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Ah, macaroni and cheese, the dish loved by kids across America…..mine included! Unfortunately, noodles + cheese isn’t necessarily the healthiest combination, so today I have a mac&cheese hack that will get your kids asking for seconds WHILE secretly adding an extra vegetable serving to their dinner plates.
Butternut squash is a popular winter vegetable that is high in fiber and vitamin A and low in calories. A simple roast and puree makes it the perfect creamy base for this meal.
I use whole wheat macaroni noodles for added fiber….the kids can’t tell the difference! And, don’t worry, we can’t have macaroni and cheese without the cheese, but in this version it’s sprinkled on top. Next time I make this I may try melting it in with the sauce.
- 1 butternut squash, cut in half
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 box macaroni noodles (16 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash, cut sides down on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender about 45 - 60 minutes.
- After squash has cooled, remove flesh with a spoon and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Cook macaroni noodles according to package directions and set aside.
- While noodles are cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat and then add flour, stirring for about one minute. Slowly add milk, whisking continuously until a thick sauce is formed, for about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in pureed squash, spices and extra salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a baking dish and top with cheese.
- Bake in 400 degree fahrenheit oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Serve and Enjoy!
*Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray’s Butternut Bowties