Seasonal & Healthy Mac ‘n Cheese
I tried out a new recipe last night thinking if it’s a good one I’ll have to make it again when my camera is fixed to take some decent food pics and share with you guys here. Well I loved it so much that I can’t wait to share…so I’m not.
Basically this is mac ‘n cheese, but like a fall season mac ‘n cheese that’s also ‘healthified’, with a smidge of bacon. Best thing though, it’s freaking delicious. I didn’t even eat the roasted chicken breast I made last night to accompany it as I opted for a big plate of this. I skipped the garden salad too, ’cause it even has fruit and veggies in it.
So what’s in this amazing mac ‘n cheese you ask? Butternut squash, onions and apples. No joke. I promise it’s good. If you like squash you’ll like it, and if you hate squash…you might just still like it.
Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Apple
adapted from Pinch of Yum
2 C dry elbow pasta (use whole grain to ‘healthify’ more)
1 C butternut squash puree (Got any left in the garden?)
1/2 C whole milk
1/4 C chicken broth
1 oz low fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 T butter
1/2 C onion, thinly sliced
1 crispy apple, diced (I used a Honeycrisp)
4 T crumbled bacon
For butternut puree
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a medium-sized butternut squash in half, lengthwise and remove seeds. Roast in oven for about 1 hour. Let cool and then scoop squash into a blender and pulse until pureed. You can do this step up to a couple of days in advance storing the puree in the fridge or you can use canned butternut squash puree from the store.
For mac ‘n cheese
Melt butter in skillet over low heat and then add onions and let caramelize for at least 30 minutes over low heat.
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, milk and cream cheese. When combined, add in salt.
Add onions and apples into pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more of broth or milk if needed. Just before serving, add cheese and stir until melted. Top each serving with a tablespoon of crumbled bacon.
The orange of the squash really gives this mac ‘n cheese a great color. Actually it’s kind of comparable to the boxed stuff – no need to tell anybody (especially the kids) any different, right?
The flavors really work well together. Squash, apples and caramelized onions can be staple ingredients in any fall-inspired meal and we all know cheese and pasta go with about anything.
And what about the texture? Perfect, creamy with just a bit of crunch from the apple and bacon.
Two thumbs up from this gal.
Crossing my fingers my camera will be done soon. Have a great weekend!