Alright, friends, I've got a delicious dinner recipe for you! Since starting the blog, I have to say that I've developed a greater interest in cooking than I previously had. Don't get me wrong...I've always enjoyed cooking. Most days though I'd still prefer baking over cooking; however, the blog has been a great venue for me to expand my interests in the kitchen! As a result, I take more time to choose different dinner recipes to try...and every now and then I get to share one of those yummy dinner recipes with all you readers out there. And this butternut squash mac and cheese recipe is definitely one of those yummy dinner recipes!!
I had bookmarked this recipe quite some time ago, but only got around to making it last month in February (yes, I am waaay behind in my blog posts! some get put on the back burner for a while...er, no pun intended there with the back burner reference ;-)). This mac and cheese recipe comes from a great blog/website called Simple Bites. As Simple Bites describes itself, it is a "family-oriented community dedicated to all things food and drink." I like it! If you have a few minutes, you should check it out.
This recipe was really straightforward. Nothing too difficult! And it's pretty healthy too as far as mac and cheese recipes go! Some of the "cheese" comes from the butternut squash, so it uses less cheese than other recipes. I LOVE butternut squash myself, and although the squash flavor is not overwhelming in this dish, it is noticeable. I would bet money on the fact that non-squash lovers would easily eat a whole helping of this mac and cheese. ;-)
You can read the recipe I followed here. For the most part, I followed the recipe as is. A few changes... I did not use organic whole milk, but regular skim milk (which worked great!). I also did not use the dijon mustard, simply because dijon isn't my favorite flavor. For the cheese, I used a combination of Vermont extra sharp and a Mexican 4 cheese blend, pictured below.
For my pasta, I chose to use Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest whole grain fusilli pasta. I used the entire 13.25 oz. box that you see here.
Now, for the butternut squash, I kept it simple and used a 12 oz. package of frozen butternut squash that I thawed in the microwave. The recipe calls for 1 and 1/3 cups butternut squash puree that you make by actually cooking and pureeing squash. However, I had previously used frozen butternut squash that tasted great in this AMAZING butternut squash dip, so I figured I could use it for this recipe too! And it worked perfectly.
Finally, for the topping that calls for bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and coconut, I omitted the coconut and only used the bread crumbs and parm cheese.
Onion! I added some thyme to the onion also.
This is the onion, flour, and milk mixture with the butternut squash, before I mixed it in.
Now it's all mixed!
Time for CHEESE. Oh, I also added a small handful of parmesan here.
Stir it all up! The recipe calls for adding salt and pepper here, but I only added pepper. I also snuck in some more dried thyme here.
Ready for the oven! As you can see, I used two baking dishes (each is roughly 8 or 9 inches square). This makes a lot of mac n' cheese!!
Mmmm, nicely golden brown on top... :)
I served this with a side of roasted broccoli, Al Fresco all-natural chicken sausage (a delicious brand if you've never tried it!), and some homemade spent grain bread. A complete, healthful, and super tasty meal!!
This is a very hearty mac n' cheese that probably could stand as a nice meatless main dish on its own. It is a great family meal, sure to please kids and adults alike!! What's not to like? It's a healthy version of a comfort food. Heck, I should be saying, "what's not to love?" with this one. ;-)