Spinach & Artichoke Mac

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I love spinach and artichoke dip and was in the mood for some the other night.  I really do try to not indulge in dairy much (cow’s milk, cheese, etc).  You’ll understand why if you read The China Study.  I’m a nerd, I know. But, when I get a hanker’n for cheese this is a good choice. So, I decided to combine the goodness of my favorite chip dip with mac and cheese for a simple dinner or side to some grilled meat.

1 box (13-14 oz.) gluten free rotini pasta
2 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. gluten free corn starch
2 cups organic milk
salt and pepper
2 sprigs parsley. chopped
5 basil leafs, chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 large tomato, diced
    or 1 pint cherry, pear, or grape tomatoes
3 cups fresh spinach leafs
1 – 6.5 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (Delallo brand is gluten free)

Cook rotini according to package directions in salted water.  In medium saucepan melt butter and add minced garlic bring to a nice sizzle.  Add flour and whisk together until it makes a thick paste.  Pour in milk, salt, pepper and herbs.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and add Parmesan and 1/2 mozzarella until melted and incorporated.

Drain pasta and combine with cheese.  Add in tomatoes, spinach and artichoke hearts.  Put in baking dish, top with remaining cheese and cover with tin foil.  Bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and return to oven for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

* Raw, tomatoes are high in vitamin C while cooked much of the vitamin C is lost.  However, cooking tomatoes increases lycopene.  “Lycopene is the most-efficient single oxygen quencher, and devours more than 10 times more oxygenated free radicals than vitamin E.”
antioxidant power can be boosted even more through the simple act of cooking the tomatoes.  Researchers from Cornell University in the US said that cooking the tomatoes increase the level of phytochemicals they contain, although it also reduces the amount of vitamin C found in the vegetable.”
So the moral of the story is…eat tomatoes!  Cooked, raw, whatever.
http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Cooking-tomatoes-boosts-health-benefits


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