The groundhog has spoken; six more weeks of winter. I can’t exactly complain as the West Coast’s winter consists of rainy, 12C temperatures and is actually quite pleasant. I’d take this over crazy snowstorms coming down on the East Coast. To me, what these extra weeks of winter actually means is more hearty food comfort.
Cue mac and cheese.
I have vivid memories of both my parent’s renditions on my favourite meal when I was growing up. Dad kept it simple which meant boiling some pasta with frozen peas, grating cheese and layering it all in a bowl, topping with cheese and putting it in the oven crisp on top. Mom hand made mac and cheese in a way that turns me to Pavlov’s dog. She tells me we’re having it for dinner and I start salivating. It’s a pretty impressive trick. Mom could go all out – homemade cheese sauce that was creamy and hid the pieces of cauliflower and broccoli she sneakily added in. Then, to top it all off, she’d throw in sautéed hotdog pieces, every child’s dream.
I’ll admit that this meal is still one of my favourites, so when I find variations on this classic recipe, I’m hesitant about straying from the original. However, the following recipe passed the test. The elk head-shaped whole wheat pasta I found at IKEA probably gives it bonus points too. I added fresh, minced garlic instead of the garlic powder and rotisserie chicken for an extra protein punch. The result was a recipe I would certainly make again.
Creamy greek yogurt mac and cheese
Recipe courtesy of Cooking a la Mel
- 2 cups elbow pasta (I used whole wheat)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (a sharp cheddar is great)
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions.
- Place the spinach leaves in the bottom of a strainer, and pour the pasta over top to drain and wilt the spinach. Save about ½ cup of the pasta water. Return the cooked macaroni and wilted spinach to the pot.
Add about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to the pot, and stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in the greek yogurt, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy. Stir in the remaining pasta water to thin, if necessary. Serve immediately.