Thursday Night Cheesy Goodness—The Perfect Cure for Bad Days

This just hasn’t been our week. We’ve had a stream of unexpected visitors and unexpected expenses.

Bad days call for a little comfort food. Don’t let the terrible photo fool you. Last night’s dinner was to die for, and this was the only snapshot I could get of it before it was devoured by my husband. I saw a similar recipe for this Mac and Cheese casserole in Southern Living, but adapted it to what we had on hand. It was creamy, smoky, and the andouille sausage gave it just a hint of spice. When making stuff like this, you really do need to use freshly grated cheese. When you buy pre-shredded cheese, it is coated with a powder to prevent it from sticking, and this same gunk can mess up the texture of the cheese when you try to melt it into a sauce. You’ll miss the perfect gooey happiness, so take the extra five minutes and grate your cheese, please.

Andouille Mac and Cheese

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Ingredients

  • 1 (16-oz.) box cellentani pasta
  • 1 (13.5-oz.) package andouille sausage (I used Johnsonville)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (16-oz.) package Velveeta, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups freshly grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 (5-oz.) package kettle-cooked potato chips, crumbled (or about 2 cups crumbled potato chips)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 casserole with non-stick spray. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, cut sausage in half lengthwise, then cut halves into ¼ inch-thick pieces. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, sauté sausage over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Remove sausage from skillet and drain on paper towels.

3. Add heavy cream and half and half to the same skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the pepper and Velveeta, and cook until completely melted, stirring constantly. Add Gouda, cheddar, sausage, and cooked pasta, stirring until combined. This may look like you have a bit too much sauce at this point, but fear not. The pasta will absorb a lot of it during baking.

4. Pour pasta mixture into casserole. Top with crumbled potato chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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If the Mac and Cheese didn’t bring us out of our funk, a weekend of beautiful Autumn weather on the horizon should do the trick.

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