Posted by: Kennedy | October 28, 2011

“Can’t believe it’s not cheese” Butternut Squash Mac & Cheeze

It’s been another crazy week at IHN… and now that it’s over, time to blog about food! TGIF, guys.

Last week went out with a delicious bang: Dinner Club at Sampson’s!

On the guest list: Najette and Sarrah.

On the menu:

Super Foods Kale Salad…

Najette’s ‘Mama’s Hummus’…

And Oh She Glows’ Butternut Squash Mac & Cheeze (without the cheese).

I had made this dish for dinner the night before the half, and it was so amazing that I immediately sent Sampson the recipe to have it Dinner Club-approved.

The beauty of this meal is that it is very simple and quick to prepare. Aside from roasting the squash for 40-45 minutes, it only takes 10 minutes to make the sauce and another 15 to cook the pasta, which can be done simultaneously. For the full recipe, check out the link above.

You can experiment with different kinds of add-ins to boost up the healthy factor. When I made it on my own, I used broccoli, extra squash and pumpkin seeds:

And at Dinner Club, we used Swiss chard. Both turned out beautifully.

The sauce is seriously SO cheesy… both the flavour and texture are bang-on. It really is hard to believe there’s no cheese or milk in there.

Sarrah in action!

With four pairs of hands in the kitchen, we made three different dishes in just a little over an hour (and that includes time spent wine-sipping, cheese-nibbling and girl-chatting).

FYI: the kale salad tasted even better the next day as leftovers – the extra time to let the dressing marinate into the salad was key. The mac and cheese, however, wasn’t as nice re-heated. The sauce wasn’t nearly as creamy and delicious. I would recommend just eating any leftover pasta cold.

Dinner Club night was also a perfect opportunity for Naj and me to practice our food demonstrations, our final assignment in Professional Skills class. Each of us has to get up and prepare a dish in front of the class, talking about proper prep techniques, tips and nutritional benefits of the foods. Then we get to sample everyone’s recipes!

I usually procrastinate from schoolwork by cooking and/or baking, anyway. Why not just cut out the middle man and make the food the homework? The perfect homework assignment, if you ask me.

So Naj made her Mama’s (amazing!) Hummus for us:

And I chopped, peeled and mixed away until I came up with this Super Foods Kale Salad, inspired by Oh She Glows’ Weekend Glow Kale Salad.

I will say, though, that preparing a meal while speaking intelligently about all of the wonderful benefits of the ingredients is not as easy as it seems! I have a newfound respect for the hosts of all those cooking shows on the food network.

The last day of our food demos is this coming Monday. I’ve been photo-documenting a number of my classmates’ creations, and when we finish I will have 35 new recipes to add to my kitchen rotation. Stay tuned for a recap post next week (or whenever I can find the time to write… it’s hard to come by these days).

Hope you all get out there and enjoy the crisp, cool weather this weekend.

… Have a Spooktacular Halloween! 



  1. It all looks so yummy!!
    What a great homework assignment, to prepare food and then eat it 🙂

  2. Yum! I can’t read your posts before dinner! Hope all is well with you!!
    Karen (and Scott too)

    • Great to hear from you two! Where in the world are you right now? Things are good here… in the home stretch at school. Thanks for checking in!

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