My neighborhood is an amazing place. We chat on the sidewalks, share cups of sugar and bottles of wine. We look out for each other’s children, pets and yards. A new baby or sick parent rallies us to care for each other. Lately, it is the stories on the news that cause us to turn to one another with open arms, offering support and food. Always food. These recipes are easy to make, easy to share, and easy to eat.
This mac and cheese has a pumpkin twist, which makes it perfect for October and packing a little extra veggie material into small humans! My son loves to help shred cheese and stir the sauce, knowing it will hasten getting the bowl to to the table. The cheese sauce is also fantastic poured over roasted cauliflower.
For a more grown-up twist, this sweet-with-a-hint-of-spice feta-carrot salad keeps well, so it’s perfect for packing up for a neighbor. I love to double the recipe and bring it to lunch all week. Shredding the carrots and crumbling the cheese is a perfect kid job. (Or you can use the food processor and get it done in a jiffy!)
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
If using canned pumpkin, make sure you are using pure pumpkin purée, and not pie filling.
1 pound pasta*
3 tablespoons butter
½ onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups whole milk
1 pound cheddar cheese, the sharper the better, shredded
1 to 1½ cups cooked, puréed pumpkin, canned or homemade
*Gluten-free pasta can also be used.
1. Cook pasta according to directions on the package.
2. Melt butter in a pot or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook about 3 minutes, until fragrant. Then add the flour, whisking the mixture around as it thickens and browns slightly, being careful not to let it burn. Cook about 1 minute.
3. Add in the milk and continue whisking until the whole thing starts to thicken and lumps start to disappear. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the cheese.
4. Once the cheese has started to melt, stir in the pumpkin purée. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
5. Add in your pasta and mix it so the sauce gets into every nook, cranny and crevice. Enjoy!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of two limes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt and black pepper
1. Combine in a small jar and shake until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
4 cups grated carrots (about 6-8 carrots)
7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
¼ cup minced red onion
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
½ cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup pumpkin seeds
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing.