Grown Up Mac and Cheese: Whole Wheat Pasta Tossed in a Creamy Butternut Squash Cheese Sauce Topped with Spinach and Broccoli

17 Jun

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So this is a post that is very long overdue, what can I say, I’ve been busy. In addition to being a student and talking classes (yes even in the summer) I am also a now full time working girl, meaning I essentially have no free time what so ever! On my days off I can usually be found doing several loads of laundry, grocery shopping, studying for my managerial accounting class, a subject which I have deemed impossible to learn, and just generally running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

You see city living is great and all for the most part but sometimes it can really be nothing but a hassle, there is so much planning that has to go into every errand and every trip. Even simply going to workout ends up being a three hour ordeal (and only one of those hours is spent actually working out)

Usually I work middle of the day shifts from 2-8, before work I like to hit the gym, and although I live only two miles from downtown Boston, the combination of walking to the t, waiting for the t, and then walking to the gym in the end is about a 45 minutes journey. Usually being at the gym by 9 requires me to leave the house by 8, I usually don’t return back home until after 11:00 a.m. then by the time I eat and get ready it’s already 1:00, and time to leave for work! Are you now starting to see what I mean about the lack of free time, I swear I wasn’t just bring dramatic!

Ask any city resident the thing they hate most about city living and the answer you will receive will most likely be unanimous, grocery shopping. Grocery shopping in the city is the absolute worst, there are a limited number of grocery stores in the city, making comparable shopping impossible, the prices are ridiculously jacked up simply because of geographical location, and then there is the virtually impossible task of getting your groceries home. Since most city residents do not own cars we are faced with two options, the first go grocery shopping every few days and buy just enough to get you through ( but honestly who has time to do daily shopping trips), or do a big shop and risk breaking your back on the walk home as you try to carry bags of very heavy groceries, dilemmas, dilemmas!

This was my dilemma too for the past three years, however that has recently just changed! I recently started using Zip Car, the car sharing service intended for city residents. For the first time ever, I was able to load up at the grocery store and purchase everything my heart desired, this actually might end up to be quite dangerous for my bank account! So now I say bring on the two for one sales, the 24 packs of bottled water, the 12 pack of toilet paper, I got the room!

With the time I saved this weekend by using zip car I was able to spend some much needed time in the kitchen cooking. After a week of eating meals which could be prepared quickly like simple omelettes, and turkey sandwiches I was desperately craving a delicious home cooked meal, and nothing is more comforting than mac and cheese, especially this recipe, try this out for a healthier and tastier take on the childhood classic dish!

Ingredients

2 tbsp of butter ( I use Earth Balance)

2 tbsp of flour

2 1/2 cups of milk (I use almond milk)

2 cup of cheddar cheese ( I use Daiya, non dairy cheese)

1 cup of pureed butternut squash

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic minced

15 ounces of spinach

1 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli

salt and pepper

8 ounces of whole wheat pasta, any variety

Method

1) In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, once butter is almost thoroughly melted add in the flour and whisk to make a roux, add in milk and cheese and continue to whisk until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes

2) Next add in the pureed butternut squash, continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and velvety, season with salt and pepper and let the sauce simmer on low heat

3) During this time cook the pasta according to directions

4) In a medium sized saute pan heat oil, add in garlic and saute until fragrant, add in broccoli and saute, next add in spinach remove the pan from heat once spinach is wilted

5) Add vegetable mixture to the creamy cheese sauce, next add in the pasta, use a wooden spoon to ensure all of pasta is well coated, serve warm and enjoy!

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