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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

on March 26, 2012

Everyone has their favorite comfort foods.  After taking the first bite most of us start to feel guilty because we know there is little nutrition in the meal but we still eat it and for that moment forget about the calories, fat, etc.  We are determined to reinvent comfort foods to still make them comforting but much healthier.  That is why we are making this week “Healthy Favorites Week.”  Each day we will give you new recipes and ideas on how to make some of the traditional comfort foods healthier for you and your family!  Today is all about everyones favorite, Mac & Cheese.

My son had his first bite of mac and cheese last week and it was as if he had  discovered the meaning of life.  He must have said, “mmmm, sooo good” one thousand times during the course of dinner.  He was singing, bopping his head, it was the happiest I’ve seen him during any meal, ever!  I didn’t intend to give them mac and cheese, my plan is to hold off on those ‘yummy but not so good for you’ foods for as long as possible, but with a newborn at home, we were short on options and Whole Foods was short on variety that day, so I got a roasted chicken, broccoli and yes, mac and cheese.  Ever since that day, he asks if we’re having mac and cheese before every meal and looks so disappointed when I say, “no”, that I had to find a recipe that I could make at home and feel good about giving them.

After searching and searching, I found one!  While many claim to be healthy, this one actually is because its made with roasted butternut squash (and I doubled the amount of squash in my version). To roast the squash, I halved it lengthwise, then cut those pieces in half, drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven at 425 for 40 minutes. I also used whole wheat elbow pasta and I used less cheese and more milk to cut the fat.  It was delicious.  Even my husband and I had some for dinner.  Next time, I’m going to add chopped, cooked broccoli and ground turkey (sautéed with onions and garlic) and will make it a casserole, an entire meal in one.  If your family loves mac and cheese, you have to try this!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

½ Medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped

1T Olive oil

Salt and pepper

½ Pound elbow macaroni

2 ½ C Milk, divided

2T Butter

3T Flour

1/8 tsp. Nutmeg

1T Fresh chopped rosemary

1C Shredded white cheddar cheese

1C Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¾ C Whole-wheat breadcrumbs.


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Place squash on large cookie sheet and drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 20-30 minutes until tender.  Turning once.
  2. While squash is roasting, cook macaroni according to package.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Add squash to food processor and puree until smooth.  Add ½ C of milk and puree again.
  4. In large skillet, over medium heat, add butter.  When melted, whisk in flour.  Add nutmeg and cook 2-3 minutes continuously whisking.  Add rest of milk and whisk until smooth.
  5. Turn heat to high and bring to boil.  After thickened, turn to low and whisk in squash mixture.  Stir in rosemary.
  6. Add macaroni to the pan and stir until all noodles are well coated.  Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Great 2-quart casserole dish and pour half of noodles in pan.  Sprinkle half of each cheese over noodles.  Add remaining noodles and top with rest of cheese.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbling.  Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.





3 responses to “Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

  1. […] Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – Try this alternative as a fun side dish or post-Thanksgiving meal using leftover butternut […]

  2. […] Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – Dress up this family favorite with this antioxidant and phytonutrient powerhouse.  Butternut squash is a healthy, delicious alternative and you won’t miss ALL that extra cheese for a second. […]

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