Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Cooking Matters

Serves 8, 1 cup per serving

Winter squash brings great flavor to this healthier version of homemade mac and cheese!

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Ingredients

Non-stick cooking spray

12 ounces whole wheat macaroni

1 (11/2 pound) butternut or acorn squash

1/2 cup water

6 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1 (16-ounce) container nonfat cottage cheese

1 cup nonfat milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup dry whole wheat breadcrumbs


Materials

9-inch square baking dish
Box grater
Colander
Cutting board
Fork
Large pot
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Microwave safe bowl
Mixing spoon
Sharp knife

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook macaroni for 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and set aside. Reserve pot for later.

4. While pasta cooks, cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut into large chunks. Place in microwave-safe bowl with water. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

5. While squash cooks and cools, grate cheddar cheese.

6. Peel cooled squash. Place in pot used to cook pasta. Mash with a fork. Add cottage cheese and milk. Stir until smooth. Add pasta, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Spread evenly in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

7. Bake until breadcrumbs are browned and edges are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

Notes

To reduce cooking time, or when winter squash is not in season, use 2 (12-ounce) boxes of thawed frozen pureed squash in place of the fresh squash. If you have a blender, use it to puree the squash, cottage cheese, and milk in step 6. This will give the sauce a smoother texture. If you do not have a microwave, bake squash in the oven. Cut squash in half. Place cut side down in a baking dish with cup water. Bake at 375F until tender, about 1 hour. Transfer to a clean cutting board to cool.

More About Butternut Squash

How to Select

Choose a squash heavy for its size.

How to Store

Store in a cool, dark place for up to a month. Once cut, refrigerate unused portion.

How to Prepare

Add to stews and soups, steam and drizzle with olive oil, prepare in a curry, bake and stuff with apples, add cooked squash to a canned black beans with a dash of cinnamon and cumin, mash with yams, seasoned with ginger and cinnamon, or simply cube and roast.

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