Posted on | July 6, 2012 | 2 Comments
The Fourth of July has always been a huge event in my life. It’s a bigger holiday than any of the others, which I guess is what happens when your daddy runs a fireworks franchise. The nature of work meant that we were at one of the stores from about 8:00AM-10:00PM on the Fourth (and, honestly, every day the few weeks prior to it), and ready to drop when we finally walked over the thresh hold of our house. My parents always knew how much we looked forward to fireworks, so they would set off some no matter how tired we all were.
And usually, we ate something super easy and American like all-beef hot dogs and homemade mac ‘n cheese. My mama always made the best mac ‘n cheese.
The past few years have been different. I have either been pregnant or have had new babies and haven’t been able to work the season like usual. I miss it desperately. And with the addition of small children, and with a move to North Carolina where anything that goes more than 6ft off the ground is illegal, the Fourth just wasn’t as big of a deal as it used to be. We pushed the boys in a local parade (which I’ll share sometime soon), and then we came home to cook supper and put babies down for naps.
I decided I didn’t want to cook. And then Taylor hinted that he would really like some mac ‘n cheese, so I obliged. Here’s the recipe to an amazing Butternut Squash and Ham Mac ‘n Cheese. You won’t regret making it. I swanee.
1 box whole wheat elbow noodles
1 block of montery jack cheese
1 block of sharp cheddar cheese
1 can of evaporated milk
4 oz of half and half
1 large ham steak
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
4 oz milk
4 oz chicken stock
1 butternut squash, cubed and peeled
salt and pepper
1) Toss squash in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees until browned and soft.
2) While roasting squash, cook noodles according to package. Set aside.
3) Take squash out, toss it in a food processor with stock and milk, blend until creamy.Set aside.
4) Brown ham in a large pan. Set aside.
5) Melt butter in pan. Whisk in flour and stir continuously for a few minutes. Add in half and half and can of evaporated milk.
6) Toss shredded cheese into the rue and milk mixture. Mix until creamy. Add in garlic powder, paprika, and minced onion (to taste, you don’t need much).
7) Add in ham and butternut squash mixture to cheese. Pour over noodles. Cover with remaining cheese.
8 ) Put mac ‘n cheese in the oven at 400 degrees for about 18-20 minutes. Basically, just keep an eye on it until it’s nice and browned.
ENJOY! You may want to add a little salt. We try to keep our salt intake pretty low, but salt can make it yummier.