Dinner: Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese + Brie Panini


So cold that even last night I wanted to catch up and get some blog posts out, but I was too cold to separate from my bed to sit at the computer just a few feet away...

Note to self...must get laptop soon :)

But if the plan is to heat it up tonight, I am suggesting the following comfort food to warm your soul and frozen footies. They look downright delicious, much healthier when mixed with veggies and skim milk, and will put you in a nice food coma to send you off to sleep. You've got warmer visions of beaches and tropical paradise to get to!


Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
1 small butternut squash
12 ounces elbow wheat macaroni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon powdered mustard
2 cups skim milk
1 cup of shredded skim Monterey Jack cheese1 cup of shredded skim cheddar cheese

1. Scoop 2 cups of flesh from the squash and mash it with a fork, or, if you’re willing to put a bit more effort into it (I wasn’t), puree it in a blender or food processor.

2. Cook your pasta, if you can't do this, please stop reading my blog, I'm afraid you'll hurt yourself :p

3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the foaming subsides, add the flour and mustard. Whisk constantly for 1 minute, then gradually whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of heavy cream. Add the cheeses, ½ teaspoon table salt, and the squash, stirring until the cheese melts. Mix with your pasta!

And your sandwich on the side, a perfect half to your cup of Mac & Cheese, or try dipping in tomato soup! Mmmmmmm...


Anjou Pear, Brie, Arugula Pesto Mayo Panini
Ingredients to make Arugula Pesto Mayo

3            cups           packed arugula
1/4         cup            freshly grated parmesan
1/4         cup            olive oil
3 1/2      tbs             mayo
 - sourdough bread
 - anjou pear, sliced thinly
 - thick slices brie

Arugula Pesto Mayo
   1. Combine arugula and parmesan in food processor until smooth.
   2. Gradually add olive oil and mix until well blended, season with sea salt and pepper.
   4. Add mayo and blend well.
Spread arugula pesto mayo on both sides on bread.  One one side, layer pears, then cheese and walnuts.  Add top slice of bread and toast on panini press or in a pan lightly coated with olive oil.  If using a pan, weigh down sandwich with another pan on top and a tea kettle or similar for weight.  Flip over to grill evenly.

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