Spinach Maria

Calhoun's Restaurant Copycat Recipe

5 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach
4 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
5 tablespoons melted butter
6 tablespoons flour
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
8 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
4 ounces monterey jack cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese, for topping

Thaw the spinach. Squeeze as much excess water as possible from spinach. Heat the milk and spices in a 4 quart saucepan on medium heat to just below a boil. Reduce and simmer. Saute the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of butter on medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the onion to a saucepan. Combine the 5 tablespoons of melted butter with the flour in a small saucepan. Mix until completely blended. Cook on low heat 2 to 3 minutes.

Add to milk in saucepan and mix. Continue to cook until sauce thickens. Cut the 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 the drained spinach to the cheese sauce and mix until completely blended. Spoon into a 11x9x2 or large casserole and top with grated Monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly. This can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer with tortilla chips. Serves 12.