After being inspired by Irene’s mac and cheese, deemed “dirty shells,” I knew I had to make my own version of it. These were the most cheesy, warm, and gooey shells that you can’t help but love.
It is surprisingly easy to make! I also used protein packed elbow noodles to make it macro friendly. Paired with a lovely garden salad and you have yourself the best weekend dinner. Here’s the recipe:
16 oz of protein elbow noodles (I used Barilla but also love Banza)
16 oz of ground pork
8 oz of fresh spinach
3 tbsp of kerrygold butter
1/3 cup of flour
2/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of chicken broth
6 oz of mild cheddar
6 oz of parmesan
1/4 cup of colby jack
1/3 cup of bread crumbs
1 tbsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp of black pepper
1 tbsp of oregano
2 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Cook the noodles according to the package and set aside.
- Heat up the EVOO in a large pan. Chop up the garlic cloves and add to the oil.
- After about a minute, add the ground pork and the seasonings. Stir for 5-7 minutes until almost cooked.
- Add the spinach slowly until wilted, which should take about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
- Grab a saucepan and melt the butter slowly. Add the flour and whisk until thickened. Add the milk and allow to thicken while whisking for about 5 minutes until you have a made a roux in a viscous consistency.
- Add the chicken broth and continue whisking and simmering. Slowly add the parmesan and cheddar cheese and stir gently. Continue stirring for a few minutes until you have no lumps in your cheesy, beautiful sauce.
- Combine the noodles, pork + spinach, and sauce into a large casserole pan. I actually added them separately into the casserole pan and combined them in there instead of dirtying up another dish.
- Add the colby jack cheese on top, and then the bread crumbs. Broil for about 5 minutes.
- Serve with a salad and your favourite beverage and prepare for a food coma.
This easily fed four people with 3 servings left over. It cost about $20 for the whole casserole. Affordable, easy, comforting, and delicious. What more could you ask for?
What is your favourite mac and cheese dish? I would love to hear your go-to recipe!