Lightened up pumpkin mac and cheese

I have never met someone who didn’t love a good mac and cheese. If you are one of those people and we have met, I don’t think I want to know you anymore.

Just kidding. But really. Who doesn’t love carbs covered in cheese?

I sure do, and have made so many versions of it – skinny and not skinny alike. Obviously, the not so skinny versions are the ones I would eat all day in my fantasy life where calories don’t exist. Unfortunately, that is not real life.

This is real life. And this mac and cheese is skinny AND creamy AND cheesy AND totally satisfying.

Bonus, it’s pumpkin! Yay for fall!

Ingredients

1 lb whole wheat rotini (or penne or any pasta you like)
3 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, sliced and caramelized
2 Tbl flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
8 oz fat free ricotta cheese
2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese, plus for for topping
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt/pepper

Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions on the box.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot, combine caramelized onions and flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Mixture should thicken. Add in pumpkin puree and ricotta cheese and whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and stir in cheddar and parmesan.

Pour cooked pasta into cheese sauce and stir to coat the pasta. Pour into a prepared baking dish and top with more cheddar. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and turn the broiler on. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until top has browned.

Enjoy!!

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15 days of sandwiches: Day 8 – Broccoli and white cheddar quesadilla (vegetarian)

Broccoli cheddar soup is so good. It’s creamy. It’s cheesy. It’s comforting. But, it is one of the most unhealthy soups out there. I never order it out at restaurants because I know it is packed with butter, cream, and full fat cheese. For me, there are just too many unhealthy calories to make it worth indulging.

But, that doesn’t mean I will never indulge in that awesome combination! This “sandwich” is really easy and quick to prepare and tastes so good! It has all the great flavors of broccoli cheese soup without all the fat and calories! And the best part of all of this? It’s only THREE ingredients!!! YAY!

Ingredients

1 whole wheat tortilla
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
1/3 cup shredded light white cheddar cheese

Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat. Place tortilla in pan and spread cheese over the entire tortilla. Place steamed broccoli on 1/2 of the tortilla. Once cheese has melted slightly, fold non-broccoli side of the tortilla over the side that has the broccoli on it. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bottom of the quesadilla is crispy.

Enjoy!

Blueberry and brie crostata

Some food combinations were just meant to be together; peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, coconut and Brussels sprouts. Oh wait. Is that last one just me? Blueberry and brie cheese might not sound like a food pairing you would think to try right away, but this crostata is borderline life changing.

I have always enjoyed the classic baked brie with apricot preserves wrapped in a buttery and flakey puff pastry and baked until a golden, gooey, delicious mess. But I had never considered turning that delectable appetizer into an elegant dessert, until now. I recently stumbled upon this recipe and thought, “Yes, this sounds intriguing. I shall make this now.” Oh, and I made it. Three times. In a row. This dessert is so delicious. Sweet, but savory. Fruity, but creamy. Rustic, but elegant. All the things in a dessert that I love and so much more.

The crust for this dessert is a very basic, but always-delicious pastry crust. The filling is equally simple. Once the crust is rolled out and the brie is layered in the middle ever so gently, blueberries mixed with sugar, lemon, and cornstarch are place upon it. It is then baked in the oven until golden-brown and oozing with a cheesy, fruity mess. A beautiful mess.

Ingredients
Adapted from Perry’s Plate

Crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbl sugar

Zest from one lemon

1/8 tsp salt

10 Tbl butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

3 Tbl ice water

Directions

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt until combined.
Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
One tablespoon at a time, add in ice water until dough begins to form.
Remove from food processor and gather into a disk.
Cover in plasic wrap and allow to chill in the refigerator for at least one hour.

Filling

1 pint of blueberries

6 oz. brie cheese, sliced into thin slices

Juice from one lemon

2 Tbl sugar

1 Tbl cornstarch

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbl raw sugar

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.
Lay slices of brie in the middle of the cidle, leaving a 1 inch boarder.
Pour blueberry mixture over top of the cheese and gently start to fold the outside edges of the dough around the filling.
Brush the outside dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle the crust with the raw sugar.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.

Enjoy!