Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon margarine or vegetable oil spread
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1¼ cups fat-free milk
7 individually wrapped slices 2% milk cheddar cheese (about 4½ ounces total), torn into bite-size pieces
1 medium fresh jalapeño chile pepper, thinly sliced (see Tip)
½ teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1 (16 ounce) package peeled fresh baby carrots
3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
Lightly coat a 2-quart oval or rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°F.
For cheese sauce, in a medium saucepan melt margarine over medium heat. Add oil. Whisk in flour until dissolved. Whisk in milk. Cook and whisk until thickened and bubbly. Add torn cheese slices; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Stir in sliced chile pepper, salt and, if desired, black pepper.
In a Dutch oven bring 5 cups water to boiling. Add carrots; cook for 4 minutes (water may not return to boiling). Add broccoli and cauliflower. Cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes more. Drain in a colander set in a sink. In the Dutch oven combine vegetables and water chestnuts. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. Top with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle panko on top of the vegetables; coat with cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, cheese sauce is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
Tip: Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn your skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If your bare hands do touch the peppers, wash your hands and nails well with soap and warm water. For a milder dish, remove membranes and seeds from the chile pepper.