Pumpkin Mac & Cheese (i.e. cheesy goodness that is healthy?)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Monday! This weekend flew by, and I still have a mountain of laundry to finish to prove it. Gotta love those weekends where you spend too much time having fun, and not enough time doing housework.

While I continue working on my weekend recap (lots of photos to edit!), I wanted to share a fun recipe that I made last night. I realized I haven't shared any new recipes lately, and this is one that I have made in the past, and sort of forgot about it. But it is heavenly! I posted this on Instagram last night (follow me here), and said this "is what dreams are made of." And I wasn't kidding. It's a little more work than your blue box Mac & Cheese, but so much more creamy, and get this...healthy!

You replace some of the cheese with canned pumpkin, so you are getting some fiber and veggies, along with your carby cheesiness. I ended up using gluten free rice pasta and flour, so my recipe is completely gluten free, but you can definitely make with regular flour and pasta, or whole wheat pasta to make it even more healthier. Also, I modified the original recipe by using all shredded cheese instead of half shredded/half Velveeta. I am not a fan of Velveeta (please don't hate), but if you want to try that version, feel free to click through the link to the original recipe below, and try that method. You totally have to try this recipe, and please let me know as soon as you do!

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Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Modified from Elefantitas Alegres
Makes approx 8 side dish servings

- 16 oz. of pasta of your choice (I used GF rice pasta)
- 3 T. butter
- 4 T. flour (I used GF all purpose rice flour)
- 3 c. + 1/3 c. milk
- 1 1/2 small bags of grated cheese (I used mild cheddar)
- 1 c. pumpkin puree 
- 1 t. dried rosemary
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 t. cayenne pepper 
- handful of parmesan cheese (for topping, or you could use breadcrumbs)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Cook pasta in heavily salted water, removing from heat and draining 3 minutes prior to the specified cook time on the package.  

Melt butter in a large skillet over Medium-High heat. Add flour, whisking for about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups of milk and the rosemary, whisking continuously until smooth. Add another 1 cup of milk and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.  

Turn down heat to Medium. Add shredded cheese and whisk until combined. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and pumpkin, followed by the additional 1/3 c. of milk.  Stir / whisk until smooth. 

Toss cheese sauce with cooked pasta and pour into a greased casserole dish (9x13). Top with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs if you so choose. Cook for 30 minutes. If you're a Crispy Topping Guy or Gal, switch your broiler on at the very end for 1-2 minutes.  

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I served this with Lloyd's BBQ Pulled Chicken because I thought what goes better with Mac & Cheese than something BBQ'y. We ended up eating the chicken sans bun because we felt we were already getting enough carbs with the meal, and wanted to save more room for Mac & Cheese. I also enjoyed a "Fall" Woodchuck Cider. This is so far my all time favorite cider flavor. It has a taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and oak. So good! And believe it or not, we actually have some left overs, so it will be Mac & Cheese and tomato soup for dinner tonight. I can't wait!!

What's your favorite Mac & Cheese recipe?

Linking up with Our Little Nest for Kitchenspiration and Meg's Mingle Monday.


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  1. holy smokes. i am ALL about this!!! YUM!!!!!!! xx

  2. I've never thought of using pumpkin like that, sounds amazing!!

  3. This looks so creamy and good! Thanks for linking up with us!


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