Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese…
You guys the holidays are coming!! It means lots of fun get togethers with the people we love and surrounded by crazy delicious meals. It’s super easy to blow your healthy choices and eat all the food in front of you. There is nothing wrong with indulging but it needs to be done in moderation which is sooo hard to do during Thanksgiving when all you want to do is EAT EVERYTHING in front of you. I’ll give you a few tips to help keep the holiday super delicious but with some healthier options.
That is where this mac and cheese comes into play. I feel like this is a staple during the holidays. Everyone loves it but oh man it packs on the calories. So a great way to add some health benefits to it and keep it a little lighter is adding pumpkin to it. If you know me, I love pumpkin everything, so naturally I decided to try it in a savory dish instead of all the sweets like usual. Let me just tell you, this recipe turned out fantastically. Even hubby liked it and he isn’t the biggest pumpkin fan. The pumpkin isn’t crazy strong in this dish, it just gives it a really nice flavor. If you aren’t a big pumpkin fan you should still try out this dish (you will be pleasantly surprised!) as it makes the perfect side for Thanksgiving. It’s also really nice to serve these in mini dishes individually. They are super cute and it keeps the portion control in check. If you are going to someones home and need to make something, I would make this! It will be a very nice surprise to all the guests and they will all love it, promise!
- 1 16oz can of Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
- 1 1/2 cups of half & half
- Whole Grain Rotini Pasta, 1 box
- 1 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- Fresh Thyme Sprigs, about 10
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 4oz reduced fat cream cheese, let it sit out at room temp
- Olive Oil spray
- Small baking dishes (these are the ones I have)
- 1 cup of pasta water reserved after draining
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray the baking dishes with the olive oil spray.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water when draining, and set aside.
- In a large pot melt the butter and add in the garlic to sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the pumpkin puree, half & half, nutmeg, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir well until combined.
- Add the reserved pasta water, 1 cup parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. Stir well.
- Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the pasta and stir to evenly coat the pasta in sauce.
- Scoop the pasta into the dishes and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Sprinkle fresh parsley on the mac n’ cheese before serving. Enjoy!
*This recipe serves about 6-8ppl
Photos by Bora Images