Fall Is Here

Fall is here and I could not be happier. It is time for jeans and boots, sweaters and scarves, and all things pumpkin. Pumpkin, and squash, and sweet potato, and… well, I think it’s clear that I love fall for its fashion statements, weather, and food. So let’s get right to it shall we?

Last night, something amazing happened.

You probably can’t tell how amazing, because the lighting in my kitchen sucks so my pictures usually do too.

But trust me. Pumpkin. Macaroni. And. Cheese.

You heard (read?) that right. There aren’t even enough words to describe how happy this made me, so I’ll just say I ate it for dinner, and then lunch, and then lunch the next day, too.

This recipe adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body.

Pumpkin Spinach Mac and Cheese

What You Need:

For the pasta:

  • 16 oz noodles (I used shells, you can really use whatever you want)
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (If it’s not fall and the cans of pumpkin aren’t in the front of the store, they’re usually found in the baking aisle underneath the pre-made pie crusts with the cherry pie filling.)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 1/2 cups milk (I actually didn’t have enough milk, so I used about 2 cups milk and about a cup of chicken stock I had stored in ice cube form)
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Rinse and drain well.
  2. Heat the milk (or combination of milk and chicken stock) in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Add the mashed pumpkin and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring. Let cook until it starts to thicken a bit, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove the pot form the heat, add the cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, brown sugar and spinach.

  1. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish or 2 8×8 inch baking dishes.

  1. Melt the 2 tbsp of butter and combine with the bread crumbs and brown sugar; sprinkle on the top.

  1. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is browned.

*Note: You can also freeze this dish before cooking*

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