I know that I have been MIA lately. To provide full disclosure on the subject: I have honestly been much more interested in ordering pizza and watching the Olympics than lighting a fire in the kitchen. I am no avid sports fan, much to my husband’s dismay. However, I love the Olympics, particularly the Winter Olympics. When I was younger I used to dance around my parents’ house pretending to be a figure skater. In fact I did it in my own house just the other night as I was demonstrating to my husband the intricacies in identifying different skating jumps. Anyone want to see a single loop jump done on carpet?
While Sundays are typically my marathon cooking days, I awoke early today and had a jam-packed day including an excellent Pilates class, an airport run, and a delicious dinner at my parents’ house. I still managed to squeak in one recipe to make some food for a dinner or two this week.
My sister first introduced me to this recipe over a year ago. She started making this for her son when he first began eating whole foods. She made it with regular gouda cheese (instead of smoked), but she sold it on me either way. This is a mac ‘n’ cheese that you can feel good about. For the record, Cooking Light states that it has 399 calories per 1 ¼ cup serving size. It is packed full of spinach and the cream sauce is made with fat-free milk. Although the recipe calls for regular macaroni pasta, I use multigrain pasta, such as Barilla Plus. The cheese adds smoky flavor to this vegetarian dish. I use breadcrumbs sparingly in this dish, and I think that they could be omitted altogether.
Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese
(From Cooking Light, March 2003)
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/3 cup (about 1 ½ ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
5 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure ½ cup.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 2 minutes). Add cheeses; stir until melted. Add spinach and macaroni to cheese sauce, stirring until well blended.
Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until bubbly.