Everyone in my family adores Mac & Cheese (and really, who doesn’t?). But my younger daughter Ayden Jane is completely obsessed with the comfort food classic—she considers herself a connoisseur. I’ve spent hours, probably upwards in the range of days, coming up with the cheesiest, most delicious (and of course, healthiest) version I could make until it met her super-high standards. I proudly accomplished this feat years ago, and the recipe has become a regular in my rotation. I tribute her diligent supervision and keen rating system by appropriately calling it “AJ’s Mac and Cheezy.”

But I’m always looking for new, nutritious variations to keep my family on their toes and work in seasonal vegetables and other wholesome ingredients. My most recent creation involves the fall superstar butternut squash, and transforms the usual cheesy casserole into slimming portion-friendly muffins. This recipe has not only become a huge hit in the Bauer house—but with all of Ayden’s friends and their families.

Here’s why: About a week ago, Ayden and I planned a mom-daughter day that began at the grocery store. We came upon a display of butternut squash that looked irresistible, so we grabbed a few and tossed them into our cart, unsure yet of how we’d use them. Ayden was craving mac & cheese (obviously) and I figured I’d try to work in the nutrient-packed autumn vegetable into the mix.

After an afternoon of experimenting in the kitchen, we nailed it. She was so proud of our work, she brought the leftovers into school the next day to share with friends. Before I knew it, I was getting text messages and emails from countless moms asking for the recipe because all of Ayden’s friends loved them!

Now, I want to share the recipe with you. Feel free to whip up these mouthwatering Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese Muffins for your kiddos, your book club or whenever you’re in the mood for some good-tasting and good-for-you comfort food.

And don’t let the good food feelings end with a yummy meal. I’m partnering with Capital One® because you can get more out of your delicious moments with their new Savor℠ card. I love this idea: Capital One created the Savor card to help you experience those sweet and savory real moments that happen when you’re doing what you love most—sharing food with friends and family. With the Savor card, you earn unlimited cash back: 3% on dining, 2% on grocery purchases, and 1% on all other purchases, ultimately making it more rewarding to enjoy food with the people you care about.

To learn more, click here.


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