Continuing right along on our journey through cheesy pumpkin land, say hello to chili + queso + macaroni + pumpkin, all packed into a hearty, filling, and oh-so-comforting dish.
If you’re still in need of comfort food recipes after I posted about this Pumpkin Beer Cheese Soup, give this Pumpkin Chili Macaroni and Cheese a try. It’s the perfect dinner for those chilly autumn nights when you’re craving something warm in your belly.
Chili, queso, and pasta aren’t foods you’d automatically associate with the word healthy. BUT, believe it or not, this dish contains some pretty rockstar produce. Take a look!
Healthy cooking tip #1: Bulk up your chili with all the veggies! It will increase your serving size without adding unwanted calories and fat. Healthy cooking tip #2: Bulk up your cheesy sauce with pumpkin! It adds a hearty texture that will thicken into an amazingly decadent sauce -a sauce that you’ll keep taste testing with a giant spoon until you realize half of it is gone.
- This dish is the love child of my husband’s fave fall food (chili) and my daughter’s toddler food obsession (mac n’ cheese). I love culinary mashups!
- The crunchy, cheesy topping is such an added bonus to this dish. In one bite, you’re hit with the tangy, spicy chili, creamy mac n’ cheese, and little bits of crispy tortilla chips. omg YUM!
- 1 box (13.25 ounces) elbow macaroni (I used Barilla whole grain)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound lean ground turkey (I used Jennie-O Extra Lean)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- ¾ cup black beans
- ½ cup corn (I used frozen)
- 2 cans (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 can or 1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup baked tortilla chips, crushed
- ½ cup reduced fat Mexican blend shredded cheese
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni until just short of al dente. Drain pasta and set aside. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, ground turkey and ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the ground turkey is cooked through.
- Add in the jalapeño, red bell pepper, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add in the macaroni and stir everything together until incorporated. Take off heat and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan or in the pan you used to cook the pasta, mix the pumpkin, cream cheese, and lime juice. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Then, add the chicken broth. Stir until smooth and creamy.
- Add the cheese sauce to the macaroni mixture and give everything a big stir. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Pour the pumpkin chili macaroni and cheese into a large casserole dish. Layer the shredded cheese and crushed tortilla chips on the top. Place macaroni in the oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Before serving, garnish with cilantro.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 362 Fat: 11.8g Carb: 43.6g Fiber: 9g Protein: 24.5g Sugar 5.5g Sodium: 690mg