Hidden Health Mac & Cheese

All the cheesy goodness of mac and cheese, just the thought has my mouth watering.  It’s one of my favorite comfort foods.  Not to mention the kids love it!  Actually mac and cheese is one of the only things I can get my one year old to eat.  I really wanted to get nutrients in him so I experimented…my favorite thing to do it the kitchen.  My question was “how do I keep the delicious and comforting taste of mac and cheese but also create some nutrients in the meal?”

I looked around online and I decided to add pureed veggies to the mac and cheese.  Now I needed to find a plain flavored veggie packed with nutrients.  I settled on butternut squash.  It fit the profile of plain flavor, has an orange color (the usual color of mac & cheese), and its loaded with good healthy stuff. 

So here’s my recipe…


•    1 cup butternut squash
•    ½ box of elbow noodles
•    2TBSP Butter
•    2 TBSP Cream Cheese
•    ½ cup of cheese (Mozzarella, cheddar or your favorite)
•    Salt, Pepper, Old Bay to taste
•    ¼ cup Panko (optional)

How to Make

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Boil water.  While waiting for water to boil, cook butternut squash.  I throw it in a pot with water and cook.  Cook until tender.  
3.    Once water boils add pasta.  Cook according to box instructions.  
4.    Puree cooked butternut squash with about a quarter of the water it cooked in.  I use an immersion blender but anything that will puree will work.  Set to the side.
5.    Add butter and cream cheese to a sauce pan, Medium heat.  Let it melt.  
6.    Once butter is mostly melted add butternut squash puree.  Mix together. 
7.    Around this time you may be ready to drain your pasta.  Do that and set to the side.
8.    Back to sauce pan add salt, pepper, and old bay to taste.  I use about ½ TBSP old bay and pepper, a little less salt.  Mix well.  
9.    Add you cheese to sauce and mix until melted and well combined.
10.    Once combined add pasta and toss until coated.
11.    Transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle panko on top if you want.
12.    Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.  
13.    Serve and Enjoy!


We love this Mac and Cheese in my house.  It is still cheesy, comforting and delicious with that extra kick of healthy nutrients.  The little ones have no idea, it’s awesome!  Its your turn…get the kitchen and make some Hidden Health Mac & Cheese!


Katie Bell


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