Day 313: Veggie Samosas, Leek & Potato Soup, Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese (with pureed veg)

Mac+%26+Cheese+with+sweet+potatoes Day 313: Veggie Samosas, Leek & Potato Soup, Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese (with pureed veg)

Dinner tonight in A’s basement in front of the hockey game. (A different A from the Didsbury A of last night.) It was a toss-together of whatever we had in our fridges – I needed to get rid of the last of the milk and cheese, and she made a pot of chunky leek and potato soup and cooked up some frozen veggie samosas from Costco that reminded me how much I love samosas, even veggie samosas from Costco. Have I posted a recipe for them? Not the Costco ones – from-scratch samosas using frozen hash browns and peas? They are actually dead easy to make, albeit a little time-consuming. But so worth it, especially if you have some chutney around. It would be fun to have a samosa bee, where a group of like-minded eaters made big batches of them assembly-line style. Or I could always go to Costco.

Alison%27s+potato+leek+soup Day 313: Veggie Samosas, Leek & Potato Soup, Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese (with pureed veg)

A made the soup with a big ‘ol leek in her fridge, some potatoes, peeled and chopped, and stock, tarragon, and a handful of fresh spinach stirred in at the end. She left it all chunky and it was wonderful eaten out of wide fish-adorned soup bowls with crusty bread from the market.

Considering the fact that a gaggle (or clutch? herd? swarm? did you know it’s actually called a gulp of cormorants and an implausibility of gnus?) of young boys would be in attendance, I turned the milk and cheese into a batch of mac & cheese, using whole wheat rotini and a simple cheese sauce (cook equal parts butter and flour to a thick paste, whisk in milk until bubbly and thick, stir in grated cheese) into which I stirred a couple jars of baby food sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a sweet and relatively benign flavour, as do cauliflower (which you can’t get in baby food form) and squash, and so you can stir some into mac & cheese and no one will see or taste the difference. I keep a few jars on the shelf for cheese sauce occasions – you could even add a jar to a package of KD and it would just come out looking cheesier. Not that kids shouldn’t eat their vegetables in their natural state, but hey – every bit helps.

(Those Canton beans, by the way, are available at the following retailers:
The beans are available at the following outlets across Canada: Metro, Sobeys, Wal-Mart, Loblaws, Boucheries, London Drugs (!!), Thrifty’s, Overwaitea/Save on Foods.)

Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese with Veg

These measurements are flexible – I admit to never measuring when I make mac & cheese – you just get a feel for it. The only thing that really needs to work out is the white sauce – add milk to the roux (butter and flour) and when it bubbles it’s as thick as it’s going to get; if it’s too thin, add a bit more flour and bring back to a bubble. If it’s too thick, add extra milk. The kind of cheese you add and the amount is really up to you. If you want to forego the crumb topping, you could always sprinkle the top with a little grated cheese and bake it until it’s bubbly around the edges and golden on top.

1/2 lb. whole wheat rotini, small shells or other pasta
Salt
3-4 Tbsp. butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
3-4 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups grated old cheddar cheese, or any combination of cheeses you have in the fridge
1/2-1 cup pureed cooked cauliflower, sweet potatoes or squash or 2 jars pureed baby food

Bread Crumb Topping (optional):
1-2 slices bread (preferably whole wheat), torn into pieces
2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil or melted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until it’s tender but not mushy. Drain well in a colander and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the empty pot (no need to wash it out), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir well with a whisk, cooking for a minute or so until the mixture starts to turn golden. Stir in the milk and bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. The sauce must reach a full boil in order for the flour to reach its full thickening potential. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture is nice and thick.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese until it melts. Stir in the vegetable puree, if you’re using it. Add salt to taste, then stir in the drained pasta. If you want a bread crumb topping, pulse the bread, butter and Parmesan in a food processor until the bread turns to crumbs and the mixture is well blended. Pour the macaroni and cheese into an appropriately sized baking dish and top with the bread crumbs or additional cheese. (It can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated in the baking dish; sprinkle with the crumb mixture or cheese right before you bake it.) Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the topping is golden and it’s bubbly around the edges.
Serves 6, more if there are kids.

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November 08 2008 11:01 pm | pasta and soup and vegetarian

9 Responses to “Day 313: Veggie Samosas, Leek & Potato Soup, Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese (with pureed veg)”

  1. Amber on 09 Nov 2008 at 8:00 am #

    Beans are good, even better when they are free! Thanks Julie

  2. Theresa on 09 Nov 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    The potato and leek soup looks wonderful. Is there cream or milk in it?
    Thanks!
    PS love your blog…always get good ideas. I am making the pork tenderloin tonight.

  3. Elaine on 09 Nov 2008 at 2:08 pm #

    stirring pureed cauliflower into the mac n’ cheese is a fantastic idea–it makes the whole ‘craving for a guilty comfort food’ thing so much easier to justify.

  4. Nancy on 09 Nov 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    I made your lentil, mushroom and pecan burgers tonight. I have made many of you recipes and all of them have turned out beautifully–I’m not sure what I did wrong here! Flavour was really good but they were still kind of soft in the middle despite flipping and re-flipping. Suggestions?

  5. JulieVR on 09 Nov 2008 at 6:34 pm #

    yes – they are rather soft in the middle. I don’t mind it! I like them crispy on the outside, soft in the middle.

  6. Avery from the block on 09 Nov 2008 at 10:14 pm #

    Weird… we rarely make it, but at the supermarket today we picked up all the ingredients to make mac n’ cheese sometime this week… and here you go and provide the recipe. Thanks Julie!

  7. RMB on 10 Nov 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    I would love your recipe for Samosas as I also love them. If fact, when I read what you ate, my first thought was “Yay, a recipe for Samosas from Julie!” and I was disappointed that there wasn’t one. Please make them soon!

    I love getting together with friends and making up batches of whatever.

  8. Anita on 22 Nov 2008 at 3:23 am #

    I frequent your site often and love your breakfast bean cookies and granola. I too would love to have a recipe for samosas.

  9. Mostly Hot Chocolate and Sugar Cookies | dinner with Julie on 07 Nov 2009 at 7:30 am #

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