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This unique creamy and comforting Pumpkin Curry Mac and Cheese casserole adds the earthy Fall flavors of pumpkin and curry to a traditional mac and cheese and includes Thai Chicken to turn it into a meal.
I love Fall. I love the high school football games, the cooler weather, the excitement in the air with all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. When it comes to food, I love Fall flavors. They are comfort food for me. I love casseroles, pumpkin, and pasta, especially cheesy pasta! Yum!!
Living in a big city I get to experience all types of cuisines, from traditional American to new American to Italian, Mediterranean, Asian, Indian, Mexican, and everything in between. I am so blessed to be able to try all these different flavors. It sparks creativity when I go home to cook. Often I don’t cook in one cuisine. I take flavors I love and try new combinations, even if they are from different cuisines, and create a dish with a mosaic of flavors.
In this Pumpkin Curry Mac and Cheese with Thai Chicken, I combined my favorite flavors of Fall, such as pumpkin, pasta, and cheese, and added some International flavors such as Curry and Thai Chicken to create a comforting Fall casserole. It tastes fabulous and I’m certain will become a favorite at your house too!
As I always say, to get the best results, you have to use the best ingredients. So I used Barilla® Protein Plus with 17g of protein from all natural vegetarian ingredients. It is perfect for quick and easy Fall meals. I like that Barilla® can fit into a Mediterranean diet that provides the balanced nutrition families need to live a healthy lifestyle.
While the dish may sound exotic and complicated, it is really easy to make because I don’t have a lot of time to spend on dinner.
Start by making the Barilla® Protein Plus Macaroni per package directions and drain.
Then create the pumpkin curry cheese sauce by melting butter in a skillet and stirring in an equal amount of flour to make a “paste.”
Pour in half and half (half cream and half milk) and stir until creamy. Add in salt, pepper, and curry powder.
Then add the pumpkin and stir until it is thoroughly combined. Stir in the Mozzarella cheese and keep stirring until melted.
Then add in the shredded Thai Chicken and stir until the chicken is evenly distributed.
Spoon the Pumpkin Curry Mac and Cheese mixture in a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle more mozzarella cheese on top and then sprinkle panko bread crumbs on top of that. Spray with cooking spray and baking in a 350-degree oven.
Remove from the oven and serve while it is hot.
Before heading to Target to buy the Barilla® Protein Plus Elbows, be sure to grab this special Cartwheel offer here before is expires 10/29/16!
For which occasion will you make this Pumpkin Curry Mac and Cheese with Thai Chicken?
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- ½ (14.5 oz) package Barilla® Protein Plus Elbows (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups Half and Half (or 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 cup, cooked and shredded Thai Chicken (see below)
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1⁄8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
- salt and pepper, to season flour,to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup white wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in a large pot following package directions. Drain cooked pasta, then return to pot.
- For cheese sauce, in a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Pour in Half and half. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in curry powder. Stir in pumpkin and 1 cup mozzarella until cheese is melted. Stir cheese sauce into pasta to coat. Stir in shredded Thai Chicken. Transfer the Pumpkin Curry Mac and Cheese with Thai Chicken to an ungreased 2-quart rectangular baking dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the pasta. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the cheese. Spray with cooking spray.
- Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with chopped sage leaves or parsley.
- To make Thai Chicken, combine the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
- Saute the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through.
- Remove the chicken and put in a warm dish, set aside in low oven to keep warm.
- Add the ginger-garlic mixture to the skillet and saute until lightly browned.
- Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar.
- Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduces and thickens.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces in the warm serving dish and keep warm until ready to use.