A's Squash Laden Mac n' Cheese

What makes yummy mac and cheese so unhealthy? Unfortunately it's the mac AND it's the cheese.

In this version of the classic I eliminated the mac by substituting spaghetti squash and toned down the cheese by cutting it with healthy portions of butternut squash. The result? This dish cuts down on carbs big time (hello skinny human) making for a healthier but still yummy version of the ultimate comfort food.

I started with a recipe from the October 2012 Better Homes and Gardens magazine titled Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (thanks for the magazine, Ro!) and then tweaked it to put a healthier spin on the classic dish.

Total time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Serves 6 people.

  • 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, in chunks
  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or regular flour)
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese (or gruyere)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (I'd say you could cut this down even further if you want to go really low carb)
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (or gruyere)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the spaghetti squash. There are many ways to prepare spaghetti squash. I just poke a bunch of holes in it and nuke it in the microwave for about 10 minutes. Set the spaghetti squash aside.

Prepare your butternut squash.
In a large saucepan combine the butternut squash and 2 1/2 cups of milk. Heat it over medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer until tender (about 20 minutes).
Stir another 1/4 cup of milk and the almond flour in with the butternut squash. Boil and then cook it until it's thickened, which takes about 3 minutes. Stir in the cup of cheese and let it get nice and melty.
 Remove from the heat, but try to keep it warm. I just covered it to keep it relatively warm.

Add onion to a skillet. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The goal is to get the onions nice and sweet.
Uncover them and cook them on high heat for about 5 more minutes or until the onions are golden brown.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Once the seeds are gone, take a fork and scrape all the insides of the spaghetti squash out. There's your pasta!
Toss the spaghetti squash noodles with the onions and cheese mix. Lightly butter a baking pan and transfer the spaghetti squash mix to the baking pan.
Mix the thyme with the breadcrumbs and then mix the melted butter in with the breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the pasta and then top it with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
Stick it in the oven and bake it until the top is browned (about 15 minutes). Let it cool for 5 minutes and then serve!

Adam's taste rating: 4 ladles
Alina's taste rating: 4 ladles
Healthy rating: 3 ladles
Ease of prep rating: 3 ladles
Overall average: 3.5 ladles


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