Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Only Way I'll Make Macaroni & Cheese From Now On

Here's another 'healthier' approach--even though I added more cheese to the original recipe. I am SO glad I stumbled upon this gem of a recipe! My dinner guests asked if I was covering this recipe on the food blog....they didn't have to ask...first bite was heaven and my daughter asked for 'more' three different times when offered leftovers. Who knew that you could 'hide' squash in a decadent comfort food?!

The only thing I might to different next time is to add a little more milk in the filling--since I added more topping, it seemed to need it. (Think about it-the crispy topping is one of the best things about mac & cheese...) Here are most of your ingredients:

Try this recipe. You will be so glad you did--and sorry vegans, this is one of those recipes that reminds me why I could give never give up cheese.

Adapted from Elie Krieger--below is my version, but here is original

1 pound elbow macaroni (I used whole grain rotini pasta)
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
2 cups milk (skim worked fine)
4 oz. extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
4 oz. Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. powdered mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 Tbsp. Panko bread crumbs (regular is fine-but Panko adds better 'crunch')
6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup cheese of your choice for topping (optional-I used a 4 cheese blend)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, Monterrey Jack cheese, cottage cheese, salt, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese (This is also the point I added a big handful of shredded cheese--go ahead and judge).

Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Serves 8 with a vegetable side and a protein.

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