"My 9 year old LOVES mac n cheese and this is a way I get more veggies in there, and I use brown rice noodles and goat cheese. This recipe has spices that are perfect for the season, like nutmeg and black pepper, and gets its crunchiness from a topping of whole grain pretzels. Great as a side dish to holiday festivities too. It's a winner!"

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bag brown rice noodles (if brown rice isn’t available, go for whole grain)
  • 1 tsp olive or canola oil
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash (if squash unavailable, use cooked yams)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 oz Chevre goat cheese (pick the kind with herbs if available)
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella (Use dairy-free mozzarella as a cow milk-free option)

Topping

  • 1/4 Cup whole grain pretzels (unsalted), processed into crumbs until smooth
  • 1/2 Cup shredded shredded part skim mozzarella (Use dairy-free mozzarella as a cow milk-free option)

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat rectangular (about 10x10) baking dish with a dab of olive oil and set aside.

Step 2

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, not mushy. Drain and toss cooked pasta with a tsp of oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Set aside.

Step 3

In a food processor, pulse cooked squash along with garlic, goat cheese and yogurt. Add cayenne, nutmeg, black pepper and sea salt and give one last pulse. Mixture should be creamy smooth. Add a little water if needed to get the right consistency.

Step 4

In the same baking dish you’re cooking in, toss the noodles with the squash sauce until thoroughly mixed. Season with additional spices to taste. Add the shredded mozzarella and toss together gently.

Step 5

Top with pretzel and cheese mixture and bake until top is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Enjoy!