I love homemade mac and cheese so much that I will never stop looking for ways to make it a little bit healthier. My mom, being from North Carolina where this cheesy baked casserole comes standard, is as much of a mac and cheese aficionado as I am. She wanted to try out this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe that she’d modified from one she found on Prevention.com–I did not complain!
Butternut squash was surprisingly good mixed into mac and cheese. We used frozen squash, which easily mashed into the milk creating a smooth sauce. The flavor of the cheddar sort of took over in the sauce, so I’d say the veggies are “hidden” in this dish. This would be a great option for someone who is picky about squash (or veggies in general), as the squash really is not very noticible.
The only complaint we had is that it turned out a little dry. Next time we plan on using a bit more milk.
Mixing winter squash into the cheese sauce boosts the dish’s fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium. I’d definitely recommend giving this a shot!
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese 4 servings, 345 calories each
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare 8 oz whole wheat rotini according to package directions.
If you haven’t tried whole wheat pasta in a while, do it now! The ones on the market now have a texture very close to regular pasta–and in a dish like this where there are so many textures going on anyways, you have nothing to lose!
In a medium saucepan, simmer 1/2 cup fat free milk with 10 oz frozen butternut squash (or about 2 cups cooked, cubed butternut squash). Mash squash with the back of a wooden spoon until combined.
We used Smart Balance’s fat-free milk, which has been made a bit richer and creamier to resemble 2% milk without the fat. I remember the days when we’d make mac and cheese with whole milk!
Remove from heat and mix with 4 oz shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dry mustard, and pepper to taste.
With cheese mixed in:
Pour drained pasta into pot with sauce to mix. Transfer to an 8 x 8 casserole and top with 2 Tbsp each whole wheat breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
We enjoyed this with a nice big salad
What ways have you found to “hide” veggies in traditional foods?