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I am always playing around with side dishes because if I didn’t, I know I would fall in the rut of serving the same few favorites over and over again. And that wouldn’t be fun for everyone. Eventually, those favorites would turn into boring and then no one would want to eat them. So I mix things up and make sure we have a lot of variety in our side dishes.
Sometimes I opt for simple sides and sometimes a meal just calls for something a bit more elegant. I find that is definitely the case when entertaining, especially during the holidays.
Here’s one of those side dishes that I proudly serve up to company. The flavors blend together subtly to create a comforting, mild dish that does not over power a more flavorful meat. Yet it still has a unique and delicious, somewhat cheesy, flavor of its own. I’ve found that even non-spinach eaters will dig in to this happily, including my oldest daughter.
Pasta & Spinach Casserole Side Dish
- 4 tbsp butter or margarine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/3 cup milk or cream
- 1/2 lb pasta, cooked and drained
- 1/2 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp italian seasoning
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- In a large pot, melt butter or margarine. Add garlic and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add cream cheese and milk or cream. Stir until cream cheese is completely melted. Do NOT boil.
- Stir pasta, spinach and seasonings into the pot until combined. Pour half of the mixture into a round or square casserole dish. Cover with half the mozzarella cheese. Add remaining pasta and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until cheese if fully melted and lightly browned on top.