Macaroni and cheese (better known in student terms as the beloved Kraft Dinner) is something that most people my age can’t live without. I am no different, and sometimes experience cheesy pasta cravings so violent that I don’t know what to do with myself. As much as I love good ol’ KD, I thought I’d expand on the classical student meal of choice and try Canadian Living’s most recent twist on the original. I made an adaptation of the recipe, the original of which can be found in the January edition of the magazine. The dish is appropriately located under the “hearty foods to go” section – the perfect section for a busy student who is always on the run and in dire need of a quick and delicious foodie fix.
I’ve only ever tried two forms of macaroni and cheese in my life (KD and my mom’s), so I am by no means any sort of m&c expert. All I know is that this recipe was SO satisfying, cheesy and wonderful. I believe that the more varieties of cheese a recipe contains, the better. This m&c had romano, feta and mozzarella (I replaced an un-locate-able provolone cheese with the latter, and I suppose the middle cheese is what makes this baby Greek-styled). This dish had all the right ingredients for a wonderful meal, including the crispy cheese bits that can only come once something has been baked in the oven for a heavenly amount of time. All the cheese, combined with the texture of the breadcrumbs, make this recipe my go-to choice whenever I get those killer m&c cravings in the future. Also, the spinach added a nice green touch to this dish, and extra vitamins are always a plus.
Finally, this mac and cheese mercifully allowed me to use up some of the MASSIVE amounts of dry pasta I have taking up 1/3 of my small student pantry space. When my family came to visit me in the summer, my mom brought me bags upon bags of all sorts of pasta, which have since been partially neglected. I happily obliged when this recipe told me to use up (almost) the rest of my Scoobi doo noodles (yes, they’re a thing!) that I had leftover from this other cheesy pasta dish I made back in September.
For any other students out there, this one makes loads of leftovers which are perfect for packaging up and carrying to school. I’m doing this thing where I buy as little food as possible on campus, so leftovers that last me for an entire week (especially when they’re as good as this) are always welcome.
See my adaptation of the CL recipe after the pictures!
Greek-Style Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Canadian Living, January 2011
– 1 bag (250 g/8 oz) fresh baby spinach
– 1/3 cup butter, melted
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 1 clove of garlic, minced
– 1 tsp. dried oregano
– 2 tbsp all purpose flour
– 2 tsp dijon mustard
– 2 1/2 cups of milk
– 1/8 tsp each salt, pepper and nutmeg
– 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
– 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
– 1 cup romano cheese, grated
– 3 cups of Scoobi doo pasta
– 3/4 cups dried bread crumbs
In a large pot, cook spinach with 2 tbsp of water over medium heat, stirring often until wilted. Transfer to sieve and press out moisture. On a non-stick skillet, melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Cook onion until soft. Add garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and add mustard. In small amounts, pour milk, stirring with each addition. Let the sauce thicken, about 6 minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the mozzarella, romano and 2/3 cup of the feta cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta and return to pot. Stir in your cheese mixture and add spinach. Transfer to greased baking dish (I used two round pyrex bowls, but you can basically use whatever dish fits). Combine bread crumbs with remaining melted butter and sprinkle combination over pasta. Top with remaining feta cheese. Bake in the oven at 375°F until bubbly and golden, about 30 minutes. Makes 5-ish servings (the “ish” is because I’ve factored in feeding a roommate and packaging up an enormous amount for school).
Freeze the leftovers or keep them in the fridge to duplicate the delicious lunches I’ve been eating all week!