Adding spinach and artichokes to regular macaroni and cheese makes this Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese hearty enough even for the most die hard meat eaters.
This week, I was awoken at around 2 in the morning by the most splitting headache I’ve had in a long time. My first thought was the go take something for the pain, but we don’t have anything on the top floor for pain. Why not? I lay there pondering the why not and that I would resolve to bring a small bottle of ibuprofen up from the main floor. So, instead of getting up, going downstairs, and taking something, I desperately tried to go back to sleep hoping it would go away.
Yeah. That didn’t happen.
Later on that morning, the alarm went off, I felt like utter S, and I realized there’s no way I can call in sick. The only other person in my office that knows how to process the quarter finance reports is also out of the office. So, there was, cold sweats, nausea, and throbbing head wish, hoping, PRAYING for the pain to go away so I wouldn’t hurl or pass out.
Have you had days like this? I truly hope not.
On days like this I crave comfort food. Foods like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese. None of which are workday friendly; at least not for us and our commute. And none of which are migraine friendly. Honestly. NOTHING is migraine friendly.
Except nuts. Nuts are migraine friendly. Have you tried that? Noshing on nuts when you have a migraine headache? There’s something about nuts – I usually nibble on pistachios; the harder the better – that helps with a migraine. I don’t know why, but I heard a commercial for a home remedy book decades ago and one of the highlights was nuts for a migraine. So, when I started getting them or headaches that had migraine like symptoms, I started using that trick. And, for me, it works!
I didn’t make this dish on the day that all this happened. We made frozen pizza when all this happened. I was totally drained and had no energy to make anything more than a glass of soda for dinner. But this dish. This dish didn’t take too long to prep. The longest time is waiting for the casserole to get acquainted in the oven.
And get acquainted they did! I don’t know about you, but I think artichoke hearts are awesome. Artichokes and spinach? Even more awesome! Now, add some macaroni and cheese and it’s a dinner that’s deliciously hearty no matter what type of day you’ve had.
Grab a fork. I know you want to just dive in to that delicious goodness. That golden brown edge, the green of the spinach and artichokes, and the stringy, cheesy goodness; it’s a meal I couldn’t wait to dive into, either. It had all the flavors of a delicious macaroni and cheese for grown ups complete with non-kid friendly vegetables. Unless you’re kids are really good and eat spinach and artichokes. I didn’t.
But I did eat a lot of macaroni and cheese growing up. Hardly ever from the box though. That iconical blue box was rarely in our pantry or cupboards. We always made a quick and easy, stove top macaroni and cheese. Rarely was it every baked, too. For me, all my memories of macaroni and cheese involve being served from a pot. Sometimes it was saucy, sometimes it was really cheesy; but always from a pot.
But now that it’s my kitchen, and my macaroni and cheese, I’ve started baking some in the oven. I love those crispy, browned edges that form when you bake it in the oven. Now, my next step is to put some crispy topping of some description on the casserole to get the completely crispy, cheesy experience.
What’s your favorite way to make macaroni and cheese? Topped or not? Baked or not? Favorite cheese, noodles, and flavors?
- 8 ounces giant elbow macaroni (or other short pasta)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 10 ounces frozen spinach
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts
- 1 cup fat free milk
- 1/2 cup fat free half and half
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded, fat free mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta, and cook until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté one minute before adding the spinach and artichoke hearts. Sauté until heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the milk, cream, Asiago cheese, and Italian spices. Simmer until thickened; about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir it into the spinach mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the pasta mixture into a 9 x 13 casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Top with the mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool slightly before serving.