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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Hi Guys. A little bit about me: The Jewels first, then the Profession: THE JEWELS: I have been married to the love of her life and kidney transplant donor, Joseph for twenty-five years. We have two sons, Julian Bernard thirty -three years old, Tyler nineteen years old and two beautiful grandchildren Naleyla, nine years old and a six-year grandson, Michael Julian. My life mantra is, " No matter what life brings, live your dreams short or long." HERE'S WHAT I KNOW: I understand what life feels like, when you have no idea if you will see your children grow up or never see the face of your grandkids. I was born with kidney disease and battled for almost 40 years until my husband of now, 25 years donated his kidney to me. Living a balance life, physically, mentally and spiritually was never an option for me to entertain. My life depends on it. I wrote this blog to share my journey and maybe touch the lives of those around me. My husband's generosity and the power of the grace of God has given me a second chance at life. I have been in and out of the hospitals all my life, came out of a coma, had multiple surgeries. I understand the importance of a positive mind. I have lost two babies and my mom, brother and grandmother in just months of each other. I want to share inspiration what inspires me to live and enjoy life each day. I have been a devoted yoga and meditation practitioner and a nutrition wellness coach for over 25 years, this was my road to staying as healthy as possible with failing kidneys and all the complications that come with it. I am grateful to share my life with you, through my food, my yoga and meditation practice, and just good old positivity. I hope my posts will bring joy to your heart, soul and tummy. THE PROFESSION: I am the the CEO of B'Tyli Wellness and Beauty Co. I created this company after I finished my studies in Holistic Nutrition and Medicine from Clayton College of Natural Health. B'Tyli Wellness and Beauty Co. is a holistic wellness company specializing in body, mind and spirit alignment, through yoga, nutrition, meditation and organic skin and body care products. I am the author of three books, a healthy lifestyle cookbook, titled, Set the Table with Love, which was named after my blog page and two inspirational mediation books, titled, Living With The Silver Lining and Whispers of Silence. I am also a Health, Wellness and Beauty Expert and has had the honor to share my culinary perspective o Food Network's second season of All-Star Academy food competition for a two month. I have shared my approach to healthy living and eating in both medias of television and radio. She has been featured on Fox 5, Good Day Atlanta, 11 Alive, Atlanta and Company, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as radio, V103 and 104.7 The Fish and several magazine publications

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