I bought a can of pumpkin a week ago. A BIG can. The plan was to add it to our morning oatmeal, because we recently discovered how much Addie loves her oatmeal with a little pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and some maple syrup. She ate her bowl, part of her Dad's and then half of mine that day.
So I was left with most of a can of pumpkin, wondering what to do with it. I know - major dilemma, right? So I started thinking of all the ways I could use it up; I made pumpkin muffins, pumpkin french toast, added it to spaghetti sauce (you have to try this - you don't taste the pumpkin at all but it adds extra veg), oatmeal again, and then put that last bit in mac & cheese. I have to say, it really added something special to my mac & cheese, and I felt better about eating it knowing it was packing some healthy pumpkin. So I thought I'd share my recipe, in case anyone is interested.
Karma's Mac & Cheese Ingredients:
1 package of macaroni (or shells)
1 1/4 cup 1% milk
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 cups shredded cheese
1/4 cup light cream cheese
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
a few drops of hot sauce (optional)
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
Cook macaroni to al dente, drain and set aside. Whisk flour into milk in pot and heat on medium heat to just about boiling. Continue heating milk and flour until thickened (about 5 min). Stir in 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (save 1/2 cup for top of casserole), cream cheese and let cheeses melt. Add in mustard powder, paprika, hot sauce, pumpkin, and salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Add onion and cook for another minute.
Pour sauce over macaroni in large pot and mix well. Pour sauce-covered macaroni into casserole dish (spray with cooking spray first) and top with panko bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy!