Friday, November 5, 2010

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese with a side of ME!

I feel that I owe all my readers an apology. I have missed the kitchen in the past week, so I figured it was about time to fill everyone in on where I've been. As you all know I live in Houston, but what you don't know is that I work as a contractor for NASA at the Johnson Space Center. I am a flight controller for the International Space Station and am currently a lead for the upcoming Space Shuttle flight.


Photo Property of NASA


If you follow NASA's Space Shuttle program, you know the last flight of Space Shuttle Discovery was supposed to launch this past Monday, well 5 days later I am still praying for a launch today. So cross your fingers and if you can turn on the NASA channel or go to NASA.gov and tune in around 3pm Eastern to watch the 133rd launch of the Space Shuttle. This mission will have Discovery and it's crew delivering some hardware and the final module of the Space Station as well as performing some EVAs, so stay tuned!


Needless to say I have been extremely busy at work and the hubbie has been in charge of everything. One thing I did get to make was some comfort food, of course, Mac'n'Cheese. Actually any kind of pasta is comfort food to me, but I had a little bit of pumpkin left and tons of cheese, so here goes...



Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

1 cup pumpkin puree
12 ounces macaroni 
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 cups whole milk
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 slices bread, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 9x9 pan or individual ramekins, set aside. Prepare pasta according to box. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter then add in flour and mustard. Whisk continually for 1 minute until thick. Slowly add in milk while continuing to whisk. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat, add in cheeses and pumpkin puree, then gently mix in cooked pasta. Spoon mixture into prepared pan/s and top with bread crumbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top has browned and cheese is melted. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve.


Concerning the pasta cooking, I always make mine Al Dente as they will soften while baking. I do this by cooking ~1 minute less than directed or until pasta is slightly firm but not hard. For bread crumbs, I used this method which gives the topping a lighter, but still crunchy texture.


Hope you enjoy and Happy Baking!

30 comments:

  1. YUM! I have a mac and cheese recipe I make using pureed butternut squash, but pumpkin would be a good substitute too!

    You have a really cool job. I'll have to keep a look out for the launch.

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  2. Yummy! Pumpkin and cheese! Will be watching for the launch

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  3. What a fascinating, but nerve racking job you must have! I was just listening yesterday to a radio blurp about the delay of the Discovery's launch due to weather. My fingers are crossed for a successful launch soon! In the meantime, that pumpkin mac & cheese looks wonderful. What a great combination!

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  4. I worked for Ford/Loral/Lockheed during my time in Clear Lake, so I know how frustrating it can be getting ready for a launch to take place. Our contract was Mission Control...worked there from 1990-2000, right out of college. Glad you were able to at least get a bit of kitchen therapy with this yummy mac 'n cheese!!

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  5. Sweet job!! Hopefully the launch will go smoothly. This pumpkin mac 'n cheese looks delicious...I love that pumpkin can be used to make it creamy and healthy at the same time!

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  6. What an awesome job! I'm wishing you all the best with the launch...and P.S. your pumpkin mac and cheese looks great too!

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  7. I'm happy to have found your blog and the fact that you live a stone's throw from me! I live in Kingwood. Dinner sometime? Haha! What an awesome job! My son would go crazy over watching the launch. Your pumpkin mac sounds delicious! I had made a pumpkin pasta dish with spicy italian sausage in it and parmesan cheese and it was too die for! Be sure to check out my blog to enter the giveaway!
    http://imapretendchef.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-have-our-first-pretend-chef-giveaway.html

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  8. Oh, pumpkin mac and cheese sounds so heavenly and delicious! Mmm...

    Btw - did not know that you work for Nasa! That's crazy, and also super impressive. I will keep my fingers crossed for the launch.

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  9. You have like the coolest job I've heard of in a long time! I'm so impressed :o)

    Great looking mac and cheese, love the addition of pumpkin!

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  10. What a different take on mac and cheese! We have a pumpkin festival near by every October that boasts pumpkin mac and cheese but I have yet to try it

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  11. This looks fantastic lady, how cool to see the last shuttle launch. This morning my daughter grabbed my hand, pointed to the sky and said "mommy there Jupiter"...she is 2!!

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  12. What an unbelievable responsibility! I have no doubt you are just as much as ace at your job as you are in the kitchen. And, for God's sake, feel free to take a load off now and again - you're human! Thanks for sharing this wonderful and inventive pumpkin mac 'n cheese though - It looks delicious. Best of luck with the launch!

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  13. This looks fantastic! I love winter squash and I especially love mac n cheese! I can't wait to try your recipe!

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  14. Yum! Love the fall comfort food. And I totally agree with the al dente.
    Good luck at the "real job"!

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  15. What a cool job you have!! I bet you are busy, though. This mac n' cheese looks like the perfect way to de-stress after a long day at work. And I love the addition of pumpkin! Such a great idea for fall.

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  16. Sounds like you have an awesome job! Pumpkin mac and cheese, two of my favorite things in one dish, I bet that's tasty!!

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  17. pumpkin mac and cheese sounds good never had with pumpkin

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  18. they look absolutely fantastic :) as soon as my oven is fixed I want to try those :)

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  19. I just tried these. They were quite good! There was no mention of salt, so I didn't add any, but they definitely needed salt to taste. I guess I should have assumed that. Still very good though :) I used panko crumbs instead of bread crumbs and shells instead of macaroni. http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs989.snc4/76220_719687802854_14302064_40121385_4957077_n.jpg Thanks for the recipe! I will make them again!

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  20. Wow, you have such a cool job! We are space "nerds" in my house so we always tune in. But it's so sad that the shuttle program is coming to an end. Can you change that please? :) Your Mac& Cheese look scrumptious, so Autumnie too.

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  21. It's been a while since I have come over here and said hi! I apologize! What an amazing experience! I bet your job is quite interesting! Can't wait to hear all about the shuttle launch! Your mac and cheese looks delicious, I recently made a similar mac and cheese with butternut squash, and it was delicious. I bet this is delicious, too!

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  22. Delicious looking mac and cheese but ... your job sounds absolutely awesome! Good luck with it all :)

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  23. Umm you have an awesome job!? And you make amazing things.. that's like a double wammy! ha its just me this week in our household so I am absolutely trying this recipe!

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  24. Well what a surprise, you have a really cool job. No wonder you've been busy and good luck with the launch.

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  25. How so very cool. What an incredible job you have. Nerve-wracking, tense, stressful and probably very hard, but wonderful too. Talk about living the future.

    I'm feeling all kinds of comfy from your mac and cheese too. Wow, that looks great. I can't imagine how much flavor the pumpkin added. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. Any chance you can take a little comfort food with you? What an amazing job. And to think making food is your way to relax, yes?

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  27. Mac and cheese, to me, is something that should be loved and embraced in all its forms. This is without a question no exception!

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  28. This is one of those recipes that seems so obvious, but it never occurred to me to add pumpkin. I cannot wait to make this. I included your recipe in my Thanksgiving roundup post today, too.

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  29. How geeky is it that I think working for NASA sounds like the coolest thing ever?
    I just made mac & cheese last night, wish I had thrown some pumpkin in there!

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