One of my favorite recipes to make is homemade mac and cheese but even better than that is adding a twist and making it a Cajun Mac and Cheese. I love southern food, but have always lived in the northern half of the US. When I visited New Orleans I fell in love with the spice and soul of the food. And in a way I cook like that, but with dishes that have roots from cold wintry areas. So this mac and cheese dish is like a melding of the food I love to cook and the food I love to eat.
I love a creamy mac and cheese, but am not a huge fan of velveeta. Instead I use a blend of shredded cheese to get the perfect blend of taste and creaminess. Don't hate me for not liking velveeta, I think it definitely has its place, but it's just not my go to. Instead I make a bechamel like sauce that I could honestly eat on its own without any pasta. Maybe I can double down and make a nacho cheese recipe with it in a future post 😉
This gets its cajun roots from using spicy andouille sausage, fresh diced bell pepper and a lot of spice. I used ground yellow mustard, paprika and a healthy portion of old bay seasoning. You'll definitely feel a bit of a kick but not enough to overpower the actual macaroni and cheese. Another great option is to add shrimp to the mix (I would have, but my boyfriend is allergic and would have been mad if he couldn't eat this) or other types of seafood. This is a recipe that you can use as a base, then customize the add ins to your liking.
How to make a baked mac and cheese version
If you wanted to make this into a baked mac and cheese version, once ingredients and sauce are fully combined, put into 9X13 baking dish. Top with additional cheese and buttered panko bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden and cheese is bubbling at the edges.
Remember to save this recipe and pin it for later. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below!
Make it a Meal
- Brown Butter Roasted Radishes
- Maple Glazed Roasted Carrots
- Roasted Broccoli and Garlic
- Balsamic Bacon Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
- More Delicious Sides
Cajun Mac and Cheese
Step up your mac and cheese game with a recipe for Cajun Mac and Cheese. Andouille sausage, bell pepper and a kick of heat makes it perfect
- 1 Pound Andouille Sausage
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 Pound Dried Pasta Elbows or Cavatappi preferred
- ½ Cup Butter
- ¼ Cup Flour
- ½ Cup Milk
- 2 Cups Half and Half
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
- 2 Tsp Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 Tsp Ground Mustard
Sautée Sausage in a nonstick skillet until cooked through. Slice and set aside.
Cook pasta per package instructions until al dente. Set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir together until fully incorporated. Cook roux until flour is cooked through and it has a slight nutty aroma.
Slowly add milk to roux mixture, whisking together so that it is smooth and fully blended together. Add is half and half.
Whisk in cheese and stir until fully incorporated. Let simmer for several minutes until sauce thickens.
Add in seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
Add pasta, sausage and bell pepper to the sauce mixture and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve and enjoy!
We've given up trying use our hamper for clothes. It's turned into a cat toy and she won't give it back to us!