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Recipes January 2013 Issue

Macaroni & Cheese Makeover

4 tsp canola oil or olive oil, divided
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 (12-oz) package frozen cooked winter squash
1 1/4 cups low fat (1%) milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp chedder cheese
1 tsp powdered mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
Black pepper to taste
6 oz whole-grain pasta shells (2 cups) or elbow macaroni (1 2/3 cups)
1/3 cup Japanese-style bread crumbs (paniko)
1/8 tsp parika

In the chill of winter, comfort food is especially appealing. As an example of a “meal makeover,” here is an unconventional update of the comfort-food perennial favorite, macaroni and cheese. Instead of the usual cream sauce, this recipe uses an easy sauce made with frozen squash (an excellent source of beta carotene) and low-fat milk. Surprising? Yes, but it works! Whole grains boost fiber, while the delicious sweetness of caramelized onions complements the squash and cheese.  

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat an 8 x 8-inch or 11 1/2 by 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking pasta. 

2. Heat 2 tsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until onions are very tender and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, place squash and milk in large heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash has thawed completely, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in mustard, salt, ground red pepper, and black pepper. 

4. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. (Pasta will continue to cook while it bakes.) 

5. Place pasta, squash mixture, onions and cheese in large bowl; mix well. Scrape into prepared baking dish. Mix bread crumbs, paprika, and remaining 2 tsp oil in small bowl; sprinkle over pasta mixture. (Casserole can be prepared ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and top is golden, 35 to 50 minutes, depending on whether or not casserole has been refrigerated. 

YIELD: 6 (3/4-cup) servings. 

PER SERVING: Calories: 320. Total fat: 13 grams. Saturated fat: 7 grams. Cholesterol: 35 milligrams. Sodium: 430 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 38 grams: Fiber: 4 grams. Protein: 15 grams. Calcium: 299 milligrams (30% DV). Vitamin A: 60% DV.

Comments (4)

Looks good - printer friendly version is missing ingredients list, though.

Posted by: Michelle Buckingham | October 9, 2014 8:26 AM    Report this comment

Are the ingredients going to be added to the printer-friendly version? Michelle has a good point.

Posted by: Unknown | October 17, 2014 5:57 PM    Report this comment

The ingredients have now been added to the printer friendly version - enjoy the recipe!

Posted by: Theresa Jankowski | October 20, 2014 7:33 AM    Report this comment

After trying this recipe, I served it the next time I hosted my monthly Scrabble game. I used cooked-from-scratch squash (I had it in the freezer already), and the sharpest cheddar I could find. Based on the labeling of store-bought grated cheese, I decided that 1-1/2 cups grated cheddar equaled 6 ounces. I also added a bit of freshly grated parmesan to the crumb topping - less than 1 oz. - to up the cheese taste without adding too much sat fat. Everyone liked it and were surprised that it was a "makeover" recipe.

Posted by: Margaret Hagen | December 29, 2014 10:34 AM    Report this comment

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