Not saying that I live with one... he still avoids green veggies but what fun would a mac n' cheese recipe be if it were green?? I whipped up another batch of this last night for him fuel up on in preparation for his 100 Mile Ultramarathon which starts at dusk today in the mountains of western-central Virginia.
This twist on mac n' cheese has a winning flavor combo. The addition of butternut squash both enhances the creamy texture of the dish while boosting the nutritional value to boot! Add in a sprinkle of cinnamon and you have a warm and gooey comfort food with a dash of fall with each bite!
1 box (13.25oz) elbow macaroni (whole grain!)
1-2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
2 cups butternut squash, cooked and pureed
1 c. milk (2%) or plain soy milk
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt & pepper to taste
Cook your butternut squash. This is probably the hardest step. First, preheat the oven to 350 F, then cut your squash in half lengthwise. Second, remove the seeds. Don't automatically throw them away! These can be roasted like pumpkin seeds for a yummy snack :) Next, place the two squash halves in a casserole dish with 1/2-1 inch water (you don't need much!) Place your squash in the oven for about 45 minutes until the flesh has fully softened.
Meanwhile, cook your macaroni according to directions in a large pot. Drain and place macaroni into your pot while mixing in 1-2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil. This is a great source of healthy fats and keeps the macaroni from sticking.
Remove your squash from the oven and allow to cool. Be patient! When cool to touch, use a spoon to scrap the flesh away from the skin into a separate bowl (Yield will be approximately 4-5 cups while this recipe calls for 2 cups). Combine 2 c. of the squash puree with your seasoning & spices, then add to your pot of macaroni and stir until thoroughly combined. Mix in your cheese and milk, stir, and transfer to a 9 x 12" casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Uncover, add another sprinkle of cheese (about 1/2 c.) and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden and bubbly :)
< Click to download the recipe card here >
Time to hit the road for some quality trail action.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and endurance athlete residing in southwest Virginia alongside her husband and dog. Through this blog she aims to share favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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