EAT: Hungry Girl’s Baked Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

We’re on day 3 of sharing Lisa Lillien’s healthy recipes from her new best-selling cookbook, Hungry Girl to the Max. If you’ve loved the recipes from the last 2 days (Hungry Girl’s Carmelized Onion Mashies and Hungry Girl’s Rockin Lean Bean Casserole) you’ll flip for this Mac & Cheese alternative, which calls for adding pumpkin to the mix. We promise, it’s delish and a perfect side dish to make for Thanksgiving or year round.

While boxed Mac & Cheese normally clocks in at 400 calories per serving, Hungry Girl’s recipe slashes the calories, sodium content, and fat to give you a meal that keeps you full without overfilling you with the bad-for-you stuff.

Here’s what you’ll need to cook this tasty dish up: An 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan, nonstick spray, large microwave-safe bowl, medium-large pot, large skillet, and microwave-safe bowl.  

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour and 5 minutes
Servings: 4
1⁄4th of recipe: 276 calories, 5g fat, 590mg sodium, 46.5g carbs, 8.5g fiber, 10.5g sugars, 11.5g protein

3 cups frozen cauliflower florets
4 1⁄2 ounces (about 1 1⁄4 cups) uncooked
high-fiber elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon light whipped butter or light buttery spread
2 cups finely chopped onion
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Dash cayenne pepper
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 slices fat-free cheddar cheese
4 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
1 ounce (about 15) reduced-fat sour cream & onion
potato chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir. Cover and microwave for another 3 minutes, or until hot. Drain excess liquid. Roughly chop cauliflower and return to the bowl. In a medium-large pot, cook pasta per package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta and stir into cauliflower.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low. Stirring frequently, cook until caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir onion mixture into the cauliflower and pasta. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix pumpkin, cheese slices, and cheese wedges, breaking slices and wedges into pieces. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. Microwave for another 30 seconds, or until cheeses have melted. Stir well. Add cheese mixture to the pasta, cauliflower, and onion mixture. Stir to coat. Transfer contents to the baking pan and cover with crushed chips.

Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

More Holiday Recipes from Hungry Girl
Hungry Girl’s Carmelized Onion Mashies
Hungry Girl’s Rockin Lean Bean Casserole
Hungry Girl’s Red Velvet Insanity Cupcakes

About Hungry Girl: Lisa Lillien is not a certified nutritionist. But, she does love making high-fat and high-calorie count foods into healthier alternatives. A self-proclaimed “foodologist,” Lisa founded the website which sends free daily emails to subscribers, informing them of food recalls, new food items and where to find them, plus guilt-free recipes, restaurant survival guides, and so much more.

A six-time New York Times best-selling author, her fourth cookbook Hungry Girl to the Max is a currently a #1 Best Seller. Lisa contributes a healthy recipe column regularly to Redbook magazine and She has also had numerous guest appearances on shows like Rachel Ray, Dr. Oz, and Extra, plus her own television show, Hungry Girl, airing on both the Food Network and Cooking Channel.