Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

Last weekend we were plopped on our new couch watching Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger because it's one of the only Food Network shows available on Food Network HD. On one episode, she made this macaroni and cheese recipe and it was decreed that we must make it. So I planned it in for this week.

We had some frozen butternut squash chunks in the freezer so I microwaved those and then mashed them with a potato masher, instead of using the pureed butternut squash called for. I think this was a dumb idea, but whatever. Use the pureed squash. The recipe was simple and I loved the broiled topping, and we both ate a lot. But it's not the greatest and you have to really like squash to enjoy it. Not a make-again for us.


Macaroni and 4 Cheeses
From Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a 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 heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Yield: 8 servings

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