Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lunchtime Favorites: Pumpkin Mac

Ask any kid about their list of favorite foods, and mac'n'cheese is bound to be somewhere near the top.  I have come up with this cheesy, pumpkiny, and tasty homemade macaroni and cheese sure to make your kid smile.


  • 1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (I used a pie pumpkin, but butternut squash or acorn squash would work well also.)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • sprinkle of parsley
  • 1 cup cooked pasta
  • cooked cubed chicken (optional)

Cut the stem off of your pumpkin or squash.

Cut the pumpkin (butternut or acorn squash) in half.  I find that it helps to microwave it for a minute or two first.

Using a spoon (or clean hands) scoop out the seeds into a bowl, and save them for later.

Place the pumpkin pieces face down on a cookie sheet with sides (or a cake pan would work as well.)

Pour an inch or so of water in the pan.

Place the pumpkin into a 350 degree F oven.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the outer shell looks puckery, and the "meat" is tender.

When the pumpkin (or squash) is cooked, remove from oven, and allow to cool.

When cooled, scoop out 1/2 cup for mac.

Scoop out the remainder, and keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

In a medium pot, combine the pumpkin, cheese, milk, onion powder, parsley, and chicken (if desired.)

Over low heat, stir until combined.

Add the cooked pasta, and stir until the pasta is completely covered.

Mmmm.... yummy, healthy, kid and mom pleasing pumpkin mac!

But wait, don't forget about those seeds that you set aside for later.  Using those seeds, create a yummy, healthy snack!


Wash the seeds.  Make sure to remove all of the pulp.

Pat the seeds dry with a paper towel.

Season how you would like.

I seasoned mine with a bit of soy sauce mixed with ground ginger, nutmeg, and about a teaspoon of brown sugar.  You can go with just some salt.  Or you can go the sweet route; try cinnamon and sugar.

Spread in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet, and bake in a 325 degree F oven for 40 minutes.