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A few laws of life:

As soon as you come home from the gym after a particularly grueling workout looking like death exceptionally cute, you will run into the one cute guy who lives in your apartment building in the parking lot.

As soon as you decide to skip the gym in favor of some yoga in your living room, your cat will decide that is the one hour of the day that she absolutely MUST play with her catnip mouse on your yoga mat.

As soon as you get up from your desk to go pee, that is the moment the people you have been waiting on for 10 minutes will show up for your meeting.

As soon as you decide you can make it through a meeting without peeing first, that meeting will last longer than the Israelites wandered in the desert.

As soon as you figure you can hold off on doing laundry for a couple more days, someone will, at the last minute, ask you to wear a specific item of clothing that is, of course, dirty.

As soon as you make this macaroni and cheese, you will be in comfort food heaven and forget about all of that other stuff. For reals, people.

One of my internet friends, Candace, posted this roasted butternut squash mac and cheese on her blog last week. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it. STAT.

Butternut squash gets roasted in the oven or cooked up in the microwave…

…and combined with some whole wheat pasta (I have a thing for shells, personally), caramelized onions, grated apple and a wee bit of cheese and baked to perfection. As I ate it, I kept thinking, “This tastes like fall!”

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a helper to watch the microwave while you cook your squash.

And then she will get bored and try to steal your spoon while you photograph your delicious dinner…Autumn Harvest Macaroni and Cheese

Adapted slightly from the original recipe

Serves 2-3 as a main dish or 4-5 as a side dish

2 1/2 cups dry, small shaped pasta

1 small butternut squash

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 apple

1/2 cup water

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 tablespoons cream cheese (I used Neufchatel cheese due to its lower fat content)

1/2 cup evaporated milk, separated

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

Brown sugar

Panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Set cut side up in a dish with about half an inch of water in the bottom. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until fork tender. Alternatively, microwave for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Cook low-and-slow, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. (For a how-to on caramelized onions, check this out.) This may take 20-25 minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt your water!

While squash, onions, and pasta are finishing up, dissolve the chicken bouillon cube in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Set aside. Alternatively, use 1/2 cup chicken broth.

Peel and grate the apple; set aside.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Add onions, apple and chicken broth. To the pasta mixture, add cream cheese, cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup evaporated milk. Stir until ingredients are combined and cheeses are melted.

When the squash is finished cooking, scrape the flesh into a bowl. With a potato masher, mash together the squash and the other 1/4 cup of evaporated milk until smooth.

Add squash mixture to the pasta mixture and pour into a casserole dish. Top with panko bread crumbs and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through.


    1. Haha! She definitely keeps me entertained…also spending most of my time running around trying to make her stop doing whatever monstrous thing she is currently at, while she is already thinking up what monstrous thing she will do next. When I do more complex photo shoots I have to close her in my bedroom or else she has a hayday with my props and stuff!

      Love her like crazy, though. Sigh.

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