Mac, Cheese, Spinach, & Peas

August 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm Leave a comment

Since I  first posted my recipe for mac and peas, I’ve made a lot of changes. I’ve found, for example, that that tossing the pasta with the butter and flour, rather than layering it on top, makes for a creamier/thicker sauce. I’ve also given in and added more cheese to the recipe, since I always ended up adding extra to the top anyway….

I also made a major change to the vegetable content of the casserole. I originally added peas because BF loves them, but as much as I tried to love mac and peas, I kind of hated having those sweet little interlopers bursting every time I took a bite. I decided to try only puting peas in one half of the casserole (for him), and used fresh spinach (my favorite vegetable) on the other half.  It was a great way to add some veggie interest without those peas popping every time I took a bite. BF ate from the pea side, and I ate from the spinach side, and both of us were happy!

So, here’s our new favorite version of this recipe. Follow my instructions to make a casserole with half spinach and half peas. If you aren’t as picky as we are, you could double the amount of spinach and peas and use them throughout the whole casserole instead.

Mac and Cheese with Spinach and Peas

Ingredients:

– 1 lb whole wheat elbow pasta
– About 1 cup frozen peas
– About 1 cup fresh baby spinach
– 2 cloves garlic
-2.5 cups 2% milk
-3 tbsp butter
-3 tbsp flour
–  3.5 cups shredded cheese (we like using combinations of cheddar, colby jack, gruyere, Swiss, and parmesan, depending on what’s available)
– ½ c whole wheat breadcrumbs (ish – I just eyeballed this)
– 2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp mustard powder
-Black pepper (approximately 1/2 tsp)

Materials: 

– Big baking dish (my 4 qt dish had plenty of room)
– Garlic press (or a cutting board and knife)
– 2 medium prep bowls (1 to hold your cheese, another to hold flour, salt, pepper, and mustard)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease the baking dish with a little butter or olive oil.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water to where you would normally give it another minute or two, and drain in a colander.
  3. While pasta is cooking, combine flour, salt, pepper, and mustard in a prep bowl and mix well. Press garlic into the flour mixture and mix well.
  4. Return drained pasta to the pot and add 1 tbsp of butter; mix until coated. Add the flour mixture and stir until pasta is coated pretty evenly.
  5. Layer one-third of the pasta into the bottom of the baking dish, On one side of the casserole, top the noodles with a single layer of spinach leaves; on the other half, top generously with frozen peas.
  6. Fleck the casserole with about one-third of the remaining butter, and then pour about one-third of the milk over the casserole. Sprinkle with one-third of the cheese.
  7. Layer another one-third of the pasta on top of the cheese, then repeat the layer of spinach and peas.
  8. Fleck with another one-third of the butter, pour another one-third of the milk over the casserole, and top with just under half of the remaining cheese.
  9. Layer the rest of the pasta on top, then top with another layer of spinach and peas. Pour the remaining milk over the top of the casserole.
  10.  Layer the rest of the cheese on top, then top with a layer of breadcrumbs and fleck with the remaining butter.
  11. Bake around 30 minutes, till the casserole is bubbling and the top is browned. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
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Entry filed under: casserole, cheese, pasta, recipes, spinach, vegetarian.

Link: Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe Link: Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta Recipe

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About

This is a cooking blog by someone who is not particularly good at cooking. I'm a lazy person who aspires to make simple, awesome, healthy food at home.

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