WE EAT | Broccoli Bacon Mac + Cheese

Cooler weather is approaching- I can feel it..even though it is still forecasting to be in the 90’s, but it will be here soon..right?
I am so excited about the thought of fall and winter because with that comes all the comfort foods of the season.  Root veggies are among my favorite foods to prepare (and eat!!).  I  could probably create and fill an entire pinterest board of recipes containing sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and butternut squash alone.  There is something about those foods that just bring out the sense of comfort in a meal.  
But- can comfort and healthy go hand in hand?  Sure it can! Cooking Light proves it with their latest Mac + Cheese recipe.  CL Mag is the only magazine I get in the mail these days.. and the only magazine I make time to read (and doggie ear) from cover to cover.  Parker and Jolie love to sit in my lap to look through all the vibrant pictures of healthy and delicious foods – and their September cover photo looked outrageously yummy.  I couldn’t wait to make it!
A typical cheese sauce is a butter/flour roux, milk, and of course lots and lots of cheese!  This recipe replaces the butter and flour and uses the starch of butternut squash to create a rich and creamy cheddar sauce – not to mention sneaking another serving of veggies in.   
Never hurts for more veggies!  Jolie kept talking about the broccoli and how much she loved it and Parker cleaned her plate of all the pasta.
Dinner is served!
Broccoli Bacon Mac + Cheese
adapted from Cooking Light 
2 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced 
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim milk)
1 (12-ounce) package frozen cubed butternut squash 
14 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta (I used farfalle)
3 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. While your bacon cooks, cook the squash in the microwave according to package directions.  Mash squash with a fork or puree in a food processor of blender.  Set aside.  
Remove bacon from pan.  Remove all but 2 teaspoons bacon drippings from pan. Add garlic to ­drippings in pan; sauté 30 seconds.
Whisk together stock, milk, and squash in the warm pan; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Add pasta; cover, ­reduce heat, and ­simmer 8 minutes, ­stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli; cover and cook 3 minutes or until pasta is done and sauce is thickened.  Stir in salt, pepper, and 4 ounces cheese. Sprinkle bacon and remaining cheese on top. Cover; let stand 1 minute or until cheese is melted.


September 29, 2015

  1. I have made so many delicious meals from your blog. We're in upstate NY and the weather here is definitely starting to feel like fall. I will be making this this week and I cannot wait to see how my boys do with it.

  2. Emily says:

    Funny, I never knew that I could get squash pre-cut and frozen. I guess it makes sense since I can get all other veggies frozen. I usually hate working with root vegetables because the chopping is particularly tedious, but now I may have to try!

    Also, it hit 70s this past week in Philadelphia area and it is glorious!

  3. Nora Moreno says:

    Okay I just threw my Tuesday meal plan out the window and I'm making this TONIGHT. YUM! Cant wait to try it and it's so so simple! 🙂

  4. I just made this for dinner tonight! SO good! My 1 and 3 year old inhaled it!!

  5. Cooking Light frustrates me because so many of their recipes rely on bacon for flavor. I try not to feed
    my kids bacon if at all possible because of the nitrates ~ though I do splurge on the expensive uncured
    bacon every now and then. Just curious about your habits as a nutritionist. Do you use uncured

  6. amber says:

    Hi there reader from Georgia:)
    I actually rarely use bacon, and this recipe could definitely be made without it! Bacon has basically no protein and lots of salt as well as the nitrites you stay away from. When we do buy bacon, yes I go for the uncured if it's available. When I share recipes I usually try and include ingredients that are easy to find- but you can try the uncured version or skip it all together! I hope that helps!