Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

June 15, 2020
MaryAnne

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Week 15: Chicken & Spinach Mac

Last week I went to Costco for the first time since some time in February. I really only had one thing on my list – the joint supplements that I give Murphy every morning. A couple of years ago when I had him into the vet for a possible strained leg, they recommended glucosamine. I’m not saying it’s a miracle drug, but when I tell people he’s 10, they think I mean 10 months. He does NOT move like an “elderly dog.”

Murphy on “Bring Your Pets to Work Day” in January.

It’s part of our morning routine – I fill his food and water bowls and shake out two tablets. It’s gotten to the point that if I forget, he won’t make a move toward his food, he just cocks his head at me as if he’s saying “Um, HELLO?” It’s pretty cute.

I was also out of MY supplements (fish oil), but I wouldn’t have made the trip just for myself, I needed a more important reason. Andof course, that’s not all I ended up buying – I mean, it’s COSTCO. For example, as I passed the meat counter, I was pulled in by the rotisserie chicken display. They just smelled so good! My first thought was that it was time to do a Chicken Alfredo Mac … but when I Googled “rotisserie chicken mac & cheese” one of the first hits was a recipe that also used fresh spinach, and my dad had mentioned that he had a bunch ready in his garden. So that’s the inspiration behind this week’s post – my dog, my lack of willpower when I’m cruising the aisles at Costco, and offers of free produce.

Chicken & Spinach Mac

Adapted from The Food Network

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups pulled rotisserie chicken, skin reserved
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (see notes)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (see notes)
  • 4 dashes of hot sauce (see notes)

DIRECTIONS

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni to desired tenderness, approximately 9-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add chicken skin to a large, non-stick pan and saute over medium heat. Keep it as flat as possible. Cook until crisp, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • In the same pan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat and add the spinach. Cook until it wilts down, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Next, add the remaining butter and melt, then add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add the milk and continue stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chicken stock, lemon juice, mustard, and hot sauce.
  • Add the pasta, spinach, and chicken, and stir to coat with sauce and heat throughout. Sprinkle with the crispy chicken skin and serve.

RESULTS

My biggest non-stick pan was BARELY big enough.

Yuh-um! This was great. About the only thing I’d do different is add a little more cheese – maybe ¼-½ cup – the sauce was ever so slightly runny, and it could have used just a skosh more cheesiness. If you like chicken skin (my sister and I fight over it at Thanksgiving) this is a SUPER tasty topping, it added a ton of flavor. But if you don’t like chicken skin, it would still be great without it.

NOTES

  • Once I’d “pulled” the chicken, I decided to take a whirl at making homemade chicken stock from the carcass. I dumped it in my slow cooker, covered it with water, and let it cook for about 8 hours. Most “recipes” will say to add celery, carrots, and onions, but I didn’t have any celery or carrots (I hate them and never keep them on hand) and didn’t feel like messing with onions that day. So it’s probably a little bit bland, but I ended up with 2½ large mason jars that I now need to figure out something to do with.  The ¼ cup in this recipe didn’t make much of a dent.
  • The recipe called for regular yellow mustard, but I didn’t have any of that either, but I did have two full bottles of Dijon, so I substituted. Next time I might try doubling double it for a little more zing.
  • I typically use Frank’s Red Hot, but the bottle I thought I had wasn’t on the shelf, but there was a bottle of Tabasco (which I do not remember ever buying) so I used that. It’s not very noticeable, which is just fine with me, I don’t have a high tolerance for that type of spicy, but if you like it hot, shake several more dashes in.

Posted June 14, 2020

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