Posts tagged: cheese

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

By Katie, 5:59 pm

A healthy-but-still-delicious version of Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Yes, please! :-)

One that incorporates the creamy sweetness of Butternut squash? Even better! :-D

This dish has all of the necessary components of a classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese: creamy texture, cheesy flavor, the comforting feel of baked pasta, and the somewhat disturbing bright orange/yellow color. ;-)

And yet it is, without a doubt, GOOD FOR YOU!

It’s simple to make too! First you cook your butternut squash (either by roasting or steaming it), then puree it using your preferred method (blender, food processor, potato masher, fork, whatever!). Then you make a simple sauce by mixing the squash with a little bit of butter or oil (I used Earth Balance), flour, water, and some salt to taste.

Then you add your cheese – a little bit of shredded mozzarella and a little bit of cream cheese. You will be SHOCKED by how cheesy this tastes for how little cheese you actually use! 8-O

Then you just stir together your cheesy squash mixture, some frozen peas, and cooked whole wheat pasta. Bake for 25 minutes, and you’re ready to dig in!

So creamy and cheesy!!!

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Adapted from Branny Boils Over

Serves 4

1.5 cups whole wheat penne pasta (dry – about 150 grams)
1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 cup frozen peas (could also substitute frozen chopped broccoli)
1 tbsp butter or oil (I used Earth Balance)
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup water
salt to taste

1. Peel butternut squash. Roast or steam until very tender, then puree. (I used a blender, but you could use a food processor, potato masher, or just a fork!)

2. Cook the whole wheat penne until al dente. Reserve.

3. Meanwhile, melt your choice of butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water and salt to taste, and stir until a pale sauce forms. Add pureed squash and stir well.

4. Add shredded mozzarella and cream cheese; heat until cheese is melted.

5. Add the cooked pasta and the frozen peas to the cheese/squash mixture. Stir well, then spread into an 8 x 8″ baking dish.

6. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy! :-)

What’s your favorite kind of Mac ‘n’ Cheese? The baked, homemade kind? From a box?

Last-Minute Lasagna

By Katie, 4:46 pm

If you read a lot of food blogs, you’re probably already familiar with Last-Minute Lasagna. It’s causing quite a stir in the blogosphere. :-)

And no wonder! It’s originally a Real Simple recipe, the kind that really helps the magazine live up to its name. After coming across it first on Carrots ‘N’ Cake, and then again on Kelly Cooks, I knew I had to try it.

So if you’ve already been enjoying last-minute lasagna, please excuse the repetition. But this dish is just so quick, easy, and delicious (and novice-cook friendly!) that I couldn’t resist spreading it around a little more. :-D

(Note to self: food looks significantly more appealing when photographed by Dave and his high-quality camera than when photographed by Katie with her cell phone!)

In a nutshell, you basically just layer pasta sauce, cheese ravioli, spinach, and shredded mozzarella…and repeat!

Bottom Layer.

Frozen spinach – thawed and squeezed of excess water.


Another layer.

All topped with grated Parmesan.

Baked until irresistibly melty and bubbly. I enjoyed my portion with a spinach salad (because the more spinach in a meal, the better!  ;-) ) dressed with balsamic vinegar.

You definitely want to eat this!

All-in-all, an easy, filling, lovely dinner, no significant cooking skills required! :-D

Last-Minute Lasagna (via Real Simple, Carrots ‘N’ Cake, and Kelly Cooks)

Yields 6 servings.

1 24- or 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
2 18-20-ounce refrigerated large cheese ravioli (I used Trader Joe’s Three-Cheese Jumbo Ravioli. Also, some people have used frozen instead of refrigerated.)
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed dry
1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan

Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Cover with a single layer of ravioli.
Top with half the spinach, half the mozzarella, and a third of the sauce.
Repeat with another layer of ravioli and the remaining spinach, mozzarella, and sauce (not all of the ravioli may be needed).
Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Uncover and bake until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Have you tried Last-Minute Lasagna yet?

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