Thursday, September 8, 2011


Last night was meatless Tuesday, aka cooking with my vegetarian niece Brittany. She is quite creative so I asked her to write the text for this post. Take it away Britty!!!

Want to travel back in time to when you didn't care about calories and could gobble up a full plate of mac and cheese with a hot dog on the side, and not gain any weight? Well we can't do that, but we can give you a recipe for mac and cheese that won't make you gain a pound.

This delicious recipe does not use any cream, but still has the most delicious texture and color of the creamy homemade mac and cheese you know and love...what's our secret?
                                               Butternut squash!!!!!

Squash is simmered until tender in broth, milk and garlic. When it is tender it is pureed in the blender and mixed with Gruyere, pecorino and Parmesan cheese. Add cooked cavatappi pasta and top with browned bread crumbs.

Pop in the oven and bake until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy guilt free!

For even more fun serve this with a Skinny Girl Margarita (available at most grocery stores) and watch the pounds melt away.

                                          CREAMY, LIGHT MACARONI AND CHEESE

3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound squash)
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TBSP. fat-free Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 pound uncooked cavatappi pasta

Cooking spray
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2n TBSP. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375~.

Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of the blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyere , pecorino romano and 2 TBSP. Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 TBSP Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

Bake at 375~ for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

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