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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 water to a boil. 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.
Combine vegetables and water chestnuts and 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.