Tomato and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

I just saw a commercial that said Kohl's is opening at 3am on Friday morning. Is it going to be 2am next year? I feel like we've gone to an extreme. The media has really taken the Holidays and run with them...not exactly in the best way. What happened to Christmas trees, and stockings, and spending time with your family, and hot chocolate, and singing Christmas Carols, and watching Holiday movies? Now its just Buy Buy Buy... and Heaven forbid you aren't the FIRST ONE THERE! That would just be devastating. And I am standing my ground on the fact that you should not decorate until at least the day after Thanksgiving. It just doesn't seem right. One holiday at a time, people.

On that note, Thanksgiving comes first. Two days, actually. I am so ready. Not only do I absolutely love everything about Thanksgiving food, but I'm going to see my family. And on top of it all, I get to drive there. Yup, I am renting a car and heading to Pittsburgh, PA tomorrow afternoon. I haven't driven a car in a while, but I like to believe that it's like riding a bike - you never forget. I'm just hoping I don't get lost. Cross your fingers for me.

Today at work, we were talking about Thanksgiving food you can not live without. My list: Turkey (of course), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, and rolls. And wine. That's an important one. Those things are essential. If they aren't there, it just wouldn't seem right. I know my grandma will stick to the plan. She won't forget anything. She'll probably go above and beyond. I plan to eat my heart out. No one's counting calories that day.

Another item that tends to be essential for most - pumpkin. I love pumpkin, I do. But to be honest, my favorite pie is Banana pudding pie, not pumpkin. My brother, Andrew, would disagree.

This isn't exactly too Thanksgiving-ish, as most pasta dishes aren't, but this is a little something I made recently with pumpkin. It's just that time of season...squash is inevitable. I was feeling savory (and chilled), not sweet, so I threw together a Mac and Cheese. It's very similar to my Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - both delicious and comforting. I obviously love Mac and Cheese.

Tomato and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

1 box of Fusilli pasta
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups Tomato soup
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Hot Paprika powder
Panko Crumbs
salt and pepper

1. Prepare pasta

2. Make a roux using the EVOO, butter and flour.

3. Make sure to keep the heat low as to not burn the roux, and then add the tomato soup, pumpkin, cheese and spices (only half of the Paprika). Salt and Pepper to your liking.

4. Mix the pasta in with the sauce.

5. Put mixture in a greased baking dish. (I used EVOO to grease.)

6. Top dish with Panko Crumbs and rest of the Paprika.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

8. Top with extra Cheese is you want and enjoy!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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