Monday, March 3, 2014

Butternut Squash & Kale Mac 'n' Cheese

I guess this was my last hoorah of cheese for a some time.  The hubs has a small scale IBJJF (International Brazilian Jui Jistu Federation) competition on Saturday in Atlanta and then the PanAms (large scale) in early March, and he needs to drop like 6-8 lbs for that.  I volunteered to be in an X-Men costume group for DragonCon Labor Day weekend, so I am trying to get in superhero shape in the next 6 months.

This macaroni and cheese is probably as healthy as you can get while still being 100% indulgent.  I still used full fat cheese and a little bacon (it needed to be used up), but I made some adjustments so there is no need to feel guilty about eating this delicious concoction.

Butternut Squash & Kale Mac 'n' Cheese
12 oz whole wheat penne, cooked ~1 min shy of being done
2 1/2 C peeled and cubed butternut squash
3 C chopped kale or baby kale
3 center cut bacon slices, chopped (or regular bacon, extra fat removed)
1/2 C diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 3/4 C low sodium veg broth (or water + 1 tsp vegetable base or bouillon cube)
1/3 C fat free Greek Yogurt
1/2 C shredded cheddar
1/2 C shredded smoked Gouda
1/2 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
salt and pepper

   Toss squash with a little oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 deg F for 15-20 min, until cooked but still firm.
   Render bacon until almost crisp.  Add chopped onion; cook 5-7 minutes until soft.  Add garlic, cook 1 min.
   Melt butter into bacon mixture, then whisk in flour to create the roux.  Slowly pour in vegetable broth, whisking the whole time so there are no lumps.  Bring to bubble, cook 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat and stir in yogurt.  Salt and pepper to taste, and add red pepper flake.
   Fold in cheese, cooked pasta, roasted squash, and kale.  Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
   Bake at 350 for ~20 minutes, until bubbly and slightly golden on top.
   Serves 6-8.

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