Lou’s Lazy Mac n Cheese (with stashed broccoli and cauliflower)

Optional 1 or 2 cups dried pasta (I use penne, but you can use any kind)

½ to 1 onion (or leek)

¼ to ½ of a cauliflower

½ of a broccoli

2 carrots

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup grated cheese

100 g diced ham or bacon (optional)

Pumpkin seeds (optional)

The pasta in this is optional.  If you prefer you could omit it and have this as a vegetable bake.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Fill and boil the kettle.  While the kettle boils dice onion, roughly chop cauliflower and broccoli (make it as large or small as you need to get it past the fussy eaters in your house), slice carrots.

Put the boiling water in a large pot and add pasta, cook in accordance to the packet instructions.  If you have a steamer pot that matches this pot, put the vegetables into this, cover and steam over the pasta as it boils.  If you don’t have a steamer pot, just use a sieve or colander in the same manner.

As the pasta boils and the vegetables steam, make a quick cheese sauce in the microwave.

Put butter in a microwave save dish (at least 1L capacity) and melt (takes about 15-30 seconds depending on microwave).  Remove melted butter from the microwave and stir through the flour, to make a butter and flour paste consistency.  Add the milk and stir well.  Check the butter and flour is not sticking to the corner of the dish. 

Put in the microwave on high for 3 ½ minutes.  Remove three times throughout the cooking period and stir well.  When the time is up, remove and stir through the cheese.  If it becomes too think to comfortably stir through the vegetables later, add a small amount of extra milk.  Aim for a similar consistency to yoghurt or custard.

Grease a large oven proof dish (of a suitable size to take the pasta, vegetables and sauce).  Remove the pasta and vegetables from the heat and drain well.  Put in the oven proof dish.  Add the bacon or ham if using.  Pour cheese sauce through and stir until the pasta and vegetables are well covered.  Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.