One-Pan Mac & Cheese with Spinach & Bacon

>> Sunday, February 16, 2014

One-Pan Mac & Cheese with Spinach & Bacon

Everybody's got a box of macaroni and cheese somewhere in the cabinets, right? It's one of my guilty pleasures. Adding spinach, bacon, and a bit more cheese makes this quick dinner more substantial. I made it up the other night while catching up with my daughter Jessie on the phone, and she wanted the recipe right away. I think this qualifies as gourmet First Apartment Food.

So what's up in First Born's and The Boy's life? Along with trudging to work and university in below-zero Polar Vortex weather, they're dog-sitting their aunt's mini dachshund - and enjoying it! This is a little weird for me; like every other mom of twenty-somethings, my memories of her as a teenager blur oddly at times with the adult she is now. And what I remember is being frustrated with cats that needed food and water when she wanted to be left alone and affectionate when she...well...wanted to be left alone. There was a lot of that once.

It's been a whole month since I spent time with her, and I miss her a lot. Last month we got together for a cooking date and made peanut chicken noodles and pork dim sum and hung out all day. Of all the stages of having a daughter, this is most certainly the best stage yet.


1 box macaroni and cheese
4 slices of bacon
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup shredded colby cheese


In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the noodles. Set aside the cheese packet. Boil for 7-8 minutes, until tender. While it's boiling, cut the bacon into 1/2" pieces, and chop the spinach. When the noodles are tender, drain them in a colander.

While the noodles drain, cook the bacon in the saucepan over medium heat. When it is starting to get crispy, drain out the fat and add the spinach and butter. Cook the spinach 1-2 minutes, until it is slightly wilted. Add the milk, cayenne pepper, and onion powder. Stir in the noodles and cheese. When the cheese is melted, serve.

Serves 2-3.


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