Sunday, November 18, 2007

Healthy Mac and Cheese

Why is it healthy?

The secret ingredient is what makes this Mac and Cheese so healthful. It may sound weird but, there is a vegetable in this dish. You would never know it however because this mystery veggie blends wonderfully with the color and flavors of the mac and cheese. So what is it you ask? Ok, enough suspence...It's butternut squash!
The inspiration for this dish came from Ellie Krieger's Macaroni and 4 Cheeses. I changed it a little to my specs and was very pleased with the outcome. Actually, this dish was so good, I think I will always make my mac and cheese this way from now on. The cheese sauce can also be used atop of broccoli and cauliflower or whatever veggie you like!

Healthy Shells and Cheese

Cooking spray
1 pound medium size shells, or any other small/medium size pasta
1 1/2 lb.butternut squash, cooked and pureed
2 cups evaporated skim milk
6 ounces 75% low-fat extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup low-fat whipped cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons unseasoned fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the shells and cook until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place squash and milk into a large saucepan and warm over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cheddar, cottage cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.


Anonymous said...

Everyone loves Mac & cheese.but this dihs is very tasty and healthy too.BAMBOLA

Emily said...

I LOVE mac and cheese. I think it's one of my favorite foods...but it is so unhealthy, that I have to stop myself from eating it. This solves the problem! I am a fan of butternut aquash, so I'll have to try this. Really, I'm going to. I don't think we have low-fat whipped cottage cheese though. Maybe I could use a low-fat cream cheese?

Annie said...

Bambola, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Emilie, I used Friendship brand whipped cottage cheese. You could try the cream cheese or get small curd low-fat cottage cheese and use your immersion blender to smooth it out...

Emily said...

Oh, that would make sense. I'm an idiot.