Healthy Alfredo Sauce:
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (approx 5-6 cups)
4 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
Boil water with bouillon in a med sauce pan; add cauliflower and cook until fork-tender.
1 med onion, chopped (approx 1/2 cup)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are clear. Drain the cauliflower and leave in sauce pan, but reserve the liquid. Add sauteed onions/garlic and 1 cup of liquid back to saucepan with cauliflower. Use an immersion blender to puree, or add veggie mixture to food processor and puree.
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
generous sprinkle of Italian seasoning
sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes (eliminate if you don’t prefer spicy foods)
Stir in remaining ingredients and spices; add to crockpot. OR freeze the sauce in a gallon ziploc bag, and it’s ready for next time you want to make the recipe!
The Sauce becomes Soup:
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3-4 med carrots, sliced (celery works well too) (optional)
1 1/2 cup pasta, uncooked (I prefer gnocchi, bowties, or pieces of lasagna. Adding pasta definitely makes the soup more kid-friendly!) (optional)
8 slices of low-sodium bacon, cooked and crumbled (or one 4.3 oz bag of Hormel real crumbled bacon bits – again, makes it more kid-friendly, but of course adds calories)
2-3 cups liquid from cooking cauliflower (use more or less, depending on how soupy you want it…keep in mind that the chicken and pasta will soak up some liquid. Add more water or veggie stock if you don’t have sufficient liquid from cooking.)
5 oz baby spinach or kale
Add chicken, carrots, pasta, and vegetable liquid to the alfredo sauce already in crockpot; stir until combined. Cook on low approx 3-6 hours, until warmed through and carrots cooked to tender. Approx an hour before serving, add the baby spinach or kale, torn into bite-sized pieces, or chopped more finely to “hide” it in the soup better. Stir until fully integrated into soup; cover and continue to cook on low for another hour.
To serve, top with additional parmesan. Don’t feel bad adding a little extra cheese. The alfredo sauce base for the soup is mostly cauliflower, remember? 🙂