Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Baked Mac and 4 Cheeses

You know what?...I really stink at meal planning sometimes. Every Sunday morning, I plan my meals for the entire week. Then later in the day I go to the grocery store for one big food run. However, many times after a day or two of pre-planned meals, I get cravings for something completely different. That's how this mac and cheese dish came about.

Today, I got a craving for mac and cheese. So I started browsing through and found this one by Ellie Krieger. What really appealed to me about her recipe is that she started off the cheese sauce with pureed squash! Sneaking in the veggies...yeah, I'm all about that!

Now, I will admit that this is not my favorite mac and cheese recipe. It tasted a little bland to me. Maybe it's b/c I only used sharp cheddar instead of extra-sharp or the ricotta somehow muted some of the other flavors...I don't really know. However, BOTH of my kids really liked it and happily ate all of their dinner...yes, squash and all:) So, if you are looking for a way to get your kids to eat more veggies, you might want to give this recipe a try.

Click HERE for a video of how to make this dish.


Makes 8 servings (I only made half the recipe)

Cooking spray
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk (I used 2%)
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups) (I used sharp cheddar)
2 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon 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 macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until defrosted. 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, Jack cheese, ricotta 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 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. Be sure the pasta is not too close to the broiler or it will burn the toppings instead of browning them.


  1. The mac 'n cheese looks WONDERFUL! I'll have to give this recipe a shot...thanks for posting!

  2. I use this exact same recipe!! And I halve it, too :) Oh, and nobody in my house seems to like the breadcrumb topping, so I mix 2T parmesan into the sauce and sprinkle a little extra cheddar on top.