Friday, January 9, 2009

Toying with Vegetables

In an effort to be more healthy I cracked open my cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld called "Deceptively Delicious." I decided to do a recipe my family already loves Macaroni and Cheese. I had a butternut squash all ready to bake. One of the vegetables called for in the recipe. I first thought butternut squash might be too flavorful to disguise. I went on with the recipe after I had baked my butternut squash. I used sharp reduced fat cheddar. Also a slight change in procedure as my butternut squash wasn't moist enough to puree by itself. I added half the milk from the recipe and it pureed up nicely. So, when the recipe said "add milk" I ended up adding the butternut puree too. It didn't seem to effect the outcome.

As I was coming to the end of making the sauce I got a spoon and took a taste. Anxious to see if it was over powered by butternut puree. It tasted fantastic. Then the aftertaste kicked in.... a very strong strange butternut aftertaste. I was SO disappointed. I thought I can't feed my family this. They'll know I'm trying to pull one over on them and not very successfully! I got to thinking I'd season it up like I do my own homemade Mac N Cheese. My seasonings wouldn't add any calories or fat and it might just disguise the butternut aftertaste. I added a sprinkle of onion powder, a sprinkle of dried mustard and small squirt of Worcestershire sauce. I'm guessing about a 1/4 tsp of each. Viola, it did cover up the butternut after taste! Now to serve it.

Keeping dinner simple I steamed up some broccoli and served. Everyone liked it. Everyone knew it was a new recipe and a more healthy recipe. The only comment was that the sharp cheese was a little strong. Maybe use medium next time. Not one word about leaving out the butternut squash. Evidently, I did fool them as they didn't know it was in there.

Macaroni and Cheese 1 (with Butternut Squash or Cauliflower)
Created by
Jessica Seinfeld

Ingredients:Serves 4
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup nonfat skim milk
1/2 cup
butternut or cauliflower puree
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
4 ounces (almost 1/4 cup) reduced-fat or nonfat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, Cheddar, cream cheese and seasonings and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.

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