Légumes au Gratin

A nice side dish that goes with pretty much anything. And any vegetable is good, so use what you have on hand.

Ingredients
1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
3-4 carrots
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tea spoon dry mustard
nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne : to taste
a few handful of grated cheese
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Cut the vegetables into bite size and steam until mostly done.
steam

2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, melt the butter.
butter

3. Add the flour and cook until lightly colored.
flour

4. Slowly add the milk, stirring at the same time to avoid lumps. Season with the dry mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
milk

5. Transfer the steamed vegetables to a small casserole dish.
transfert

6. Pour the bechamel over the vegetables. Add the cheese on top.
sauce

7. Bake for a few minutes, until the vegetables are done. Turn the oven on broil to make the cheese golden. Serve warm.
done

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Macaroni & Cheese

My version of the comfort food that is mac n cheese. With vegetables because they are tasty and add color. Makes a large batch, reheats well in small portions, freezes decently well.

Ingredients
2 table spoon butter
2 table spoon flour
2 cup milk
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 broccoli, diced
1/2 bag of macaroni pasta
Shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch fresh grated nutmeg
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta. You want them a bit underdone. Drain the pasta.

3. In a sauce pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook until fragrant. Add the milk in a few steps, whisking well, we don’t want this sauce too thick. Add salt, pepper, the nutmeg and the cayenne pepper to the sauce.
milk

4. Add the broccoli and simmer until they start turning tender and bright green. They will finish cooking at the baking step. If you like broccoli extra-soft you can steam it before this step.
broccoli

5. Add the peppers and a few handfuls of grated cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.
veggies

6. Mix the sauce with the drained pasta.
pastra

7. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle a generous quantity of cheese on top.
cheese

8. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven to broil for a few minutes at the end to brown the cheese. Serve warm.
cooked

Vol au Vent

My mother makes this sauce in the microwave. The only time I tried on my own I burnt it and had to spend a good long time scrubbing that bowl. Still, this is a easy, fast recipe and makes for a good filling meal.

Ingredients
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour (I use whole grain flour but regular flour works great)
2 cups milk
4 eggs
2 chicken breast
Vol au Vent puff pastry shells
1 Peas and Carrot can
Cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, pepper
ingredients

****

1. Put your eggs in a small pot with cold water. Cover and set to medium high heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and time 5 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat.

2. Cut the chicken breast in small cubes. Add salt and pepper. Cook in a pan until colored on all sides. Don’t worry if it’s not fully cooked, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Set aside.
poulet

3. In a large pot melt the butter and add the flour. If you have some fat/cooking juice in your pan with the chicken drip them into the flour at this stage so your sauce won’t split. Cook the flour until it becomes fragrant. If using white flour, it will not turn as dark as mine did. Add a bit of milk and gather into a ball.
boule

4. Add a little bit of milk at the time, making sure each addition is absorbed before adding more.
sticky

5. Once all the milk has been mixed in, add the drained content of the can and the chicken.       Peel and slices the boiled eggs then add to the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonning (I tend to add a bit of cayenne pepper, some fresh grated nutmeg, lots of black pepper and a bit of salt at this point). Bring to a boil so the sauce thickens.

6. Put the pastry shells in the oven at broil to warm them (about 1 minute, but keep an eye on them). Ladle the sauce over the shells.
final