Spinach Mac 'n Cheese

>> Thursday, November 7, 2013

I finally found my camera charger (!!!), as evidenced by the quality shots from yesterday's roasted apple for 1 recipe. However, we're sliding backward today with a INSTA-dinner recipe inspired by last month's delicious Curried Delicata Mac 'n Cheese. We've been making this comfort dish every week, so it was time to tweak it to starve off boredom.

I'm always amazed at how an entire container of spinach purees down to this:


// PUREE INSTRUCTIONS

I just bought one of those large bins of baby spinach at Wegmans and then placed it all in a large pot with about 1/4 cup boiling water. You can use other greens if you like -- you'll likely have to change up the spices + salt if you use, say, kale which is much more bitter.

Anyway, I covered the pot for a minute and then mixed the greens a few times until everything had wilted. I poured the entire contents of the pot -- yes, water and all -- into my food processor and blended until smooth. In all, it made just about 2 cups of radioactive-looking sludge.

Hmmmm. Maybe I should use another word for sludge?


SPINACH MAC 'N CHEESE
Serves 4-6, or dinner for 2-3 for 2 nights!

What you'll need . . .
  • 2 cups spinach puree, instructions above
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mixed bag)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup milk (soy milk is delicious), unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or more depending on your preference
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon butter or Earth Balance
  • 16 ounces elbow or shell pasta
  • breadcrumbs, whole wheat
 Method . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch square baking dish or a 2-1/2 quart round and set aside.
  2. Start a pot of water to cook your pasta. Just cook it al dente, around 8 or 9 minutes.
  3. While your pasta cooks, combine your puree, cheeses, milk, and seasonings in a small pot over low heat. Mix until totally combined. You may adjust it with more/less milk as desired. Ours was around the consistency of thin fondue.
  4. Then drain the pasta, put the tablespoon of butter or Earth Balance back into the pot, return the pasta too -- toss and pour your cheese mixture over top. 
  5. Mix gently. Then slowly pour the egg in while whisking so it doesn't cook unevenly. Add more spice if you like.
  6. Cover with breadcrumbs -- the more the better, in my opinion.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake another 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

I think I should have posted this recipe for Halloween. It sure looks spooky. But the spinach and garlic make it taste delicious + each serving boasts a ton of veggies. Of course now my mind is wandering to ideas like PESTO mac 'n cheese, which I'm sure I'll be making in the near future. This recipe is kid tested + approved, too.

More unexpected greens: Green Smoothies + Green Pancakes + Green Waffles + Green Oats.

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