Sunday, March 1, 2009

Peppery Mac + Cheese with Chipotle Sausage

I think this meal might be my favorite that I've ever come up with. Granted, I took some inspiration from this post on Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations, one of my favorite blogs from the nest, but I thought that I should try and lighten it up, and also thought that if I was going to be spending all the calories on the cheese (all full fat Tillamook Cheeses), I should add some extras to make it a more complete one-dish meal without adding too many more calories. The mixture of peppers between the peppers in the cheese, roasted red peppers, and chipotles in the sausage was fantastic. I guess I will have to dedicate this success to my 2nd mom (I was lucky enough to get two in life), both for teaching me how to make a great cheese sauce and for putting up with 3 of the pickiest kids ever. You see, when my stepmom came into my family, she knew we were picky. She did not know that we would literally turn our noses up at homemade mac + cheese because "Why is the color so weird? Mac + Cheese is supposed to be really orange!" I bet she wouldn't have thought that one day, I'd be so open to trying new things!

Peppery Mac + Cheese with Chipotle Sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook sausage (which is precooked) until heated through. Remove sausage from pan and add 1 Tbs butter substitute (or butter, if desired). Mix in flour and allow to bubble & cook in the butter for about 1 minute. Add 1/2 & 1/2 and milk (or all milk if you are weirded out by non-fat 1/2 & 1/2). Stir well and costantly until sauce begins to boil and becomes thick. Add pepperjack cheese and stir until melted and incorportated. Add red pepper and sausage to the sauce and stir well. Add to pasta and mix to combine, then pour into an 8" x 8" baking dish. Top with 2 oz of cheddar jack cheese mix. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese topping has melted and starts to get a little crispy. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition info for one serving: Calories: 328, Fat: 19.4g (4.7 Sat, .6 Poly, 1.9 Mono), Carbs: 18.3g, Fiber: 2.0g.

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