November’s theme on What the F? Mikala is Thanks & Giving. There is a lot to be thankful for and a lot of giving happening that I want to highlight.
When I started planning this post, my initial question for myself was “What am I thankful for?”
- Career & Opportunities
My three beautiful babies are thriving, happy, and healthy. I have my health and a healthy career and passion.
I am exceptionally grateful for my husband, Tim. He is always supportive of my crazy endeavors, he is the best dad- so hands on, and we are always working on keeping us a priority. Some weeks are better than others, but I always appreciate the efforts.
He even attends Yoga triathlons with me, willingly!
All that said, one of Tim’s favorite foods is queso. I think a lot of folks can relate.
I had the privilege of attending the 2017 #DairyAmazing Symposium hosted by Dairy Max. This organization has many tiers and responsibilities, one of which is education, research, and promotion for the dairy industry. They essentially serve as a liaison for the 900+ dairy farmers, which by the way at 98% family owned and operated! Pretty unique aspect from a farming perspective.
One of the presenters was Chef and Registered Dietitian Todd Seyfarth. This brilliant man showed us a few recipes, one being a White Queso Dip with a cauliflower béchamel. Most dietitians’ goals are to promote great tasting foods that happen to be healthy. This means using quality ingredients and sneaking in veggies whenever possible!
In true What the F? Mikala fashion, I’m adding my own twist AND craft beer to it.
Showcase Brew: Karbach Brewing Co. Karbachtoberfest
This is a Karbach seasonal beer that is generally available August-October, but I found this award-winning Oktoberfest in the build-your-own 6-pack section at my local H-E-B. Oktoberfest originated in Munich and is now a 17 day celebration and gathering.
Malty, toasted beers are perfect pairs for cheese containing recipes. So if you can find this specific craft beer, you can opt for a similar taste profile available on the shelf. Chef Todd suggested Newcastle but I love the variety of options available in the craft beer world. So many unique crafts to incorporate- use whatever sounds good.
Béchamel is known as the Mother Sauce in traditional French cooking. It’s basically a creamy canvas for sauces, soups, etc.
Meal Prep Tip: Freeze your leftover béchamel in an ice cube tray for easy meal starters. The whey protein powder added assists keeping the integrity of the sauce while transitioning from frozen to hot.
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 quart milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
Nutrition Information per ½ Cup: Calories 184, Carbohydrate 11g, Fat 13.3g, Protein 4.8g, Sodium 442mg, Sugar 5g
Cauliflower Beer Béchamel
- 2 Bags, Steamable Cauliflower Florets
- 1 cup, Whole Milk
- 1 cup, Karbachtoberfest or other malty, toasty craft beer
- 1 cup, Shredded Cheese of choice (I chose Tillamook 4 Cheese Mexican Blend for queso purposes)
- ¼ Cup Plain Whey Protein
Yields 10 servings: Calories 102, Carbohydrate 7g, Fat 5g, Protein 7g, Sodium 127mg, Sugar 3
*If you don’t prefer to cook with beer, swap 1:1 with whole milk.
- Steam cauliflower florets
- Combine in blender with remaining ingredients to preferred thickness. Velvety and
As you can see, even with beer and cheese in our starter sauce, it’s still significantly better nutritionally. PLUS there is a veggie in there, score!
...or use this béchamel as a Sauce Starter
Alfredo: Use béchamel with parmesan and garlic and butter for pasta sauce.
Instructions: Combine in blender
Creamy Beer Cauliflower Queso
- 1 cup Cauliflower Beer Béchamel
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 2 ½ cups Tillamook Mexican 4 Cheese
- ½ Red Onion
- ½ Cup diced bell peppers
- No Salt Added Rotel
- ¼ cup Frontera Fire-Roasted Tomatillos with Poblano and Garlic
Spices- garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
- Sautee bell peppers and onion with spices
- In a double boiler, add cheese and butter.
- Add béchamel and stir until melted and combined.
- Fold in Rotel, tomatillos, and sautéed onions and peppers.
- Season to taste. Enjoy!
Yields 10 servings: Calories 223, Carbohydrate 12g, Fat 14g, Protein 13g, Sodium 309mg, Sugar 4g