I almost called this recipe “Mac & Cheese for Mom’s Peace of Mind” because I came up with it for Alex. I’m finding it challenging to hit all of the major food groups, but this dish makes it easy.
Macaroni & Cheese Plus
Serves 6 to 8
8 oz. dried whole wheat elbow macaroni or other short pasta
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 cups milk (I use whole milk since I give this to Alex)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 cup shredded Gouda cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups chopped spinach
1 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook the pasta according the package directions. (I like to heavily salt the water when cooking whole wheat pasta.) Drain and set aside.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cooked until browned, stirring frequently to crumble. Drain the meat and set aside.
4. In a large pot (I use the pasta pot), melt the butter and add the garlic. Cook for one minute and the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for two to three minutes, or until thickened. Stir in the cheeses until melted. Add the ground beef, spinach and carrot. Stir until everything is mixed well.
5. Pour the mixture into a 13×9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the panko evenly over the top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly.