Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pastaholic Satisfaction

You should know by now that a pastaholic like me is going to find a way to make macaroni and cheese healthier. The problem is, every time I have tried, well, let's just say that I was starting to believe that I would have to substitute taste for health. (Isn't that how it usually goes?). Let's be honest. Eating healthy has lots of benefits, but every once in a while, you just need something gooey, cheesy, and full of guilty pleasure. It's like Willy Wonka without a chocolate factory. And you just can't have that. So, despite it all, I decided to go for it. THIS I like. THIS I will eat again. THIS even my children ate. Yes, spinach and all. I am going to call this masterpiece Triple Cheese Macaroni Florentine Casserole. Yep, big words for such an easy dish. I served this as a side dish, but I would definitely make it for company, and as a main course (vegan* alert!).

  • 1 13.5 oz package uncooked whole wheat blend rotini noodles
  • 1 13.5 oz can leaf spinach, drained
  • 1 10.75 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c 2% milk
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 c colby/monterey jack cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp light Country Crock butter
  • 1/4 can water
  • parsley (optional, for garnishment)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water with a capful of EVOO to a boil. Add rotini and cook as directed on package. Drain and pour noodles on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the garlic, letting it get soft, but do not burn. Add the shallot and let saute in the butter. Reduce heat to medium, pour cheeses and milk in the saucepan, leaving 1 c of colby/monterey jack to the side for topping.
3. Stir cheese blend consistently until it begins melting. Add in soup and 1/4 can of water, stir until it is well blended. Add in spinach and blend. Continue cooking the cheese blend, stir occasionally, until it has a creamy consistency. Pour over noodles, blend until noodles are well coated.
4. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over the top, and garnish with dried parsley flakes. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

*This is NOT a strict vegetarian side. It contains dairy products.


bcv0524 said...

Made this last night and it was DELICIOUS!!! I ate it re-heated for lunch today and it was still just as good :) I am loving this one and it really is sooo easy, but doesn't have that "so-easy" type taste! I will definitely be making this one again. We had it as our main course, but it would be great as a side or as a pot-luck dish as well! Can't say enough great things...YUMMY!!!

Anonymous said...

You mentioned "vegan alert"... but the cream of mushroom soup plus all of the cheese kicks it out of that category. It sounds like a great vegetarian meal though!

Messy Me said...

I will make note of that, thanks to the anonymous poster!