Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese

Every once in a blue moon, I come across a recipe or way of cooking something that kind of changes the way I think about a particular dish. For example, eggs. I have a weird relationship with eggs. I did not eat an egg until I was 16 years old (I mean an egg on its own - not like if it's in a baked good or dish, that's never bothered me). I was absolutely repulsed by them in every way possible - the texture, the smell, the idea of them - totally turned me off. When I was 16 I decided to try a scrambled egg for the first time, and I was intrigued. Not bad. So scrambled eggs were cool - but there was NO WAY an egg was crossing my lips in any other form other than scrambled. Eventually I came around and decided that fried eggs looked good - but NO YOLKS. Nope. Nuh uh. Yolks weirded me out big time. So I ate scrambled eggs and fried egg whites until I was about 29 years old - when it happened. I was sitting across from my husband during breakfast at a restaurant we (used to) love, and I was watching him ooh and ahh over his eggs benedict - and he offered me a bite. I hesitated - but he promised me that it was delicious and I'd love it and "just try it, you'll like it", and all that jazz. So I did. I had a bite of a poached egg with a runny yolk - and I almost fell off my chair. HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED OUT ON THIS AMAZINGNESS FOR SO LONG?! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!!! Now I have an egg every. single. morning. for breakfast. I am a creature of habit, and once I find something I like, I ride it till the wheels fall off. But it's been almost 5 years and I'm still eating an egg every day! Over medium - runny yolks, set white - on toast. With a tiny glass of OJ. So that eggs benedict is what did it for me - one bite of one specific dish just completely changed...well...my life. 

However. If anyone is eating a hard boiled egg or egg salad sandwich anywhere within 30 feet of me I will hurl. CANNOT handle boiled eggs. I'm not a complete jerk - if I see someone near me eat a boiled egg or egg salad I'll just leave the room - but the very thought of it makes me queasy. 

ANYWAY!! Back to recipes that change things! This recipe - this creamy Greek yogurt mac & cheese from Cooking a la Mel - this changed the way I see mac & cheese. Previously, mac & cheese was a major indulgence to be enjoyed a few times a year - I'd make my butternut mac & cheese a few times in the winter, maybe, and the real deal mac & cheese maybe once a year. But this Greek yogurt mac & cheese - not only is it STUPID easy (I mean that in a good way, obviously), it's lightened up enough so that I can enjoy it more often. I know it sounds a bit odd, and I was very skeptical at first, but this is so good. It's sharp and tangy and rich and creamy and smooth - everything mac & cheese should be. I would NEVER have thought to put Greek yogurt in my mac & cheese - and now it just seems so right. I'm telling you - no, I'm imploring you - make this. It may not be your "eggs benedict moment", but I bet it'll change the way you see mac & cheese. 

Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese

barely adapted from Cooking a la Mel

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz macaroni or other tube-like pasta
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated*
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Instructions:
  1. Cook macaroni to al dente, saving 1/2 cup of pasta water. 
  2. Place the spinach leaves in the bottom of a colander, and pour the pasta over the top, wilting the spinach. Return the spinach and pasta to the pot.
  3. Add the shredded cheese and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and stir until melted and smooth. Add the Greek yogurt and garlic powder and stir until everything is creamy and smooth, adding more pasta water if necessary to get desired consistency. Serve immediately. 
*Do not, under any circumstances, use pre-shredded bagged cheese here. It'll be a grainy, sludgy mess due to the cellulose added when the cheese is processed and packaged. 

Find similar recipes at Feastie:

The Omelet-dilla. from Imma Eat That
The Creamiest And Cheesiest Macaroni Cheese from Cooking with Mel
Finger Sandwiches from An Edible Mosaic
Pimento-Cheese Spread from An Edible Mosaic
The Blog from The Professional Palate

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