Friday, October 21, 2011

Guilt-Free Mac'N'Cheese (Made With Butternut Squash)

Nothing is better than mac'n'cheese. Both Nick and I could eat mac'n'cheese multiple times a week, whether it be the KRAFT blue box or homemade. I love it because not only is it delicious, cheesy, gooey, and made with pasta, but it is extremely versatile. As you can see from my previous posts, I have made many different versions of mac'n'cheese: Pesto & Bruschetta Mac'N'Cheese, Spicy Mac'N'Cheese, Adult Mac'N'Cheese, and Funky Chicken Mac'N'Cheese. Well now I have finally found a relatively healthy version of mac'n'cheese, of course I found the recipe in Coking Light Magazine so of course it is guilt-free and delicious. I was really anxious to make this version of mac'n'cheese after I found it and I am really excited to share it with you all. Fall is the perfect time for squash and so this is a great recipe for October. I really enjoyed this mac'n'cheese, the butternut squash gives the dish a sweeter taste but it is still very delicious and I feel guiltless having seconds. You have to give this one a try.

3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth (fat free, lower sodium preferred)
1 1/2 cups milk (fat-free or 1% preferred)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
2 to 3 cups grated cheese of your choice (I used Cheddar, Jack, and Parmesan)
1 pound (16oz) bite-sized pasta of your choice (I used brown rice fusili)
Cooking Spray
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or grated cheese of your choice (I used Cheddar)

For serving:
2 Tbsp fresh chopped Parsley or 1/3 cup chopped fresh tomatoes or 1/4 cup grilled chopped mushrooms
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain well. Set aside.
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 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add black pepper, white pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, and garlic powder, 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.
4. Pour blended squash mixture into a large saucepan on Low heat. Stir in cheese and stir until well combined. Increase heat if cheese is still clumpy, but be careful not to burn. Continue to stir until sauce is smooth.
5. Add pasta to squash mixture and stir gently until combined. Spread mixture into a 13x9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated in cooking spray.
6. 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 1/4 cup Parmesan or grated cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat top with cooking spray.
7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, fresh tomatoes, or grilled mushrooms and serve immeditaely. Enjoy!!!
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, September 2011

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