Inspiring healthier eating one dish at a time

Mixed Vegetables Mornay {Recipe ReDux)

I saw a quote on Twitter recently that made me laugh. “Clever food is not appreciated at Christmas. It makes the little ones cry and the old ones nervous.” I could totally relate, because so many times I’ve tried to serve a new recipe, or a twist on an old one at the holidays, only to have my family ask “but where’s the…?”. I’m sure I did the same thing when I was young. Certain foods or recipes just bring back happy memories of things that you’re especially thankful for, and sometimes, there’s just no reason to change that.

This month’s Recipe ReDux  challenged us to share a food memory for which we are thankful – and try to lighten it up. I have lots of food memories – most of which involve desserts, and at the risk of dating myself too much – Jell-O molds. Don’t worry – I won’t go there because I wouldn’t even know where to begin to make a healthier version of a Jell-O mold.

My mom used to make a vegetable dish for holidays that she called “Mixed Vegetables Mornay”.  Of course it featured a Mornay sauce – which is a white Béchamel sauce jazzed up with some cheese. She used Parmesan, and added a bit of white wine, and it always got rave reviews. I was never a huge vegetable eater when I was young, but man, did I love that recipe!  It was always on the table for holidays and special family gatherings, and it especially reminds me of Thanksgiving and family.


Once I moved to Boston, and got married and had kids, and my parents moved to San Diego, it was just too much to fly everyone out for such a short weekend, so we all started to do our own Thanksgivings, and honestly, I kind of forgot about some of those recipes that my mom always made.  This year though –  we’re finally within driving distance, so we’re packing up the car and driving over the river and through the woods to spend Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in about 25 years.  I’m wondering if this dish will still be on the menu, but either way, I’ll still be thankful to spend the day with them and other family members.

 

I decided to try this recipe for the ReDux when I was shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day, and stocking up on frozen vegetables.  I have nothing against other brands of frozen vegetables, and in fact frozen are just as nutritious as fresh,  but sometimes I find that the quality isn’t great.  TJ’s on the other hand, has the absolute best frozen vegetables.  I’ve never been disappointed, especially with their Hericot Verts – AKA green beans.  The best!

 

Mixed Vegetables Mornay|Craving Something Healthy

 

So I skipped the bag of mixed veggies that mom always used, in favor of some fresh rainbow carrots (because they’re pretty and festive, and there’s no substitute for those), and an assortment of frozen veggies from TJs.

 

Mixed Vegetables Mornay|Craving Something Healthy

 

Mom’s original recipe called for frozen mixed vegetables, cream in the sauce, and lots of buttery bread crumbs on top.  I also seem to recall that it was more sauce than vegetables – probably the reason it was such a hit!  My somewhat lightened up version calls for lots more vegetables, and a lighter sauce – I kept the cheese because WHY NOT,  but used low fat milk instead of cream, and less butter. I also used whole wheat bread for the crumbs, and just tossed them in a bit of olive oil.

 

Mixed Vegetables Mornay|Craving Something Healthy

It was just as delicious as I remember it to be!  Maybe even more so, because I actually like vegetables now, and there are so many in here 🙂

 

Mixed Vegetables Mornay {Recipe ReDux)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Mixed Vegetables Mornay {Recipe ReDux)

Ingredients

    Vegetables
  • 2 cups fresh carrots, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Mornay Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • About 1 3/4 cups 1% milk plus reserved cooking liquid from the vegetables to total 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
  • Breadcrumb Topping
  • 1 cup fresh bread torn into crumbs (whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

Steam carrots and cauliflower if using fresh, not frozen cauliflower in a medium saucepan, until the vegetables are just tender - be careful to not overcook them.

Drain the vegetables and return them to the pot.

Add remaining frozen vegetables to the pot with carrots.

Add 1/4 cup of water, salt, and garlic powder, cover, and bring the vegetables to a boil. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, just until the vegetables are thawed.

Drain the vegetables, reserving the cooking liquid.

Pour the cooked vegetables into a 9 x 13 glass baking pan, or a casserole dish.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, and mix in the flour. Cook for about 1 minute on medium-high heat.

Slowly whisk in the milk-vegetable cooking liquid. Whisk well to remove any lumps, and bring the sauce to a boil to thicken.

Reduce the heat to low, and add the wine, salt, thyme, garlic powder and nutmeg.

Stir in the cheeses, and remove from heat.

Taste the sauce, and adjust seasoning as needed.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables.

Toss the bread crumbs with the olive oil, and sprinkle over the sauce.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are lightly browned.

http://cravingsomethinghealthy.com/mixed-vegetables-mornay-recipe-redux/

 

Make sure you visit the other Recipe ReDux posts to see what everyone else is cooking up for Thanksgiving.

Eat well!

 

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2 Responses to “Mixed Vegetables Mornay {Recipe ReDux)”

  1. I love Mornay sauce, and this just might be a way to get my son to eat some vegetables. Have a fantastic time with your family!

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