Freezer-Friendly Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
This Freezer-Friendly Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese is a delicious, fall-inspired twist on everyone's favourite comfort food – it's made with roasted veggies for extra nutritional value!
Ahhh, mac and cheese how I love you.
As a kid, I actually didn't really used to go crazy for it though. My mom made this baked version with breadcrumbs on top and I honestly don't know if it was the lack of creaminess (sorry Mom!) or if it was the breadcrumbs, or if I just didn't like the fact that it was always served with ham (I hate ham, can you tell?), but mac and cheese wasn't my thing.
With one exception that is.
The Michelina's frozen TV dinners. That mac and cheese was my JAM. To this day I find myself having one of those frozen mac and cheese boxes every once in a while and honestly I think what it is is that I love is the creamy, velvety mac that's whipped up in a hurry, no breadcrumbs or anything other than cheese and pasta.
The only thing with this whole love for processed mac and cheese is that you obviously can't indulge all the time. And yeah, I know, there are far better mac and cheeses out there.
So, that brings us to this AMAZING Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. A freezer-friendly mac and cheese at that. So you can kinda turn this into a TV dinner with less guilt, and the flavours are there and then some.
Butternut squash is such a staple in my diet year-round. It's got this delicious, sweet earthy flavour that blends up into the perfect milky puree to toss the pasta in, and it's a great way to sneak in some actual, you know, nutritional value into everyone's favourite comfort food.
Sit down with a bunch of this and a glass of wine and you've pretty much got the best weekend plans in the world. Or a little mid-week indulgence. Really, it's up to you.
I just know that this mac and cheese comes together relatively easy if you follow all the steps correctly. Basically, you wanna roast the squash, onions and garlic together, then cook the pasta while that's all roasting. Throw all the roasted veggies in a blender with some milk and puree.
From there, it's just a matter of tossing the pasta with some melted butter then adding the squash puree and your cheeses. Pretty quick and easy, and if you use the one big pot you'll have little clean up as well!
Now for me, a good mac and cheese really depends on the cheeses used, even with this Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese.
Swiss is key for creating that melty, ooey gooey texture and has more of a milder taste, while aged cheddar adds that familiar mac and cheese flavour that most people go crazy for. In a pinch you could use mozzarella instead of the cheddar though – that's what I have on hand more frequently for things like pizza and other recipes. Fresh grated parmesan cheese and even a smoked cheddar would taste AMAZING with this recipe too so it's up to you to make it your own!
One of the best parts about this recipe is you can break it down into different sections of meal prep.
I personally like to make the butternut squash sauce ahead of time and either freeze it or keep it in the fridge up to 3 days, so you could roast the veggies and puree them on a Sunday and grate the cheese then pull everything out to make fresh a few days into the work week. Just boil the pasta, toss with the sauce, heat up on the stove and stir in the cheese. Easy 30-minute dinner when you have just a couple simple things ready ahead of time.
That's the thing with meal prep: it doesn't have to be super complicated. Prepping just a few elements of a recipe at a time on a weekend really helps you get dinner on the table so much quicker during the week.
As a food photographer and stylist I've been finding it easier to shoot when I have everything chopped and some elements of a dish cooked/pureed/blended ahead of time because from there it's just a matter of mixing everything together and it shaves so much time off the actual cooking process. It's actually insane and I don't know if I could go back to the same way of cooking.
Anyway, my little meal prep tip of the day for you 😉
Will you be making this Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese?
I think I'm going to start making all my freezer meals as delicious as this. Less food waste and more dinner deliciousness for the win!