Macaroni and Cheese with Hidden Pumpkin

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“When I saw you buying that pumpkin, I was wondering what you were going to do with it”.  Said my son as he basically inhaled almost half a pan of my newest experiment.

There has to be a thousand ways to make macaroni and cheese.  Correction.  Thousands.

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This version is baked in the oven, but you could easily take it off the stovetop, put it in some crocks, omit the crackers and top with cheese. A few minutes under the broiler, and you would have an ooey gooey mass of a little bit healthier than normal mac and cheese that everyone will love!

I really do believe that the secret to something tasting good is the love that goes into it, and the love extends to using the best ingredients you can find.  Never be afraid to get creative, and never be afraid to fail in the kitchen.  Personally, I prefer butternut squash puree, rather than pumpkin, but the nice thing about using a can of pureed pumpkin, is that you can make a quick dessert with the remaining portion.

Surely there will be more Macaroni and Cheese recipes gracing the pages of this blog in the future.  Maybe not thousands, but at least a few for you to try.

Macaroni and Cheese with Hidden Pumpkin

3 C dried macaroni noodles, cooked according to package instructions (a little less than al dente if putting in the oven), reserve some pasta water.

4 oz shredded sharp cheddar

4 oz gouda, diced

2 oz american cheese, diced

1 t ghee

12 oz can evaporated milk

1/2 C pumpkin puree

1 T dry mustard

1 t dried turmeric

2 T nutritional yeast

1/2 cube vegetable bouillon

1/2 C heavy whipping cream

salt and pepper to taste

optional couple of drops of worcestershire sauce

crushed cheese crackers for topping

Preheat oven to 350 F and dutch oven (you’ll see a lot of recipes with the dutch oven because it’s one of my favorite tools) to med low.  Add ghee to pan and then whisk in the evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, mustard and turmeric.  Once it is hot, add the nutritional yeast and vegetable bouillon.  Bring just to a boil and pour in the whipping cream.  Once that comes back up to a boil, lower the heat (or turn off depending on stovetop) and add in the cheeses, letting each one be incorporated fully. Start with the american, then the gouda, then the cheddar.  Stir in the pasta, adding just a little bit of the pasta water.

Pour the mixture into an oiled caserole dish (approx dimensions 8 by 8) and bake in a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes or until it begins to get bubbly around the edges.  Top with crushed crackers and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

I think this one tasted really good with a side of spinach. I quickly cooked up a piece of bacon, and used just a small amount of the fat to quickly wilt the leaves.  Then I added a bit of water (heats up very quickly), and stirred in some miso after taking it off the heat.  Surprisingly enough, my son could taste the miso right away – he’s a big fan of it.

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