(Recipe can be found on the site FitSugar here.)
Step by Step Instructions:
Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese will be on the table…here’s what you’ll need: Whole Wheat Flour, Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Butter, Broccoli Florets (need about 2 cups cooked), Large Spaghetti Squash (or I went for 2 because they were smaller), Parmesan cheese (about a quarter cup and then some for serving), a cup of sharp cheddar, Milk (you can see I opted for Almond Milk), and Cooking spray. (Not pictured and optional are ground, dry mustard, grated Nutmeg, and Jalapeno Tabasco sauce.)
Start off by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Then get a sharp knife and carefully slice the squash in half lengthwise. Here’s my trick to help me out. I will microwave the squash for about 30 seconds at a time so that my knife can ease its way through the squash. Once I hit a point where the knife stops, I’ll take the knife out and microwave for another 30 seconds. And repeat. That way I don’t risk slicing off a much-needed digit!
Once the squash are sliced, grab a soup spoon and scoop out the seeds. Then place them in a pan or on a lined cookie sheet. I sprayed my pan with cooking spray, but also spray the cut-side of the each squash with cooking spray too. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a knife goes in easily.
While the squash bakes I did some prep work. I needed 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan. You can use the kind in the green can, but I had fun grating my own mainly because I was visiting my mom and she has a Vitamix blender I’d been itching to try. Just cut a block of Parmesan cheese into one-inch pieces and begin grating up to a 3 or 4 level on the Vitamix for only about 10-20 seconds so you get your desired consistency.
Now this is one of my tricks when making any sort of bechamel (white) sauce that’s the base of a cheese sauce. I like putting in most of the seasoning when i add the flour. Since that’s a critical time to not burn the flour, I just add the seasonings to the flour so I can add it at once. So here is a tablespoon of whole wheat flour, a bit of salt and pepper (just a pinch or so…don’t go crazy), a sprinkling of dry mustard and finally grate some fresh nutmeg in (again don’t go crazy on this, the nutmeg is pretty strong).
Here is the squash after 45 minutes of cooking. If it’s nice and tender when you poke it with a knife, remove it from the oven. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes so you can handle them without burning yourself.
While the squash cools I steamed the broccoli. I love these packages of pre-cut and cleaned broccoli florets that you can steam in the bag…brilliant! Now I only ended up using one of these bags, which is totally fine…it meant I had leftover broccoli!
Once the squash has cooled a bit, grab a fork ans start sort of fluffing the squash as you pull the flesh of the squash away from the outer skin. Then place the spaghetti-like strands into a large bowl and do this for all of the squash you’ve roasted.
Then add the broccoli to the bowl with the squash.
You’ll want to combine the squash and broccoli. Since the broccoli is fairly tender, I used a pastry fork to mix the veggies so they were well incorporated but a spatula or spoon should work just fine too.
Okay time for the sauce! Begin by melting a tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a medium-sized sauce pan. You can use ghee, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to make my own as I was in a time crunch. So good ol’ butter is what I used.
Once the butter melts, add in the flour and seasonings and whisk away. You’ll want to cook the flour and butter for about a minute whisking continuously so that the flour cooks a bit and doesn’t taste raw.
Now add in the cup of milk. I like to do this a little at a time so the sauce doesn’t get lumpy. Just keep whisking away. Then turn the heat up a little and whisk pretty constantly so that the sauce thickens a bit. Now I used almond milk and I noticed at this point it smelled slightly sweet and almond-y, which makes sense! So we’ll take care of that in a minute.
Now add a cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I always opt for sharp cheddar as it has the best flavor), and the 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan we measured out earlier.
Then whisk and whisk until all of the cheese melts. It won’t take long.
To counter-balance the sweetness I was smelling earlier, I added lots of drops of Jalapeno Tabasco sauce. I love this stuff and it’s so great in cheese sauces. It’s the Tabasco in the green bottle, if you aren’t familiar…and you really should be!
Whisk it all up and taste to make sure it has enough cheese and you like the flavors. Mine was delish!
Add in the cheese sauce to the veggies.
Then mix it up so that all of the squash and broccoli are coated with the cheese sauce. Serve it up! It’ll make 4 healthy (aka – large) portions. I topped ours with some extra grated Parmesan and some crushed red pepper flakes. This was such a great alternative to mac ‘n cheese. While you won’t be fooled that it’s the real deal, it does still satisfy those cravings AND you’re being healthy! Happy saucing!
1 large spaghetti squash (or 2 small
Canola oil spray
2 cups broccoli florets, steamed
1 tablespoon ghee
1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
dry mustard, optional
freshly ground nutmeg, optional
Salt and pepper
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional garnish
1 teaspoon grated parmesan, optional garnish
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. While it preheats, prep your squash. First cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds and innards. Then place the squash in a large pan or cookie sheet and spray the pan. Then spray the cooking spray over the center of both halves of squash. Roast the squash in the oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the squash are tender. You’ll use a sharp knife and insert it into the center of the squash and if it goes in easily, you’re all set.
2. Let the squash cool out of the oven until they are easy to handle. Then use a fork or spoon to remove the flesh from the skin of the squash and scoop it into a large bowl.
3. Add the cooked broccoli florets to the squash and gently combine them.
4. Time to start the cheese sauce. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter melts add the flour and seasonings to the flour and whisk constantly for about a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and turn up the heat slightly and continue whisking until the sauce thickens a bit.
5. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Continue whisking until the cheese melts.
6. Pour the finished cheese sauce over the spaghetti squash and broccoli. Toss the mixture until all of the veggies are coated in the cheese sauce.
7. Serve up the dish and top it with extra Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if you’d like. Enjoy!