So, I love macaroni and cheese…but really, who doesn’t? I can’t think of anyone in my family or that I have known in my life who doesn’t. Noodles? Gooey cheese? Anyone? That’s right. Everyone loves it.
But we don’t love it when it is not normal or what we are used to. Whether out of the box or homemade, it is noodles, cheese and milk. That’s it. But then people add other stuff to it. Like Rachel Ray, I love that woman but she always makes her own and adds weird cheeses (Gruyère?) that I had never heard of or tried before-though it is fun to watch her make things from scratch, to me it is way over the top for something so simplistic and classic… and by classic I mean Kraft.
I have said it over and over-I am not adventurous in my foods. I eat the same thing over and over and over again. My sister-in-law though…she sneaks things in on me. Without telling me-which I guess is the definition of sneaky. She fed me my first Portobello mushroom and spaghetti squash, was the first to add veggies to mac and cheese, was the first to make a tofu mousse (and she isn’t even vegetarian/vegan) and last Thanksgiving was the first to feed all my family an ooey, gooey potato gratin…that wasn’t.
The gratin had white potatoes and sweet potatoes, which is strange enough, but it had an odd but wonderful flavor…PUMPKIN! She put pumpkin in the gratin! Who does that? Well, I have to say…it was amazing!!!! I devoured it and had seconds, and asked for the recipe it was so amazing. It had a wonderful deep flavor and the creamy milk and crusty cheese topping was perfection. Nowhere near vegan, but it was Thanksgiving people; no turkey but yes potato gratin.
Well, I am channeling her with this recipe. I have a box of wheat pasta in the cupboard that has been calling to me for the past month and I have been coming up with things I wanted to do with it and I keep tossing them out the window. Finally I saw this post from The Kind Life for sweet potato mac and cheese that is from EcoSalon. I wanted to change it up and not be a copy cat and I wanted to challenge my cooking and taste buds so I didn’t want to use sweet potatoes and decided on using pumpkin…eek!
I decided to up the healthful factor and love the flavor of cauliflower with cheese, so that got chopped and dumped in. I also added carrots and a small yellow onion. I wanted to keep the smoky flavor of pumpkin so I added poultry seasoning, which I stole from my mom….although admittedly I did read the label of ingredients cause it is called poultry so I wanted to be sure there was no added flavoring. The pumpkin added the creamy texture that you need in mac and cheese. Amazing.
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped small
2 Bags Frozen Cauliflower, chopped small
3 Large Carrots, chopped small
1 Tbsp Poultry Seasoning
1 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Box Pasta
1 Small Can Libby’s 100% Pumpkin
1 C So Delicious Almond Plus Milk
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 C Reserved Pasta Water
1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put water on to boil for pasta. Boil pasta to barely soft.
3. Chop onion into small pieces and drop into saute pan.
4. Chop carrots into small pieces and add to onions. Carefully chop still frozen or defrosted cauliflower and add to other veggies.
5. Add pepper and poultry seasoning to veggies along with 1 cup pasta water. Put lid on veggies and let sweat and cook together.
6. While veggies are sweating, get medium-sized mixing bowl and add pumpkin, milk, garlic, mustard, 1/2 cup reserved water and 2 tbsp nutritional flakes. Mix well.
7. Add mixture to veggies and mix well. Turn heat off both burners and drain pasta, and pour back into pot.
8. Add all ingredients to pot and mix well. Spray baking dish with Pam or other cooking spray and pour everything into dish.
9. In small mixing bowl add remaining yeast and the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix together then spoon over pasta.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Enjoy!