Ready, Set, Cook! Special Edition Contest Entry: This recipe is a delicious little bowl of comfort food, and an ideal family meal for so many reasons: Inexpensive, simple to prepare, packed full of vitamins and minerals, and positively tasty!
Begin by preparing the gravy: heat 2 Tbs. butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add red onion, garlic and carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomato, and cook for another 3 minutes. Pour in equal parts vegetable stock and whole milk, then turn up heat to high. As the mixture comes to a boil, add the spinach, peas and broccoli. While still boiling, whisk in the flour gradually.
Reduce heat so that the gravy is moderately but constantly simmering. Stir in the seasoning (thyme, oregano, black and cayenne pepper) and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Ladle out about 1/4 cup of gravy and very gradually whisk it (by small spoonfuls) in with the egg yolk. This gradual heating up prevents the egg yolk from cooking too quickly when added to the gravy. Once your egg yolk mixture is ready, stir into gravy, followed by the soy sauce. I recommend about 5 tablespoons of light soy sauce, however it may vary depending on personal taste.
Let the gravy continue to simmer and thicken (the thicker, the better!) as you prepare the mashed potatoes. To prepare potatoes, peel back plastic at the corner of the package and heat on high for 3 minutes in the container. Remove plastic and stir, then continue to microwave for 1 minute. When potatoes are ready, season them with salt and pepper. Grease a large (at least 10" x 13" and 2" deep) casserole dish. Pour the mashed potatoes into the dish and smooth out into one even layer, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Pour gravy over the potatoes, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes (check frequently after 20 minutes to ensure that the cheese does not burn), then remove from heat and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes.