Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Spring Recipe Swap | Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Today I am taking part in another fun recipe swap organized by the wonderful and lovely Leslie from Once Upon a Time Happily Ever After. Since we are all stuck at home, shopping less, and not eating out, it can be hard to plan out what recipes to make for your family for dinner. Leslie's recipe swap comes at the perfect time! So if you are coming from Lauren's blog Mom Home Guide, thank you! I am so happy to have you here. Make sure you head next to Joanne's blog My Slice of Life to see her recipe! 

A few years ago we met up with my brother and his family and headed to a nearby pumpkin farm. We had a blast petting the animals, picking out the perfect pumpkins, and walking their 'haunted path'. We spent the morning at the farm and we were all hungry by the time we had finished. I noticed a little food stand before we left and headed over to see what they had. I purchased some of their butternut squash mac and cheese for everyone and we headed home and had it for lunch. It was so rich and savory! We all loved it. I called the farm the following year and they were kind enough to email me the recipe. I've since made changes to the sauce, added some seasonings, tweaked the cheeses used, and added in sausage. It's become our favorite meal by all and the most requested birthday meal! Because it is a little more labor and time intensive, I typically make a double batch. It really doesn't take additional time to double the amount and it freezes really nicely. I just use a disposable tin pan for the part I am freezing. 

To prepare I like to cook the squash a day beforehand. That way there is enough time for it to cool down before I use it in the cheese sauce. You can also adjust the seasonings in the sauce. I just included what I typically use in the recipe like basil, garlic, and onion, but I think paprika or chili powder would be good, too! It's easy to throw in seasonings according to your taste. 
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

I love how the sauce thickens up and turns a lovely golden color once the squash is added.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
 The smoked sausage can be turkey smoked sausage or even cheddar smoked sausage. It all depends on your taste and what you find at the store. You can even make it without. 
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

The key to this dish besides the squash is the layering of the different types of cheeses. Half of the noodles are placed in the pan with half of the shredded cheeses and then the process is repeated with the remaining noodles and cheese. 
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

1 medium size butternut squash
16 oz. died whole grain elbow macaroni
4t. butter
2T. all-purpose flour
1/2t. each of seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion flakes, basil, and Italian herbs and spices
1/8t. ground white pepper
1c. milk
14 oz. smoked sausage, sliced
4 oz. part-skim mozzarella, shredded
4 oz. reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. garlic flavored cheese, shredded, divided (I use the Specialty Roasted Garlic with Tomato & Basil from Aldi)
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Coat the flesh of squash with nonstick spray and place facedown on cooking tray coated with parchment paper. Cook for 45 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Once cooled, scoop the cooked squash into a medium size bowl and mash. 
2. Cook macaroni noodles according to package directions and set aside in large bowl. 
3. Add in sliced smoked sausage to noodles in bowl and stir to incorporate. 
4. While noodles are cooking melt butter in medium size saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in flour, salt, seasonings and pepper. Add milk, whisking until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add in half of the shredded garlic cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in mashed squash. 
5. Pour sauce over noodles and sausage and stir until coated. 
6. Place half of the pasta mixture in a 9x13 pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Evenly sprinkle half of the remaining garlic cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cheddar cheese on top of the pasta. Repeat with remaining noodles and cheese. Bake in the 375 F oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. 

As I said before, this recipe is so easy to double and freeze. To prepare from frozen, place the dish in the fridge to thaw 2 days before eating. Bake at 375 F until heated through. I've served this to family and at my youngest daughter's birthday party last fall. It was a hit with everyone and literally nothing was left! It has a savory, texture and is very hearty! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

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