Ham & Cauli Rice Casserole

I have been making a version of this casserole for probably 15 or 20 years. Another recipe that I don’t remember the origin of – probably a magazine somewhere somewhen. I really did a lot of cutting out (or tearing out) of recipes. No magazine was safe. Sometimes the ads for certain products were the best recipes – and sometimes they were terrible ideas. 🙂

I think I adopted this recipe initially because it had vegetables in it and at that time, my mancub was pretty certain that vegetables were going to kill him. He was sure that salads were poison and I didn’t love him – if I loved him, I wouldn’t try to feed him poison. Only our rabbit was supposed to eat that stuff….there were many arguments about the merits of vegetables and whether I loved him or not. He was a very dramatic child – mostly to do with ADHD. And that’s probably why this recipe got adopted, now that I think about it. Once he was diagnosed and I refused to put him on medication, I needed to change our diet completely. This was part of the change. More vegetables, no convenience foods, no food dyes (red & yellow are particularly bad for ADHD), cook from scratch using single ingredients – all the good stuff a single mom with a full time job wants to deal with – it was worth it and not that difficult now that I look back at it but at the time….argggghhhhhh.

I originally, until today in fact, made this with potatoes or hash browns and cheddar cheese soup – until this recipe came along, I had no idea there was such a thing as cheddar cheese soup. The things you learn.

Today, I changed it to what I had on hand and to include cauli rice instead of potatoes. It’s a really good substitution.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16oz bag of cauli rice or about 4 cups
  • 1 680g can of ham – about 1.5lbs or about 3 cups worth
  • 1 can of green beans, drained
  • 1 can of wax beans, drained
  • 2 cups of cheese sauce (I used 3 and it was a wee bit soupy, cauliflower does not absorb like potatoes)
  • fresh ground black pepper

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of butter
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 TB of mustard – Dijon or even yellow mustard OR 1 TB of mustard powder
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups of cheese, grated or cubed. Be aware, cubed takes a bit longer to melt.

Make your roux – melt the margarine, add the flour and whisk until a smooth paste. Add the mustard and mix thoroughly. Add the milk in portions, whisking between each addition until smooth, and let it thicken each time. Finally, add the spices and the cheese and melt that cheese in.

Then mix everything together in a casserole dish and pop in a 350F degree oven for about 45 minutes, until it’s hot and the sauce is bubbly.

Let it cool down from lava hot to still pretty darn hot, add some hot sauce on there if that’s the way you roll, and enjoy.

To make this keto or low(er) carb – ditch the flour in the cheese sauce and replace with cream cheese.

Replace the milk with heavy whipping cream and probably at least half a cup less.

Precook the cauli rice and squeeze out the water to keep the sauce from gettig runny.

If beans aren’t your thing, replace with broccoli, throw in some chopped spinach or kale, add in some radishes, broccolini, whatever makes you happy and fits your macros.

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