Cheese sauce transforms everyday vegetables into a dish suitable to serve to guests of all ages. It also adds enough creamy texture and comforting cheesy flavor to convince veggie-resistant kids to eat their broccoli and cauliflower. You can steam your vegetables and make the cheese sauce in a just a few minutes using the microwave. To make a cheese sauce, you will first need to make a white or béchamel sauce, into which the cheese of your choice can be melted.
Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower
Wash the vegetables under running water.
Cut off the tough ends of the stems of the broccoli. If the stems are woody, peel them.
Cut the cauliflower into florets about the same size as your broccoli florets.
Place the vegetables in a large, microwave-safe bowl, positioning the florets in the middle of the bowl with their stems sticking out toward the bowl's edges.
Cover the bowl with the vented lid and microwave the vegetables on "High" for eight to 12 minutes or until you can easily pierce the broccoli stems and cauliflower florets with a fork.
Remove the bowl from the microwave.
Microwave margarine or butter in a bowl until it melts or about 30 seconds.
Gently mix in the flour and salt and stir well. Heat the mixture for one minute.
Stir the milk slowly into the mixture. Mix the resulting white sauce until it is smooth.
Microwave the white sauce for two minutes.
Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the sauce until it is smooth and creamy.
Add the shredded cheese and stir the mixture some more. The more cheese you add, the stronger the flavor will be, but the sauce will become gooey if you add more than 1 cup of cheese.
Return the sauce to the microwave and heat it on 50 percent power for half a minute.
Stir the thickened cheese sauce until it is smooth and consistent in texture, then pour it over the broccoli and cauliflower.
You can use this same cheese sauce to top potatoes, nachos or elbow macaroni for macaroni and cheese.
Make a thicker or thinner sauce by adding equal amounts of more or less flour and butter, respectively.
Add 1/4 tsp. mustard, a few drops of hot pepper sauce or a little salsa to your cheese to change its flavor. You can also vary the flavor by adding different types of cheese. Experiment with white cheddar, jack, feta, American, provolone, Swiss, Havarti or any of your favorites.
Make the sauce richer by using whole milk or lighter by using skim milk.