I didn’t actually make this today, but I’m working to transfer the recipes from my old blog, http://www.chasingjillian.wordpress.com, to this one. Chasing Jillian was a fun little project that my friend Tashia and I worked on a few years ago; we challenged each other to cook-offs with a theme, and had to make our favorites a little bit more healthy.

This is a really excellent vegetarian recipe for baked mac and cheese that incorporates butternut squash; it was published in Cooking Light in 2011. My theory is, I’ll do anything to get a few more vegetable servings into my day, AND get my comfort food when I need it. You could absolutely make this gluten free by using rice pasta and GF panko crumbs (I just bought some at Woodman’s this weekend). I’m not sure I would try to make this vegan though – the real cheeses add important flavor, and your reduced fat milk and yogurt give it a little creaminess. I really enjoyed this, and hope you will too!

butternut-squash-mac-and-cheese

3 c. cubed, peeled butternut squash (about 1 (1 lb.) squash)

1 ¼ c. chicken broth

1 ½ c. skim milk

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. fat-free greek yogurt

1 ¼ c. shredded Gruyere cheese

1 c. grated romano cheese

¼ c. parmesan cheese, divided

1 lb. uncooked whole wheat pasta – use a shape that will hold onto the sauce

Cooking spray

1 tsp. olive oil

½ c. panko bread crumbs

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine squash, broth, milk and garlic in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork; about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper and greek yogurt. Remove the center piece from the blender lid (to allow steam to escape). Place a clean towel over opening in lid and blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in gruyere, romano and 2 tbsp. parmesan. Stir until combined.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat, drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 9”x13” glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in remaining parmesan cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately

This can also be made ahead 24 hours and stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before baking and it may take about 10 minutes longer to get bubbly.

Serves 8. 390 cal, 109 g. fat, 19 g. protein, 54 g. carb, 3.2 g. fiber, 31 mg. chol, 2.4 mg iron, 589 mg. sodium, 403 mg. calcium

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