Butternut Mac & Cheese

Bright yellow and full of happiness this is a total winner dinner.

Did you know here at Foodoppi we are certified children’s feeding therapists.

In addition to this  multi-sensory eating is a huge part of our work.

Did you know colour is the single most important intrinsic sensory cue when it comes to setting people’s expectations regarding the likely taste and flavour of food.

Food colours can have rather different meanings and hence give rise to differing expectations, in different age groups, not to mention in different cultures and genetics.

A growing body of scientific research now suggests that our experience of taste and flavour is determined to a large degree by the expectations that we generate (often automatically) prior to tasting. These expectations then largely affect our children’s behaviours and reactions to food.

When I was studying for my M. Sc in Food Product Design and Culinary Innovation a few years ago I soon learned with the large food giants have been using the psychology for years and now I would like to show you an example of how we can do it NATURALLY at home with this delicious and simple mac & cheese. The colour yellow is one of the chief colours, along with red, that evokes the taste buds and stimulates appetite. It is also a happy, cheery and energising colour.

The natural yellow colour comes from the steamed and pureed butternut squash. A little bot of natural turmeric could also be added to intensify the colour. So not only are we getting the bright pop of colour we are also increasing our veg consumption and getting some of those much needed nutrients and we are eating sustainably.

This is such a rich, delicious comfort food dish a great idea is to serve it with a light fresh green salad in the summer. Baby gem lettuce and a nice olive oil and lemon dressing is lovely or a big bowl of tender stem broccoli would be yum!

For the kids just keep it simple and remember start with small portions or allow them to serve themselves.

With fun & deliciousness,


What You'll Need

200g macaroni (wholewheat if possible )

50g butter

50g flour 

500mls milk 

50mls cream

1/2 chicken stock cube

100g cheddar cheese ( grated ) 

200g Butternut squash ( steamed and mashed/pureed) 

Optional topping :

Cheesy breadcrumbs

My Foodoppi kids pesto




Saucepans and lids

Sieve & / or food processor

Wooden spatula






How to Do It

Genie "Mac"kers Time

  1. 1Put the butternut squash on to boil. Put the pasta on to boil.
  2. 2In a small saucepan melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute until it looks sandy and grainy. Gradually stir in the milk little by little. It will soak up as you go and thicken and then add a little more until it is all gone.
  3. 3Crumble in the stock cube and stir well until it is all dissolved.
  4. 4Stir in the grated cheese and cream.
  5. 5Drain the butternut squash - blitz in a food processor until it forms a fine puree. For extra smooth - pass through a sieve.
  6. 6Drain the pasta ( great if there is a little bit of water left. That will help the sauce ).
  7. 7Stir the butternut squash into the sauce.
  8. 8Pour the pasta into sauce mix and stir.
  9. 9Serve: either pour into an ovenproof dish top with breadcrumbs and bake for 15mins or just serve in bowls and top with a little pesto.
  10. 10Top Tip - Add in some fried chorizo to really raise the flavour game!

¨¨¨¨¨( some colour psychology states in some cases yellow can evoke frustration so please be mindful of this. )

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