This is so much better than regular old macaroni and cheese! The only downside was how many pots and pans it requires. I ended up using the same pot twice (the spinach pot doubled as the pasta pot) just to save my husband from some extra dishes. But is it worth the messy kitchen? Oh, I think it is.
Chicken Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach
(adapted from Now...you're cooking!)
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary or thyme
salt and pepper
1 pound chicken, cut in chunks
4 cups small pasta
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or gouda, if the country you live in hasn't discovered cheddar yet)
1) Wash spinach and drain well. Cook in a pot with water, just until tender and wilted. Drain and squeeze out any remaining water. Chop and set aside.
2) In a large skillet, heat the oil, and saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rosemary or thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chopped chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat and add the spinach to this mixture.
3) While chicken is cooking, cook pasta and drain. Set aside.
4) In a large pot, melt butter; stir in flour. Slowly pour in the milk while stirring over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
5) Remove from heat and add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese until melted. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until combined.
6) Spoon half of the pasta into a 3 quart casserole dish. Top with the meat mixture and then the remaining pasta. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top.
7) Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until warmed through and golden brown. Enjoy!