Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A wee bit more healthy Macaroni & Cheese

One of G's most favorite dishes of all time is Macaroni & Cheese. He likes it outta the box, made from scratch, made with lots of Velveeta, pretty much if its mac & cheese he'll eat it. If I'm out of town for any reason you can bet when I call home and ask, "so, what did you eat?" in that wifely way that I do you can guarantee within at least a 48 hour period he's eaten at least 1 box of mac & cheese. (he's the only person I know who thinks a serving of mac & cheese is a whole box.)

Usually at least once a year we attempt to make mac & cheese from scratch. I remember the first time we made homemade mac & cheese with our niece and nephew several years ago and how disappointed they were that it wasn't like the box kind.

So that being said, we have had our fair share of mac & cheese making experiences...some delicious, some not so much.

This recipe was from a recent Cooking Light magazine that looked both delicious and intriguing because it was made with less cheese and butter and with butternut squash in its place. So we figured it could be a doable mid-week meal.

The squash

was first cubed and cooked in the milk mixture.

After it was the pureed in the blender and mixed with the Greek yogurt, pasta and cheese it was baked in the oven with a bit of browned panko crumbs.

The result was good. Great texture, good flavor...but lacking in the cheesy department. Really can you have cheesy and healthy on the same plate? Probably not.

Of course its the less cheesy that  made it "healthy." The color & texture made it good, but more cheese would of made it great!
But if you're looking to cut calories and have a hankering for some creamy mac & cheese this might be worth trying.


  • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth $
    Click to see savings
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk $
    Click to see savings
  • 2 garlic cloves $
    Click to see savings
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $
    Click to see savings
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt $
    Click to see savings
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi
  • Cooking spray $
    Click to see savings
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil $
    Click to see savings
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat 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, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece 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). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.
  • 4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • 5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  • 6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We'd love to hear about your favorite meals, restaurants, or wines, as well as anything else you'd like to share.....