El Paso. Texas (NAPSI) - If you're like most people, you really appreciate the comfort of home-cooked meals around the holidays. Entertaining family and friends can be a great opportunity to take traditional comfort foods and kick them up a notch when it comes to both flavor and nutrition.
Registered Dietitian Tammi Hancock agrees, saying, "Adding spinach is a subtle way to bring nutrient-rich greens to nearly any pasta dish, and ingredients like artichokes can complement that, while adding a pop of flavor."
The following recipe is one way to add flavor and nutrition to traditional home-cooked mac and cheese:
Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 10 (1-cup) servings
2 cups dry whole grain macaroni pasta
1 (14-oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated; ¼ cup reserved for topping
2 oz Romano cheese, freshly grated (or substitute with extra Parmesan)
4 oz reduced-fatMontereyJack cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups Smart Balance® Fat Free Milk and Omega-3s
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup breadcrumbs
Cook macaroni in boiling water in a medium saucepan until al dente; drain. Combine drained pasta in a 9x13-inch baking dish with artichokes, spinach and cheeses except ¼ cup Parmesan reserved for topping. Return same saucepan to stovetop. Place flour in saucepan and whisk in milk until smooth. Add garlic and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour sauce over pasta mixture in baking dish. Stir to distribute sauce throughout. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir until cheese sauce is creamy and smooth. Combine reserved ¼ cup Parmesan with breadcrumbs and sprinkle on top. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes longer or until sauce is bubbly and topping starts to brown.
Per 1-cup serving: 322 cal, 20g protein, 42g carbohydrate, 8g fat, 4g saturated fat, 1.5g monounsaturated fat, 1g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fat, 57mg omega-3 fatty acids, 228mg omega-6 fatty acids, 23mg cholesterol, 519mg sodium, 4g fiber