There's some foods that I wish could be entrees. Like cheesecake, could we please work together to find a way to justify eating that for dinner?
The other night I really wanted some spinach artichoke dip. I was going to make it for dinner and justify doing so by serving it up with grilled chicken and veggies (you know, to keep things healthy). But then I realized that I still hadn't eaten any macaroni and cheese since Harper got over her dairy intolerance. And that's when a moment of beautiful inspiration struck me - why not marry the two and make spinach artichoke macaroni n' cheese?
Some other time we can have a serious talk about how it's weird that I find pasta "beautifully inspiring."
Today, we have macaroni n' cheese to make, people!
Start off by making a roux: melt butter in a saucepan then whisk in flour and keep whisking for a few minutes to cook off the floury taste.
Then pour in milk. If you wanted to throw caution to the wind you could use half & half instead.
Tip: the secret to a creamy macaroni n' cheese sauce is keeping the temperature pretty low. If the milk gets too hot, it will cause the cheese to get grainy when you add it in. Turn your burner so that it's on a high simmer and you'll be good to go.
This is all the yummy goodness that's going into our sauce: spinach, roughly chopped artichokes, monterey jack cheese, green onions and cream cheese.
Throw it all into the milk mixture and as soon as the cheese has melted, turn off the heat.
Pour the sauce onto a pound of cooked pasta. Use whatever shape pasta you have on hand. Mine was a whole wheat penne.
Top with a bit of grated parmesan cheese before serving.
Heaven bless the person who invented mac n' cheese. Amen.
Spinach Artichoke Macaroni n' Cheese
1 lb. pasta
4 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups milk
1 6oz. jar marinated artichokes, roughly chopped
1/2 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz. cream cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot, boil pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan on a high simmer, melt butter. Whisk in flour and garlic powder. Cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes. Pour in milk and stir until thickened. Add in a bit of salt and pepper along with the remaining ingredients - keep the heat low to avoid overheating the cheese! As soon as the cheese has melted, remove the pan from the heat.
Drain pasta and pour cheese sauce over it; toss until evenly-coated. Season again with salt and pepper. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Enjoy!