Blog Column: 

Happy almost Halloween! We've gotten into the holiday spirit at my apartment, with pumpkins, twinkling ghost lights, and plans to make ghost and bat-shaped cookies this weekend. Although I'm practically counting down the days until the annual steak and lobster dinner, I've also been trying to make some of my favorite fall recipes while I still have the chance. How is it already the end of October? 

The semester is flying by and I'm getting closer and closer to leaving for study abroad in Montpellier, France! This week, I've been trying to dedicate time to checking off all my requirements, like taking the French placement exam, writing an introductory letter to my host family, and of course, filling out all the info forms and visa information. On Sunday, I made a big batch of pumpkin mac and cheese  to get through this busy week. That's one thing I've learned since starting to cook for myself in college: it really pays off to cook in bulk. As much as I'd love to be able to cook something new every day, it's not always possible, so it's nice to have a dinner ready to go on busier days of the week. 

I was a little hesitant to make pumpkin mac and cheese at first--does pumpkin really go with cheese?--but I'm so glad that I did. The pumpkin flavor is mild, not overwhelming, and actually does pair well with cheddar. Bonus: I halved the recipe, and had leftover pumpkin that I used to make pumpkin and goat cheese quesadillas! Here are both recipes:

Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (adapted from Betty Crocker)

  • 1 package elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (Careful--not the same as canned pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese

Melt the butter on low heat, then stir in flour. Once combined, add two cups milk, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. After two minutes, add the pumpkin, salt, macaroni, and 1 3/4 cups cheddar cheese. Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan, and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

  • 1 tortilla
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 oz goat cheese

Spread the pumpkin on the tortilla and sprinkle the goat cheese on top. Fold the tortilla in half, and cook in a greased skillet on medium heat, 5 minutes per side. 

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