In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello -- chef, author and food stylist -- shows busy moms how to make meals using ingredients they already have in their pantries, solving their unique cooking challenges. In this episode, Lauren shows Aimee R., a mother of two and a PR executive, how to transform creamed spinach into a decadent casserole.
The key to this casserole is starting with great creamed spinach, so Lauren begins by making a roux. She melts butter in a pan, then adds an equal amount of flour and whisks them together to slightly toast the flour and remove the "raw" taste. Then she adds half-and-half and whisks occasionally until the sauce is creamy and slightly thickened. (You could use milk for this, but the half-and-half lends richness.) When the sauce is ready, she turns off the heat and stirs in frozen spinach that's been squeezed dry and drained.
To make the casserole, she spreads half of the creamed spinach into a buttered casserole dish, then tops it with a single layer of Havarti cheese slices (though any sliced cheese will do). The rest of the spinach goes on top of that, then another layer of the cheese. Once it's baked, it's golden and bubbly -- perfect for entertaining.
Get the Recipe for Spinach and Cheese Casserole.