Zacaroni and Cheese

This version of  mac & cheese is bursting with veggies making it a healthy entree or side for any day of the week.  Zacaroni and CheeseDisclosure: I am a member of the Cabot Cheese Board and I have received free Cabot product as mentioned in this post. I was not expected to write a post and  I was not compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.

Have you ever wondered what’s on page 54 in your favorite cookbook? Well, neither have I, until the Recipe Redux challenged us with this party game. Yes, I did say party, because we’re celebrating the fifty-forth month anniversary of the Recipe Redux! Whoot! Whoot! Our challenge is to recreate a recipe on page 54 or 154  from our nearest cookbook. So I cracked open an old  favorite, gifted to me by my son for Christmas when he was in middle school…IMG_2724(I have always loved this book, especially the wine pairings suggested for each recipe.) Here’s what I found on page 54: IMG_2723 This recipe is actually a divine rendition of macaroni and cheese. Fonduta is made with fontina cheese, milk , egg yolks and butter. Hmm, sounds like a  perfect candidate for a redux!

My lighter version begins with a sauce made with chicken broth, skim milk, butterkin squash (you can use butternut squash , butterkin is a variety of this squash) , and Cabot’s White Oak Cheddar. I combined this sauce  with pasta and zucchini, just as in the original recipe, and why I named it zacaroni & cheese. It gets a finishing touch with with parsely and  panko seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg. Here is   the finished product just as it  came out of the oven…Zacaroni and Cheese (zucchini mac and cheese)
IMG_3367In keeping with my favorite part of  Food & Wine Magazine’s Quick from Scratch Italian Cookbook,  I am going to suggest one of two spirits for enjoying with my zacaroni  & cheese, both Cabot’s wine pick for pairing with White Oak Cheddar: Moscato or  Syrah. Enjoy!

Zacaroni and Cheese

serves 8

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 3 cups butterkin or butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups Cabot white oak cheedar, shredded
  • 1 /2 pound uncooked elbow macarroni
  • 1 pound zucchini, sliced into matchsticks
  • cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

1.preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine squash , broth, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium -high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

2.  Add salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to puree squash mixture or add hot squash mixute to a blender, securing blender lid on blender and removing center piece of lid to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening to avoid splatters. Blend until smooth. Place blended squash in a bowl ; stir in White Oak Cheddar.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well . Add pasta and zucchini to cheese mixture. Spread mixture evenly into  a 13 x 9 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.

4. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Sprinkle over hot pasta. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

5. Bake for  25 min at 375 degrees or until bubbly. Spinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

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Lighter Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serve up comfort and joy with a lighter version of broccoli cheddar soup.LIGHTER Broccoli Cheddar SoupDisclosure: I am a member of the Cabot Cheese Board and receive free Cabot cheese mentioned in this post. I was not compensated for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

I will survive, has become a familiar holiday mantra! It’s one I personally like because it implies lower expectations.  I know it sounds cynical.. bleak.. and gloomy, but when does anything ever work out exactly as planned? If you’re hoping for it, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.   My friend and colleague wrote about this in her healthy aperture blog post where she describes how she makes memories during the weekly grind. Regan makes a good point about being flexible with  your expectations.

So taking Regan’s theme of making the most out of ordinary days, I am sharing a recipe that will bring comfort and joy to any day of the week. My lighter broccoli and cheddar soup is  lactose friendly, lighter than the traditional version, and is a source of fiber important for filling you up, not out.  I served it with a salad for an easy ‘Panera’ night in. May your days be merry and bright and your expectations be spot on!

LIGHTER Broccoli Cheddar SoupLighter Broccoli Cheddar Soup

serves 6

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup nonfat Lactaid milk
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, whites only, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups Seriously Sharp Cabot Cheese, grated

Instructions

1. Add cooked rice and lactaid milk to blender and process until smooth.

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add leeks, saute 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook additional minute. Add broccoli ; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3.Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Add rice mixture; simmer 2 minutes. stirring occasionally.

3. Place 2 cups of soup in blender, process until smooth. Return to pan. Add pepper to taste and slowly add cheese, stirring until it melts. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat for later.

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