Spinach Queso Macaroni & Cheese

You are pretty much in for the treat of your lives today.  Why?  Because it’s mac & cheese mania day.  My friends Rachel & Brandy are hosting a mega mac & cheese party and YOU are invited.

And how doesn’t love 50+ new mac & cheese recipes?  You can – for sure – count me in.

Mac & Cheese Mania

I have a deep-flowing adoration for any kind of macaroni and cheese.  From the classic blue box to as unconventional as you can get – like turning your favorite appetizer into mac & cheese. Call me crazy but we have been gone from KC for over a year and I still miss Jose Pepper’s espinaca dip.  My version is pretty close to the real thing and I find my self craving it over and over again.  I don’t make it too often because, let’s face it, it’s not great for you.  

But it’s soooooo good.  And it’s cheesy.  It has a few veggies in it.  Super simple.  I think that is the perfect combination for mac & cheese, yes?

Yes, without a doubt, my new favorite macaroni and cheese.  It’s so creamy and full of different flavors.  Not too spicy, but with just enough kick to keep you going back for more!

Spinach Queso Macaroni & Cheese

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Spinach Queso Mac & Cheese

Yield: 6-8 servings

Total Time: 40 min

Creamy and flavorful mac & cheese with a restaurant-style spinach queso twist.

Ingredients:

1 pound macaroni noodles (I used large macaroni)
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. jalapenos, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 (10.5 ounce) can Ro-Tel, drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
2 cups milk
8 ounces white American cheese, shredded or cubed
4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and add the jalapenos and green onions. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the Ro-tel, diced tomatoes & cilantro and stir until all of the ingredients are distributed.

In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk vigorously as the mixture turns into a paste. Stir almost constantly while creating the roux until the mixture is slightly golden brown. While whisking, stream in the milk and stir often until the milk begins to thicken. Add both cheeses and stir until melted. Stir in the spinach and jalapeno/tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the cheese mixture over the cooked pasta and serve.

Mac & Cheese Mania is being sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO.  All you have to do to be part of the fun is to visit Nutmeg Nanny and/or Rachel Cooks and share your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.

Prizes up for grabs include Door to Door Organics Gift Cards, OXO Gift Baskets, Zak Designs Prize Pack, a year’s supply of Cabot cheese, Barilla pasta, Anolon Advanced Bronze 4.5 Qt. Tapered Stockpot, and MORE.  All giveaways open to US residents over the age of 18 only.

Note: You do not have to have a blog to enter.  Rachel’s and Brandy’s sites will explain all of the details.  

Spinach Queso Macaroni & Cheese