Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Last month I saw this amazing recipe for Macaroni and Cheese in Cooking Light magazine.  I just knew I had to try it, as it cuts almost 600 calories from the traditional mac & cheese recipe.  So here’s my version, enjoy!

Ashley’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

  • 3 cups of peeled butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 pound uncooked whole wheat shells
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

2.  Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce hear to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3.  Place the hot squash mixture in a blender.  Add salt and pepper… Greek yogurt is called for in the original recipe but I missed this step… I was too focused on the blending of the squash.  Remove the center piece of the blender lis (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over the opening in the blender lid (to avoid splatter).

Blend until smooth.

Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in cheeses and mix until combined.

4.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add pasta to the squash mixture and stir until combined.

5.  Spread mixture evenly into a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Italian seasoning (my added touch) evenly over the hot pasta mixture.

6.  Bake a 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

7.  Enjoy!!

This is really an awesome and easy recipe.  Neal and I both found the sauce to be a little sweet, so I might change up the cheese next time.  Trader Joe’s has this awesome 5 cheese mixture… I think it would do well in this dish.  I would also recommend adding additional seasoning to the sauce prior to adding the noodles.  The Italian seasoning on top was great, but I think it’d be better inside the dish.

All in all, I give it 3.75 out of 5 stars. 

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Today is also Biggest Loser day, so you know what that means… Weigh In!!  My scale was giving me really random numbers this morning (it’s clearly broken) so I am going to weigh in on Neal’s scale tomorrow.  I will update tomorrow morning…

Biggest Loser Challenge Week 2

  • Starting Weight: 226.6 pounds
  • Week 2 Weight:  ?? pounds
  • Total Weight Lost: 1.8 pounds

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Well, I’m off to work!  With 20 minutes on the elliptical and 40 minutes in the weight room under my belt, I’m feeling really energized this morning.  I’m hoping I don’t crash today, though it’s bound to happen.  Staying up until 12:40AM to do graduate work wasn’t the smartest idea. 😉

I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday!