This is definitely the healthiest mac and cheese on my blog. Whole wheat pasta, a whole can of pumpkin, and less cheese than most of my other recipes. It's also not as decadent as my other mac and cheese recipes, but is a great everyday meal! Who doesn't like a quick to make, creamy, cheesy pasta dish? It also whips up in less than 20 minutes, which can't be said for that many other healthy-ish recipes.
The original recipe is from Paula's Plate. I doubled it, added a little butter, changed the type of macaroni to whole wheat, and significantly cut back on the amount of nutmeg because nutmeg overwhelms dishes so easily. I also added hot sauce and mustard to punch up the flavor a bit, plus mustard accentuates the cheesy flavor in mac and cheese. My method is also a tiny bit different.
Even though this is a really quick recipe, please do try it at least the first time with freshly grated cheese. You can easily grate it (and stick some frozen veggies in the microwave to steam) while the macaroni cooks. The powdery stuff on pre-grated cheese may negatively affect the texture of the finished mac and cheese.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
2 C milk
3 Tbsp butter
1 lb whole wheat macaroni
16 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, only ingredient should be pumpkin)
1/8th tsp nutmeg
2 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco or Frank's Red Hot, not something too over the top spicy)
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
2 C freshly grated sharp cheddar
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Pour broth, milk, and butter into a large nonstick skillet. Milk burns easily, so nonstick is very helpful! Heat over medium-high until it starts getting a little bubbly, but watch it carefully because milk boils over very quickly. Add macaroni noodles, stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until macaroni is cooked through, stirring every 3 or 4 minutes. This took about 12 minutes for my box of pasta but how long it takes will 100% depend on the brand and type of macaroni you're using. If the liquid gets completely absorbed, add a little more milk and broth.
When macaroni is cooked through, stir in the can of pumpkin, nutmeg, hot sauce, and yellow mustard until nice and hot. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese, then salt and pepper to taste. It's important to remove the skillet from the burner before adding the cheese so the cheddar doesn't get too hot and become grainy!
Yield: About 6 main dish servings