Thursday, April 12, 2018

Asparagus au Gratin (#improvcookingchallenge)



This month's Improv Cooking Challenge, hosted by Nichole of Cookaholic Wife, is to make a dish that uses Asparagus and Cream!


If you're a blogger and would like to join the fun, check out The Improv Cooking Challenge on Facebook, their homepage, or look through some of the previous challenge entries on Pinterest.

April is officially peak time for Asparagus! Now, generally when I make asparagus it is on the BBQ wrapped up in bacon or just cooked in some butter and Parmesan cheese. I had to step up my game this month in order to participate in this challenge.

I have seen a ton of recipes for asparagus with a garlic or cheese cream sauce, and to me that just seemed a little too easy! When it comes to my cooking, I like to either make it super easy or go above and beyond. This time, let's go above and beyond!

So, Potatoes Au Gratin is one of my favorite side dishes and I have made this before with fresh green beans and also with broccoli, so why not try it with Asparagus? It sounds yummy to me!! So I gave it a try, This is what I did:

Asparagus au Gratin

2 bundles of Asparagus ( I bought the smaller sized ones for easier portion sizes with kids)
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 slices of thick bacon, diced and cooked
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Crunchy Onions (prepackaged)

Trim the Asparagus - if you have never cooked with this vegetable before, this is a MUST do step! The bottom portion of it is generally White or Purplish in color, and is woody and practically inedible. I usually cut about an inch or two off depending on how bad the coloring is at the bottom.

Once this is done, set up a steamer basket and blanch the asparagus. If you do not have a steaming basket, you can just dunk them in the water for a minute or two. Essentially you just want them to turn bright green in color, not necessarily make them soft.

Once you have finished this step, you will start the easy part of assembly.

Lay down the Asparagus in a glass pan covering the bottom. Add the Cream, then bacon, and season it with a little salt and pepper and give it a little stir.  Then add the cheese on top. That is it, so easy!

After this is assembled, bake in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes. 

Add the Crunchy Onions on top the Gratin, spreading them to cover the top and broil for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted and starting to get that delicious golden brown color.

Remove from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two before serving.

I served mine along side a delicious meal of Homemade Chicken Sausage and White Rice! My kiddos sure loved it, which is always a plus for me.



You really cannot go wrong with this recipe and I really hope you give it a try. Do you cook Asparagus a certain way that I should try? I am always open for new ideas - I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing with this challenge!

Here's what others are doing for this month's Improv Cooking Challenge.  Please don't add your general posts to this link up - head over to Party in Your PJs, or stop back in tonight and share with Awesome Life Friday instead!

13 comments:

  1. Oh my, doesn't this sound super yummy! I love that this recipe uses asparagus instead of green beans...and that there's no yucky canned soup involved! A real winner! Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck - Colleen

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  2. Wonderful idea....it sounds amazing.

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  3. I loooovvvveeee asparagus and this looks delicious!

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  4. This looks good. What a good idea to create this recipe. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

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  5. This looks amazing! I love asparagus. Pinned.

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  6. What a great idea!! Pinned! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party - have a wonderful week!

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  7. I love asparagus and this looks very yummy! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  8. this looks rather tasty, the kids will love the au-gratin style and I will love them eating something good for them
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

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  9. Yum I never thought to make an au gratin with asparagus! so seasonal and fresh--pinned and shared.

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  10. Asparagus Au Gratin looks delicious! Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday.
    Miz Helen

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  11. I love asparagus and this looks delightful! Thanks for sharing on To Grandma's House We Go!

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  12. What a treat! I adore asparagus, and this is such a lovely, indulgent way to serve it. Thank you so much for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

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