There's a lot at stake when you put together a Thanksgiving meal. For starters, you need to be a multitasker. There's a turkey to roast and stuffing and gravy to make. Count on making that green bean casserole, too.

Thanksgiving is also a holiday of side dishes. And plenty of those come in the form of casseroles and gratins, including today's Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole. It's pure comfort food.

For this recipe, I used a blend of cheddar and colby jack cheese, but any good melting cheese will work. Cauliflower is mild, so you can spice the dish up. Use a mix of pepper jack with the cheddar or add a few pinches of cayenne.

Blanching the cauliflower shortens the baking time and rids it of excess water. Don't skip the step of draining the cauliflower and pressing on it with a towel after it's blanched. Excess moisture will make the dish soupy.

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Serves: 10

1 large head cauliflower

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or cheddar blend, divided

Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided

Remove the core of the cauliflower. Separate the cauliflower into florets.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot half filled with water to a boil. Blanch the cauliflower for 3 minutes. Drain and press a clean kitchen towel on the cauliflower to soak up excess water.

Make cheese sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir until it turns lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while stirring and bring to a low simmer. Whisk in the cream cheese until it melts. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the drained cauliflower in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over and stir until combined. Set aside about 2 tablespoons of the cooked bacon and green onions. Stir in the remaining bacon and green onions to the cauliflower until combined. Top with remaining cheddar, bacon and green onions.

Bake until cauliflower is tender and the cheese on top has melted, about 30 minutes.

Adapted from

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