Mac and cheese is a classic staple in American cuisine, but so is everything with spinach, cheese, and artichoke in it. So, to make things extra cozy this fall, why not try mixing these two classics together with a splash of crushed Ritz crackers on top? Try it, and you’ll thank us later. Here’s how to make it!
What You’ll Need for This Recipe
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 lb. short pasta (you can try with orecchiette)
- 1 8-oz jar marinated artichokes, roughly chopped and drained
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach
- 2 cup whole milk (add more if needed)
- 1 8-oz package of cream cheese, cubed
- ⅛ to ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¾ tsp. garlic powder
- 8 oz. sharp Cheddar, grated and divided into 3 cups
- 6 tbsp. (divided) unsalted butter, at room temp (plus more for greasing)
- 1 ½ cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 ¼ sleeves; optional – for topping)
How to Make Your Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and grease a baking dish (around 13 by 9 inches).
- Grab a large saucepan and pour 4 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil on high, then add the pasta. Stir occasionally for 8 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and milk and cook for 5 more minutes until the pasta is al dente and the cheese has melted.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add cayenne, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of Cheddar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper each. Stir in nicely. Fold in artichoke and spinach, and add more milk if the mixture gets too thick. Transfer it to the baking dish you prepared and spread the remaining cup of Cheddar on top.
- In a bowl, combine the remaining butter and garlic powder, and add in the crackers (if you’ve chosen to use them for the recipe). Sprinkle the crumbs over the mixture.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
Let your mac and cheese cool for about 5 minutes before you serve it and voila. Enjoy!
The Most Efficient and Quick Way to Pack a Bento Box Lunch for Kids
Japanese lunchboxes, by tradition, are called bento boxes. They are stylish lunch containers that have individual compartments that can sort food. You can easily separate them by style, dish, texture, and color. Bento boxes are now even more popular all over the world as a convenient, not to mention fun, way to get kids to enjoy lunch.
If you have ever gone on social media to look for bento boxes, you have probably come across Jessica Woo. She’s known as @sulheejessica on TikTok. Her TikTok profile is dedicated to the assembling of fancy and beautiful bento box lunches for her kids. With over 5.6 million followers on the platform, she now enjoys a massive fan base of individuals who watch along as she begins each video with a soothing, “Let’s make some lunch for my kids.”
Even though Woo has been making bento boxes for over five years — she never thought that she would become a media star. She even says that she just likes aesthetically pleasing things.
Woo attributes her popularity on Tiktok to her attention to every little detail, and this is quite evident in every section of the bento box she touches. In one of her last videos, she made a Korean-rolled omelet with beautiful flowers punched out of lettuce and ham as leaves. As a comment to this, she adds that there’s a nostalgic feeling that people see when they see her making lunch. Do you want to have a special bento box like hers? Here’s how to do it.
Accessories for the Bento Box Lunchbox
Here comes the fun part. Many of the bento boxes come with spoons and forks. However, you can also add tiny bowls for sauces and dressing, chopsticks, and notes to make lunchtime even more fun. If you need more subdivisions in the box, you can go with baking cups made of silicon. They’re a popular option and come in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Plan the Meal
Here are some of the meal ideas that can be quite difficult for many parents. Woo even created a spin-off Instagram account where she shares her ideas for lunch. Some meals are more complicated than others. For example, she has made an entire Olaf out of rice. It also has a curry featuring Pikachu. However, Woo says she doesn’t have a unique method of doing it. While she tries to plan, this might mean using a lot of leftovers.
Add the Finishing Touches
For the crafty ones out there, you should surely try your skills on this, but it’s not some kind of requirement. There’s so much pressure on social media to look “perfect” but it’s simply not doable for many people.
That said, simply having a bento lunchbox setup can be quite thrilling for many kids. If you’re looking for a little extra wow factor, try using cookie cutters for shapes. You can even add sprinklers to foods that do not usually get them, like cottage cheese or yogurt.
Remember that children are not only excited by the perfect toothpick or some creative arrangements. Focus on packing the food your children enjoy and you’ll always have a great lunch.