Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese 

I love Mac and cheese. It is definitely a holiday favorite .  This year I wanted to do something different .  I wanted to see if I  could make my mom’s incredible mac and cheese recipe and make it a little healthier. My mom made the best mac and cheese ever, buttery , cheesy, creamy and loaded with lots of flavor. I knew this would be a feat. 

So how would I  do this? I  believe it’s best to use what you have first. A lesson my mom taught me growing up. I looked on my counter and there was a butternut squash. I  love butternut squash and the color reminds me of sharp cheddar cheese. Now how will I  I corporate this in  my  recipe. Substitute the cheese. Now the butter, that easy, make the roux with olive oil instead .  The milk also, no biggie, use 2% or a non dairy unsweetened milk .  I went for the 2%. 
I  got an opportunity to try out my recipe on a local talk show, Women on the MOVE, hosted by Kim McNair. You have check out her talk show, it’s very inspiring  highlight incredible women here in the Atlanta area and local celebrities that are making a difference in our community. 

Okay back to the  mac and cheese .  The crew tore right into and loved the flavor. I think my mom would be proud. Of course, she would say  Lisa you should  have added a little butter.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and remember this holiday season to Set the Table with Love and holiday cheer. 

Ingredients 
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

1 large butternut squash

6 tablespoons olive

¾ cup all-purpose flour

7 cups 2% milk 

pinch of nutmeg

1/4 cup smoked gouda  shredded 

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded 

1/4 mozzarella, shredded  

1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded save 1/2 cup for the top of the mac and cheese 

1/2 cup herb Japanese panko breadcrumbs

 Salt

 Pepper

Directions 

Heat oven on 375.

Peel the squash, cut the butternut squash in half, remove seeds and cut the squash in cubes.  In a large pot of boiling water add the squash. Cook until squash is tender. Drain squash and add to a blender.  Purée until smooth.

Make cheese sauce. Add olive oil in saucepan. Add flour. Stir to make a roux and cook 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. Add 3 cups milk, pinch of nutmeg and stir until thickened. Add the rest of the milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add shredded cheese, (leaving out 1/2 of the sharp cheddar cheese out) and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the dish: Place cooked elbow macaroni in large bowl. Pour half of the cheese sauce over and add puréed butternut squash. Fold together. Add the remainder of the cheese sauce according to your cheese preference. Top with the remaining sharp cheddar, panko breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.  Place in an ovenproof dish and cook until cheese is melted and golden brown. 

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