Hungry Girl’s Cheesy Butternut Bake

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

The other day, while cleaning out an old folder of recipes, I stumbled across a recipe for a Cheesy Butternut Bake from Hungry Girl. I’m generally not a fan of the Hungry Girl recipes because they’re typically loaded with Frankenfood, but this one actually sounded pretty good, so I saved it.

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Check out the date on it:

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I can’t believe I held onto this recipe for so long without making it, but I’m glad that I did.

I baked a big ol’ butternut squash earlier this week, so this Cheesy Butternut Bake was the perfect dish for using it up. It didn’t really firm-up into “fluffy, mashed sweet potatoes” like the description said, but I still really liked it. I usually eat butternut squash with cinnamon and brown sugar, so this recipe was a nice change.

Like usual, I didn’t follow the Cheesy Butternut Bake recipe exactly. I used fresh butternut squash instead of the frozen kind, added an extra piece of Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow cheese (obviously), and used Garlic Gold instead of chili powder. I also hand-mixed the ingredients instead of putting them into a food processor/blender, which worked just fine.


Lunch was a huge serving of Cheesy Butternut Bake with a turkey and cheddar cheese sandwich on a whole wheat Bagel Thin. I actually liked the Cheesy Butternut Bake so much, I ended up going back for a second serving. Mmm. Big fan.

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As an afternoon snack, I ate two whole wheat Bagel Thins with Nutella spread on top. I started with just one half, but I needed more Nutella in my life (don’t we all?), so I went back for a second one. Great decision.

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After lunch, I planned to hit the gym, but I just wasn’t in the mood to exercise today, so instead I took Murphy for a long walk and counted it as my workout for the day. Two birds, one stone.

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At one point, we ventured off into the woods for an ”˜adventure walk.’ Murphy was a big fan”” there were lots of new smells and things to eat.

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What do you think of the Hungry Girl recipes? Love ’em? Hate ’em?



  1. I’m going to be in the minority and admit I’m a big HG fan. Yes, a lot of ingredients in her recipes aren’t “real,” but I like to balance them out/pair them with more whole, natural stuff. And I LOVE the butternut bake. I made it for my family at Thanksgiving a few years back and it has been requested every year since!

  2. When I first heard of Hungry Girl I was put off by how many non-natural ingredients she used but I’ve continued to follow her website, even while making only a portion of the recipes because of the ingredients. I however, wouldn’t call them Frankenfood unless the ingredients actually contain genetically modified organisms, which to my understanding they do not. I think she’s moved away from all the aspartame and sugar free swaps since getting a show on the Food Network and has a lot of new recipes that use more natural ingredients.

  3. That butternut bake looks delicious! I am not a fan of Hungry Girl. Needless to say, I do watch her Food Network show and do get her emails. I even made one of her recipes. I only like her recipes that don’t use fake ingredients or those tofu shirtaki noodles. I think sometimes she does more harm than good.

  4. OHHHHH GOOD topic! I subscribe to HG but loath the majority of the ingredients… so much of her stuff is pre-packaged, artificial, fake… though… she has good ideas as how to add volume to meals without compromising caloric goals..

    EHHHh, I dunno…. I would never, EVER use ANYTHING with Splenda. I dig the fettuccine recipe… but again..EHHHHHH…… nothing original and LOTS of BUY THIS… EAT VITAMUFFINS NOWWWW OR ELSE!!!!!!!!! ahhhhhhhhh

  5. Not a fan of HG. I prefer to eat whole grain, natural and unprocessed (or as little as possible) foods. I like real sugar and real butter. If that means I eat a smaller portion of it then that is okay as long as i enjoy it.

  6. Not a huge HG fan. Just tried those tofu shirataki noodles that HG promotes, and they were awful. But I think this recipe is an exception. It sounds good!

  7. I’m not a big fan. I remember reading through dozens of recipes and being surprised how many processed/fake foods they called for.
    However, I just checked out the site and the recipes featured on the food network look like real food…the most recent one anyway.
    Overall, I like the concept since I like volume! Maybe some of the new recipes are worth checking out.

  8. I used to loooooove Hungry Girl, back when she first became popular. I still get her newsletter. However nowadays I try to eat more natural food and limit the amount of ‘swaps’ I do. I do think her message is a good one though — eat less calories if you want to lose weight!

  9. Ugh! I hate Hungry Recipes! Although, the butternut squash bake does look good (a diamond in the rough, maybe? ;)) . I don’t understand why some people promote the fact that just because a food is low in calories that it’s healthy. Sorry, for the rant, just a pet peeve of mine.

  10. There’s a restaurant up in Alberta that has Nutella Mocha’s on their menu. Really delicious – you should try making one sometime!

  11. I used to be really into HG a few years ago and bought a cookbook after subscribing to her emails. Now that I have a healthier view on life, I have mostly stopped using her recipes (I agree about some of the Frankenfood items) but I still like receiving her emails. They often give good tips and seem to be getting healthier and on to more natural foods. I do have to say, I LOVE the hot and sour soup from her first (I think) cookbook. It is SO good, and all of the ingredients are healthy. It is really just some spices, tofu, and veggies. If you like hot and sour soup, I would definitely recommend this! (I like to add zucchini to it as well)And even though they are unhealthy and contain bad ingredients, the caramel pumpkin cupcakes are pretty delicious too.

  12. It’s quite random how so many ppl disagree with her use of ingredients but then still opts to receive her newsletters/email. I personally love her, her television persona, and her enthusiasm. I don’t buy bagfuls of splenda, but if I had some laying around- I would more than happy to test out her dessert recipes. Working 9-5 in a hospital, I find her egg mugs ESP fulfilling, healthy, and super convenient to make! 🙂

  13. I’m not a fan of her recipes..after reading so many blogs and finding delicious recipes which do include real foods, I much rather try my hand at those! I am a HUGE BNS fan so this post totally has me drooling!!

  14. I couldn’t agree more that Hungry Girl is mostly fake food and not worth it. And is it just me or does she look really unhealthy? Aside from the fake tan, something else looks sickly about her…maybe it’s all the preservatives she eats? That statement isn’t meant to be cruel, it actually comes from a serious concern about the food she endorses.

  15. I saw her for the first time the other day on Food Network… I only like her ideas that use healthy ingredients, not the fake stuff. She’s painfully awkward to watch though!

    In this episode she was telling people to be more ‘health conscious’ and pick 97% fat free hotdogs when at a BBQ. ??? UMM…how about don’t pick the hotdog at all if you’re trying to be ‘health conscious’. Made me chuckle.

  16. HAHA. That has GOT to be one of my favorite pictures of Murphy you have ever posted (in the middle of your bagel. Literally LOLed).

  17. I’m in love with bagel thins. My newest creation (which my daughter and I love) is the bagel toasted. Spread one side with nutella and the other with PB (or sunflower, almond, whatever) and then put it together. We call it a reese’s sandwich. So yum!

  18. Some of HG’s recipes are fine but finding a truly good recipe from her is hit and miss. I still like getting her daily email especially on Monday when she highlights new products. Today Edy’s/Deyer’s Pumpkin Slow Churned ice cream was featured (not the no sugar added stuff or the artificial sweetner one). I can get on board with that!

  19. I just found this post, and have been recently looking into Hungry Girl’s website and recipes. I agree that I don’t like most of them because they use artificial/fat-free/sugar-free ingredients. Her two ingredient cake mix idea is pretty good though. I have tried Betty Crocker Strawberry cake mix with 1 C applesauce and no one could tell the difference. I also like her Growing Oatmeal bowl because you get to eat so much more by adding more water, and who doesn’t love more oatmeal?

  20. Hi Tina! I just found your blog this morning and I am hooked! You are such an inspiration and I’m looking forward to following your blog! I’m a former Boston girl and I miss the city so much! I had to comment on your HG post. I actually really like the Shirataki noodles. I just had them for dinner in fact. I also like her pumpkin trick for brownies and cakes. I love that you eat real food and don’t deprive yourself. Do you have any tips for someone like me who wants to get into running but doesn’t know where to start? Thank you! 🙂

    P.S. I especially love your posts about Murphy. He is such a cutie!

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