mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, healthy macaroni and cheese, butternut squash recipe, michelle stroebe, milk and sugar sister, milk and sugar

Mac & cheese is one of those comfort foods that I just absolutely LOVE any time of the year.  But, as we all know it’s not always the healthiest option on the menu.  This recipe changes that! With a large serving of veggies, low fat milk, and vegetable broth the amount of cheese and fat in the standard recipe can be reduced without taking away from the flavor.  Enjoy!! 

Butternut Squash (or Carrot) Mac & Cheese

adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

1 medium/large butternut squash, cubed & peeled

or 4 medium carrots, peeled & sliced (sub for 3 cups baby carrots to save time)

1 medium onion, cut in half (peeled of outer skin)

1-2 whole cloves (optional)

1 cup vegetable broth

2 cups fat-free/low-fat milk

2-3 garlic cloves, smashed

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flour

1 ½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, gouda, or parmesean)

1 pound macaroni noodles (or rigatoni/penne)

1.     Cook pasta according to package directions.

2.     Pierce onion half with whole clove(s) so that they stick in the onion (for removal later).

3.     Combine squash/carrots, onion, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a slow boil over medium-low heat.  Reduce to low and simmer until squash/carrots are tender, about 30-35 mins.

4.     Preheat oven to 400°.

5.     Place the hot squash/carrot mixture in a blender.  Remove onion with cloves, if possible.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Remove the centerpiece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters) and blend on low until smooth.

6.     Add the olive oil and flour to the pan you cooked the pasta in (to save dishes); let cook on medium-low for about 2 mins while stiring frequently.

7.     Add blended squash mixture to the butter/oil and stir frequently until the sauce is thick (will coat the back of a spoon). Once thick, stir in cheese until combined.

8.     Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13×9 glass/ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

9.     Optional: Add 2 tbsp bread crumbs evenly over top for a crunchy top.

10.  Bake at 400° for 30-35 mins or until bubbly.