Menu Plan for the Week – Branching Out and Eating a Variety

31 Days 300

My Real Food Reality tip for you today is to be brave! Try something new! You know…like cauliflower. It’s a brand new vegetable. It’s the latest craze in the produce section. Everyone is talking about it.


It’s just that our family has just never been very big on cauliflower. So this week, in an effort to give us more vegetable variety (green beans, peas, broccoli…green beans, peas, broccoli…yawn, ho-hum, snooze) – I’m branching out and experimenting with a new cauliflower recipe. Actually, I haven’t found a recipe yet, but I’m sure it’s out there. Have anything for me???

How can you branch out? What “new” real food can you try? I encourage you to continue trying new foods to expand the variety of healthy options you can serve to your families!

Crock Pot Hamburger Cream Cheese Dip

My kids have been requesting this Crock Pot Hamburger Cream Cheese Dip for several weeks. 
I’m finally remembering to add it to the menu plan.
Tasty, fun, and easy!

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Sunday, January 19
Instant oatmeal, dried fruit
Small group – Alfredo sauce with pasta, sides others bring along

Monday, January 20
Easy biscuits and gravy, apples
Hamburgers, chips, carrots, raspberries (friends coming over for Elias’ birthday)
Chicken tacos, fresh pineapple

Tuesday, January 21
Pancake sausage muffins, oranges
Grilled cheese, tomato soup, applesauce, sweet pepper slices
One dish meat and potato casserole, tossed salad

Wednesday, January 22
Breakfast cake muffins, bananas
Easy noodle stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, and zucchini
Sweet and sour meatballs (recipe in Let’s Do This eCourse, Lesson 5), rice, something with cauliflower  :)

Thursday, January 23
Homemade grape nuts cereal, blueberries
Chili mac, peas, sliced cucumbers with homemade ranch
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans

Friday, January 24
Raspberry oatmeal bars, clementines
Hamburger cream cheese dip, corn chips, fruit-kefir smoothies
Crock pot bbq chicken breasts, baked potatoes, tossed salad, steamed broccoli and carrots

Saturday, January 25
Zucchini bread, applesauce
Cheeseburger soup, tossed salad

Help a girl out! Give me some good cauliflower recipes (please)! And let us know what “new” real food you can try this week. :)


  1. Lana says

    I am not crazy about cauliflower myself but it was one of my safe foods back when I only had 14 nonallergic foods. I think I have done my time with cauliflower! One of my great aunts used to bread cauliflower with saltine cracker crumbs and roast it in the oven. That was really good. What about some sauteed zucchini and sweet onions? Or oven roasted green beans or asparagus? A real favorite here is frozen french green beans and sweet onions sauteed in a bit of olive oil and butter–yum! Frozen green peas are delicious the same way and taste so different from ordinary green peas. And you must give fried cabbage a go–yummy! Saute’ chopped cabbage in whatever fat you prefer. Cover at first and then uncover at the end to let it get a bit of color. If you have some real food bacon grease that is best. I can never make too much of that when the kids come home to visit. They eat every bite!


  2. says

    Hi Laura! I find the *best* thing to do with an new veggie is to add cheese! My family loves “cheesy cauliflower” (similar to cheesy broccoli) or cauliflower au gratin (with a potato-like texture). I know putting cheese on it doesn’t make it the healthiest, but we’re picky about which cheese we use and do a homemade sauce (no velveeta around here!) and at least my daughter eats a new veggie that way! :-)


  3. Jennifer says

    Roasted cauliflower goes over really well here. Cut the cauliflower into pieces – whatever size looks good to you. Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle coconut oil and sprinkle with S & P to taste. Roast at 400* for 15 minutes or so. I just keep an eye on it until it starts to look a little brown. Done.


    Krisha Reply:

    Hands down, roasted Cauliflower is unbelievable good – especially if you grate some parm cheese on it while it roasts. When I make it for dinner – I can’t make enough of it. There is never any leftovers of roasted cauliflower.


    Kristina Reply:

    I was gonna say the same thing- roasted cauliflower! I do mine just like this. Sometimes I add broccolini or Brussels sprouts with the cauliflower.


  4. Julia says

    If you’re looking to branch out in the veggie department, zucchini is one of my favorites. I never used to be a fan, but a friend of mine served it sauteed with fresh grated parmesan cheese. I was hooked! My husband prefers to throw it in the grill rather than stove, though. My daughter who turned 1 last May couldn’t get enough over the summer! Mmmmm!


  5. Lovegreenbeans says

    Oh, I recently discovered the YUMMIEST cauliflower recipe! A “mashed potatoes” lookalike! :-). Mashed cauliflower! It’s actually on my menu plan for this week and my family loves it!

    I make an entire head of cauliflower in the pressure cooker….takes just a few minutes. Then add plenty of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, nutmeg, a few tablespoons of butter, maybe sneak in one cooked baked potato to give it more of a potato taste- then pulse everything in the food processor until it resembles mashed potatoes consistency. My children gobble this up as if it were creamy, buttery mashed potatoes! Yum!!!


    Kristina Reply:

    This sounds awesome, can’t wait to try it. I’ve added a few cauliflower florets to my mashed potatoes and it really enhances the flavor. Potato and cauliflower go great together!


  6. Melissa says

    My mom makes a salad with broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, and cucumbers. You sprinkle the equivalent of a package of powdered Italian dressing over the top — use your homemade dressing mix, of course. :-) Then you pour the equivalent of a bottle of Italian salad dressing over the top. Cover your container, and then give it a good shake (or just stir it). Let it marinate as long as you can, even overnight–the longer the better. Yay for make-ahead recipes! :-)


  7. says

    Some ideas:
    Place a whole head of cauliflower (washed first) in a Pam sprayed casserole. Beat an egg or 2 depending upon the size of the head and brush over entire top and sides. Cover with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and bake @ 350 until tender.

    Another idea is to roast the florettes as Julie mentions, BUT add a splash of Balsamic vinegar over the top when done. YUM!


  8. Teresa says

    We eat cauliflower steamed with butter, salt and pepper. I’ve also mixed it in with mashed potatoes and kale. I find it to be a great in potato soup too.


  9. Melissa Wheeler says

    I’ve always liked raw cauliflower, in dip or cut up in a green salad. My husband, however, didn’t. In an effort to get him to eat more vegetables, I looked for another way. Roasted cauliflower! Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces, add about 10-15 minced garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast in a 400* oven until brown. It was a hit! Sometimes I do a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower or just broccoli by itself.


  10. Sheila H. says

    I agree with the comments about roasted cauliflower. My family eats it like popcorn. My daughter likes it breaded and fried but that isn’t my favorite. We roast almost lots of veggies: green beans, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, butternut squash…..


  11. Robyn Odegaard says

    My husband hates cauliflower, while I could eat it any old way. I finally found a way he actually likes it: roasted. Break it into pieces, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and bake at 400ish degrees until it starts to caramelize. It’s so yummy! There are never leftovers at my house.


  12. Rebecca says

    We like it cut into florettes and dipped in yogurt w a lot of curry powder added we like red curry. Then dip in breadcrumbs and roast till tender. Super yum.


  13. Jennifer says

    We just had cauliflower last night! Not my favorite either but even I thought it was pretty good. Toss florets with parm cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, and olive oil then roast at 425 30-40 minutes.


  14. susanna says

    Roasted cauliflower rocks! None of our family cares for cauliflower raw or steamed, but when we roast it, no one can stop eating it. It’s amazing. We like to mix carrots, onions, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes – drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle generously with sea salt, then roast at 425 until they are done. It’s OK if you don’t have the other veggies – the cauliflower alone will be a treat. Let us know what your family thinks!


  15. Abby says

    How do you make kefir smoothies?


    Nia Hanna Reply:

    I make kefir smoothies by replacing milk or yogurt with the same amount of kefir, or I add the amount of kefir I have plus milk or juice in the amount needed to blend the fruit/ get to a smoothie consistency.


  16. Jen says

    I agree with everyone who said roasted cauliflower is great. My mom isn’t a big veggie eater but I convinced her to try roasted cauliflower and now she loves it. Personally I think the key is getting it browned. I love cauliflower in all forms, but for those who don’t, it’s that little bit of browning that really turns the flavor into something extraordinary. I usually roast it fairly hot, like 400 or 425, and make sure it has enough space in the pan so it browns and not just steams. Mashed cauliflower is also really tasty. Make it just like you would mashed potatoes. You can mash by hand though it will be smoother if you use a food processor. I also really like adding cauliflower to mac and cheese. Just cook the florets (cut them small so they cook fast) with the noodles. I’ve not tried it with your simple mac and cheese recipe, but I bet it would work great.


  17. Lindsey Russell says

    This one was really good – at least I liked it :) My family isn’t really different veggie eaters and my husband said the house smelled like garbage while it was cooking sooo…… I still thought it was really good. I do something similar with asparagus too.

    And this recipe was very good too once you get past the idea that it is going to taste like real pizza crust(because it doesn’t). It was my first pizza crust after learning I was gluten intolerant so I think I was expecting a cauliflower miracle pizza crust. Scroll down the page, second recipe.


  18. says

    I know what you mean about not sure what to do with cauliflower and before going gluten free I almost never ate it, but now I love it! You could try it as rice or soup (tastes like the creamiest potato soup ever but without any cream) or as a pizza crust or my personal favorite, spicy “hot wing” type bites My daughter and I can polish off a whole head of cauliflower made this way (as long as I don’t make it too spicy!). Enjoy!!


  19. says

    No one in my family likes cauliflower except me, so I tried cheesy cauliflower pancakes. They are kind of like potato pancakes – even my picky eaters liked them. I am going to have to try the roasted cauliflower – sounds yummy. Be sure to let us know what you tried and how it went :)


  20. Stephanie says

    Definitely echo the roasted cauliflower comments! I mince quite a bit if garlic, warm it in some olive oil and set it aside to infuse. Maybe 4 T or less of oil? Chop up a head of cauliflower, dump it in a baking sheet, preheat oven to 400. Toss the cauliflower with some sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and the olive oil/garlic and pop into the oven for 10 minutes. Take it out, mix it all again and roast for another 10 minutes. Take it out once more, sprinkle liberally with finely grated Parmesan toss it all around and roast for about ten more minutes. You get little crispy bits and a ton of flavor. Littles ones and my husband are big fans! It’s honestly one of my new favorite things to eat, and I don’t even care for cauliflower! Trust me, try it! :)


    Lana Reply:

    Trader Joe’s has a garlic infused olive oil that is really good for these types of dishes. We use it for pizza ‘sauce’ too and it is awesome.


  21. Lori says

    I have some cauliflower in the fridge that I had bought with same intention. Love all the new ideas. Thanks everybody!


  22. Sarah D. says

    The best cauliflower I’ve ever had was this: Cheesy “Frosted” Cauliflower (it’s probably not the healthiest, but almost anyone will eat it! I took it to a pot-luck one time and didn’t have leftovers…)
    1 Med. head cauliflower
    1/3 c. mayonnaise
    1 Tbls. Mustard
    Shredded Cheese (cheddar is delicious)
    -Cover and cook cauliflower head ’til fork tender [my Mom is the “microwave queen”, so would cook this in the micro. I’ve successfully steamed a whole cauliflower head on the stovetop: You need a pan and steamer basket; put water in pan and top with basket. Place cauliflower in basket, cover, and bring to boil. Simmer (i.e. steam) ’til cauliflower can be easily pierced with a fork (i.e. fork tender)]
    -Combine mayo and mustard
    -When cauliflower is cooked, “frost” with mayo mixture.
    -Press Cheese onto warm cauliflower and cover. Let stand 5 min. or reheat to melt cheese.

    Another way we eat cauliflower is to just cook it with broccoli or add to casseroles either with broccoli or in the place of.


  23. Rose says

    I have the cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld which has several recipes using cauliflower puree. Our favorites are deviled eggs( using 1/4 cup cauliflower puree in with the egg mixture), and Potato soup using 1/2 cup cauliflower puree. I usually steam a head of cauliflower and puree it and measure it out in 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup freezer bags and freeze until needed. The book has lots of ways to sneak in healthy vegetable purees into other foods so even your picky eaters will like it. The deviled eggs were a big hit with everyone that I served them to……know one could believe the eggs had cauliflower in them.


  24. Marisa Anderson says

    You MUST roast it! We mix the cauliflower with broccoli, onions, bell peppers, parsnips, potatoes, zucchini, carrots or any veg we think will taste good roasted. Cut them up, toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 until slightly browned. Delish!!!


  25. Lorie says

    II haven’t looked through all the comments BUT on the day you were going to do cauliflower, do away with the rice. Just cook the cauliflower like broccoli, put the cauliflower through a ricer mash it and put the meatballs on top…easy peasy and yummy :)


  26. Kristin says

    One more vote for roasted cauliflower! I toss it with olive oil and garlic, roast it, and then top with grated parm to serve. Yum!

    My other favorite way to eat it is PICKLED! I realize that might be a bit much for first-timers, but I love it!


  27. Ingrid says

    If you all like spicy stuff you could roast your cauliflower in the oven and then toss w/ a little butter and hot sauce (we use Frank’s Red Hot). It’s like buffalo wings made w/ veggies–so good!


  28. Mary G says

    I agree with the roasted cauliflower ideas. I sometimes serve that with pasta and top it with a bit of shredded hard cheese, like Parmesan. Also, and this may be outside of your comfort zone, I think cauliflower is delicious in a curry. I recently tried one called Red Lentil Coconut Curry from a cookbook called Simply in Season (one of my favorites). It has other vegetables besides cauliflower in it, but it was unbelievably tasty. Another dish I really like that features cauliflower is from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest–Hot Marinated Cauliflower with Pasta. The thing to keep in mind about cauliflower is that it has some good nutrients in it but it isn’t the tastiest vegetable on its own, so if you steam it and serve it with pepper and a little butter like you would with some other veggies, it’s pretty dull. Also, cauliflower is great in a quiche with a nice sharp cheddar cheese. I don’t know if this helped or not.


  29. Susan Landry says

    Hello everyone…I am new to this website…but have been enjoying reading for a couple of weeks now…I have always cooked …but not with whole foods…I have used white flour and white sugar…hoping to slowly make the change over to whole wheat soon… little worried how the kids will take it…my kids are not big veggie eaters, but cauliflower is their favorite…my husband and I always joke about this…such a strange veggie for picky kids to eat…I boil my cauliflower till tender…drain and save liquid…make a cream sauce with white flour[can you substitute wheat flour} and butter…use saved liquid to thin it…season with salt,pepper and nutmeg…you can use milk if you need to thin sauce…
    I am not much of a computer person but I have been reading my heavenly homemaker every night before bed…hoping to slowly switch over some of my favorite recipies…


  30. Heidi says

    Roasted Cauliflower! Sometimes we roast both broccoli & cauliflower together. *Turn oven to BROIL 500 & put a cookie sheet or in the oven to get hot. Broc/ Cauli -cut into pieces- leave as much stem as possible
    Put about 3-4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a bowl
    Add a couple cloves of diced garlic or 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    Coat veggies in the sauce.
    *make sure the cookie sheet is hot. REMOVE from oven and place coated veggies on it. You should hear a lil’ sizzle.

    ROAST in oven for 10-12 minutes or until it begins to carmelize & the edges crisp & brown. I stir it a little.
    Prepare to be amazed at how you’ll want to eat the entire tray of cruciferous vegetables yourself. : ))) Haha!

    Eat it plain as a side, or we love cooking whole grain pasta, (I love Tru Roots pasta) tossing it with roasted broccoli &/ or cauliflower & a little Parmesan cheese. Fast, easy & amazing… We all love it & my littles are 5 & under… Can’t keep them out of it! Enjoy.


  31. Mandy says

    Laura! Look no further than your own ranch potato wedge recipe, but sub cauliflower for the taters. It’s delicious. I used it several times last summer when the cauliflower in the garden was abundant and we needed a new way to eat it. It’s perfect!


  32. Jill says

    I needed a cauliflower recipe once and tried this one…and haven’t looked for another!

    1 med head cauliflower, cut into florets
    ¼ cup mayonnaise or sour cream
    1 T oil
    s & p to taste

    Bake at 450 for about 30 minutes until fork tender and golden brown. Stir a couple of times while baking. Can also bake at a lower temp for a longer time, with whatever else you are baking.  


  33. Sandie says

    This is one of the easiest and one of my favorite cauliflower recipes. I break the head up into flowerets because it cooks faster.

    Cheddar Cauliflower

    cauliflower, large head
    1/2 c. mayonaise
    1 T. instant minced onion
    1 tsp. dry mustard
    3/4 c. cheddar cheese, grated

    Cook the cauliflower on high in the microwave untill done, drain well. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the cauliflower. Cook on low power for about 4-5 minutes, till melted.


  34. connie says

    hi laura…….so many good cauliflower ideas already! I, too, often roast them or mash them up like potatoes. both so easy! but my favorite thing to do is make soup. that way, we are getting in some homemade stock and usually other vegetables as well. you can divide a big batch up and freeze, too ( I do that with broccoli soup as well). this has saved me many a time when I needed a quick veggie side dish! by far the best cauliflower soup recipe is the link that was already given to pioneer woman’s version – and definitely put the sour cream in the bottom of your bowl! I’ll actually be making some plain cauliflower soup in just a couple hours, but I have some zucchini I need to use up, so I’m going to sauté that in as well. then I’ll use my stick blender to puree it . my family doesn’t like zucchini, but they never know I add in my soups sometimes! ha ha, I just love being sneaky like that. have fun with all your new recipe ideas.


  35. Debbie says

    When I make pasta alfredo, I drop half a bag of frozen cauliflower in with the boiling pasta for the last 5-7 minutes. Drain pasta and cauliflower and add alfredo sauce. The white cauliflower blends in color-wise and adds a nice firm bite to the dish without an overpowering taste.


  36. Irene says

    We’ve recently been eating cauliflower “rice” I replace rice in a saucy meal with it. It’s basically cauliflower pulsed in the food processor, not finely, but enough to break it into little rice sized pieces. Then I throw it in a frying pan over medium heat with virgin coconut oil, a little onion and garlic powder and salt. It takes under 10 min to cook and you can really play with how you flavour it. We’ve enjoyed it with curries and stir frys and my kids have never complained about the lack of rice :) It’s nice to eat a carb free meal every once in a while.


  37. Rhoda says

    My husband is from India and has a dish that he cooks up that we call “Cauliflower Stems.” We usually look for cauliflower that has really fresh looking stems on them and cook this recipe right away when we bring it home. His recipe isn’t exacts, but just throws things in as things cook. He uses a stir fry pan, fills about half full with water (or any broth I have on hand in the freezer), a handful of uncooked rice, 1-2 cubed chicken breasts (pork chops taste good too), the stems that he has cut into 1 inch pieces, and about half of the florets. After about 10 minutes on medium heat, he adds a teaspoon or so of baking soda. Cook this until rice is cooked and thickening the broth and stems are tender. Then he adds salt and pepper. I’m allergic to garlic and peppers, but a little garlic and chili pepper is good in it too. If we have some ginger on hand that adds a nice subtle flavor if you add just a bit. With the high price of cauliflower where we live, this is a wonderful treat when prices drop a bit.
    Hope your family enjoys trying all the ideas in the comments. I had never heard of roasted cauliflower and will be trying that soon–sounds wonderful.


  38. mary g says

    Do I have strange kids? They love cauliflower. Actually ask me to buy it every chance they get. All I do is steam mine using salted water and thats it. They love it. Don’t even offer them cheese for it, plain is great! Our kids are 10, 8 , and 6 .


  39. Deloris says

    I tried this cauliflower recipe the other day and I LOVED it and so did everyone that tried it too!

    Cauliflower Fried Rice (serves 4)

    • – 3 cups of raw grated cauliflower (use a cheese grater or food processor)
    • – ½ cup frozen peas
    • – ½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
    • – 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    • – ½ cup onion, diced
    • – ½ TBSP olive oil
    • – 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites) scrambled
    • – 3 TBSP soy sauce

    1. In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in olive oil on a medium/high heat, until onions become soft and transparent. (about 2-3 minutes)
    2. Next add in peas, and carrots and cook until carrots begin to soften and peas are heated through, about 3-4 minutes
    3. Next stir in scrambled eggs , cauliflower and soy sauce. Cook stirring frequently for about 5-7 more minutes.
    4. Enjoy adding in your favorite protein and veg. Possible add-ins: baby corn, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, water chestnuts, chicken, tofu, and shrimp!


  40. Jennifer says

    I LOVE roasted cauliflower. It is one of my absolute favorite foods :) This is a good recipe: (Sorry I don’t know how to make it into a link). I don’t usually use the garlic, lemon juice, or parmesan cheese, I just toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It is important to get the cauliflower nicely browned, because it caramelizes and gives it a lot of flavor!


  41. Layna says

    Steam whole head of cauliflower. Put on serving tray. Top with cheese sauce, then 2 cups cooked peas, and top with croutons. Very pretty and yummy! CHEESE sauce – melt 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil, add 1/2 cup flour and mix, then add approx. 2 to 3 cups milk and cook till thick, then add 1 cup cheese and sal t and pepper to taste. Very delicious.


  42. Jessica says

    There are quite a few recipes for cauliflower soup floating around out there – very much like a potato soup with a little bit lighter texture. Yummy!


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