Strolling through Costco the other day, my one-year-old daughter and I passed by the bulk pack of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Immediately, she shouts “noodles” at the top of her lungs and attempts to dive out of the shopping cart, lunging toward the macaroni.
I put her and the box of mac & cheese securely in our cart and chuckled a bit to myself as we continued down the aisle. I can definitely relate to her reaction- who doesn’t love some classic macaroni and cheese?
While we often buy the blue box stuff, sometimes it’s fun to mix up the standard mac & cheese and give it a healthy, homemade twist. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, I thought my daughter might enjoy a green mac & cheese.
She was excited to devour these “green noodles” (as she calls them), made with quality ingredients like whole grain noodles and spinach, and full of color and flavor that surely appeals to the younger crowd.
- 1 box (12oz,) whole grain noodles (I recommend a thicker-style noodle, such as spirals, elbows, shells, or ziti)
- 1 package Mac and Cheese Blend shredded cheese (I have found this at both Target and Food Lion. If you can’t find it at your store, any cheddar blend will work. I have also made this with 6-Cheese Italian Blend for an Italian twist-delicious!)
- 1 package frozen spinach
- 1½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook spinach according to package directions.
2. Cook pasta in boiling water, according to package directions.
3. In a blender or food processor, combine milk, ½ cup of the cooked spinach, garlic powder, nutmeg, and salt/pepper. Puree until completely blended and smooth.
4. In a sauté pan over medium/medium-low heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour.
5. Slowly pour in milk-spinach mixture, whisking constantly. Allow sauce to thicken slightly.
6. Add cheese, one small handful at a time, whisking in a figure-8 motion until the cheese has dissolved into the sauce.
7. Adjust seasoning as desired.
8. Combine sauce and noodles and serve. (Tip: I would add sauce one ladle-full at a time to the noodles so your noodles won’t drown in too much sauce)
Extra sauce can be frozen for future use. I usually freeze it in ice cube trays, creating individual 1oz. servings of sauce. Then, I will simply microwave a few cubes to top a quick side serving of pasta or even vegetables!
Melissa is a Communication Studies graduate of Clemson University. She recently traded in her human resources job for the best and most challenging career of all, being a stay-at-home mom. She loves coffee, cooking, crafting, and watching football. Melissa is also a former National Champion baton twirler and currently teaches baton lessons and judges baton twirling competitions across the nation. She recently launched the Honeybee Homemaker blog about her faith, family, and fun kitchen endeavors.