Mixed vegetables and pasta with bechamel sauce

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Today’s challenge by Darren Rowse on the ProBlogger Challenge Group was to create a piece of content that is a ‘Story’.  Now this  challenge is going to be difficult for me as I don’t usually like to read lots of ramblings before a recipe is shared.  I usually skip down to the recipe so it will be interesting to see how many of you read the story that lead to this recipe!!

Well in our household, making something nice for dinner always seems like a chore as it’s difficult to please everyone especially the children.   Being of Indian origin but growing up in Kenya, my husband and I like the typical Indian style of food – Curry, rice, roti/paratha and lassi whereas my sons who grew up in UK like the western style dishes such as  pizza, pasta, tortillas, etc.  As my husband keep reminding me that it’s my fault for spoiling him so much and giving in to his food requests.   Sometimes, I would be cooking two or three different dishes to try and please everyone (well especially my sons).  This meant that I was spending more time in the kitchen, more money at the supermarket and also always feel irritable as cooking became a chore rather than a pleasure.

As a child, we never ate cheese and eggs as my dad did not consider them to be vegetarian. Thankfully, we have all  managed to remain vegetarian in spite of living in UK for over 40 years.  I have now started to eat  and cook with vegetarian cheese and have allowed my children to have products with eggs (eggs, yorkshire fooding etc)  in the house but am finding it difficult to allow them to cook eggs in my kitchen.

I have also found that I am having to learn a whole new style of cooking .  A couple of years ago, I  decided that I would get my sons to give me a list of foods they like and then plan a weekly menu which would be a compromise.  So now I tend to cook dishes that they like on one day and the dishes we like on the next day.  This way, I found that the weekly shopping was a lot organised and less stress when cooking.   The compromise has also meant that my sons have enjoyed some of the Indian type dishes I have made and we have enjoyed their kind of meals too.  Having them interested in the planning of the menu has also helped to make us  a lot healthier as we have reduced salt, oil, ghee, butter, sugar etc from our meals.   I have enjoyed learning about the new dishes and cooking them too.  It’s also got them interested in cooking and sometimes, it’s been nice to cook meals together listening to the radio.  The moral of the story is to get the younger generation interested in menu planning and cooking. We should  also to listen to them when they ask you to be healthy and reduce the sugars, fats or carbohydrates from your meals.  So now, I  have learnt how to cook dishes with wild rice, quinoa, noodles, pizza, pasta etc.  Their requests to allow them to cook eggs in my kitchen still continues but then that’s a story for another day.

Today’s recipe for the cheesy vegetable bake came about by chatting to my younger son who had eaten something similar at a friends place.  The dish turned out to be so delicious that I almost forgot to take pictures of it after we  served it..

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mixed vegetables (I used carrots, peppers, peas, green beans and sweetcorn)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of grated/blended garlic
  • 1 cup of mini bow tie  pasta
  • 1 tbls oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cups grated cheese ( you will need some to add to the sauce and some to add to the vegetables as a topping.
  • 1 giant  frozen yorkshire pudding (optional)
  • 2-3 tsps of oregano

For the bechamel  sauce

    • 3 cups of milk
    • 1 tbls butter
    • 2 tbls plain white flour
    • dash of nutmeg powder

Method:

1. Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds.  Once the seeds go dark, add the frozen vegetables and add the salt, pepper and garlic.  Stir fry and allow these to cook until they get soft.

2. Boil the mini bow tie pasta in lots of water and once soft, drain out the water using  a sieve and keep aside.
IMG_7305 3.  Add the mini pasta to the vegetables and mix.  Allow to cool whilst you make the bechamel sauce (white sauce)IMG_7306 IMG_73074. To make the sauce-  Heat the butter and once it melts, add the white flour to form a roux. Allow this to cook until you get a lovely fragrance and it looks like it’s starting to bubble.  Add the milk to it slowly to avoid lumps.  Keep stirring until it gets to a lovely thickness.  Add a couple of scoops of the grated cheese to it and the dash of nutmeg.   Pour the sauce over the vegetables and season it with extra pepper and oregano. IMG_7308IMG_7309

5. Transfer the mixture to a baking tray and top it with lots of cheese.
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6. If you want to make an impression, you can transfer the mixture into a Giant Yorkshire pudding (These are sold in most supermarkets but please note that the ready made ones have eggs in them) and top it with cheese and some pepper and oregano. IMG_7311IMG_7314

7. Transfer the baking tray or the giant Yorkshire pudding into a medium oven (180 degrees C or 350 degrees F or Gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes.IMG_7319 IMG_7320 IMG_73168.  Serve this hot when ready.  As mentioned, I forgot to take a good picture of the dish being served.  For those of you who like their food spicy, you can green chilies to the vegetables or have it with a hot chili sauce or chutney.
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Do you make a weekly menu to make shopping and cooking more organised?

  • Anna

    Great post, Mina! I like the story;-) I grew up eating meat and became vegetarian about 20 years ago. I don’t eat dairy products anymore as well. Plant based diet works best for me. I don’t really love vegan cheese I’ve tried so far…

    • MinaJoshi5409

      Thanks Anna. I would also like to reduce dairy foods from our diet.

  • Toby Bloomberg

    Mina – I loved your story! For me (I’m also a food blogger http://www.divafoodies.com),it is the story that gives an extra depth and spice to the recipe. My very favorite cookbooks are those were each recipe tells about a bit of the “why, how, where,how.” Toby

    • MinaJoshi5409

      Thanks Toby. I will try and make my recipes a bit more interesting if I can. You have a great blog.

  • I just book marked your site. My wife is a diabetic and we eat to much meat in our diet. This is going to be a really good reciepe to try and see if we can replace meat with more veggies. Great job btw,with the story. Can’t wait for day 5 challenge and see what you come up with.

    • MinaJoshi5409

      William – Thanks. I am also a diabetic and seem to manage my sugar just by diet control at the moment.

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