Know what I love about you guys?? That you’re all game for wild game. After a great response from my post on venison stroganoff, I feel I owe it to you to give you another awesome spin on how I prepare venison in this veggies and […]
I’ve been in full on “harvest” mode the past few weeks grabbing boxes full of fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and freezing homemade tomato sauce for future use. The scent of roasting squash has been wafting through my house while the kids cringe at […]
I don’t usually make pasta but I’ve been seriously craving the comfort of a good mac and cheese that I can actually eat by the boatload. Maybe it’s the gloomy weather or the stress of having our house sold and not knowing yet where we’re moving to in just over a month. Eeeek!!! This recipe is not totally dairy free but it is reduced. Let’s be honest. A mac and cheese cannot be a mac and cheese without the cheese. I’ve tried a few of the recipes out there for cheese-less mac and cheese and they’re AWFUL. Anyone who says that vegan mac and cheese is delicious, is completely lying or has no tastebuds. Yes, I’ve tried it with nutritional yeast which mimics the taste of cheese and all the other tricks. I did my research to make it the best possible that it could be. It was still a big fat fail. The night that I made a vegan mac and cheese (from a recipe that had super high ratings and favorable reviews), my family set their forks down and went to get pizza, and I don’t blame them. Mac and cheese just cannot be without cheese.
However, it IS possible to have a delicious and creamy mac and cheese that is made without liquid dairy and can be gluten free as well if you choose. Why cheese but not liquid dairy like cream or milk? Many of us with dairy sensitivities can often tolerate aged or fermented dairy much better than soft (or liquid) dairy as the lactose is nearly or completely gone. Plus, aged cheeses like a nice sharp cheddar have enzymes and cultures in them so they are not as likely to cause issues.
The creaminess of this squash and cheddar mac and cheese comes from, you guessed it, squash! I’ve used the basic ingredients of squash and cheddar cheese fondue and converted it into a creamy mac and cheese sauce. It starts with a roasted squash like acorn or butternut which also will help give the mac and cheese a bit of color. Add to that a béchamel made with unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk, mix in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and you’ve got the perfect ooey, gooey, creamy mac and cheese with an extra nutritional punch! I used smoked salt when I made this recipe for a slightly smoky flavor. This cheese sauce is also simply divine poured over lightly sautéed broccoli. Next up, I’ll need to master a baked mac and cheese with a crunchy crust 🙂
- 12 oz package noodles of any kind
- 1 cup cooked and pureed squash (butternut or acorn work well)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (I used the kind in the carton this time since it's less coconut flavored - or use any other non-dairy milk)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook noodles according to their directions to al dente.
- Combine all other ingredients in a saucepan and heat while whisking until hot and bubbly.
- Drain noodles once they are cooked and place in a large bowl.
- Pour cheese sauce over noodles and stir to combine.
I’m here to convince you that you love squash. No really, you do. Mixed into the right recipes, even self proclaimed squash haters (me) don’t have a choice but to love it. This recipe is a perfect example. Squash and cheddar cheese fondue tastes […]
The sign of a really good workout: you wake up the next morning not being able to move because your muscles are so sore and refusing to operate properly. Yeeaahhh. That would be me, as a result of shoveling our very first snowfall of the year. One heaping foot of heavy wet snow perfect for crafting snowmen. I only shoveled half of the driveway before my neighbor felt sorry for me and came over with his snowblower. God Bless him. I made him cookies. And then I made some hearty harvest chili for a chilly snowy day.
You can make this harvest chili in a crockpot and let it simmer its deep delicious flavors together all day long or you can make it up in a large saucepot. Let’s not make extra dishes and do everything all in one pot too while we’re at it! Less dishes equals a happy girl. Browning the hamburger along with the onion and garlic in the crockpot takes a little longer but it’s worth it. It takes about 2 hours to completely cook the burger first this way but you end up with very tender small ground bits of beef and non-crunchy onions. You can do this the fast way and brown the beef and onion in a separate frying pan if you are short on time. Once beef is browned, add rest of ingredients to the crockpot or saucepot and let simmer until hot.
Harvest Chili gets the “harvest” name due to the use of pureed squash or pumpkin in this recipe. The addition of the squash provides a deeper variety of flavor and nutrients as well as cuts the acidity a bit. If you tend to have heartburn after eating dishes heavy on tomato, this helps immensely to cut it with squash. The squash also makes this chili slightly creamy in consistency making it feel like you’re eating something delightfully decadent. If you’re feeling really daring, stir in some sliced okra for a little extra color. Top it with your favorite chili toppings!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalepeno or serrano peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 cup squash or pumpkin puree
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can red kidney beans or pinto beans
- 2 cups low sodium beef stock
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2-3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1½-2 teaspoons salt or smoked salt
- 1 cup sliced okra (optional)
- In a crockpot, place ground beef, onion and garlic.
- Stir together and cook on low 2 hours or until beef is cooked through.
- Smash cooked beef into small bits.
- Add all other ingredients to crock pot and stir.
- Cook on low for 3 hours up to 8 hours.
- Serve hot with your favorite chili toppings like cheese, guacamole and chips!