Cooking Tips & Hints
                  Week 61 Featured Recipe
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SPINACH MAC & CHEESE
(click for printable version of this recipe)
Not one for wasting food, I used the leftover breadcrumbs and spinach from last week’s recipe.
TOOLS:
• Large Saucepan
• 2 qt. Saucepan
• Colander
• Cutting Board
• Cheese grater
• Whisk
• Large wooden spoon
• 8" Square baking dish
INGREDIENTS:
• 1 slice soft multigrain bread or 1/4 cup
  fine bread crumbs
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter
• ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups lowfat milk
• 2 tbsp all purpose flour
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
• 4 oz Fontina cheese, shredded
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• 8oz macaroni
• 6 oz baby spinach leaves

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PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Pulse bread in food processor until fine crumbs form. Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over medium high heat; add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, for appx 3 minutes or until golden brown & toasted.

Transfer breadcrumbs to a small bowl and stir in 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Wipe saucepan clean; add milk, flour and garlic and whisk until blended. Then bring to a boil over medium high heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat and simmer appx 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in remaining Parmesan, cheddar, Fontina, mustard, salt & cayenne pepper and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover & keep warm.

Cook macaroni in boiling water, 2 minutes less than the recommended cooking time or until very al dente. Add spinach to pot and stir until wilted. Drain macaroni mixture in a colander, rinse under cold water & drain again. Put mixture back in saucepan & stir in the warm cheese sauce. Spray baking dish with cooking spray and spoon mixture into dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with the crumb mixture. Bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, appx 25 minutes.

HINTS: If you watch your sodium intake, you might want to cut back a little on the salt in this recipe. The cheeses add plenty of salt taste and the recommended salt in the recipe puts this right on the verge of being a little too salty.
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