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Date Night In: Pumpkin Mac & Cheese | Spiced Hot Chocolate!

Cozy Mug
Lately, Curry and I have been spending a lot of time at home because we both work from home--Curry spends most of his time in the workshop (aka garage) and I spend a lot of time in my home office. Thankfully we're both homebodies and are okay with spending the majority of our time at home! Also, because we're saving money to build a workshop and reinvest in our business, it's practical to be home majority of the time because we don't spend a ton of money on gas our going out to eat.
Many week days we do a lot of quick cooking (ie cereal or baked chicken haha!), so every once in a while, it's nice to make a more "elaborate" meal for a date night in! This spread comes from PBS's Fresh Tastes food section from contributor "A Cozy Kitchen." View the original post Spiced Hot Chocolate and Pumpkin Mac & Cheese.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

- 1 pound pasta of choice
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 + 1/2 cup whole milk, divided
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (can use the canned pumpkin mix like for pies)
- 4 ounces finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano, plus more as garnish
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Pour the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 to 6 minutes, or as directed per the instructions on the package of pasta.
2. Set a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter and flour. Cook until the butter melts and a paste forms. Whisk in the 2 1/2 cups of milk and bring the sauce to a very slight boil, whisking the entire time, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the milk mixture to cool for about 3 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and cheeses. If it's a bit too thick, you can add a 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or even a splash of pasta water to help. Add salt to taste. Then add about 10 rounds of freshly cracked pepper. Give it a taste again and adjust any seasoning that you like.
3. Add the macaroni and toss with the cheesy sauce. Give it another taste and adjust the salt to taste. Garnish with a bit more grated Parmesan and black pepper.

Spiced Hot Chocolate


- 3/4 cups whole milk or almond milk

- 1 cinnamon stick

- 1 star anise

- Pinch of ground cayenne

- Pinch of salt

- 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

- 3 ounces dark chocolate, melted


1. In small sauce pan add the milk, cinnamon stick, star anise, pinch of salt and sweetened condensed milk. Stir until combined. Bring the milk mixture to a very warm temperature. Immediately turn the heat off and cover. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick from the milk mixture and pour in the chocolate. Turn the flame to medium-low and whisk in the melted chocolate until combined.

3. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

I hope you enjoy a nice, cozy date night in!

Thank you for reading! Sarah

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