November 2, 2011

Autumn Mac and Cheese

I think it's finally caught up to me.

All this cheesy, gooey pasta, chocolate chip waffles, banana bread, cookies, and brownies I've been consuming since starting my blog has taken residence... around my belly. It's time for an intervention! And when I say intervention I mean swapping out a few things here and there- egg beaters for egg wash, low fat milk, yogurt or applesauce in baking, and lots and lots of veggies. Hence why I decided this decant pasta dish was just the ticket to start off my "diet-" it's got butternut squash (swoon), brussel sprouts, and apple! I thought the whole combination sounded weird but I was willing to experiment. Especially since I had never had butternut squash before. Craziness. I know.

I'm also sorry to say this is the only decent shot I managed to take. Now that it's getting darker earlier and earlier, my photos are coming out blurry. Lame. Oh well! Rest assured, this is delicious, nutritious, and what Fall is all about.

Source: How Sweet Eats
Servings: 4

1 pound whole wheat pasta 
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 cup brussels sprouts, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cup low fat milk
8 ounces cheese, grated (I used cheddar and pecorino)
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Lay chopped squash and apples on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Roast for 25 minutes, flipping once.

While the squash is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and brussels sprouts with a pinch of salt and pan roast for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently. Heat a large pot of water to a boil, and begin to cook your pasta.

Set aside squash/apples and sprouts/onion mixture. If pasta is cooked, set it aside as well. Reduce oven heat to 350.

In a medium saucepan, heat one tablespoon of butter on medium heat and whisk in the flour to create a roux. Add the milk while continuing to whisk, and begin adding cheese as well. I find that adding cheese in batches about 3 minutes apart works best. Continue to whisk together so the cheese melts and doesn’t stick to the bottom. The entire process takes about 10 minutes and you want the heat on medium-low, this will help thicken the cheese sauce. I find you don’t want it too thick, as it will thicken in the over.
Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Begin to layer pasta, vegetables and apples, and cheese sauce in batches, just mixing to make sure all is combined. Top with panko and another sprinkling of parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

How do you try to eat healthy?


  1. Wow this definitely has a different sound to it, but I want to try it! I love mac & cheese and I need some healthier options in our diet as we head into the holiday season!

  2. Man this is comfort food at its finest right here. We usually go with Velveeta for our Mac N Cheese ;)

  3. I'm loving this Christina! So veggie-packed!

  4. Yum! How did you find peeling the butternut squash to be? I've heard mixed reviews on the difficulty of that task, hah. :)

    I try to sub whole wheat flour in recipes whenever I can (none of my taste testers have ever noticed), and I cook with olive oil rather than butter. Small things, but hopefully they help!

  5. I eat healthy because I make GOOD, healthy this :) If I had to eat Smart Ones or Lean Cuisines at every meal...oh, heck no! Couldn't do it! I can't believe this was your first butternut squash exposure! Welcome to the bright side ;)

  6. This dish sounds amazing! So healthy and yet still seems sinful at the same time. I'm all over something like this!

  7. That looks good! I usually like my mac and cheese straight up with no fillers, but this looks tasty! :)

  8. This looks delicious! Real comfort food for our cold days over here:)

  9. What a great twist on Mac and Cheese; however, I would have to leave out the Brussels Sprouts - just not a fan. Otherwise, this looks like a fabulous recipe.


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