Friday, December 28, 2012

"Healthified" Spicy Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Did I ever tell you how obsessed with mac & cheese I am? The creamy cheesy noodles, the crunchy panko topping. Ugh, honestly I could eat it every day. I like trying new twists on mac & cheese because the usual ole dish can get a bit boring. I am a sucker for yellow cheddar cheese and anything spicy so I did what any normal person would do.. add pumpkin and peblano peppers! Maybe not everyone would have done that, but I am sure happy I did. 
To top it all off this recipe is fairly healthy. As you all know, I always try to make fattening dishes a bit more healthy. My husband was reading Men's Health's January issue and it had an amazing mac & cheese recipe in it. It also said mac & cheese can have more than 1,000 calories in it. Holy crap. That's like 10 donuts. I decided to healthify my mac & cheese by using the Men's Health recipe. You can make a few swaps to cut a ton of calories. I used whole wheat pasta, low fat milk, and Greek yogurt. You can totally not tell the difference. The sauce is ultra creamy and thick from the Greek yogurt. Just make sure you add the yogurt after you remove the sauce from the heat. If you want to just try the regular mac & cheese recipe omit the pumpkin and peblano peppers in the recipe. See, it is easy to eat what you want and feel good about what you are eating!

"Healthified" Spicy Pumpkin Mac & Cheese


2 cups elbow macaroni, fusilli, or cavatappi pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or other Swiss cheese
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pumpkin puree ( canned)
1 peblano pepper chopped 
Pepper to taste


1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until just al dente. Drain and reserve the pasta. While pasta is boiling saute chopped peblano until soft. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the Gruyere, Cheddar, and mozzarella, and stir until melted. Cut the heat, add the yogurt & pumpkin and cooked pasta, and toss.

3. Heat the broiler. Pour the mac & cheese mixture into an 8" square baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan, and season with black pepper. Broil until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 5 minutes.

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