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Mar 05 2015

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Artichoke and Spinach Pasta Bake

 

I’ve been trolling Pinterest again. This time I was on the search for some healthier pasta dishes that I could portion out into easy grab-n-go lunches for the week. I’ve shared many times on this blog that I have a slight macaroni and cheese obsession/addiction. I do still indulge in the occasional full fat mac-n-cheese meal, but that’s a bit too heavy for my everyday eats. 

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I did find several recipes that looked decent. I ended up altering one a bit to come up with my own version. It was ingredient heavy, but since it’s “thrown together” casserole style, it turned out to be easy and well worth it in the end. 

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Whole Grain Rotini Pasta
  • 1 1/4 Cups Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3 Dorat Crushed Garlic Cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Black Pepper – to taste
  • 1 1/2 Heaping Cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 (14-ounce) Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts – drained
  • 1 (10-ounce) Package Frozen Chopped Spinach – thawed and well-drained
  • 1/3 Heaping Cup Julienned Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil – drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Panko

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Yes, “heaping” is a measurement theme with this recipe. I knew I wanted a little more sun-dried tomatoes than the original recipe called for and in my world you can never have too many vegetables or cheese. 

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I ended up cutting each quartered artichoke heart in half – I thought they were too bulky and wanted to enjoy them with every bite. I set my oven for 350° F. then lightly coated my baking dish with nonstick spray. You can also use oil or butter, whatever rocks your world. I then cooked my pasta according to the package instructions. I drained it immediately and set it aside.

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I whisked together the milk, eggs, garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

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I then added the Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan cheese, artichokes, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta. Gently stir all ingredients.

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This is not a super creamy dish, the sauce is rather light. If you are hoping for a super creamy texture, I suggest adding whipping cream or half and half instead of milk and you might want to increase the amount of cheese you use. I really liked the lighter consistency, it was just what I was looking for. The original recipe I looked at said to bake until golden brown. I found that there wasn’t enough cheese to make that happen, so I baked it for approximately 20 minutes. I took it out before the pasta on the top layer started to get crispy.

I toasted my panko in a pan with olive oil while the dish was baking in the oven. I ended up keeping the toasted panko in a tupperware so I could add it to each lunch portion after re-heating.

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The weather has been in the 70’s and this is why I LOVE California and will probably never leave. Dining alfresco by the pool, yes please!

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I was so pleased with how the dish turned out. I will definitely be making it again. Some modifications to consider for next time or to make it your own. Experiment with different cheeses, add chicken if you are looking for more protein, increase the red pepper flakes if you want to turn up the heat or try using different veggies. This recipe will also be filed under – so and so just had a baby, I need to make/take them a dish.

Artichoke and Spinach Pasta Bake
A light and easy baked pasta dish with artichokes, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces Whole Grain Rotini Pasta
  2. 1 1/4 Cups Milk
  3. 2 Large Eggs
  4. 3 Dorat Crushed Garlic Cubes
  5. 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  6. 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  8. Salt and Black Pepper - to taste
  9. 1 1/2 Heaping Cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  10. 1 (14-ounce) Can Quartered Artichoke Hearts - drained
  11. 1 (10-ounce) Package Frozen Chopped Spinach - thawed and well-drained
  12. 1/3 Heaping Cup Julienned Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oil - drained
  13. 3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  14. 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  15. 1/2 Cup Panko Crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat baking dish with nonstick spray, oil or butter.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions and then drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, garlic, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Add Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta.
  4. Add pasta mixture to uncovered prepared baking dish. Place into oven and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add Panko and stir until toasted, about 3-5 minutes; set aside.
  6. Serve pasta immediately, sprinkled with Panko.
Adapted from DamnDelicious.net
Adapted from DamnDelicious.net
Foodiddy http://foodiddy.com/
 Enjoy!
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1 comment

  1. Karen

    That sounds delicious!!!
    I too love mac & cheese!!!

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