Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, Apple and Bacon Mac & Cheese

Who doesn't love good old Mac and Cheese???

My hips!

Here is a recipe that give you the comfort food you are craving but with most of the calories cut out. I first saw this on Pinterest and it led me to this blog: Pinch of Yum. I thought it looked delicious and was really intrigued at how squash would taste mixed in with the cheese.

Butternut Squash fun... 
The original recipe called for a can of butternut squash puree. Since the store didn't have any, we decided to roast the squash and puree it ourselves for a better taste. This turned out really well. I highly recommend roasting your own squash if you want to try something a little bit more fresh.

The result is really amazing. The apple and caramelized onion are delicious in the pasta and the tiny bit of bacon on top really give it a nice crunch. When I make it again, I might leave the onions till the end and put on top with the bacon. The squash mixed in really well and tasted great with the cheesy sauce. It was still a very heavy meal - but sometimes that is needed on a winter day!

1/2 box of whole grain elbow macaroni
1 butternut squash (see picture above, ha)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 oz low fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onions
1 large apple
4 tablespoons crumbled bacon

1. Microwave squash for 5-7 minutes to soften it up. Cut in half and remove the seeds. Place on sheet in over with salt/pepper. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft. Puree in food processor when it has cooled with a little garlic.
2. Heat butter in a skillet over low hear. When melted, add onions and let caramelize for at least 30 minutes for the best flavour. Keep on low/low-medium.
3.  Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, garlic, milk and cream cheese. When combined, add in salt and pepper.
4. Add apples to pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more broth or milk if needed.
5.  Just before serving, mix in cheese and stir until melted. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon bacon and onions. Add hot sauce if desired!

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