I’ve been on the hunt for a “skinny” version of macaroni and cheese for a long time. I tried adding butternut squash into the cheese sauce and wasn’t really a fan. We tried making sauce with just Laughing Cow wedges and for some reason they didn’t melt well, hence a clumpy mess. So when I found this recipe, I figured it was worth a try, especially since I always love finding new ways to incorporate more veggies into the main dish.
The BLT Mac & Cheese did not disappoint! Original recipe can be found here. It was SO good – lots of veggies are hidden in with the pasta, and the cheese covers the veggies well so you don’t taste the spinach and the squash doesn’t have a strong flavor, either. Things I changed:
- I used a cup of shredded reduced fat (2% milk) sharp cheddar cheese instead of the slices. I mixed this with the sour cream and Laughing Cow wedges in the pot that I used to cook the pasta in and the mixture came out perfect – creamy and no lumps. I heated it for about 2-3 minutes over very low heat and kept stirring to prevent it from burning.
- I used light sour cream instead of fat-free. Fat free sour cream always tastes “blah” to me.
- I only had one summer squash on hand, so that was half of what the recipe called for. I think this was actually the perfect amount – 2 full squashes may have been too much.
- I had rotini instead of penne, and the sauce still coated everything fine.
- I was nervous about all the spinach as hubby is slowly learning that you really can’t taste it when mixing with other items. I added about 1 1/2 cups of chopped leaves (so half of what the recipe called for).
Things I would change the next time I make this:
- Per hubby’s request, add more bacon. I will add one more slice of turkey bacon and crumble them into smaller pieces.
- Add more tomato – two medium tomatoes should work.
- There was plenty of sauce to coat the pasta and veggies so for next time I will reduce the amount of shredded cheese to 3/4 cup.
- Reduce amount of pasta to one cup – with all the squash there’s not much of a need for the pasta.
- Add more spinach – about 2 cups total should be fine.
This was fairly easy to make (can be a weeknight meal), but it’s not a one pot or one skillet meal. Overall the outcome was well worth the clean up! So glad to have finally found a recipe that keeps the awesome cheesiness factor but sneaks in some veggies. It was great the next day as lunch leftovers, too. This can be a vegetarian meal with omitting the bacon crumbles, but I liked how the bacon added some saltiness that mixed well with the sweetness of the squash.