Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin Served on Small Plates

Let’s be honest here.

Decadent potato dishes are one of the best parts of holiday meals.

Mashed potatoes drenched in gravy, gooey cheesy potatoes au gratin, or crispy golden latkes served piping hot off the stove.

Potatoes are a corner stone of the holiday meal, providing an anchor between the light salad and heavy roasted meats.

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Au gratin potatoes are a classic in my family.

We have a tried and true 1950’s recipe in which thin slices of potato are mixed with a creamy beschamel sauce, topped with shredded cheddar and breadcrumbs, and baked until gooey and golden.

It’s delicious, BUT, dare I say, I’ve found a way to make it better.

Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

By adding cauliflower!

I know, it sounds crazy, but adding cauliflower does two amazing things:

  • It adds a new texture to a typically one-note dish.
  • It boosts the nutrients in the dish, adding some extra fiber and heart-healthy flavonoids.

Cauliflower works particularly well in this gratin, because it manages to blend right in with the creamy potatoes.

It’s the same color, and has a pretty mild flavor, so if you don’t tell anyone, they might not even know it’s in there! (Perfect for the secret veggie haters in your life).

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

I also upgraded the original recipe by using a mixture of Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses instead of plain Cheddar, and using extra crispy panko breadcrumbs seasoned with garlic and thyme instead of traditional breadcrumbs.

The final upgrade?

Baking the gratin in a wide 9×13 baking dish so that each serving gets plenty of the garlicky crispy topping. I mean, that IS the best part of a gratin, right??

Seriously, this dish will be the star at your holiday party. You should probably make it.

And everyone will love you for it.

Close-up of Cheesy Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 5 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided for 2 uses
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 3 quart (9x13 inch) baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cut the russet potatoes in half crosswise and add to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. When they are fork tender but still have some resistance, scoop them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets in a small pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add an inch of water to the bottom of the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Steam the cauliflower until just barely tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the steamer basket and spread out on a plate or tray to cool.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the potato skins and discard. Cut the potatoes into a 1-inch dice and set aside.
  5. In a small nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook over medium-low heat until golden. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, and thyme and remove from the heat.
  6. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Add the 1/4 cup flour and whisk until smooth. Keep the heat low to prevent the butter from browning or the flour from burning and cook until the roux is bubbly and barely a light golden color.
  7. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk. Continue whisking over low heat until the sauce is thickened and coats the whisk when removed from the pan. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and remove from the heat.
  8. Place the cubed potatoes and cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Pour the creamy white sauce over the vegetables and toss with a soft spatula until evenly coated. Dump the creamy vegetable mixture into the buttered casserole dish and shake to spread out the mixture evenly. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese followed by the Parmesan cheese, and finally, top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  9. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes and serve.

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Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Drumsticks

Oven Roasted Chicken Drumsticks

We all know I’m obsessed with roasting whole chickens 🙂

I’ve got two delicious recipes already on the blog:

But guess what’s even easier than roasting a whole chicken? Roasting chicken pieces!

Oven Roasted Drumsticks in a Large Baking Dish

Drumsticks are super easy because they’re already portioned up into easy to serve pieces. Plus, they have a really awesome skin to meat ratio, so you get some of that salty crispy skin in each and every bite.

They’re also one of the cheaper cuts, so if you time your shopping right, you can find drumsticks for less than $1 per pound. If you’re on a budget, roasting drumsticks is way cheaper than eating out. Yep, it even beats the dollar menu.

Oven Roasted Drumsticks with Extra Crispy Skin

The basic method for roasting chicken is:

  • Pat the chicken dry so you get the crispiest skin possible
  • Spread with a little oil to increase the crispiness even more
  • Season VERY generously with salt and pepper (seriously, this is important)
  • Roast on high heat to get nice golden skin & tender meat

That’s it! I swear, I like this type of crispy chicken just as much as fried chicken. It’s salty, savory, and super satisfying.

While the chicken is baking, you have plenty of time to chill and sip on a glass of wine, or prep a salad or side dish. Easy living at its finest.

Oven Roasted Crispy Chicken Drumsticks

Crispy Oven Roasted Drumsticks
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 8 bone-in skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • Drizzle of grapeseed or olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground black pepper, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels and place in a large rimmed Pyrex baking dish. Drizzle the drumsticks with a little oil, and use your hands to rub the oil all over each drumstick. Wash your hands thoroughly.
  3. Sprinkle each drumstick with a liberal amount of kosher salt & ground black pepper (don’t skimp, the seasoning really makes these delicious!).
  4. Place the drumsticks in the oven and let bake for about 1 hour, or until the skin is golden and crispy. If after 1 hour they are not quite crispy enough for your taste, you can cook them for another 15 minutes or so, or place them under the broiler to finish them. (My oven kind of sucks, so I cooked them 1h & 15min because I like things extra crispy)
  5. Let cool, then serve.

Goes great with Rosemary Manchego Red Potatoes and Winter Citrus Salad.

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Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

You know that deliciously yummy crispy shredded pork you can get at your local Mexican food place?

Yeah, you can totally make it at home.

All it requires is a giant piece of pork shoulder and a lot of patience.

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

You’ve seen those giant hunks of pork shoulder at the grocery store, sitting on the bottom shelf, overflowing on their foam meat tray, wrapped in copious amounts of plastic wrap.

If you don’t cook often, they probably looked super intimidating. What the heck are you supposed to do with such a large and unwieldy piece of meat?? *Enter vision of roasting meat on a spit over a campfire*

Actually, slow cooking a large piece of meat is one of the easiest ways to prepare animal proteins.

There’s no cutting, chopping, or slicing required. Just season with salt and pepper, quickly sear on all sides, and pop in the oven all day. No more work required!

Your house will fill with delicious smells of roasted pork, and at the end of the day, you’ll have several pounds of versatile pork that can be used for meals all week.

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

I roasted up a 6-pound picnic-style pork shoulder for just Aaron and me, so we used it for multiple meals throughout the week. 🙂

The first night, I left the roasted pork in large chunks and served it with an easy vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, garlic, parsley, and olive oil. We paired it with easy baked potatoes and homemade Caesar salad.

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

Then, for the rest of the week, we went Mexican. I shredded up the pork into smaller pieces, and we had some absolutely DELICIOUS carnitas tacos. The meat is so good, all you really need are some fresh corn tortillas, lightly pan-fried to make them pliable, authentic salsa, minced white onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Once we ran out of tortillas, we finished up the rest of the ingredients in taco salads, with a creamy dressing made out of sour cream + garlic + cilantro + milk.

If you still have leftovers after all of that, you can make burritos and freeze them for later. Yum!!

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

Oven roasted pork shoulder is a wonderful staple to master. It’s great for Super Bowl parties and other get-togethers, and it’s so simple, that it meets almost anyone’s special dietary needs (except vegetarians/vegans, of course!).

Enjoy, and let me know any creative uses you have for the abundance of leftovers!

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder

Oven Roasted Pork Shoulder
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs 30 mins
Total Time
8 hrs 35 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Ingredients
  • 6- pound bone-in skin-on pork shoulder picnic roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other high-heat oil
Instructions
  1. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper on all sides, including the skin side.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the pork shoulder sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
  3. When the oven is preheated, place a heavy bottomed lidded pot (I used my enameled cast iron dutch oven) on the stove top. Add 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and warm over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork shoulder, fat side down, and cook on that side until nicely golden brown. Rotate the pork to the next side, and continue, until all the sides and end pieces are nicely browned.
  4. When the pork is browned all over, rotate the pork so the skin side is facing up, and place the lid on the pot. Put the dutch oven inside the oven, and let cook without moving for 7 1/2 hours, until the outside of the pork is deeply browned, and the meat is fall apart tender. If the skin is not yet dark brown and crispy, increase the heat to 500 degrees and let cook with the lid off the pan, until it is crispy.
  5. Remove from the oven, and let the pork rest for 30 minutes. Remove the crispy skin and set aside. Then, use two large forks to pull the pork apart into pieces. If you want to serve the pork in chunks, perhaps with barbecue sauce or a citrus sauce, leave the pork in larger pieces. If you want to serve it as carnitas, in tacos or burritos, shred it into smaller pieces. Finally, rip or chop the crispy skin into small pieces and toss into the shredded meat. Enjoy!
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