Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese


So my apologies but we were so hungry when I made this Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese that I forgot to take a photo!  Bad food blogger, bad! Anyways,  instead I give you this photo which always makes me laugh.  This time last year I spent over two weeks in Ireland with my family where we were visiting my sister abroad.  During the last few days while the parents went to Paris, my sister and I jumped over the Irish Sea to spend some time in London.  We had been up late the night before our early morning flight (Ryan Air is awesome!) and as we exited the terminal there was a huge champagne display staring us in the face.  I couldn’t resist.  We purchased a bottle to enjoy back in the hotel room that waited for us.  Lets just say, the room that welcomed us was not what we envisioned, nor was it what was advertised.  But we made the best of it and that meant chilling Veuve in the teeny tiny sink because heaven forbid a hotel have an ice bucket, right?

Anyways, less about the booze and back to the food.  The recipe below was one of those accidental recipes as in “I was in a rush and tried to make butternut squash ravioli but only ended up making a mess”.  It was late on  a Sunday night so mac & cheese was the perfect replacement.  Measurements below are approximations as I didn’t have much patience for pen & paper at the time.


Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese
3 slices bacon, diced
1/2 lb pasta (I used penne)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cubed, roasted butternut squash*
2 1/2  tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2  cups milk
3 tbs Parmesan cheese
3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs**

In a skillet over medium high heat render bacon until crispy.  Place bacon in bowl lined with paper towels and drain 3/4 of bacon drippings from pan (only need about 1/2 tsp).  Lower heat to medium low and add garlic.  Cook 1 minute and then begin to melt the butter.  Once melted, whisk in flour until combined.  Cook for 5 minutes then add milk.  Whisk until smooth and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, lower heat and stir in cheeses, nutmeg, cinnamon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in butternut squash & bacon crumbles.

Cook pasta al dente and drain.  Combine drained pasta and cheese sauce.  Spread in casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and some extra Parmesan cheese.  Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes, placing under broiler for last 5 minutes.

*  Cube butternut squash into 1 inch pieces.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out on baking sheet and roast in 400°F oven for 25-35 minutes or until fork tender.

** Quick fresh breadcrumbs:  Toast bread in toaster or oven until slightly browned and dry.  Place in food processor and pulse until desired consistency (I like medium fine breadcrumbs for this).


Apple Mustard Pork Chops with Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Butternut Squash

Pork Chops

Wanted to quickly share this recipe* for a very satisfying, fall flavor packed meal. I put it together last night and it hit the spot after a long day.

* Measurements are approximations as it was getting late and I was in a rush. Also serving size is for one.

1 thick cut pork chop
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used an extra spicy kind)
1/2 cup Brussel sprouts, halved (about 6)
1/2 cup cubed, roasted butternut squash**
Olive oil

In a large saucepan, combine apple cider and dijon mustard over medium heat. Let come to a boil then simmer on low for approximately 20 minutes (lid off). The sauce will begin to reduce forming a glaze for the pork chops.

As the sauce is thickening, prepare the brussel sprouts by placing them in a small baking dish and drizzled with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in an oven preheated to 375°F.  Let the sprouts roast for 30 min, stirring once about half way through.  Because I was using already roasted butternut squash, I added these during the last 10 minutes so that they would heat up.

In a skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium-low heat.  Season pork chop with salt and pepper.  Once the pan is hot, add pork chop.  After 3 minutes, turn over and cook another 3 minutes.  Pour glaze over the top and place in the oven.  Cook 10 minutes, remove and glaze other side.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes (covered).


** Roasted Butternut Squash

During the cooler months I like to roast a butternut squash on Sunday evenings so I can use throughout the week.  You would be surprised how versatile it is!  It is wonderful on pizzas, in wraps and even on salads.

1 butternut squash, cubed
Olive oil

In a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients.  Lay squash cubes out on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until tender.