Fresh Spinach Mac ‘n Cheese

It’s time to prepare dinner, again!, and I’ve got you covered.  Spinach Mac ‘n Cheese shares all the gooey comfort of mac ‘n cheese but also lends a healthful boost with the addition of two bags of fresh, baby spinach.  It’s easy to prepare, too, and I’m all about that.  Since we rarely eat beef, I tell myself it’s okay to have some cheese.  But I’m not here to discuss vegetarianism.  I’ve got to get dinner on the table.  Any shape of pasta works in this dish, however, it tastes best when prepared with a shape of pasta that has nooks and crannies for the cheese sauce to ooze into until it hits your waiting mouth.  It’s such a yummy dinner and the leftovers, if there are any, are just as good.  I’m trying, during this pandemic where we’re all inside trapped like rats, to stagger my dinners and alternate between healthful meals and healthful trashy mealPres.  I think it’s pretty plain where this meal falls.  You see, until this past Sunday, it’s been just my husband and me but our son has now joined us at home.  That means mama’s precious angel is home.  Yay!  That also means mama’s gotta feed her little man.  I mean, we eat cleanly but my boy is NOT going to say, “Gosh, Mama.  You’re the best!” when he sees we’re having grilled asparagus and margaritas for dinner.  Well, maybe he’d be okay with the margaritas but he would take a red hot poker to the eye before he touched the asparagus.  Anyway, this dish is an all-around pleaser.  Let me tell you, the panko on top gets all golden and crunchy.  This is pure awesomeness.  Try it.  You’ll use up some of that pasta you loaded up on last time you were at the Dixie!

Spinach Mac 'n Cheese

  • Servings: 6-8 with leftovers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 6-ounce bags baby spinach
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, if you’re a bit short you can mix whole, evaporated and reduced fat milk.  A little water is okay to mix with the milk as long as you have 2 1/2 cups.  These are weird times.  It’s all okay.
  • 12 ounces extra sharp cheddar, freshly grated.  If you only have already grated bags they’ll do but hand grated makes all the difference.
  • 8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, regular bread crumbs are fine but panko crusts up beautifully
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Cover a 9×13 inch pan or 3 1/2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta in well salted water according to package directions.  Do not overcook.
  3. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large, high-sided skillet.
  4. Add onion and cook until softened over medium heat, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Slowly add milk, all the while whisking the mixture, until all flour lumps are gone and mixture has thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and add all the cheeses.  Stir until all cheeses have melted.
  8. Add spinach and stir until wilted.
  9. Drain pasta.  Pour pasta into sauce or sauce into pasta, makes no difference.  Stir well, until pasta is completely coated with cheese sauce.
  10. Transfer pasta to casserole dish and top with an even layer of breadcrumbs.
  11. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  12. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

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