Spinach Mac & Cheese

by simplylife on January 29, 2014

Saturday chores.  Oh, how I dreaded them growing-up.  My parents did a good job of splitting the chores between my brother and I, even though no matter which half of the chores I was assigned, it somehow was the worse half. ;)

Chores usually consisted of emptying the garbages, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, laundry and unloading the dishwasher.  I always appreciated that my mom allowed us to keep our rooms however we wanted (to a certain extent), but that we had a responsibility to clean the “shared” spaces.  Once we were finished with chores, my mom would walk through to make sure we weren’t just faking it.  Once we got the okay, we were allowed to hang out with friends and frolic through the weekend.

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If I was able to get started on chores early enough, Saturday lunches usually consisted of meeting friends to devour way too many pizza slices and gigantic salad plates at the Pizza Hut buffet, or eating bean burritos and “cinnamon twists” at Taco Bell.  Anyone else?

If, however, I was being lazy and unable to finish my chores by lunchtime, we’d usually make a quick lunch at home to all share.  My favorites were Pasta-Roni, Hot Pockets and Mac & Cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I was fortunate enough to grow-up in a home where homemade meals were a common occurrence; I just didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, and would happily eat half a box of pasta with powdered cheese instead of the leftover homemade soup from last night’s dinner.

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My husband and I now follow a similar pattern.  We usually end-up taking care of our “adult responsibilities” like cleaning, grocery shopping (which I still find a fun “to-do” :) ), running errands, etc. on Saturday mornings, knowing that while we don’t always want to spend a Saturday morning cleaning the sink, taking care of these things can allow us both to really rest and relax for the remainder of the weekend and are just part of adulthood.  On the weekends we can get our errands done quickly, we might grab a quick lunch out together.

However, during the times that we’re still going through our to-do list when our stomach starts to growl, we often reach for a simple and quick lunch.  My favorite thing to grab is leftovers.  I know what the ingredients are, I know I’ll like it, and all I need to do is heat it up.

This Spinach Mac & Cheese is delicious straight out of the oven, but it’s also one of those meals that may actually taste better the following day, especially after you’ve just finished your chores.  The combination of cheddar, gruyere and asiago cheese nearly melts in your mouth.

 

Spinach Mac & Cheese

by Simply Life

Keywords: bake entree side cheese pasta American

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. whole wheat pasta shells
  • 3 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups milk (I used skim)
  • Thyme, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, pinch (or more if you can handle heat!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cheddar
  • 1/2 cup gruyere
  • 1/2 cup asiago
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions.

In large saucepan, whisk together butter and flour over medium heat until well combined. Whisk in milk. Increase to high heat and bring to a boil, while continuing to whisk together. Stir in thyme, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stir in cheeses and mix until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, cheese and spinach. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Place in 8 x 11 casserole dish. Bake about 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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~Do you have a schedule/routine for chores?

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  • itzyskitchen

    Its SO true! My Mom made a meal for us nearly every night…I totally didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I do now. This looks fantastic.

  • yummychunklet

    Great way to make this classic a bit healthier!

  • http://megan-deliciousdishings.blogspot.com/ Megan

    We really need a chore schedule. I definitely had one when I was a kid, but my husband and I just do chores when we’re in the mood to. I think a schedule would be so much more productive! And this mac & cheese looks wonderful!

  • http://www.andreaswellnessnotes.com/ Andrea@WellnessNotes

    We try to get most of our chores done on Saturday morning, too. But I usually do most of our meal prep for the week on Sundays, but I enjoy it (usually).

    The kid loves mac & cheese with spinach. Yours looks delicious!

  • Deepa

    Simply delicious and healthy looking macaroni with cheese. Wonderfully prepared.
    Deepa

  • http://whatisbakinginthebarbershop.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    I am loving this dish!
    The hubs and I don’t have a schedule for chores, but it sure is a great idea!
    And I used to LOVE Hot Pockets. Now I wonder what I was thinking… :-D

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    Mac and cheese is one of my all-time favourite dishes. We usually do the cleaning/chores during the week (Thursday evening sometimes), and then just hang out and cook, etc. on the weekends.

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      That’s a great idea to get the chores done before the weekend!

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/ Bianca Garcia

    Mac and cheese after some chores sound even better :) This looks delicious!

  • decocinasytacones

    Your recipe looks great, I´ve become more and more fond of pasta with veggies….something I hated when I was small.
    Love
    Marialuisa

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Me too!

  • meri

    It took me this post to realize: I’ve mixed spinach with tons of things and made many veggie mix-ins to mac and cheese… but never made spinach mac and cheese. well now I guess the idea is planted :)

  • meri

    hmm I think it ate my comment, which said that I’ve made mac and cheese with lots of veggie mix-ins, and put spinach in tons of things, but never combined those two ideas. silly me! thanks for the prompt :)

  • Choc Chip Uru

    A bit of green never hurt any mac and cheese, this looks delicious :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    http://gobakeyourself.com/

  • http://www.brooklynfarmgirl.com/ Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl

    Mac and cheese are sweet words to my ears, but with adding spinach in? I’m in major love!

  • http://thehappinessinhealth.com/ Jessie

    I know what you mean about enjoying the box of noodles and powdered cheese, even though we had plenty of homemade meals! This spinach mac and cheese would beat any box, any day :)

  • Amy (Savory Moments)

    I love all mac n’ cheeses and this one would be no exception! We usually end up doing most of our chores Sat morning as well — though I’ve been trying to get the one chore a night thing going so we don’t have to do them on the weekends….

  • RVASarah

    Love the recipe!
    How much flour should be used? I see it mentioned in the instructions but not in the ingredients.

  • http://rpsmiles.com/category/latest-news Del Mar Dentist

    Wow! Looks so delicious and easy to do. What do you think are the other veggies that are perfect mix for Mac and Cheese? I’m not really a fan of spinach.

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