Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Dinner tonight is at the request of my 4 year old son, L.  He has been asking pleading for mac & cheese for awhile now.  So because it's Saturday night/family night @ our house, I obliged.  I wanted to put a healthier spin on a classic, so tonight I incorporated some vegetables for added nutrition.  The secret ingredient?  Butternut Squash.  Who doesn't love Butternut Squash?  We are huge fans in this house, so needless to say dinner tonight is bound to be a winner.

The verdict? 
L: "This dinner is really good  Mommy, when can we have it again?" 
Me: "When would you like it?"
L: "Maybe we can have it tomorrow @ lunch.  Can we save some leftovers?"
Me: "You got it!"
I guess that means he liked it?

Now that dinner is complete, it's time for movie night.  Popcorn? Check.  Beverages? Check.  The four of us plus Charlie? Check.  Let the show begin!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese:
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups uncooked macaroni
4 tablespoons minced onion
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp thyme
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
1 cup cooked & mashed butternut squash

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly butter 13x9x2 baking dish.  Set aside.****
Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in saucepan, over medium heat. Add onion and cook till translucent. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, and thyme; mix well. Stir in milk and cook until thickened, approximately 5 minutes. Add in mashed butternut squash and 1 cup of cheese and stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni and mix well.  Season to taste with pepper.  Transfer macaroni to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining  1/2 cup of cheese.
To make topping: melt butter in non-stick pan and toss bread crumbs to coat. Top macaroni with crumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. 

***alternatively you can bake this in 6 individual sized ramekins @ 350F for 20-25 minutes.

Serves: 6
adapted from my Tomato Mac & Cheese


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