This easy Spinach & Artichoke Mac 'n' Cheese recipe is from Tieghan Gerard—the gal behind popular Instagram account @halfbakedharvest—and the ingredients and methods are simple.
"This is the easiest and best mac 'n' cheese recipe," Tieghan says. "It uses just one pot, and the ingredients and methods are simple. My trick is to first boil the pasta in just enough water to start the cooking process, then add milk and cream cheese. That means there's no boiling and draining the pasta and no fussing around with making a roux either. Plus the cream cheese creates a light and creamy sauce without having to add any additional flour like in a béchamel. What's really great about this recipe is just how adaptable it is. When my brothers are around, I omit the veggies, but include a few chipotle peppers in adobo, and I use half pepper Jack and half-cheddar cheese. It's one of their favorites!"
Pro Tip: Have a little extra milk or water on hand. Once you've added everything, you can decide whether you're happy with the consistency. If you need to thin the sauce out a bit, simply add more liquid.
Try out another super-easy comfort food recipe from Tieghan: Instant Pot French Onion Soup
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard. Copyright © 2019 by Tieghan Gerard. Used with permission by Clarkson Potter. All rights reserved.
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- One 1-pound box short-cut pasta, such as macaroni
- 2 cups whole milk, plus more, if needed (see Tip)
- One 8-ounce package cream cheese, cubed
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Ground cayenne pepper
- 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach, chopped
- One 8-ounce jar marinated artichokes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 ½ cups crushed butter crackers, or about 1 sleeve
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in the milk and cream cheese and cook until the cream cheese has melted and the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 cups cheddar and 3 tablespoons butter. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir in the spinach and artichokes. If the sauce feels too thick, add ¼ cup milk or water to thin it.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheddar.
In a medium bowl, stir together the crackers, the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and the garlic powder. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the mac and cheese.
Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve. Store any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.