Apple-sausage mac & cheese

Is it terrible to admit that I'm glad the weekend is coming to an end? I know, it's terrible. But I'm glad the weekend is coming to an end. My little Sammy has pneumonia, poor guy, so he has had a fluctuating temperature for the entire weekend. At his worst, he had a temp of 105.2! That is enough to scare the crap out of this mama. I hope to never see that number on our thermometer again.

As our weekend of sickness closes, I am seeking comfort in food. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and I was on the fence about it. I don't post anything that I'm on the fence about. It has to be fabulous! So I changed a few things and made it again, and I loved it! If you are looking for a unique yet delicious mac & cheese recipe, give this one a try! 

(adapted from Food Network Magazine)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 3/4 pound of medium pasta shells to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup diced onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.


6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Cook, stirring, until the sausage is golden, about 3 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Stir in 3 cups apple juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 8 minutes.  

Slowly stir about 3/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (you will need 1 pound total), and 1/4 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (you will need 1/2 pound total), into the sauce until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Stir in the pasta and 1/2 cup sour cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle with 35 crushed butter crackers (1 sleeve Ritz) and the remaining cheese (1/4 pound Monterey Jack and 1/4 pound cheddar cheese).

Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve!

Here's to a healthy week for everyone!

Click here for a printable recipe!