Friday, September 13, 2013

Busy Nights and Sausage Macaroni

Tuesday night was crazy- I take that back, Tuesday itself was crazy.

For a SAHM I stay pretty busy, and Tuesday was busier than usual.  Between Little Man's speech therapy, a promise to walk a few miles with my friend, LM's appointment with the Early Interventionist that visits our home to work with him, getting my daughter's homework done, tons of housework to do, and a Girl Scouts event in the evening, there was pretty much no extra time to do anything during the day- much less prepare dinner for the family.
Click on the picture to find this recipe at Allrecipes.com!

As an Allrecipes Allstar, I committed to "Turkey Tuesdays" during the month of September.  All I have to do is prepare a meal using turkey each Tuesday this month.  Pretty simple, right?  Especially since they provided me with the turkey products to try out.

That being said, this Tuesday I almost threw my hands in the air and told my husband to grab fast food on the way home from work.

So glad I didn't :-)  Instead, I chose to throw together this Classic Smoked Sausage Mac and Cheese.

I'll be honest..don't make this recipe if you want to lose weight.  It's rich, cheesy, and definitely not diet food.

But sometimes we need a little of that, right?  Good old fashioned comfort food on a crazy day.  Creamy, warm, flavorful, filling deliciousness.

The Butterball® Smoked Turkey Dinner Sausage was super-flavorful and we all enjoyed it.  Not to sound like an advertisement for Butterball®, but they also make a Hot & Spicy Red Pepper Turkey Sausage I bet would have been phenomenal in this dish.  

Anyway, this was really easy to throw together.  I cooked the pasta while I was preparing the sauce in another pan.  Everything just gets tossed together and baked in the oven to absorb the gooey cheesyness of it all.  My husband said this is the best mac and cheese he's ever had.  Yes, it calls for Velveeta...but even a foodie has to appreciate the comfort Velveeta can bring to a meal every once in a while.  

This isn't a meal I'd make often, it's extremely decadent.  lol I kind of laughed as I made it, actually.  (Alfredo sauce?  Velveeta?  Cheddar?  Half and Half???) but really, this makes for a great occasional indulgence.  More important though?  I really did find a great tasting (and reasonably priced, I found it for $2.50 at Kroger!) sausage product that my family loves and I will definitely be purchasing in the future- though I will most likely be finding healthier ways to use it!

1 pound cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta, uncooked
1 tablespoon butter
1 (14 ounce) package
Butterball® Smoked Turkey Dinner Sausage, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cup chopped onions
3 cups prepared Alfredo sauce
3 cups half and half
3 cups cubed pasteurized prepared cheese product
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2.Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse and drain. Set aside.

3.Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan on medium heat. Cook and stir sausage and onions 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Stir in Alfredo sauce, and half and half. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat. Simmer 1 minute.

4.Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in cheese and black pepper until cheese is melted. Stir in pasta and sausage mixture.

5.Pour mixture into lightly sprayed 139-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with combined bread crumbs and 1/4 cup melted butter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and pasta mixture is hot and bubbly.

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