veggie packed cheesy mac + plot twist


20150227_081930_1 so.... Sonny was laid off from his Lead Network Administrator job last wednesday! that morning, i was finishing up nursing Dego and simultaneously saying a prayer of thanks to God out loud.  i never want to get in the habit of always asking God for things.... it shouldn't be like that.  so i randomly started saying thank you for everything i could think of that i might have taken for granted!  until i was interrupted by Sonny's phone call.  'welp, i just got laid off!' was the first thing he said, which was followed by an 'oh wow...' from me.  my initial, honest reaction in my head though was 'really, God??well, we're listening.' Sonny had been preparing for this day, hence his Facebook status:

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and warning me about the ongoing employee cutbacks other companies were making. however, i still have a bad habit of thinking we are somehow exempt and that 'those kinds of things' can't happen to us. ha! every once in a while i have to be reminded that His plans > our plans.  sometimes when we find ourselves floating down that comfy, stagnant river, He will abruptly turn the boat right on over.  thankfully, we have been presented with some really awesome opportunities as well as more time to focus on our fitness company, 6 Pack USA.   for that, we are extremely grateful!  i'm most excited about Sonny having more time to spend with his boys, especially at their ages. looking for the good in a seemingly tragic situation is not easy,

but when you place your future in His hands completely there is absolutely no room for stress and/or worry.  i snapped that pic of Sonny heading out the door friday (well, barely, he wouldn't slow down lol) for his last official day. we are boldly stepping out on faith and ready for this new plot twist in our story.  here we go!

i am a mac & cheese freak!!!!! Luby's is where i get my fix if it's not homemade. it's prolly my fave comfort food besides pizza.  aaaand if it ain't creamy, it just ain't right.

this recipe is lightened up and full of VEGGIES. most important, the creaminess factor is still strong, as it should be.


my veggies of choice: fresh asparagus and portabella mushrooms.  broccoli would work very well here too.


the secret to this recipe's cheesy sauce: butternut squash!!! see, veggie-packed.


cheese choice is up to you, but i went with part-skim mozzarella.


i'm not sure how it would work with almond or rice cheese, but if you try it let me know! that would make this entire dish dairy-free.


any type of pasta works here: penne, corkscrew, bowtie, maccaroni, whatever!  and you can sub whole wheat pasta as well.


i ate some just like this before baking cause i could not resist!

Veggie Packed Cheesy Mac 

the stuff:(source)

  • 1 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tbsp Toffuti dairy-free cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of choice
  • 1 lb cooked pasta
  • 1/2 lb  vegetable of choice
  • 2 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • optional: 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs for topping

do this:

  1. pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and coat a large 13 x 9 baking pan with no-stick cooking spray
  2. in a large saucepan, combine butternut squash, chicken broth, milk, and shallots and bring to a boil.
  3. let simmer for about 20 min or until squash is tender
  4. cook pasta while squash mixture is simmering
  5. pour hot squash mixture in your blender and add cream cheese, salt, and pepper
  6. blend until super creamy and smooth
  7. add squash mixture back to your sauce pan and sprinkle in your shredded cheese
  8. stir until combined and melted
  9. add all veggies and cooked pasta, stir until combined, then transfer to your prepared baking dish
  10. sprinkle optional whole wheat bread crumbs over the top (i toast my own wheat bread then make crumbs via my food processor) and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until browned


makes 8 (cups) servings!

stats per serving: 261 cals, 7g fat, 38g carbs, 15g protein

happy monday, peeps!