i promised 40 kids in my backyard for vbs. i know.
i promised marriage: year 2.0 updates. i know.
i promised insane lemonade cheesecake. i know.
but then i made this:
this is macaroni and cheese. and it’s the best. ever.
my great-grandmother used to make some pretty kickin mac n’ cheese.
the perfect southern-y balance of creamy and cheesy with crackly butter all around the edges.
my great-grandmother also never measured a blessed thing, making her mac n’ cheese totally irrepeatable.
i’ve spent my whole life, okay, or 15 years of it, trying to find macaroni and cheese that measures up to Mawmaw’s. i’ve ordered it in restaurants. i’ve eaten it with friends. i’ve cooked at least half a dozen varieties myself. i’ve googled “best mac n’ cheese in the world”, and all to no avail.
so when all else fails, trust the gene pool and go with your gut. and by all means, add butternut squash, macaroni and cheese needs all the nutritional help it can get.
make-ahead mac and cheese
you will need…
12 oz. rotini, macaroni or penne pasta (use whole wheat, spelt or quinoa to up the health value more!)
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup of milk (I use organic 2%)
1 cup of cottage cheese
16 oz. butternut squash soup (i like Pacific Organic’s)
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast, divided
2 Tbsp bread crumbs, divided
Approx. 1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese in block form
Approx. 1 tsp. of each: sea salt, black pepper, and ground mustard.
Boil pasta until just tender – about 8-10 minutes. If you’re using quinoa pasta really watch it, overcooked quinoa pasta is a whole new definition of mush.
While pasta is cooking melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add soup, milk, cottage cheese, and 1/3 of the cheddar cheese cut into chunks. Stir occasionally until cheese is melted. Add seasonings to taste.
Stir cooked and drained noodles into your squash/cheese sauce and toss until coated. Pour half of the pasta into a crock pot.
Slice half of the remaining cheddar thinly and arrange slices to cover the pasta. Sprinkle with 2 TBSP nutritional yeast and 1 TBSP bread crumbs. Repeat.
Let your glorious cheese and squash covered noodles cook on low heat for approx. 2 hours.