The other day a friend of mine pointed me to this Food Network link of 50 Mac& Cheese Recipes. As I scanned through all the glorious options I knew I was going to try my hand at several variations. This week as I was planning my menu, I looked through the different recipes and noticed one titled “Andouille Mac & Cheese.” Now I just so happened to have some smoked sausage leftover from last week and this looked like the perfect recipe to use it up. I figured smoked sausage would be a comparable substitute for andouille. The recipe also called for Peppadew peppers which I’d never heard of, but upon further investigation found that pimentos were an acceptable substitute. So I sort of made the andouille mac & cheese, but sort of not. So I decided to provide you with the recipe as written with my variations thrown in.
By the way, it turned out fabulous and was on the table in less than 30 minutes! I can’t wait to try a different kind!
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni or other small pasta
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 ½ cups grated mild yellow cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup diced processed cheese, such as Velveeta
- 6 ounces browned diced andouille or smoked sausage
- 1/3 cup chopped Peppadew peppers or 4 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
- 1 sliced scallion
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; whisk in the flour, Cajun seasoning, mustard powder, and cayenne and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in the evaporated milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cheeses until melted, then add the pasta, sausage, and pimentos. Add just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce. Season with salt and black pepper and garnish with sliced scallion.
I had never eaten gumbo before I made this. I don’t know why, but the word “gumbo” doesn’t exactly sound appealing. Maybe because it’s along the lines of goulash, which for me brings back memories of my dad’s goulash which consisted of Spaghetti-Os, canned corn, and pork & beans all mixed together. Yum. And let’s be honest here. It’s not like gumbo is known for being visually stunning. All I knew about it was it’s a bunch of stuff thrown together and people down in Louisiana seem to like it.
So why did I even make this you ask? Well, I saw this recipe on a site I trust. A site where I’ve gotten a bunch of delicious recipes and I figured if they thought it was awesome, then I would too. Man I love being right. Seriously though, this stuff was so good. It wasn’t the fastest meal to put together… about an hour of active work time and 2 more hours of simmering time, but the results were well worth it. I made sure to prep all my ingredients and took my time on the roux to make sure I didn’t burn it. No sweat. Definitely not as finicky as I expected. So make this. You won’t regret it!
Now I try not to be a snob when it comes to making things that use condensed soup, but I also try to only make them on occasion because of their high sodium content. So you can see why I was a bit hesitant to make this when I saw that it used not one, but TWO cans of condensed soup. But, the original poster claimed it was her new favorite casserole, so I sucked it up and made it.
This was not a fast casserole by any means. If you have to cook your rice like I did, your family will be waiting for over an hour. But if you’re better at planning ahead, you could easily cook the rice beforehand to speed things up. I used a wild rice mix instead of plain wild rice because that stuff is freaking expensive. I wasn’t about to pay $6 for approximately 1 cup of dry rice. What a rip off. Plus I figured a mix of rice wouldn’t hurt anything and would probably add even more flavor. I also added a bit more milk to mine because it seemed too thick and gloppy… feel free to tweak as needed.
So what was the outcome of this experiment? I have to say it turned out pretty dang good. Seth really liked it. In fact, he just saw me writing this post and said, “That sausage and rice casserole was superb.” Both of us had seconds and the leftovers were quickly consumed. If you’re making this as a main dish for your family, I would definitely double it. I’m sure I’ll be making this one again.
I knew I needed to make this soup as soon as I saw it. I love lasagna and a faster soup version of it sounded amazing. This was a super easy but flavorful soup that looked just as good as it tasted. And the cheesy goodness at the bottom of the bowl was even more delicious than I’d hoped. Make this! You’ll love it!
What could be better on a cold weekend morning than biscuits and gravy? Nothing. That’s what. I don’t make biscuits and gravy very often because it requires planning ahead… for breakfast. I’m always so focused on planning dinners that I forget about breakfasts. But every once in a while, this makes a special appearance. And every time it does I think “I should make this more often!”
Also, a tip for making biscuits: if you’re making roll-out biscuits, make sure the tool you use to cut them out has a sharp edge. Using a glass doesn’t usually work too well as it pinches the dough together instead of cutting it. This will make it so the biscuits don’t puff up like they should. Find something with a sharper edge or fork out a couple of dollars (or less) for a real biscuit cutter. Trust me, it’s worth it! (Or you can do what I did this time and use pre-made store-bought biscuits! HA!)
I’m a total sucker for anything with sauerkraut in it. I know, it sounds horrible, but it tastes so delicious! I thought this would be a great recipe because it was very simple and included chicken sausage. I’ve only ever tried turkey sausage which I really liked, so I figured chicken sausage would be great too.
The night I made this we’d been working on the house so we were pretty tired and hungry when we got home. I was happy to see this was a fast meal when reading through the recipe. Unfortunately the potatoes took way longer to cook than the 10-15 minutes the recipe said it would take. Maybe I cut the potatoes too thick? In any case, if you’re making this, I would suggest cutting the potatoes very thin, as in scalloped potatoes thin. That way you’re sure to have a fast dinner. If you want to keep your potatoes thicker, just know that it’ll take about 30 minutes longer to cook.
It’d been probably 5 years or more since the last time I made skillet lasagna. Why? Well you can blame it on the Hamburger Helper. I didn’t make Hamburger Helper that often, mainly because it’s typically too salty for me, but on this occasion, I’d seen the lasagna version and thought it looked ok. Everything was fine (well as fine as Hamburger Helper can be) until after dinner clean-up time came. I looked at the leftover sauce which had now cooled in the pan and that stuff was so salty, it had actually formed salt crystals. I was horrified! And that was the last time I ever ate Hamburger Helper.
Now that you’re thoroughly grossed out…
I knew I wanted to try this homemade (and much healthier) version of skillet lasagna as soon as I saw it on America’s Test Kitchen. A great lasagna taste without the time? Count me in! Now I did make a couple changes to the recipe, of which I would highly suggest. The recipe calls for a “meatloaf blend” of meat, or 1/2 hamburger, 1/2 ground pork. I’d never seen that in the store so I just bought mild Italian sausage. I’m glad I did because I think it would’ve been kind of bland otherwise. The other thing I would change is to use a no-cook lasagna noodle instead of the regular ones that it calls for. It said to cook the noodles for 20 minutes and mine took at least twice that long and still weren’t completely cooked through. But, aside from that, this was a great recipe and I will definitely make it again.