Stovetop Mardi Gras Mac & Cheese
I’m sure I speak for more than just myself when I
say write that after a long day, I crave a comforting meal that comes together quickly. Stovetop mac & cheese fits the bill perfectly, but many recipes for this classic cheesy pasta taste bland and boring.
That’s where this version comes in.
Given the fact that Mardis Gras is tomorrow, I assigned a Cajun/Creole flavor profile to my mac & cheese recipe which tastes decadent but is much lighter than the traditional fat-laden dish.
Andouille turkey sausage, onion, garlic, bell pepper, hot sauce, and a bouquet of flavorful spices liven up an otherwise one-note cheese sauce that is combined with whole wheat macaroni pasta.
By using low fat milk, reduced fat cheese, and just a bit of butter to make the roux, you can rest assured that this mac & cheese is a healthier version of the classic. The peppers add an appealing pop of color and the turkey andouille sausage lends a spicy smoky flavor, thereby further setting this recipe apart from others for macaroni & cheese.
So whether you’re looking for a comforting but healthful meal after a long tiring day, or you’re seeking a fun Cajun-inspired dish to celebrate Mardis Gras, I’ve got you covered with this recipe!
Stovetop Mardis Gras Mac & Cheese
See recipe on Key Ingredient
yield: 2 servings
- 4 oz (about 1 cup) uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni or other small pasta
- 2 links cooked turkey andouille sausage, chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (I used a combination of green and red)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup 1% milk, preferably organic
- 1/2 tsp mustard (I used country Dijon, but if you can find creole mustard, use that!)
- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper hot sauce
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- pinch dried oregano
- pinch of ground cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 oz (2 Tbsp) 1/3-less-fat neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese
- Cook pasta according to package instructions (preferably to al dente); drain.
- While pasta cooks, add andouille sausage to a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until lightly browned and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer cooked sausage to a bowl. Reduce stove heat to medium.
- Add butter, onion, and bell pepper to the saucepan. Cook, stirring often, until veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
- Whisk the flour into the mixture for about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce stove heat to low. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, paprika, oregano, ground cayenne pepper, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir in the neufchatel and cheddar cheese until fully melted.
- Stir in cooked pasta and sausage.