Baked Shells and Cheese with Cauliflower and Ham

Oxmoor House
If you have mac and cheese fans, then you'll love this baked version that incorporates cauliflower into the pasta and cheese mixture.
8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)


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8 cups water
7 cups small cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 1/3 cups uncooked small seashell pasta
1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup diced cooked extra-lean ham (4 ounces)
Cooking spray
2 (1-ounce) slices whole-wheat bread
2 teaspoons butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan; add cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water, and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid; set cauliflower aside. Bring cooking liquid to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and cook 6 minutes or until al dente; drain and add to cauliflower in bowl.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk in a medium saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in garlic; cook over medium-high heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheeses, mustard, and pepper. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower mixture; add ham, stirring to coat. Spoon cauliflower mixture into a 13 x 9–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

4. Tear bread slices into quarters. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs with butter; sprinkle evenly over cauliflower mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.


Young Chefs can:

Break cauliflower into small pieces, and place in measuring cups

Tear bread slices into quarters


Older Chefs can:

Dice ham with dinner knife

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture

Created date

August 2011

Nutritional Information

Calories 309
Caloriesfromfat 0.0 %
Fat 9.1 g
Satfat 4.7 g
Monofat 2.7 g
Polyfat 0.5 g
Protein 20.3 g
Carbohydrate 36.5 g
Fiber 3.9 g
Cholesterol 34 mg
Iron 1.8 mg
Sodium 674 mg
Calcium 345 mg