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Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

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November 12, 2013 | Issue 478

Mix up Your Macaroni

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin has long been a staple of fall. If your pumpkin latte consumption is borderline ridiculous, trade it in for a healthier fix. This pumpkin mac and cheese is rich in carotenoids, particularly alpha- and beta-carotene and just one serving provides 100% of your daily value of vitamin A. Each serving packs 17 g of protein and 4 g of fiber, yet it actually has fewer calories per serving than the 12 oz cup (yes, the regular size) of your favorite seasonal coffee beverage.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 289 calories, 9 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 37 g carbohydrate,
17 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 307 mg sodium.

  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat rotelle pasta
  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (2½ oz.) sharp light (50 percent) Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat 6 cup baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. To breadcrumbs, add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Add oil and using your fingers, toss to coat breadcrumbs, then set mixture aside.
  3. In large pot, boil 4 quarts of water. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until slightly al dente. Drain in colander, and set aside.
  4. While pasta cooks, in microwave or small saucepan, heat milk until it steams, and set aside.
  5. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking slowly. Off heat, gradually add milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Return pot to medium-high heat and simmer sauce until it thickens to consistency of stirred yogurt, 3 minutes. Add cheese, remaining Parmesan cheese, pumpkin, mustard, black and cayenne peppers and nutmeg, if using, and stir until cheddar melts. Mix in cooked pasta. Spread mac and cheese in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle seasoned breadcrumbs over top.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until breadcrumbs are crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Grocery list

Canola oil cooking spray
Panko bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Canola oil
Whole-wheat rotelle pasta
Low-fat (1%) milk
Unsalted butter
All-purpose flour
Sharp light (50 percent) Cheddar cheese
Canned unsweetened pumpkin
Mustard powder
Ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper

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Did You Know?

Research has shown that eating foods containing carotenoids, like pumpkin, may help protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx.

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