Apple-sausage mac & cheese

A unique yet delicious spin on your classic Mac & Cheese recipe!  

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.

Add:

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!

Apple-Sausage Mac & Cheese

A unique yet delicious spin on your classic Mac & Cheese recipe!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Nov 06, 2011

Serves: 6-8

Total time: 1 hr 5 min

AppSausageMac&Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ pound medium pasta shells
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 1 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • ½ pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 35 butter crackers (1 sleeve Ritz), crushed
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 ½-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage, mustard powder, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the sausage is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the apple juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 8 more minutes.
  3. Slowly stir about three-quarters each of the Monterey jack and cheddar cheese into the sauce until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the pasta and sour cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the crushed crackers and the remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.