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.
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.
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
Keywords: bake entree side cheese pasta American
- 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
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!
~Do you have a schedule/routine for chores?