Mac N Cheese Healthified

There seems to be a comfort food theme going on here this week…  Choc + PB Cupcakes, Chipped Beef Gravy, and now Mac n Cheese :P.  I heart mac n cheese.  I mean c’mon!  Melty, creamy cheese and carbs??  Yeah. 

Unfortunately melty, creamy, cheesy covered carbs comes with a price tag!  When I saw Ellie Krieger whip up this healthified version I decided she was my hero.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  This is not the real thing.  This is not the banana soft serve of the ice cream world (I don’t know when I’ll ever need real ice cream again…), but it is dang tasty!

I’ve been having it with all of my lunches this week :).

Here’s my version of the recipe.  I altered it because I never have as many cheeses as she uses lying around in my fridge, and well I just like to be different ;).  And if I went out and bought all of the cheese….it would have been annihilated and that would kind of defeat the purpose of trying to eat a healthier version of the caloric beast that is macaroni and cheese.

Healthified Mac N Cheese (adapted from this lovely recipe from Ellie Krieger)

  • 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash (I have used frozen cubed butternut squash, thawed and pureed, and canned pumpkin before)
  • 2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk plain almond milk
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese more cheddar cheese!, grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon 1/4 tsp 😉 cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Thaw out the squash (puree afterwards if using a cubed frozen squash) or measure out your pumpkin.  Side note: the pumpkin was all I had on hand once, and it worked perfectly!

    Mix in the milk and simmer.  Slowly add the cheeeeese factor until melted.  Add in the spices and stir.  Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes. 

    A Girl's Best Friend

    Hopefully you’ve been cooking the pasta this whole time, or if you’re like me, you just put the pot of water on, because you got so caught up in the cheese fest going on in your kitchen ;).  Once the pasta is cooked, stir it into your cheese-a-thon 2000 cheese sauce mixture and transfer to a greased casserole dish.

    Finally, combine the parm, bread crumbs, and oil and sprinkle this mixture on top of the “match made in heaven” cheese + carbs goodness.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes and then broil for 3 minutes at the end.

    I’m the worst food blogger ever and don’t have any pictures of it before it ended up on my lunch plates.  Sorry!

    How about this tantalizing photo of my french toast this morning instead??

    I added blueberries, but otherwise it’s the same as yesterday’s.  Check it out for some french toast tippers, from me to you!

    Afternoon snackage.  Canteloupe and greek yogurt with honey on top.  The yog + fruit + honey thing is something I picked up in Australia for whatever reason and it is fantasmic (Webster and I are becoming fast friends ;))!

    Dinner was not original or ground breaking, but I do want to show you my favorite store bought pasta sauce ever.

    Dave’s Gourmet Spicy Heirloom Marinara Sauce.  I has a little kick from the chiles that I adore in tomato sauces, and a nice bonus is that it’s organic!  I found it in our little “fine foods” store in town and fell in love.  I even went back and special requested some more and now they’re carrying it regularly :D.  They carry a few other sauces too, so if I ever get over how wonderful this one is, maybe I’ll branch out and try a new one.  I’ll be sure to let you know!

    That’s all I’ve got for you tonight.  Get your cheese on and I’ll see you one day closer to the approaching long weekend!!