Monday, January 30, 2012

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

My Grandma and Grandpa Nelson gave us a huge butternut squash so I've been coming up with different ways to use it.

I made a double batch of winter-squash rolls and made the seeds into one of my favorite snacks, sweet and spicy seeds. This really is the best recipe for pumpkin seeds, or any kind of squash seeds. I always eat half the batch myself and have a really hard time sharing.

But I digress. After some research, I decided to try a new way to use the butternut squash in Macaroni and Cheese. It sounded like a good way to add something of nutritional value to a, generally, unhealthy dish.

So I first cooked the squash in the oven and it was so big I had to use two different pans.

Basically you cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and strings like a pumpkin, rub a little oil on it,  add some water to the dish, and bake for an hour or so.

After it's baked, the squash is soft so I scooped it all out, set some aside for my rolls, and pureed the rest.

It made so much that I actually had double what I needed and so I poured the extra into a ziploc that's now in the freezer ready for another recipe in the future.

Now for the actual mac & cheese. Cook your noodles according to package directions - drain and set aside in a pan. Then combine milk and the pureed squash in a pan on the stove and stir over the heat to combine.

Then add some mustard, salt, and pepper.

After you add the spices and let it simmer for a couple of minutes, you get to add the best part: CHEESE!

I added lots of cheese.

Once the cheese is melted and the mixture is nice and creamy, you pour it over your noodles and spread it around until all the noodles are covered completely.

Because I combined two different recipes, I also added an extra layer of toppings that consisted of seasoned bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and an extra handful of cheddar cheese.

Then it all goes in the oven to bake. When it comes out it looks like this:

We served it up with some peas.

I will have to say that butternut squash made it very creamy. I loved how creamy it was. It also made it a sweeter macaroni and cheese that threw me for a loop at first. You don't really taste the squash flavor but it is sweeter. I got used to it that night and decided it was pretty good. No one else was bothered by extra sweetness. However, when I heated up the left-overs the next day I didn't taste any sweetness at all, only cheesy, creamy goodness - it was AMAZING!

So it's one of those recipes that's better on day two but still good on day one. I'm definitely going to make this recipe again.

If you want to try it out, I actually combined two different recipes you can find here and here. You don't actually have to cook a butternut squash because you can also buy it packaged in frozen cubes. However, it's easy to cook a squash and do whatever you want with it afterwards. Eat it, mash or puree it, freeze it, or set it aside for whenever you want to use it.

The recipe made so much that I froze the other half of the dish for a different night. So now I have frozen pureed butternut squash and and frozen butternut squash macaroni and cheese. Butternut squash all around.  Not a bad thing, considering how healthy it is for you.


  1. you are so adventurous!!! oh and i keep forgetting to tell you but im a just dance fiene too!!! i do the 7 day challenges- and i love #3- its got 'lets go to the mall', one of my wedding songs! hahhaha its my fav. and im even more uncoordinated then you (ask caitlin) and i still think i look like hot stuff so i say we rock it

  2. I'm not a big fan of squash, but perhaps if it was covered in cheese I'd like it? Haha!

  3. Unlike Caitlin...I do like me some squash. However...I am not near as adventurous or as brave as you are, so I don't know if I'd ever be making this one. I think it's awesome you are trying so many new things! Especially ones that aren't just your typical recipe. It makes me want to be slightly more adventurous...kinda. Haha :)