Dinner BEFORE Breakfast

Ask anybody.

I am not a morning person. Never was. Never will be.

BUT the other morning I found myself up and out of the house very early in order to drop my husband off at work on time. After I dropped him off I found myself with some time to spare before heading to my work.  (What is that you say?…head into to my work early… surely you jest?! LOL!)  So I headed back home with my thoughts solely focused on breakfast, a cat nap and coffee before it was time for me to depart to the coal mines. But as I drove, my thoughts turned to dinner plans for the night.  As I pulled in the driveway I knew I had a plan. A “cabinet stew” of ingredients that were hanging around, needing to be used up.

45 mins later….

…one cup of coffee, one casserole prepped and in the fridge awaiting a dinner re-heat, dishes done and oh yeah, some breakfast!

Now if only I wasn’t going to be late to work…

Ham and spinach macaroni and cheese.

The Recipe

1 box (16oz) elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained

1 pkg (8-10 oz) “ready-to-go” spinach leaves. (I just opened the bag – you can wash again if you want)

1 cup +/- diced cooked ham (leave it off for the vegetarians!)

1 cup +/- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 small onion finely diced

1 clove garlic finely minced

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

2 cups +/- milk

1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg

5 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (you know – the little “tub”)

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping – a little or lot – your preference

Soften the onions and garlic in the butter. Add the nutmeg to toast for a minute. Add the flour to make a traditional roux. Add the milk slowly while whisking to make a thick white sauce. Turn off heat. Stir in Monterey Jack cheese. Taste and add salt/pepper as desired. Meanwhile in a large oiled baking dish combine the spinach, noodles , ham and Gorgonzola cheese. (This works much better if you commit to a large mixing bowl first and then pour it in the baking dish. If you do as I did and NOT use a mixing bowl ’cause you are lazy… then add the spinach in first with the HOT, cooked noodles on top of the spinach to kind wilt it down and make enough room to stir in the ham and Gorgonzola.) Pour the white sauce over the top. Stir to combine. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until time to “bake off” as the pro’s say.

When the time arrives… Bake covered with foil in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 mins. (if you put it in straight from the fridge you may need to go longer or hotter) Uncover, add grated Parmesan cheese across top and bake 15 mins more till hot and bubbly.

Makes way too much for two people so invite 4-6 friends over to share.

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