Monday, September 12, 2016

Healthy Mac-n-Cheese

          2 – lbs. – Butternut Squash (peeled and cubed)
          2 – c – Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)(divided)
          1 - T – Olive Oil
          1 - c – Onion (chopped)(caramelized)
          4 – cloves – Garlic (minced)
          2 – large – Carrot (finely grated)
          3 – small – Zucchini (finely grated)
          1 – box – Whole Grain Elbow Macaroni
          Sea Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1)    Preheat oven to 350°
2)   Prepare a 9X13 baking pan with olive oil spray
3)   In a microwave safe bowl, add squash and 1 cup water.  Cover and microwave on high until tender.  Cook at 3 minute intervals until tender.
4)   Drain
5)   Mash squash. Stir in ¼ the cheese.
6)   Season with Salt & Pepper.
7)   In a large pot, cook macaroni to package directions, less a couple of minutes for al denta.
8)   Drain macaroni and run under cold tap water.
9)   In a skillet, heat olive oil. Add onions and garlic.  Cook until tender and slightly browned.
10) Add carrots, zucchini.  Cook until tender.
11)  Stir into mashed squash.
12) Stir in ¼ of the cheese.
13) Layer 1/3 of the macaroni in bottom of baking pan.
14) Layer 1/3 of the squash mixture.
15) Sprinkle with ¼ of the cheese.
16) Continue layering, ending with last ¼ of the cheese.
17) Bake in oven 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned.
Tip:  Do all your grating and chopping a day ahead. It saves preparation time the day you serve your meal.  Keep everything refrigerated.
Tip:  Prepare squash mixture while macaroni is cooking.  It saves time.
Tip:  I use shortcuts in ingredients measures in my recipes.  I use a small “t” for teaspoon, and a large “T” for Tablespoon.  I use “c” for cup.
Tip:  You can use Spelt Macaroni.  There are many specialized, vitamin enriched pastas to choose from.
Tip:  You can use 3 or 4 different types of cheese.  Use your imagination.
Tip:  If any recipe calls for onions, I caramelize the onions.  The flavor is
richer.  In one of my earlier postings there is a recipe for caramelizing onions.


1 ½ - lbs. -  Beef Roast (chuck)
4 – c - Butternut Squash (1 in. cubes) (cubed & peeled)
2 – 14 1/2 oz. – Cans - Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (undrained)
1 1/2 – c - Beef Broth
3/4 – c - Onion (chopped)(caramelized)
1 - 4 – oz. - Can - Diced Green Chiles
1 – T - Chile Powder (ground)
2 – t - cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 – t – Cumin (ground)
1 – t – Oregano (ground)
3 – Cloves – Garlic (minced)
Snipped Fresh Parsley or Cilantro
Hot cooked polenta or hot cooked rice (optional)

1)    Trim beef roast and cut beef into 2-inch pieces.
2)   In a 5-to 6-quart slow cooker, add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent and slightly browned.
3)   Stir in beef and brown it.
4)   Add squash & cumin.  Brown slightly.
5)   Add tomatoes, beef broth, Chiles, Chile powder, cocoa powder, and oregano.
6)   Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
7)   Sprinkle each serving with parsley or cilantro.
8)   If desired, serve with polenta or hot cooked rice.

Tip: It seems I now have two blogs. 
The original one is at this address: 
The second one is at this address:
On the first one there is a posting named “Saving Time.”  It was posted in January, 2014.  My recipe for “Caramelized Onions” is there.
Tip:  I always recommend that you brown meats before you put them in a slow cooker or any type of stew/soup pot. This process enhances the flavor.
Tip:  You will notice in this recipe that you should also brown the cubed Butternut Squash with the cumin.  It adds to the flavor.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.  It's just about time for the weather to cool down so that we can enjoy a few hardy recipes.  There will be more to follow.