Blue Ribbon Recipe
Frankly, I've never met a cheese I don't like, so the Kitchen Crew and I couldn't wait to try out this cheesy, buttery spinach. And what a treat it is! This comforting recipe would be right at home atop a picnic table or served on your best china. Yum! The Test Kitchen
5 pkgfrozen chopped spinach (10 oz each pkg)
4 1/2 cmilk
1 tspdry mustard
1 tspgarlic powder
1 1/2 tspcrushed red pepper flakes
1/2 mediumyellow onion
5 Tbspbutter, melted
8 ozVelveeta cheese, cubed
8 ozcheddar cheese, cubed
4 ozMonterey Jack cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cMonterey Jack cheese, shredded
How to Make Spinach Maria
- Thaw spinach & squeeze as much excess water as possible from spinach
- Heat milk and spices in a 4 qt.saucepan on medium heat to just below a boil. Reduce and simmer. NOTE: the spice quantities listed (mustard, garlic, red pepper flakes) give the dish just a "flavor" but little kick. I will usually double the spices for more flavor & heat (it is not too much). If I have a crowd that likes it hot, I will replace the teaspoon measurement with tablespoon for all three spices...at this level you get a slow burn that lingers but isn't a 4-alarm fire.
- Saute chopped onion in 1 TBSP butter on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add onion to saucepan.
- Combine the 5 TBSP melted butter with the flour in a small saucepan. Mix until completely blended. Cook on low heat 2-3 minutes. Add to milk in saucepan and mix. Continue to cook until sauce thickens.
- Cut cheeses into small cubes and add to saucepan. Continue to mix until all the cheese is completely melted and blended into the sauce. Be CAREFUL not to BURN the sauce while cheese is melting.
- Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Add drained spinach to cheese sauce and mix till completely blended
- Spoon into a 11x9x2 or large casserole and top with grated Monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until hot and bubbly
- I often like to add a dab of horse radish to indiviual servings...gives it a really nice kick...this way your guests can opt in or out for some heat. Taste it first though, as you may love the kick as it is.