Tag Archives: Macaroni and Cheese

Real cheesy goodness

Day 9:

Macaroni and cheese! Is there anything better on a cool fall day?  I would have to say that I love this type of dish and can’t have enough.  Today’s recipe is a modern twist on a good old fashioned family favorite.  The original recipe we planned on using for today had NO CHEESE.  Without actual cheese in the recipe it had to be removed from the queue immediately.  Although I realize the health benefits of avoiding dairy products and finding alternatives to mimic the taste and consistency of the dish you are trying to make BUT if there is no cheese in macaroni and cheese then I am not interested.  As we move through this month of blogging all things pumpkin we are starting to realize that it is not enough to just make a new recipe that has pumpkin in it.  We are challenged to prepare, smell, eat, drink, and blog all things pumpkin and it is not very fun with having a recipe that is just okay.

Chris found an alternative Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese recipe to address our mac and cheese dilemma on a blog called “Cooking & Beer”. As we are interested in both cooking and beer, it does not surprise me that we hit gold with this recipe.  We followed the recipe pretty closely and the results were superb.  The pumpkin puree combined with the cheese to make for an even creamier sauce than with cheese alone.  We did forget to garnish with green onion and walnuts but that would have been a great addition that I will try with leftovers.  If you like macaroni and cheese, you will love this recipe.  The flavor of pumpkin does not overpower and so we think you could increase the volume of pumpkin with good results (Chris thinks even doubling would work).  There is a little kick to this recipe as there is a full 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  Our 3 year old did not notice the spice which means that it should not bother most people but as it did not add a ton to the flavor of the dish you could probably remove it if you are sensitive to spices. Enjoy! – SarahServed with Sausage and mixed veggies.

Served with Sausage and mixed veggies.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1 pound dry penne pasta
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (used minced garlic instead)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder (used minced onion instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (used regular breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • green onions, sliced thin
  • walnuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and add the dry penne pasta. Cook to al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To prepare the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Gently whisk in the flour and continue to whisk until a nutty aroma fills the air, about 2-3 minutes. Very slowly, whisk in the milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook until the sauce has thickened substantially. You will know that you have reached the right consistency when you can coat the back of a spoon without major dripping. At this point, add the dried thyme, paprika, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and pumpkin puree. Whisk the ingredients together and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove the sauce from heat and stir in the cheeses, reserving 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top later. Stir in the cooked pasta to evenly coat.
  4. Grease a 9x13in baking dish (if you are using) or grease 8 individual oven safe bowls. Pour the mac and cheese in whichever vessel(s)  you are using and sprinkle the reserved cheese on top. Sprinkle both types of bread crumbs on top of the cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the top is bubbly and brown. Remove from oven and garnish with green onion and walnuts. Serve warm and enjoy!


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