Thursday, September 1, 2011

Overpriced, Healthy Mac and Cheese

100 5059

I bought a copy of Cooking Light magazine last week at the grocery store.  On the front cover it had a Mac and Cheese Makeover.  Well I had to see this, because my kids love mac and cheese.  I love to find recipes that hide vegetables and make kid food healthy.  I did not know that mac and cheese had so much calories.  On purpose, I never look at the nutrition guide for such things that I know I am going to eat anyway.  Just so I do not have to eat it in guilt.  Sometimes, I think that just makes me eat more, because I am trying to restrict my portion.  The magazine said that the average bowl of mac and cheese has 900 calories. Yikes!  Whereas their portion has 390 calories.  So, I decided to make this mac and cheese.

The ingredients set me back a pretty penny.  However, I should be able to use some of them again.  I estimate the whole dish cost about $9.00 when a box of the store brand mac and cheese of similar portion is $2.50.

The recipe called for butternut squash.  That set me back $8.00, but I can use the other half of it for another batch (only $4.00 of squash went into the batch).  The moment I started to peel the squash I began to curse this recipe.  I detest peeling with a passion.  I do not even like to peel apples for a delicious apple pie or potatoes to mash them.  Butternut squash is a much more difficult subject.  However, I had a little kitchen helper who made light of the peeling and chopping of the squash.

The rest of the ingredients assembled quickly and I put it in the oven to bake.  The result was a phenomenally tasty "mac and cheese."  I am not sure that I did not eat a 900 calorie portion because it was so incredibly tasty.  I could not stop eating it.  The kids ate it up and asked for second helpings.  They never ask for seconds.  Alex woke up the next morning and asked to eat it for breakfast.  I will make it again even though it was pricey and more difficult than boxed mac and cheese.

With out further adieu, the recipe:

3 cups of cubed, peeled, butternut squash
1 1/4 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk (yeah, I used whole. I don't believe in fat-free milk)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 T fat free greek yogurt (didn't use fat-free here either. I hate fat fillers)
1 1/4 cups shredded gruyere
1 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
(I subbed in 1 1/4 cup ramano and 1 cup cheddar. Some of those cheeses are hard to find.) 
1 lb. uncooked cavatappi

1. Preheat oven to 375 F

2. Combine squash, broth, milk and garlic in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to medium heat and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes.

3. Begin to cook pasta.

4. Place hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper and greek yogurt.  Blend and let steam out.

5. In a bowl add cheese to hot mixture. Stir until completely combined.

6. Add cooked pasta to squash mixture and fold until the pasta is coated.

7. Spread mixture in a 13X9" baking dish.

8. Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes.

Bon appétit!


anne said...

Looks fabulous! I love mac 'n' cheese :)

1) you might be able to grow your own butternut squash :)

2) an easier way to prepare it is to cut it in half lengthwise, oil a cookie sheet, and place the squash cut-side down. bake for 30 minutes (or until tender) and scoop it out :) I find that the time (and agony) I save chopping the squash makes the extra oven time worth it. Then scoop it out and add it t the warm liquid mixture.

3) my grammy always topped her mac'n'cheese w/ breadcrumbs... i always loved the crunchy texture that hers added, so different from the boxed (which we still loved--just different foods) ;)

thanks for sharing! glad the kids liked it :)

Renee Clayton said...

1. I should grow my own.
2. I think they were trying to streamline the cooking.
3. The recipe called for crispy fried panko and chopped parsley, but I omitted it, because I was tired and didn't want to type it up. Good idea though.