Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese

Butternut Squash paired with cream cheese is creamy goodness…enjoy this wonderful macaroni and cheese variation this Valentine’s Day with your loved ones.   My sister-in-law Gayle makes the best butternut squash soup, so this one’s my way of thanking her for making me love butternut squash with cream cheese — she makes her yummy butternut squash soup every special occasion.

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese
You know homemade mac n cheese always tastes better than boxed mac n cheese.  But you’d even enjoy this “nutty” mac n cheese that is creamy, rich and satisfying on a snowy day…Gotta make this!

1 – 2 lb Butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 chicken cubes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 box (8 oz) cream cheese, sliced in cubes
1 package (1 lb) small pasta (shells, elbow, ziti)
2 tablespoons panko
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 can vienna sausage, drained and chopped

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente (cooked but still firm to the bite), strain and add oil, tossing well to coat.   Set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven, place butternut squash, whole milk, chicken cubes, brown sugar and minced garlic.  Add enough water (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups) to cover the butternut squash.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 25 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.    Puree with a handheld immersion (stick) blender.   Add salt, mustard, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cream cheese.  Stir until cream cheese is melted.  Adjust seasoning.  Stir in hot cooked pasta.

Pour into lightly-sprayed or buttered 13 x 9 x 2 Pyrex baking dish.  Top with panko bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese and chopped vienna sausage.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.  Uncover, and bake an additional 5 minutes.   Serve while hot!

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BOB RECIPE: Philly Cheesy Dips (2 recipes)

2 Easy dips from Kraft and easy to enjoy in barely 15 minutes…perfect for summer “no fuzz” parties.

from:  Kraft
Product:  Philadelphia cream cheese

BOB RECIPE:  Philly Cheesy Pizza Dip
Prep:  10 minutes Total time:  12 minutes

1 pkg (8 oz) Cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons each:  chopped red and green peppers
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of microwaveable 9-inch pie plate.  Cover with pizza sauce; top with remaining ingredients.

Microwave on HiGH 2 minutes or until heated through.  Serve with Ritz Crackers.  Makes 2 cups.

BOB RECIPE:  Philly Cheesy Chili Dip
Prep:  5 minutes  Total time:  6 minutes

1 pkg (8 oz) Cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz) chili
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of microwaveable pie plate; top with chili and Cheddar cheese.

Microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until Cheddar cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with cilantro.  Serve with Ritz Crackers.  Makes 3 cups.

Sarah’s Cheezy Cheese Pimiento Sandwich Spread

Enough of the “jarred” peanut butter and nutella for a sandwich spread.   After baking a double batch of pandesal (Filipino bread), it’s about time to make some “good and delicious” sandwich spread — and I thought of Cheese Pimiento right away….I’ve got 2 small jars of pimiento sitting in my pantry, a block of medium cheddar cheese and mayonnaise.  But I just don’t want an ordinary cheese pimiento spread…I want some butter in it too, some cream cheese and some sweetness “courtesy of sweetened condensed milk”.   I played a bit with these ingredients and here’s the recipe for a really yummy Cheese Pimiento sandwich spread.

Sarah’s Cheezy Cheese Pimiento Sandwich Spread

1/2 cup finely chopped jarred pimiento or roasted bell pepper (container had 2 pimiento and I fished out and used the bigger of the 2)
1/2 cup (4 oz) regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) regular butter (salted)
1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese

Use electric mixer to mix all these ingredients, it’s a breeze to make.  I love it chilled first before spreading on pandesal.  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

BOB RECIPE: Classic Creamy Cheesecake

from:  Crystal Farms
Product:  Cream Cheese

BOB RECIPE:  Classic Creamy Cheesecake

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

4 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs

sliced fresh strawberries combines with purchased strawberry glaze or canned fruit pie filling, such as cherry, blueberry or raspberry

Heat oven to 300 F.  Spray 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, combine all crust ingredients; blend well.  Press firmly on bottom of prepared springform pan.

In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese at low speed just until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Scrape bowl.  Add sugar; beat at low speed just until blended, about 30 seconds.  Scrape bowl.  Add lemon juice, vanilla and one egg; beat at low speed just until egg is blended.  Scrape bowl.  Add remaining eggs, one at a time, beating only until just blended, scraping the bowl after each addition.

Pour filling into pan over crust.  Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes until firm except for the very center.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Serve with sliced fresh strawberries and strawberry glaze or canned fruit filling.  Serves 12

BOB RECIPE: Garden Vegetable Dip

from:  Crystal Farms
Product: Cream Cheese

BOB RECIPE: Garden Vegetable Dip

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour

1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped cauliflower
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Crackers, cut-up fresh vegetables and/or chips

In medium bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream; blend well.  Stir in remaining ingredients except crackers, cut-up fresh vegetables and chips; blend well.  Cover, refrigerate at least 1 hour.  Serve with crackers, vegetables, and chips.