One of the great things about holidays is the extra time for things that get neglected when I'm stressed and busy - like cooking! Since it's actually been cold in central Texas, I wanted to make something familiar and filling. I usually cruise Vegetarian Times or Cooking Light when I'm not using one of my cookbooks, and in my searching I found Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese.
I followed the recipe exactly, but next time I would add more cheese, and skip the brown rice bread crumbs I accidentally bought in favor of real, crunchy ones.
This recipe was easy:
- 1 (1-ounce) slice whole wheat bread
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fat-free milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese - but I'll be using more next time
- 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 5 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
- 4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
- Cooking spray
1) Preheat oven to 350°.
2) Place bread in a food processor, and pulse until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. (or just buy a canister of bread crumbs).
3) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 1 minute.
4) Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended.
5) Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 2 minutes).
6) Add cheeses; stir until melted.
7) Add spinach and cooked macaroni to cheese sauce, stirring until well blended.
8) Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until bubbly.
Lennon also suggested sprinkling shredded cheese on the top with the breadcrumbs. Basically, we are of the philosophy: "the more cheese the better."
I like it when I feel like I'm getting my vegetables without having to make a salad. Although, the leftover Gouda cheese would be delicious cubed and added to a salad. That is, if you can refrain from eating all of it before you're finished making the recipe. I love Gouda cheese. I also like that it comes wrapped in red wax just like all the cheeses in the Netherlands, and I used to live there.
Of course I looked just like this while cooking - wearing a sparkling white apron with my wedge espadrilles in a sizable kitchen and my size 2 waist.
Ok, so I'm lying. My kitchen is a size 2 and my waist is the thing that's becoming sizable, but at least that's a testament that my food is good. Lennon almost ate the whole two quart dish of pasta, and I had to stop him so I'd have leftovers for lunch the next day. Let's hope he and I never have sons, we'll be broke.