Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

Yes, I’m doing this….I’m saying that there is such a thing as Healthy Macaroni and Cheese!  What comes to mind when you hear mac and cheese?  I suddenly envision myself 5 years old, feet dangling off the edge of the chair and my Grandma serving up some of her ooey gooey cheesey macaroni and cheese!!!  I can still see the steam coming off the spoon as it dips into the big white casserole dish.  Well…..I have that recipe and if I made a regular habit of eating that, I would need to buy bigger pants and make an appointment with the cardiologist!  By the way, the same goes for you if your memories of mac and cheese include a blue box and an oddly colored orange powdered “cheese”.  Please!!

So in an effort to avoid the cardiologist and the ever dreaded pant-shopping experience, here is my healthy and wholesome version of Macaroni and Cheese.

  • 1 Butternut Squash, roasted and pureed OR 1 Frozen Package of Squash
  • 8 oz Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 cup 1% Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Fresh Grated Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tbsp Butter, melted

Cut the butternut squash in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and what not.  Place cut side down in a large casserole dish in about 1 inch of water and roast at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Once cooled, scoop out the squash and puree or mash with a large fork until smooth.  If you don’t feel like going all Martha Stewart and breaking out the roasting pan, go ahead and buy the frozen pureed squash from the store.  I won’t tell anyone!  It costs a little more but it works just as well.  Allow the frozen squash to thaw first.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Combine the milk and 3/4 cup of the squash puree in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer, remove from heat and stir in the cheddar and ricotta cheese, mustard and nutmeg.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and stir in the elbow macaroni and cook according to package directions.

Toss the drained macaroni in a large bowl with the cheese mixture.  Pour into the prepared casserole dish.  Stir together the Parmesan and Romano cheese with the panko and butter.

Sprinkle the panko-parmesan topping over the casserole and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

This is a great way to get your little ones to eat more veggies!


About squashblossombabies

I am a foodie and a mommy, sharing my passion for good food and exposing my family to new flavors.
This entry was posted in Dinner, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggies and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Healthy Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Tonya says:

    I LOVE that there is squash in this recipe. My quest for “healthy” mac n cheese has gotten me as far as whole wheat mac, raw milk, a white wheat flour roux and that’s where it stopped. I am totally filing this away for the next time my kids BEG for Mac n Cheese. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Joe Crosthwait says:

    I don’t know. I just don’t know. Will this work on those days when you really need the comfort afforded by mac n’ cheese? I don’t know.

  3. David Kinnard says:

    This looks like it would be good with something green, like broccoli and peas. When would you add it?

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