Stir in some pumpkin goodness in a comfort food classic with this Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese.
We have been going on a pumpkin craze at my house. After roasting a pumpkin of our own (instructions here), we’ve been using our homemade pumpkin goodness in countless recipes. I’ve revamped my pumpkin bread recipe to use less fat and less sugar (Nut-Crusted Pumpkin Bread). I’ve made Pumpkin Scones, Lemon Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Whole Wheat Chocolate-Chip Waffles and now, Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese!
I saw on Spicie Foodie’s blog a delicious picture of macaroni and cheese with squash. I remembered that I would use cauliflower purée to sneak in nutrition for the Professor’s favorite food: macaroni and cheese. I decided it was time use pumpkin as my secret weapon. Of course, I didn’t keep it a secret. I told him. He is 9 1/2. He’s been eating pumpkin-everything for almost two weeks without complaint.
He said, “Okay.”
He’s come a long way from when he was 3 and demanded, out of the blue, that he didn’t like spaghetti sauce and wanted to eat plain spaghetti with butter. Luckily for both of us, I ignored his demands and his tantrums and now he eats rather well.
I took my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe and modified it, modified it, modified it. I came up with this creamy, cheesy recipe. The Professor loved it. He couldn’t tell there was pumpkin inside. My little Princess, who also loves this cheesy meal, wrinkled her nose at the thought of Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese until I snuck a spoonful into her cute mouth.
“Mmmmm! I like it! Okay, I’ll eat it.”
Who says you can’t feed kids a healthy meal?
It goes to show that experimenting with food and flavors can be worth the effort, especially if it means that your kids begin to eat healthier foods.
- 1/2 lb macaroni
- 2 TBS butter, unsalted
- 2 TBS all-purpose flour
- 2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
- 3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Butter or apply non-stick spray to a 9" baking dish. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat.
When water is boiling, add macaroni and cook according to package directions, until pasta is firm and slightly undercooked, approx 8 minutes.
- Drain macaroni in a colander and reserve.
- In the meantime, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
When butter is foamy, whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Slowly add the milk and continue to whisk until there are no lumps.
- Whisk in pumpkin puree. Cook until sauce thickens, approximately 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese.
- When cheese has melted completely into the sauce, mix sauce with the reserved macaroni.
- Pour macaroni and cheese into prepared pan.
- Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
- Serve warm.
Serving Suggestions: Use different shapes of pasta made of whole wheat, spinach and other healthy ingredients. You can also add pumpkin purée to boxed macaroni and cheese.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 765mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 28g