Earlier this month, I took my first real family vacation in over two years (for the record, that is way too long between family vacations). It was glorious on so many levels. Mountains, wildlife and the most jaw dropping scenery around every corner. You guys, you HAVE to visit the Canadian Rockies.
We were away for two weeks and in that time I did almost zero cooking and became very closely acquainted with car snacks. In other words, I was sooo ready for a home cooked meal when we returned home.
On my first trip to the grocery store I noticed that in our short time away the seasonal produce offerings shifted from peaches to apples and from summer to winter squash. While I’m always a little sad to see the summer produce season wind down, it’s comforting to know that next up is, well, comfort food season. AKA mac & cheese time!
This unbelievably simple recipes is perfect for families with kids who want something quick and basic after work, with a little extra oomph than the boxed varieties. Cooking squash in the microwave is one of the most genius kitchen hacks ever, but if you have time and can make the squash in advance, roasting it for a nice caramelized flavour boost is a great plan too.
It’s also a blank slate for any additions you and your family enjoy. To make it easy, a couple handfuls of peas or baby spinach could be thrown in right at the last minute for a splash of green with no added work or time.
My three year old is currently obsessed with macaroni. She wants it for every meal. No kidding. I’m sure if has nothing to do with the fact that her mother has more than once, declared Kraft dinner as her all time favourite, desert island comfort food.
This is a great way to mix up the texture and flavour to make sure she stays interested in trying new things. It’s important not to hide the fact that there’s squash inside. When we try and deceive kids about what’s in their food they become even more controlling and resistant to trying new things. I want her to be relaxed about trying new foods – the fact that this one looks like plain Kraft dinner may get her to take at least a few bites. They may or may not like it (she did), but exposing kids to new foods is a crucial step in having them become more adventurous eaters.
Plus, if she doesn’t like it. More for me!
For a more grown up twist on this recipe, you can also try our Brown Butter Acorn Squash Pasta with Crispy Sage. Ooh la la.
Either way, enjoy mac and cheese season friends!