butternut squash

BHG Guest Blogger

Lightened Up Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Hi there, it’s Erika Monroe-Williams from The Hopeless Housewife, so nice to “meet” you! I started my website/food blog after doing a lot of television cooking segments and wanting a place for viewers to find my recipes and it just grew from there. Shortly after I started the website I was chosen to be on the ABC show “The Taste” with Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson and let me tell you, that was a dream come true!! Here I was, cooking in the kitchen with the people I most admired in the industry! I had to pinch myself. Now I have to pinch myself that I am blogging for BHG.com’s Delish Dish! I grew up cooking out of Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks (I have some handed down from my grandmother that are SO old but still amazing), so this is truly and honor.

Let’s get started! I have really been up to my ears in comfort food this winter. Boy, oh boy, have I overdone it. Like, seriously. If it had cheese on it, I ate it. Bacon? It was gone in a second. I am ready to lighten things up but it’s still cold outside so I want my comfort food! I found this incredible-looking recipe on BHG.com for Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese that looked so delicious so I changed some things around a little and made this lightened up version. Because of the moist and flavorful butternut squash, this will still be gooey and flavorful even with low fat milk and reduced fat cheese…and, sigh…no bacon. But seriously, you won’t miss any of these things!

Here’s how you make it. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. I used already cut-up butternut squash that was packaged at Trader Joe’s to make things easy. Instead of boiling the squash in the milk like the original recipe, I  steamed the chunks until they were tender, about 15 minutes.

Start cooking the pasta. I decided to use penne instead of rigatoni. Follow the directions on the box then drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onions. In a skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the butter over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, start the cheese mixture.  This is where I lightened things up. I used 1% milk, low fat cheddar and omitted the bacon. In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the milk with the flour. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Whisk in flour mixture and bring to a simmer. Add the butternut squash and onions and continue to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until it melts. Add the drained pasta.

 

Pour the pasta mixture into an oven-proof baking dish and  sprinkle with bread crumbs. I used 1/2 the amount of bread crumbs and no extra butter or cheese on top.

Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes then serve immediately.

For the original recipe, click here: Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese.


Delish Dish Editor

Healthy Butternut Bisque with Pear Salsa

The weight loss season is upon us again. I’m happy to say, thanks to some stellar new magazines, my arsenal of healthy recipes has never been so robust. It’s Sheena, food editor for bhg.com, joining in again. Given the frigid temps outside, I’ve been consuming bowl upon bowl of cozy soups. While visiting my parents we hosted a soup potluck for my extended family. Having tasted this 211-calorie Butternut Bisque with Spicy Pear Salsa in the Test Kitchen, I knew my family would love it.

We were serving quite a crowd so we doubled the recipe and took some shortcuts. To kill two birds with one stone, we pre-chopped a bunch of bacon and tossed it on a baking sheet all at once to cook in the oven to be used for this soup and other recipes. Rather than spending the time to chop 3 pounds of squash for our doubled amount, we opted for purchased, ready-to-use butternut squash. Other than that, the recipe was so simple we didn’t need anymore shortcuts.

My family is made up of a mix of adventurous eaters and those who think a salsa served on top of soup is absurd. Thinking I couldn’t sway them all, we served the crab-filled bisque in the slow cooker with the bacon and pear salsa in separate bowls.

A couple of my uncles required a bit of convincing to add the pear salsa, but eventually I got everyone to try it. And, no surprise, this soup was the hit of the party! I, of course, didn’t hesitate to add all the toppers. The pear salsa adds unbeatable bright freshness and, as we all know, everything is better with bacon!

For more delicious recipe inspiration for this resolution season be sure to check newsstands for Eat Well, Lose Weight magazine. Or click here to download a digital copy.


Delish Dish Editor

Mac and Cheese Pot Pies

I’m Laurie Buckle, and I love mac and cheese. People sometimes snicker when
I confess this, maybe because it’s my job to know what’s new in food, which
chef is up and coming, and when the cupcake trend will wane (I’m the
editorial director of food for Better Homes and Gardens; lucky me). Let them
laugh, because I also love patty melts, guacamole on anything, and the
occasional bag of M & Ms.

So when my daughter mentioned a restaurant she’d been to that served pies of
all kinds (and only pies;), and that her favorite was a mac and cheese pot pie, I perked up.

Now that was a take on mac and cheese I’d never tried!

I’d been looking for an excuse to make the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
from the October issue, and here was a good one. All I had to do was whip up
the mac and cheese, transfer it to bowls, top it with rounds of puff pastry
and bake until golden. Oh, I also had to make the mac meatless, since my
daughter’s a vegetarian.

I started with the cheese. Because where else do you start when it comes to mac and cheese? I measured a mix of Gruyere, jack and cheddar, then got grating.

 

It wasn’t long before I was joined by two of my favorite kitchen companions, Georgia (left, my daughter’s dog) and Coco (my dog). Both are always hoping against hope that something will hit the floor.

I cooked the pasta (scooping out a little of the pasta water before I drained it) and simmered chunks of butternut squash in milk until tender. At this point, the recipe takes an easy turn and has you mix the remaining milk and flour together in a small bowl,  and stirring that mixture into the pan with the squash and milk. Once that comes to a boil, you cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes, then add the cheese. Stirring to melt it, I realized how much simpler this is than a classic cheese sauce.

Next up, a couple of onions and a hunk of butter. Since I was making a meatless version of the dish, I used butter instead of bacon fat to saute the onions. Is there anything that smells better than onions cooking in butter?

Because they smelled so good, and because I wanted the flavor that comes from nicely browned onions, I kept at this part for about 15 minutes, covering them at first and then turning up the heat during the final few minutes.

After that, it’s fast. I added the onions and the pasta to the squash-cheese mixture, tossed to combine (adding a little of that saved pasta water to moisten) and turned the mixture into some old French onion soup bowls, topping with the last of the cheese.

Then I cheated, mixing panko breadcrumbs (which I try to always keep on hand) with melted butter, and sprinkled that over the cheese. I rolled out a couple of sheets of puff pastry (which I’d let thaw for 30 minutes or so), cut out rounds and set them atop the bowls. Once they were in the oven, I used the 20 minutes or so they cooked to quick-clean the kitchen and make my favorite fall-back salad: arugula tossed with lemon juice and hunks of avocado, and a heavy hit of good salt. Dinner, done.


Kristin Porter

in-season eats: fall and winter squash

Hi, BHG.com readers!  My name is Kristin Porter and I’m the blogger behind IowaGirlEats.com, where I share mostly-healthy, quick-fix, seasonal recipes, with the occasional decadent dessert thrown in. Because what’s life without a little dessert? That’s another post, though, as today I want to talk to you about squash.

I know, I know. Don’t everyone get too excited at once!

Seriously though, while the squash I remember eating growing up was that of the boiled and mushy variety, over the past several years I’ve learned just how mouthwatering and versatile squash can be. In-season, inexpensive, and currently in every grocery store across the country, there’s nearly no limit to the number of ways you can incorporate everything from butternut and acorn squash, to spaghetti and buttercup squash into your weekly menu.

  • Enhance the natural sweetness of acorn squash by roasting then glazing squash halves with a decadent cinnamon-drizzle, like in Caramelized Acorn Squash.
  • Swap carb-filled pasta for nutritious, crisp-tender strands of spaghetti squash then pair it with hearty chili, like in Spaghetti Squash with Chili.
  • Puree slowly simmered buttercup squash with zingy ginger then top with crisp, chopped apples for a creamy and unique fall soup, like in Ginger-Squash Soup.

One of the most popular varieties of fall and winter squash, which also happens to be my favorite, is butternut squash. Sweet and luxurious when roasted or steamed, and extremely high in vitamins and minerals to boot, butternut squash can be used in everything from silky soups and sweet tarts, to smoothed over Shepherd’s Pie or swirled into spaghetti.

Recently I bought a gorgeous organic butternut squash at the market, and used it to whip up Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, which my husband and I enjoyed on a cozy Sunday afternoon before the start of a crazy week.

Mac and Cheese is a fall and winter staple at my house, and I love finding new and different ways to jazz it up.

This recipe, which combines hearty rigatoni pasta with velvety butternut squash, smoked gruyere cheese, salty bacon, and sweet onions, is one of the most unique Mac and Cheeses I have ever tried, and will totally tickle and satisfy your taste buds.

A little sweet, a little salty, crunchy, creamy, and over-the-top decadent, I hope you’re able to enjoy this dish, and all the wonderful varieties of fall and winter squash sometime this season!

Don’t Miss:

Click here for the Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe >

Click here for tips on selecting, preparing, and cooking fall and winter squash >