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This creamy, crumb-topped macaroni-and-cheese is bright orange in color, so you'll get a big nutritional boost from the pureed winter squash. Plus, I use low-fat milk to lighten the cheese sauce.
Don’t tell and no one will ever know! They’ll just thank you for making their favorite cheesy comfort meal.
What you need:
— No-stick cooking spray
— 16-ounce box elbow macaroni
— Two 10-ounce packages frozen puréed winter squash
— 2 cups lowfat milk
— 1 1⁄3 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
— 2⁄3 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
— 1⁄2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
— 1 teaspoon salt
— 1 teaspoon dry mustard
— 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
— 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
— 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
— 1 teaspoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook the macaroni according the package directions. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk in a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar, Jack and ricotta cheeses, salt, mustard, and cayenne. Pour this mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine.
Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cheeses are bubbling around the edges, then broil for three minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.
Serving size: 2 cups per serving
Total fat: 11 grams
Monosaturated fat: 1 gram
Polysaturated fat: 0.5 grams
Saturated fat: 6 grams
Protein: 18 grams
Carbohydrates: 56 grams
Fiber: 3.5 grams
Cholesterol: 35 milligrams
Sodium: 547 milligrams
This dish is an excellent source of calcium, folate, manganese, niacin, protein, selenium, thiamin and vitamin A. It is rich in fiber, iron, phosphorus and riboflavin.
Ellie Krieger is a best-selling author, registered dietician and host of the hit show, “Healthy Appetite,” on the Food Network. Learn more at elliekrieger.com.