Mini Spinach & Artichoke Mac and Cheeses
“I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time.”
They say it’s football season, but I don’t watch football. I’d rather cook game-day food for you while YOU watch football.
I’ve been going to Superbowl parties for years, and have never been in the room where the game is on for any time period exceeding five minutes. I’d need three hands to count the number of times I’ve had football explained to me, and it’s just never going to happen. Thus, my job is to wander aimlessly between the dining room and the kitchen, sampling the waves of various bite-size things that come out of the oven. You know, for quality control.
Usually, the standard fare for Superbowl parties includes bite-sized treats like wings, mini hot dogs, mini meatballs, mini quiches, mini pizzas, etc. Another big thing is dips, and one of my all-time favorites is spinach artichoke. So I combined all these concepts into a super creamy mac and cheese, and then baked them in adorable little paper baking cups I found at Michael’s, which may in fact be my newest obsession (see above).
Did I mention that it also contains two kinds of cheddar cheese? Cabot Creamery was kind enough to send the Recipe Reduxers (count ’em) SEVEN different kinds of cheese this month. You can imagine my heaven. I am a huge Cabot fan, because not only is the cheese amazing, but they’re owned by family farmers and give all of their profits back to the 1200 farms that provide the dairy for their products. Just when I thought I couldn’t love cheese any more.
So, I used two cheddars for this recipe: Cabot’s Seriously Sharp and Alpine Cheddars. I’ve always loved the Seriously Sharp, and buy it regularly to keep on hand for snacking. It is SO good that once, I bought the cracker cuts to try and make my portion-controlling easier. The opposite effect occurred, so I (begrudgingly) went back to buying the block. 😛
The Alpine, which I’d never had, was SUPER nutty and delicious, and I totally associated it with cheesy spinach artichoke dip. I also threw some Cabot greek yogurt into the mix, which upped the creaminess by about 200%. SO good.
I’ll just leave all of this here. Go forth and be cheesy.
- 12 paper baking cups (available in crafts stores)
- 1 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta
- 5 large canned artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 package frozen spinach (8-10 oz.), thawed, squeezed thoroughly, and chopped
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) Cabot Alpine cheddar, grated
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, grated
- 1/2 cup Cabot Greek-style yogurt
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup unseasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tbs. Cabot Alpine cheddar, grated
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Put pasta into a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil to the water. Bring water to boil. Shortly after coming to a boil, the pasta should be cooked. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest.
- Return the reserved pasta water to the macaroni. Add cheese and mix until melted.
- Add yogurt and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill each baking cup with a generous portion of macaroni.
- Combine topping ingredients and mix until oil is evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over the individual mac and cheeses.
- Bake until topping is golden, about 10 minutes.
- Depending on the size of your baking cups, this recipe may yield up to 16 servings.