My husband is one of five children and, needless to say, this meant that the grocery budget needed to be stretched as much as possible. That said modest means are sometimes the mother of all invention right? His father was challenged to come up with a meal that could feed 7 people and that his family would all enjoy for $10 or less. That he did! He came up with his now “famous” sausage mac and cheese which included shell noodles, diced tomatoes, tons of cheese, Italian sausage….oh and more cheese! To this day, his family will devour a pot of it in about 5 minutes flat.
Fast forward about 25 years. My husband and I just completed our first Whole 30 challenge successfully and have committed to an at least mostly paleo diet save special occasions. (By the way, after having just come off of a weekend of “special occasion” eating I think I may redefine my “special occasion” exception list a bit further as my body is still trying to recover from my off plan binge. I will now happily attend the festivities and cheers with my sparkling water and enjoy a nice salad and maybe a bowl of fruit instead of mixed drinks and cake.) Because of the festivities, my father-in-law was in town and challenged me to come up with a paleo version of his famous dish. This was quite a tall order as the origional dish has 25 years of tradition on its side. I know, I know you are dying to know how this story ends! Well my friends, lets just say this, I’m blogging the recipe because it went over well in my house, but I would love to hear your opinion if you choose to make it known!
Kitchen Gadgets Needed
- Food Processor or a good blender
- 1 ½ heads Cauliflower
- 2 T. Grass-fed Butter or Ghee for Whole 30
- ½ t. Salt
- ¼ C. Water
- 2 T. Grass-fed Butter of Ghee for Whole 30
- 1 small Yellow Squash(Summer squash), cut into small cubes
- 1 small Carrot, peeled and diced
- ½ Small Sweet Onion, diced
- ½ t. Garlic Powder
- ¾ t. Ground Mustard
- 1 t. Salt
- 1 can Coconut Milk
- 1 Egg Yolk
- I can Organic Diced Tomatoes
Sausage Ingredients (Sausage recipe is a slightly modified version of the one in the Whole 30 recipe book.}
- 2 t. Cooking Fat
- 1/2 C. Minced White Onion
- 1 lb Ground Pork
- 1/2 t. Dried Sage
- 1/2 t. Salt
- 1/4 t. Black Pepper
- 1/4 t. Garlic Powder
- Pepper, to taste
- Heat 1 T. of the cooking fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the fat is hot, add the onions and cook , stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. Combine sauteed onions, ground meat, sage, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl and blend with your hands.
- Heat the remaining 1 T. of fat in the same skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the fat is hot, add the sausage and saute until cooked through.
- Set aside, cover and keep warm until ready to combine with cauliflower and cheese sauce.
- Cut the stalks and leaves off of the cauliflower and break it into small pieces. Add the cauliflower to a large sauté pan as well as the 2 T. butter, ½ t. salt, and water. Place on medium/high heat and cover with a lid. Let the cauliflower steam inside the pan for about 5 minutes, until mostly tender. Check the water levels every few minutes to make sure that it doesn’t all evaporate. When almost tender, remove the lid and let the cauliflower sauté for a minute or two, or until lightly caramelized in spots. Turn heat off, cover, and keep warm until ready to toss with the cheese sauce.
- Heat the 2 T. butter in a saucepan over medium/high heat. Add the squash, carrot, onion, garlic powder, mustard, and salt to the melted butter.
- Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add the can of coconut milk to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the coconut milk has reduced by ⅔ and is thick.
- Pour the vegetables and coconut milk into a blender or food processor and puree until very, very smooth. Immediately add an egg yolk to the puree and blend well. The hot puree will cook the egg which will thicken the sauce and give it a rich texture.
- Check seasonings and add more salt or pepper to taste.
- Pour over the hot cauliflower and toss to coat.
- Turn the oven on broil low.
- Grease a casserole dish with coconut oil.
- Pour cauliflower with cheese sauce in the dish fully covering the bottom of the pan.
- Pour sausage crumbles evenly over the cauliflower.
- Drain the can of tomatoes and pour drained tomatoes over the entire dish.
- Sprinkle precooked bacon over entire dish.
- Broil until the cheese sauce starts to brown slightly on top. About 3 -5 minutes. Watch closely as times vary greatly depending on the oven.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Did you make this dish? Please let me know what you think in the comments.