Monday, February 16, 2015

Spinach Mac & Cheese Soup

This soup is one of those omgoodness-I-died-and-went-to-heaven recipes that make you want to keep eating more of it. Or have it for breakfast the next day, which I actually did. And was it ever yummy that morning too! ;)

The recipe is from All Things Mac and Cheese. I think I could live off of the recipes on that website! I’ll be making more of their recipes for sure.

I changed a few things around in this recipe for a few reasons: I used fresh spinach instead of frozen because down here they sell frozen any-kind-of-green-leafy-thing there is, except for spinach. If I’m lucky, sometimes I can find the small boxes of frozen spinach in a store here, whereas up north most stores carry the boxed plus bagged whole and chopped spinach.

The original recipe called for 12 oz. of gouda cheese, and at $9.00 a pound, it was somewhat out of my reach. So, in order to keep it as close to tasting what it would have with the gouda, I substituted sharp cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and some mozzarella for the stringiness.

I also cut down on the butter used for the roux, added black pepper, and nixed the nutmeg. The result was fantastic. Even my sons who aren’t much into spinach loved this soup.

So, enough chit chat; let’s get cooking!

Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

I used rotini because I didn’t have elbow pasta, and frankly, having grown up on mostly elbows and spaghetti pastas, I have always used a variety of shapes in my recipes. Elbows are boring. Now farfalle, conchiglie, rotelle, cavatappi, radiatori…those are FUN pastas! In English, those are bowties, shells, wagon wheels, corkscrews, and um, radiatori. That one means radiators, but I’ve never heard it called anything but radiatori. ;)

While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, pinch the stems from the spinach.

Grate the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses if you need to. I buy my mozzarella cheese already shredded, but my cheddar I buy in two pound blocks.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Using a whisk, mix in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes until bubbling.

Slowly start adding the chicken stock, whisking constantly, until all is added and the broth thickens. Keep the heat medium while doing this.

When it’s thickened, turn the heat down halfway and add the cream cheese in chunks. Blend in with the whisk until the cream cheese is fully melted and mixed in.

Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and simmer for about five minutes.

Now throw in the pasta and heat for a few minutes.  Well, okay, don’t throw it in. ;)

Turn off the heat and add the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, stirring, until just barely mixed in.

And serve it up to see the smiles and hear happy noises from your family. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Spinach Mac & Cheese Soup

9 oz elbows or other pasta
5 oz fresh spinach
6 c vegetable or chicken stock
6 Tbl butter
½ c flour
8 oz cream cheese
1 c shredded sharp cheddar
1 c shredded mozzarella
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

*Note: Last month I had been having a special give-away to celebrate two years here at TMMF, However, during that week I got very sick and couldn't even post. So, I am running it again! If you'd like to receive this special The Magic Meal Fairy mug for your own, all you need to do is like the Facebook page (hereand share the post on that page for this recipe, or the post for Sloppy Joe Casserole 2. The give-away will run from 2/13/15 to  Thursday, 2/19/15. The winner will be chosen on Friday, 2/20/15 and announced that day and notified. A picture of the mug is below:

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