cauliflower forms a thick and smooth sauce. Reserve any extra liquid that you did not use in case you need to thin the sauce after adding the cheese. 
  5. Heat the pot you used to cook the pasta over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot and give it a quick stir until it is melted. Add the cauliflower puree, garlic powder, and ground mustard to the pot and stir. Add about 3/4 of each of the cheeses to the cauliflower and continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted. If at any point you think the sauce is too thick, add more of the liquid to the sauce. When the sauce is completely melted and has a thick but smooth texture, give it a taste and season it with salt and pepper. 
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir thoroughly to combine. Spray a large pyrex baking dish with cooking spray and transfer the mac and cheese from the pasta pot to the pyrex. Use a spatula to spread the mac and cheese into an even layer in the dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly, before serving. 

Juicy Lucy Burgers

We were challenged by our good friend Allison at Sweet Then Savory to create a burger recipe in honor of National Burger Month – YAY FOR MAY! We love burgers and dining outside during these warmer nights and jumped on board for this challenge immediately. We decided for a more classic route on this burger but amped up our cheese game by making our burger a Juicy Lucy.  For those unfamiliar, a Juicy Lucy is a popular burger that was invented in Minnesota where the cheese is stuffed inside the burger. If you haven’t tried any of our recipes yet, this one is not to be missed. It is indulgent, juicy and the ultimate way to kick off summer. 

Juicy Lucy Burgers  
Makes: 4, 1/2 pound burgers
Prep Time: 10 minutes  Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients For the Burgers : 

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz block of cheddar cheese 

Additional Burger Toppings:

  • 4 hamburger buns 
  • Red onion, sliced 
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomatoes on the vine, sliced 
  • Ketchup, mustard, and any other condiments of your choice 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat your grill to high heat (about 500 degrees). 
  2. Combine the ground beef, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Using your hands (or a spoon if you are grossed out), blend the meat and seasonings together so the salt and pepper are mixed evenly through the mixture. Separate the meat into 4 evenly sized patties.
  3. Cut the cheese block in half and then quarter one half of the block so that you have 4 cubes of cheese. Form each burger patty with one cube of cheese in the center of the patty. 
  4. Once the grill is hot, add the burgers. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. After you flip the burger to cook on the other side, top with an additional slice of cheese during the last minute so it gets nice and melty.
  5. Add red onion, romaine lettuce, tomato, ketchup and anything else your burger craving needs. Put in all in a bun and enjoy.

Beet & Blood Orange Salad

To celebrate the upcoming baseball season, and Tuck’s departure to Florida for Spring Training, Tuck and Tate’s parents went to a going away dinner at Jovanina’s Broken Italian in downtown Denver. In true Tuck & Tate fashion, we consumed almost everything on the menu and cannot rave about our dinner enough. From bone marrow to parmesan souffle, wood fired pizzas to fresh burrata and charcuterie…. we ate it all. Of everything we consumed, one of the dishes that stuck out the most was the beet salad. Roasted beets, blood oranges, and a layer of creamy ricotta… it was perfect. So perfect that we had to recreate it as soon as possible.  

A quick note about the length of time designated for this recipe. The amount of time necessary to make it relies entirely on how you plan to cook the beets. We have roasted them in the oven, which is easy but can take quite a long time. If you have an Instant Pot or any sort of pressure cooker, you can reduce 15+ minutes from our suggested time. If you want to skip cooking the beets all together and just buy pre-cooked beets from the salad section of your grocery store, reduce the total time down to 20 minutes. If you do buy precooked beets, try to avoid anything packed with other flavors. This salad has a delicate flavor profile and you won’t want the beets to overrun or clash with the other ingredients. 

Beet & Blood Orange Salad 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 min     Total Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large beets (we chose one yellow and one red for color variation) 
  • 1 blood orange 
  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 2 tbs honey or agave 
  • 1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios 
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Prepare the beets by trimming off the stems and leaves and peeling them with a vegetable peeler. If you have kitchen gloves use them to avoid staining your hands. Once the beets are trimmed and peeled, cut them into large, bite sized pieces. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Lay the beets in a single layer on the foil, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until they are tender with a fork. 
  3. While the beets are cooking, prepare the ricotta. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, honey, and the zest from the blood orange. Whisk really well, until the ricotta is light and fluffy in texture. Season with a pinch of salt and set aside. 
  4. Remove the peel from the blood orange using a knife to remove the peel and pith from the orange. For an instructional video, click here. Cut the orange horizontally and set aside. 
  5. Make a quick dressing by combining the olive oil and the juice of a few of the blood orange slices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  6. Assemble the salad by layering the ricotta on the bottom of the plate, followed by the beets and blood oranges. Top with the pistachios and drizzle the dressing over top. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately. 

Spaghetti Squash Enchiladas

A few weeks ago we asked our Instagram followers what kind of recipes they were looking to see in the new year. A few of you asked for recipes with spaghetti squash. Ask and you will receive! Spaghetti squash is a great substitute vegetable if you are looking to eat less carbohydrates. Instead of thinking of spaghetti squash as simply a substitute for pasta, we like to think of it as a base for any casserole-type entree. Insert this recipe for spaghetti squash enchiladas. Everything you love about baked enchiladas but without the tortillas, which are really just the vessel for delivery anyway. We make dinners like this on repeat when we are trying to cut the carbs back and also stay full after dinner. 

Spaghetti Squash Enchiladas 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cooking Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed 
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey 
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1- 15.5 oz can red kidney beans 
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced 
  • 1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice 
  • 1- 10 oz can enchilada sauce 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 cup + shredded cheddar cheese 
  • cilantro, for garnish 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Place the spaghetti squash halves on a cookie sheet (or two if they don’t all fit). Drizzle the insides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cover the squash with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. The squash are done when they are tender enough that you can easily scrape the insides with a fork to make “spaghetti”. 
  3. While the squash is cooking, start making the enchilada mix. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the ground beef and taco seasoning to the pan and cook until mostly cooked though, another 6 minutes or so. 
  4. Add the kidney beans, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and enchilada sauce to the pot. Stir well, cover, and cook on a low simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. When the enchiladas have finished cooking, remove them from the oven. Use a fork to gently scrape up some of the squash, creating a bed of spaghetti in each individual squash. Use a ladle to divide the enchilada filling into each of the four squash halves. Top with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot, topped with cilantro if desired. 


Pate & Cheese Board

We hope everyone has had a nice recovery from the Super Bowl this weekend! While February seems like a low key month after the holidays, we have a marathon of events including the Super Bowl, The Academy Awards, and Valentine’s Day all happening within weeks of each other. In contrast to our punny Golden Globes Menu, we have created some simple, yet elegant, small bites for the Academy Awards. If you have been following us at Tuck & Tate, you know we love a good cheese board. They are so easy to assemble and always a crowd pleaser. To up our game for the Academy Awards we have included pate, charcuterie, and all the appropriate accompaniments.

Pate & Cheese Board
Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb soppressata, thinly sliced
  • 1 package pate (we used a peppered pork pate)
  • 1 wedge blue cheese
  • 1 wedge goat cheese, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup castelvetrano olives
  • 1 small jar Dijon mustard
  • 1 small jar fig preserves or honey
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced
  • various thick crackers or toast, for assembling small bites

Directions:

  1. Assemble the ingredients on a medium-sized cutting board or serving platter. Be sure to include small spreading knives, forks, and spoons for each item, as needed.

Peach & Pecan Brie Bites

We are coming at you today with a quick and easy, crazy delicious appetizer for your last minute New Year’s Eve prep. We love to spend time in the kitchen, but every once in a while we need a quick, throw-in-the-oven recipe to help our entertaining plans take shape. This is where this Brie Bites recipe comes into play. Just a few ingredients and you’ll have a crowd pleasing appetizer in just about 30 minutes.

Peach & Pecan Brie Bites 
Makes: 24 small bites 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbs flour 
  • 1/2 lb pie dough
  • 1/3 – 1/2 lb wedge of Brie 
  • peach jam 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary 
  • 1 tbs butter 
  • 1 tbs brown sugar 
  • salt 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and brown sugar to the skillet, stirring until the sugar is melted into the butter. Add the pecans, rosemary, and a pinch of salt to the butter. Stir and cook the pecans until they are toasted and coated with the butter mix. Remove from the heat and pour onto a flat surface to let cool. You want to make sure they spread into an even layer so that the pecans don’t stick together.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on a flat kitchen surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough so that it is approximately 1/4 inch thick and a square or rectangle in shape. Take a small knife and cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares, re-rolling the dough as necessary until you have 24 pieces. 
  4. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Lay each piece of pie dough into each muffin insert- being careful not to tear the dough or push it too firmly into the tin insert. 
  5. Chop the brie into 24 small squares. Layer the brie, a teaspoon of peach jam, and a sprinkle of pecans into each of muffin tin squares. 
  6. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the pie crust is light brown and the peach jam is melted. Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the pan. Use  a small pairing knife to gently release each bite from the pan and place onto a serving platter. 

Cheese Board: Winter Edition

It’s no doubt that we love ourselves a good cheese board at Tuck & Tate. When thinking about winter cheese boards, the first thing that came to mind was creating a board that was versatile enough to go to any holiday celebration, including New Year’s Eve. We wanted items that were tasty but felt light so as to not overshadow the decadence that typically comes with holiday menus. For detailed steps on constructing these appetizer dream boards, read through our Cheese Board: Fall Edition post found here.  

Cheese Board: Winter Edition
Serving Size: 8-10 servings 
Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients On This Board (all from Trader Joe’s):

  • 1 wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1 wedge of Creamy Toscana Cheese soaked in Syrah
  • 1 round of Camembert cheese 
  • 1 package assorted charcuterie meats
  • 1 package of asparagus
  • 1 package green beans
  • 1 tub of Everything Bagel Yogurt Dip
  • 1 container raspberries
  • 1 container blueberries
  • 2 cups of 3 seed beet crackers 
  • 2 cups of pistachio & pomegranate crackers 

Directions:  

  1. Start to assemble by placing the cheese on the board. Keep it spread to various corners. Add the dip to a serving dish and place in the center of the board.
  2. Add the ingredients on the board and try to mix types of foods and colors throughout. You can keep the board at room temperature for 2 hours before serving or assemble and serve immediately. 

Whipped Feta & Vegetable Platter

We know that this point in the holiday season can feel like a revolving door of guests and family coming over. There is a constant struggle of wanting to be the hostess with the mostest and also relaxing during the holidays. To help our cause we stock up on lots of  snacks so that we can throw together an appetizer board in just a few minutes. We love this whipped feta platter because it turns something ordinary into something much more extraordinary that really impresses your guests. Instead of a quick trip to the grocery to purchase the standard box of veggies and ranch, a trip through the produce section will give you the ingredients for this Martha Stewart-on-steroids Whipped Feta & Vegetable Platter. 

Making a Martha-esque veggie platter means expanding your horizons in the produce section of your grocery store. Instead of celery, opt for endive and asparagus. Instead of baby carrots, choose the longer rainbow variety to give your veggie platter some color. When making any type of appetizer board or platter, we always try to choose a variety of colors, textures, and tastes. This way there is something on the board for everyone. To compliment this array of veggies, we have made a Whipped Feta Dip with lots of fresh herbs. The feta gives the dip a nice punch of salt, Greek yogurt adds a nice tang, and the fresh herbs make it feel like summer even in the coolest of winter days. 

Whipped Feta Dip and Vegetable Platter                                                                                                                        
Serving Size: 8-10 appetizer servings                                                                                                       
Prep Time: 30 minutes      Total Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients for the Feta Dip :

  • 8 oz feta cheese 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh herbs, finely chopped (we used dill, rosemary & chives)
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients for the Vegetable Platter :

  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed 
  • 1 bunch of radishes, rinsed and quartered 
  •  1 zucchini, cut into spears 
  • 1 package rainbow carrots, stems trimmed and peeled 
  • 2 bunches endive, leaves removed 
  • 1 package cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced on the diagonal to make spears 
  • 1 small bunch of cauliflower 
  • 1 package green onions, ends trimmed and outer layer removed 

Directions:  

  1. To make the dip, put the feta in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the feta until it starts to become fluffy- three to four minutes. Add the Greek yogurt and continue to mix. If the mixture is still dry (this will depend on the type of feta you buy) add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth and has a thick, dip-like consistency. Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Be aware the feta is very salty, so add the salt sparingly until you get the taste you want to achieve. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.   
  2. The reason this recipe has a 30 minute prep time, even though the dip takes 5 minutes or less to make, is so that you take the time to prep the vegetables. Wash everything thoroughly and pat dry before assembling on a platter. You can mix and match the veggies we have used in this platter or use up whatever you have in your refrigerator! Just be sure to choose a variety of colors and textures. 


Cheese Board: Autumn Edition

When hosting events, there is nothing we love more than putting together a cheese board. It can be assembled ahead of time and is a great distraction for your guests if you are still doing some preparation in the kitchen. It is the perfect vessel for putting many different foods together and looks spectacular when people walk in the door. We made the Autumn edition of our cheese board for Thanksgiving using ingredients that were seasonally fall – apples, Autumn Cheese, Pumpkin and Ginger Crackers. The options are endless when it comes to make these boards and the best part is that you don’t have to do much with combining flavors. With other dishes we would tell you that less is more, but when it comes to a cheese board, more is more. We love to dig through the aisles of Trader Joe’s to find items to mix and match. 

Our Cheese Board Tips:

  1. Use small ramekins and bowls to help separate foods that might run together, like marinated olives. This allows you to prepare the board a little more in advance and keeps all of the items on the board fresh for longer. 
  2. Stick to the rule of 3: three types of cheese, three types of charcuterie, and three types of crackers. This is a great base for a board for a party of 10-12 people. There will be enough variety that everyone will find something they like.
  3. Buy cheeses with a variety in taste, texture and type of milk they are made from. If a cheese is really hard (like a Parmesan) cut it into bite sized pieces for the board. The same goes for brie in a large wheel. Cutting the cheese up helps your guests have an easier time digging into the good stuff. 

Cheese Board: Autumn Edition
Serving Size: 8-10 servings 

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients On This Board (all from Trader Joe’s unless homemade):

  • 1 wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1 wedge of Rosemary Asiago 
  • 1 wedge of Chimay Autumn Cheese 
  • 1 package assorted charcuterie meats
  • 2 apples, thinly sliced 
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2 bell peppers, medium chop 
  • 1 cup+ marinated olives 
  • 1 cup+ honey roasted sesame cashews 
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash dip 
  • 2 cups Pumpkin Cranberry Crisp crackers 
  • 2 cups Trisket crackers 

Directions:  

  1. Start to assemble by placing the cheese on the board. Keep it spread to various corners. Next add the items that will go in bowls on the board. These should be for dips and more liquid items like the olives so that they don’t spread into the other ingredients. 
  2. Now add the charcuterie, folding it into different sizes to create different textures on your board. We like to fold the circular cuts into quarters and roll other larger pieces to give each item a different look. 
  3. Follow Step 2 with the vegetables and fruits, making sure to give the apples a squeeze of lemon juice before placing them on the board so that they do not brown before serving. If you are making the board in advance, stop at this point and refrigerate. 
  4. Complete the board by filling the the various holes with crackers, nuts, and other dry items. You may need to shuffle items on the board around, but the more the merrier! Serve at room temperature.