No, it is not too early to start thinking about what to serve with your turkey on Thanksgiving. In fact, I have an entire Pinterest board devoted to the subject.
The turkey is covered. We’re a deep-fryer family, and The Renaissance Man fries our turkey every year. If I’m lucky, he’ll agree to write a how-to on it, since it’s much easier, faster, and more delicious than any other way to cook whole turkey.
My job on Thanksgiving is: everything else. I usually make at least one pie, and a potato side and a veggie side. And then we have leftovers for a week.
It’s probably silly to make Thanksgiving for just two people, but we have fun doing it, and the food doesn’t go to waste. But if you’re in TX looking for a place to eat Thanksgiving, we’ve got plenty of food!
I tried this dish a few days ago for dinner, but when I tasted it, it was obvious what it should be used for: a Thanksgiving side. Plus, it’s way healthier than its butter-using counterpart, so you won’t feel so guilty going back for seconds.
And if caloric guilt is a problem on Thanksgiving, you can join me for the TXU Energy Turkey Trot! Guilt erased.
Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash
- 3 slices of bacon
- 2 C. milk
- 2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 Lb. elbow macaroni
- 1 tsp. ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Does this look familiar yet? Peel, quarter, and seed your squash. Rub the quarters with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.
Step 3: Cover the pureed squash with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you get ready to make the macaroni and cheese.
Step 4: When you’re ready to finish the dish, cook the macaroni for a few minutes shy of the time on the box/bag (I cooked mine for 6 minutes, if that helps). Also get the bacon out of the fridge (mine was in the freezer; I was hard-pressed to peel a few slices of of the frozen block of bacon. Don’t forget to thaw it if your bacon’s in the freezer!) and chop three slices into little chunks. Cook the chunks until they’re golden brown.
Step 5: While the pasta and bacon are cooking, scoop the pureed squash into a saucepan. Add the milk slowly, whisking as you go. You want the final product to be a bit thinner than the end product will be, so add as much milk as you need.
Step 6: Cook the squash/milk mixture over medium heat. Once it starts steaming, add the spices, tasting when you add salt and pepper. Keep whisking the sauce occasionally.
Step 7: Once the sauce starts bubbling, add 1/2 the cheese and whisk it in. (beware! The sauce will splatter and splash once it starts bubbling. Protect yourself!)
Step 8: By this time, the macaroni and bacon should be finished. Add the bacon to the sauce and stir it in. Drain the macaroni and pour it into a baking dish. Then pour the sauce over the top. This sauce is thicker than normal mac and cheese sauce. If it doesn’t sink into the noodles, just stir it around a bit until all the pasta is coated.
Step 9: Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Serve as a side for Thanksgiving, or with a small salad for dinner!