happy engagement: casserole edition

Pure deliciousness.

 Ah, the wedding diet. So far, here at Juliet's Getting Married headquarters, we haven't really touched on this subject, save for my forays into black-tie workouts at The Plaza. And while neither Mike or I are into full-gear carb-abortion yet, we are attempting to be healthy so that when the big day comes, (hopefully) we're more in maintenance mode than no-solid-food-for-14-days mode. Because I know a bride that did that and I hear it didn't end well.

ANYWAY. Sunday nights as of late have become our eat-in night, which has been lovely now that it's finally getting chilly and it's nice to be indoors. I can legitimately sip hot cider and gorge myself on squash soup, as opposed to getting weird looks in July when I try and request a cassoulet, extra rib-sticking.

In the spirit of becoming a good home cook as well as adhering to our quasi-wedding health plan, I've been looking for delicious low-carb casseroles that don't take hours of prep time. I mean, there's Homeland, Dexter and Revenge on Sunday night; I need my evening hours free. Using a recipe I found and then tweaked from What's Cookin' with Mary? (via Pinterest), I think I've concocted a winner. It's cheesy, filled with spinach and save for a little flour, not very carb-y. Please note: I am aware that this is heavy on the dairy; I'm not claiming this is exactly low-calorie. But you can make a few changes to the recipe that will definitely cut down on the cheese. Why you would want to do this is beyond me (says the girl who's not yet entered her wedding-panic phase).

While the cook time is a solid hour-plus, the actual prep time is extremely minimal. If you can stir things in a bowl, you can make this dish.


Juliet's Cheesy Spinach Souffle Casserole 


Ingredients

2 cups ricotta cheese (you can substitute cottage cheese here, but if you're not really concerned about the calories, ricotta will always taste better)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of flour (I'm not sure this is totally necessary, if you don't mind a wetter casserole, you can probably omit)
3 tablespoons butter (again, I think you can omit this too, but I didn't. Ha.)
1/4 pound of your favorite cheese, cubed, plus more for grating (I used Beecher's Flagship, which is kind of a cross between Gruyere and sharp Cheddar)
1 pound of frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid (after it's thawed, stick it in a mesh sieve and squeeze out the water by pressing a large spoon against the spinach)
4-5 cloves of garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
Salt
Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole pan (I used my dutch oven) and set aside.

Preheat a skillet with a touch of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients, including the garlic and onion. Salt and pepper to taste (and yes, there is raw egg in this so use discretion). Stir to incorporate. Pour into the casserole pan and smooth out the mixture. Grate however much additional cheese you'd like on top. I used Cabot Clothbound Cheddar for a nuttier addition.

Bake for one hour, until it gets really bubbly. Then, crank on your broiler and cook until the top is golden brown, maybe 4-5 minutes. Just keep an eye on it as it'll go from perfect to burnt awkwardly quickly. Let sit for a few minutes and dig in. It's fluffy and studded with chunks of salty cheese, how can this ever be wrong?

The beauty of this recipe is that the base -- cheese and eggs -- can really take on any number of variations. I'm going to try a breakfast themed one with more onion, breakfast sausage and chives. Adding in cubes of squash would also be really tasty.

If you try the recipe, would love to hear your own additions!

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