July 19, 2019

Zombie Brains for smart parents

By Jan Kenney

Halloween is such an exciting time for kids — the dressing up in costumes, the make-up and, of course, the prospect of all that candy. In the midst of all that feverish activity, getting anybody to sit down and eat ‘real’ food has always been a challenge at my house. Hence, ‘zombie brains,’ which is really mac ‘n’ cheese — always a winner — greened up with a little spinach and parsley.

There are lots of spooky-looking meal ideas out there on the internet which look amazing. I want to try them all. But what makes this a winner for Halloween night is you can make it ahead and put it in the crockpot on low. So you can be dressing Batman, finding Cinderella’s lost shoe and answering the door all while cooking up a fun, delicious and relatively healthy Halloween meal — the ultimate trick and treat!

Zombie Brains

4 cups spinach, packed

½ cup parsley

2½ cups milk, divided

5 quarts water

1 tablespoon salt

1 pound cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta or macaroni elbows

¼ cup butter

¼ cup flour

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

16 ounces white cheddar

½ cup mozzarella

In a large pot, bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, roughly 6-7 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the spinach, parsley, and ½ cup milk, and process until evenly mixed.

Combine the butter and flour in another pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the mixture has become golden brown. Add 2 cups milk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pepper, and salt to the pot and stir until well incorporated. Add in the cheddar cheese and the spinach mixture and stir until fully incorporated and the green color is consistent.

Mix cheese and pasta in a casserole dish (or crockpot on low if desired).

Top the macaroni with mozzarella and broil for 5 minutes.

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