Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

What? I'm giving you a pumpkin-non-Thanksgiving dish the day before Thanksgiving? Absolutely.

Consider it a warm-up, a pre-game, to the pumpkin pie.

Only this one you can actually eat for dinner and not feel guilty about. You know what I'm talking about. This might actually deter you from quickly shutting the fridge door and hiding the fork behind your back anytime someone comes in the kitchen. Though let's be honest, I think the family's going to pick up on it when you only show up with half a pie.

So instead of fixating on the pie in the fridge, why don't we pour that pumpkin goodness over some creamy cheesy noodles instead? And call it dinner. Well, at least it might distract us from the real thing for 5.3 seconds.

Baked Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from: The Realistic Nutritionist

8 ounces medium-shaped pasta
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground ginger
heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
heaping 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whipping cream
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup panko
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 4 16-ounce ramekins (or one 2 quart baking dish) with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the pumpkin and cream. Stir frequently, until mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheddar and Swiss cheeses until melted and mixture is smooth. Add half the spice mix, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Toss in pasta until completely coated in sauce. Divide pasta evenly between the four ramekins.

Top each ramekin with remaining spice mix, panko, and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until panko is golden brown.

Serves: 4

This absolutely, most definitely tastes like someone dropped a piece of pumpkin pie into some mac n cheese, said, oops, oh well, and served it anyways. Which, trust me, isn't exactly a bad thing. If you're in the mood for pumpkin pie for dinner, I can almost guarantee you that this will curb that craving. And it's still cheesy and gooey on top of it. Sigh, best of both worlds.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 221g
Amount per serving
Calories 575Calories from fat 258
% Daily Value
Total Fat 28.6g44%
Saturated Fat 17.6g88%
Cholesterol 91mg30%
Sodium 728mg30%
Total Carbs 56.4g19%
Fiber 4.6g18%
Sugars 4.4g
Protein 24.5g
Vitamin A 209%Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 46%Iron 23%


  1. I love with the addition of any squash does for mac & cheese! I make one with butternut and it's my favorite. I like that your's is slightly on the healthy side!

  2. When does the cream cheese get added?



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