Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crock Pot Momma: Vegan Cheezy Butternut Squash Macaroni

Welcome to our first installment of our latest Crock Pot Momma series featuring more vegan slow cooking and our first giveaway!  If you love your Crock Pots as much as we do, then check out our previous recipe rave reviews and jump on this train!  You could win you very own copy of Kathy Hester's new book: Vegan Slow Cooking - For Two or Just For You

With Autumn also comes a new crop of seasonal fruits and veggies.  One of my personal favorites is finally here; butternut squash.  With such a deep love of this orange vegetable, you can only imagine my delight when one of Kathy's recipe's morphed my beloved butternut squash into a macaroni and cheese.  Oh yeah, that is SOOOOOOOO happening!  I knew I wanted it to be the first thing I reviewed for our new series. I went right out, purchased a sassy little red crock pot, set out for my ingredients and got crockin'!

This recipe calls for:

(Morning ingredients)
1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash or other winter squash (I picked mine up at Costco)
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I could only find diced, but figured it was close enough)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used pre-minced garlic)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme  (or three 3-inch fresh sprigs)
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or one 2 inch sprig)

(Evening ingredients)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (I went to a specialty health store for these guys)
1/2 to 1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (I went with Almond)
1 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat macaroni  (I had penne on hand, so that is what I used)
Salt and pepper to taste.

First thing to do, add in all the morning ingredients and let cook on low for 7-9 hours. 


Knowing I wasn't going to be home until 7 pm, I left a post it out for TH to add the water and turn on our little pot at 11 am.  That would give it enough time to cook before I had to add in the evening ingredients and special touches only a Thriving Wife should do.

Upon arriving home, I quickly ran into to check in on our dinner. As soon as I walked the door I was hit with a wall of rosemary and thyme.  The house smelled amazing and I couldn't wait to see what that little red crock had waiting for me!  Everything was perfect and after eight hours on low, I knew I wanted to eat...and soon.  So, following the recipe, with about 30-45 minutes before serving I got to work on the evening ingredients.  

First I dumped out all that butternut squashy goodness into my blender and added the 1/4 cup yeast and 1/2 cup milk. 

I then pureed until it was nice and smooth, put it back into my crock pot, added the pasta and set it to high.  I let that cook up for 20 minutes and gave it a nice stir.  Since my sauce was in no way getting too thick, I didn't need to add anymore milk.  

For the next 25 minutes, (I checked on it every 10) the smells continued to entice my belly into utter excitement.  Between my 10 minute checks I set the table, made a salad, filled up my water cup and folded some laundry...then it was finally time!  I checked the noodles and they were on the verge of being overdone, so despite the sauce not being super thick, I didn't want to risk mushy noodles.  

I plated these buttery-nutty noodles and just couldn't wait to dive in.  I added a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese at my TH's request, (which totally blew my vegan recipe), but I think he is just used to pasta having cheese.  The first bite was amazing!  So rich and filled with flavor while also savory and comforting.  It was the perfect Crock Pot Momma recipe to ring in Autumn!

Would you like to try this recipe? Well then get involved and win our giveaway!  The first place winner not only gets Kathy's great book, but her very own mini Crock Pot! With only TWO more recipes to share, our TWO winners will be  announced the first week of November, stay tuned to TW for more info!!

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