I have an unabashed love for macaroni and cheese, especially the kind that comes in a box. Yes, the kind with the powdered cheese and all. However as I've aged (not so gracefully), I've come to really love homemade macaroni and cheese. Molly also has a deep love for pasta and cheese, as do most toddlers so I decided it would be tasty to make some macaroni and cheese. However because I'm now a Mother, I felt that I needed to add some nutrition. One of the other Moms at the pool told me that she adds roasted butternut squash to her kids pasta. Delicious!
This recipe makes a fair amount so I decided to spread the love by making it into mini bites. I think this would be fantastic as a party food or just you know as lunch. The other great thing about this dish is how freezable it is. Make a big batch (double it if you'd like) and freeze for a rainy day. I love doing this because I honestly do not feel like cooking everyday but I always want homemade food. This way I get the best of both worlds as does Molly.
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Bites
Makes 24 mini bites
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups warmed milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
- salt and pepper
- pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup roasted butternut squash, mashed
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
1. Cook the macaroni in boiling water for approx. 10 minutes or al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a thick bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and cook until the roux is frothy and pale. This should take about a minute.
3. Slowly add the warmed milk to the roux and whisk until thickened, approximately 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Stir until thick.
4. Whisk in the cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese until melted. Slowly add the roasted butternut squash and stir until combined.
5. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese mixture and combine.
6. Place a tablespoon or two of the macaroni mixture into each mini muffin tin.
7. Bake for 18 minutes at 400 F.
8. Cool in the muffin cups, remove and serve.