Homemade Basil Butter

Homemade Basil Butter    Some of my favorite things are the simplest, like this basil butter.  I love love love all things basil and practically eat pesto by the spoonful.  I actually bought a basil plant two years ago for the sole purpose of always having fresh basil around.  I have to say, I was so amazed at how well it grows!  Seriously, it grows like a weed and if I forget to water it for too long, it always perks right back up.  It is an insanely low maintenance plant!  Don’t believe me?  There are entire websites devoted to helping you grow basil, but you won’t need the help.  All you need is a sunny window and an occasional watering!Homemade Basil Butter

The cream cheese I added to this basil butter makes it very smooth and spreadable while adding a subtle creamy flavor.  You don’t notice the taste though.  My husband hates (and I mean HATES) cream cheese and he was in love with this butter.  It took everything in us to stop ourselves from eating it all.  Could you imagine eating an entire stick of butter in one sitting?  Ick.  I’m telling you though, this butter will make you want to.Homemade Basil Butter

There’s no such thing as too much garlic in my kitchen, but  if you’re nervous about using raw garlic, you can substitute a bit of garlic powder for fresh or saute the garlic in oil before adding it.  You could also use a couple teaspoons of pesto instead of basil leaves if you want to cut out that step…or you could use pesto and fresh basil.Homemade Basil Butter

I love any kind of flavored butter or spread as an appetizer, especially in spring or summer because it requires no oven use!  This was absolutely mouthwatering topped with a thin slice of feta and a fresh basil leaf.  I plan on generously spreading what is left on a halved french loaf, sprinkling it with shredded parmesan and a little extra garlic, and baking it.  I think it will make the most perfect cheesy basil garlic bread.Homemade Basil Butter

Basil Butter

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3/4 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 4 Tbsb cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or magic bullet, puree basil leaves and olive oil or finely dice the basil.
  2. Beat butter and cream cheese until incorporated. Mix in pureed basil leaves and remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/05/07/basil-butter/


Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

I’ve really been loving cauliflower lately.  When I saw it was on sale last week at my local grocery store, I was all over that!  I debated making a batch of my favorite cheesy cauliflower soup, but knew I should crawl out of my comfort zone and come up with something new.  I decided on a cheesy cauliflower bake.  I wanted it to be super cheesy and creamy in the center with a crispy panko topping.  That is exactly what I got; it was perfect!

Cheesy Cauliflower BakeCheesy Cauliflower Bake

After browsing quite a few recipes for inspiration (on pinterest, of course), I settled on a recipe to use as a template for my delicious creation.  I started with this cheesy cauliflower bake recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe, added onions, changed out the topping, and made a few other adjustments.

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

I like to use sharper cheeses for dishes like this or homemade mac and cheese; I absolutely love that sharp taste when the cheese is melted.  I used a mix of sharp cheddar and mozzarella (about 1 1/2 c cheddar and 1/2 c mozzarella), because it was what I had in my fridge, but of course, you could use any cheese you like.   I wanted to cut some calories so I stuck with 1% milk for this dish.  You can substitute heavy cream or half and half (or half cream and half stock/broth as Mel did) for the milk, and it might turn out thicker/creamier.  Don’t get me wrong, this cauliflower bake was creamy; but it wasn’t terribly thick.  Overall, I’m super happy with this side dish and will definitely make it again!  It will be perfect for family get-togethers over the holidays or an easy potluck dish!

Cheesy Cauliflower BakeCheesy Cauliflower Bake

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 9x13 pan, 10-12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, slightly warm
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, divided (I used sharp cheddar + mozzarella)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and flour and cook until golden and fragrant.
  3. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add cauliflower, onions, parsley, mustard, salt, and pepper and stir.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and all of the grated parmesan.
  6. Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining cheese and panko breadcrumbs.
  7. Bake an additional 10 minutes until topping is golden brown.

Notes

You may substitute heavy cream or half and half (or half cream and half stock/broth) for the milk to make it thicker.

http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/04/09/cheesy-cauliflower-bake/