Think outside the box and try making mac and cheese with creamy squash instead.
1 cup Milk
2 tbsp Unsalted butter
1 cup Low-sodium chicken stock
1 lb Whole wheat elbow macaroni
1/4 tsp Nutmeg (freshly grated)
1/4 cup Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt (to taste)
Freshly grated black pepper (to taste)
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil.
In a medium saucepan, add the butternut squash, chicken stock, and milk and place over medium-high heat. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until fork tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Add squash mixture into a blender and purée until smooth.
Meanwhile, place a large sauté pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add the squash purée and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese, stir to combine, and set aside.
Add the macaroni to the boiling water and cook until al dente (about one minute less than the package instructions).
Add the pasta to the pan with the purée and mix well. Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs.
Skip boxed mac and cheese and make your own at home with extra nutrients and flavor. Daphne Oz's version includes butternut squash, which adds creaminess and a healthy dose of vitamins A and C per serving. To cut down on prep time, you can use frozen and cubed squash from the grocery store and freeze pre-portioned ingredients until you're ready to use them.