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Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

With the new year upon us, everyone’s looking for ways to lighten up. Enrich your mac and cheese with healthy butternut squash mash to give it body, flavor and veggie goodness. Try this recipe for a cold night!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces Natural and Kosher shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces Natural and Kosher Mexican cheese blend (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons Natural and Kosher Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Olive-oil, cooking spray
  • hand-full walnuts – optional

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and toss. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender, turning once.

2. While the butternut squash is roasting, cook macaroni according to package directions, drain well. Set aside.

3. Add butternut squash to food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of the milk and puree again. This will help thin out the butternut squash.

4. Transfer the butternut squash puree to a mixing  bowl or you can use the same pot you used to cook the macaroni , add the rest of the milk, macaroni, crushed red pepper  and both NK cheese and the ricotta and stir to combine.

5. Lightly coat a 9-inch square dish (about 4 inch deep) with cooking spray. Transfer the mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and walnuts, if desire, and oil; sprinkle on top.

6. Cover with foil, and bake 20 min. remove foil and continue until lightly browned and crisp on top about 30 min more.

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