DEAR JEANNE: My mother made this recipe all the time, and it was one way she got us to eat our vegetables. I would like to make it for my family, but all the butter and cream put me off. Can you make this good enough for kids to eat and still cut the fat? — Marcella K., Seattle

HAM AND CHEESY CAULIFLOWER

1 head cauliflower

1/4 cup butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup ham, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the cauliflower until done. Melt the butter and cook the garlic in it. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add the ham, salt, pepper and Swiss cheese. Pour over the cauliflower and put in a casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese and broil until brown.

Makes 6 servings.

 

DEAR MARCELLA: That definitely is one way to get picky eaters to eat their vegetables — by covering them in cheese sauce. You still can make a really delicious dish without all the fat — it is honestly delicious. You could make it even lower in fat, but it is so good this way that you can hardly tell the difference. Most of the fat is in the cheese, so include it in your daily allowances and enjoy!

LOW-FAT HAM AND CHEESY CAULIFLOWER

1 large or two small heads of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 tablespoon butter

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent) milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1/2 cup extra-lean ham, chopped

1/2 cup reduced-fat Swiss cheese, grated

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Steam the cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes. Spray a shallow casserole dish that can be used under the broiler (about 9 by 9 inches) with nonstick cooking spray; place the cooked cauliflower in it. Preheat the broiler.

2. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, then the flour, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Add the Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Mix in the ham and Swiss cheese.

3. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Broil until lightly browned.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original recipe: 420 calories; 38 g fat; 130 mg cholesterol; 766 mg sodium; 10 g carbohydrates; 13 g protein; 3 g fiber. Revised recipe: 153 calories; 7 gm fat; 28 mg cholesterol; 513 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 3 g fiber.

 

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently “Cooking From the Cupboard” (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope.

 

— King Features