This past Sunday, my good friend Anna and I did our long run together. She had 16 miles (mileage PR for her!) and I had 1:30 3/1. So obviously we didnt get to run the entire run together. We had such a great time, though. Beautiful weather and good conversation…I just love Anna! She is also running Boston (this will be her first Marathon); Anna is running the Boston Marathon for the Children’s Hospital Charity and is doing the marathon is honor of one of her best friends (and our classmate), Evan. Evan passed away in the Fall of this year and Anna and him were very very close to one another. So not only is Anna running her first marathon AND running the BOSTON MARATHON but this marathon has a huge amount of sentimental value to her. Anna is such an amazing person and I am so happy that I have become so close to her…and even more excited to be sharing the experience of running our first Boston Marathon together! Anna is very athletic and is a natural at running…she is going to do great!
The picture below is of Anna and Evan….
We had a really good time running together on Sunday morning. It is nice to have some company out there with you sometimes…especially a friend who can relate to you in so many ways. Just a perfect day all around! Love you Anna!
That night we decided to make a “Sunday Supper” with our other two friends, Meaghan and Rosina. I had saw a blog post by Eggs on Sunday for Mac & Cheese with Squash and Spinach…it looked absolutely delicious and so that is what we decided to make! This dish did not let us down one bit. We served it with a whole grain baguette (from Wegmans). We all loved this meal and went back for seconds and thirds and fourths. My stomach was literally in pain when I left Meaghan and Rosina’s apartment. I just couldnt help myself; it was too good to let sit there! I really do hate that though…when you eat SO MUCH that you become so incredibly uncomfortable. And no matter how many times you tell yourself that you will never let that happen again…who are you really kidding?!
This dish is a unique twist on the typical Mac & Cheese that we are all used to; it is kind of a“gourmet” and “healthier” version of regular mac and cheese. The spinach and squash add a nice nutritional boost and the use of the sharp and gruyere cheeses makes the dish even more unique. This dish is topped with whole grain bread crumbs and sprinkled with grated Parm. The bread crumbs add a nice crunch to the mac & cheese. I would like to try to use whole grain elbow noodles the next time I make this instead of the whole grain penne…not that the penne wa
s bad…I just like to try different twists on things! The pictures of this meal do not do it any justice…trust me on this one…give this recipe a shot!
- 1 medium butternutsquash (I just bought the package of pre-sliced squash)
- 1 lb. short dried pasta, such as elbow macaroni or penne rigate
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, drained and chopped
- Olive oil for the pasta and the pan
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ⅛ cup flour
- 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
- 1 cup grated Gruyère
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
- Parmesan, for grating
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast halved squash in the oven on a sheet pan until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size squash you have. When done cooking, remove squash from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scrape flesh into a bowl (discard seeds and stringy pulp) and mash until smooth.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water; drain and return to cooking pot. Toss with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking while you assemble the remaining ingredients.
Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
Add the chopped spinach, mustard, garlic, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour to the bowl with the mashed squash; mix well. Add the cheese and milk, and mix well. Add the pasta and toss until evenly coated with the squash/spinach/cheese mixture.
Spread mixture into a lightly oiled 9×13 inch baking dish.
Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter until coated, then sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs evenly across the top of the pasta. Grate a thin layer of Parmesan on top of the breadcrumbs.
Bake until bubbly and browned on top, about 30 minutes. Let cool briefly before serving.
Serves about 8 (or if you are oinkers like us, 4).
Question: Do you have any recipes that add a unique twist to a typical, age-old recipe?