Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baked Shells n Cheese

My boys LOVE when I make homemade mac n cheese because I add all sorts of good stuff to it. The shells are little pockets of deliciousness and each bite bursts with flavor. What is the "good stuff?" The addition of onions, garlic, veggies and sausage. I use whatever veggies/meat I have in the fridge and the dish always turns out delish.

Yum yum yum!

I love comfort food!

Baked Shells n Cheese

Yield:  8-10 servings

  • 1 lb shells, cook according to package directions (or pasta of choice)
  • 12 oz package Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage (or protein of choice), cut into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves (more or less taste), diced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 1/2 c milk
  • 3 c shredded cheese (set aside 1/2 c for topping)- I used 1 1/2 c cheddar and 1 1/2 c monterey jack
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs (optional but tastes great because it adds a slight "crunch.")
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and put drained pasta back in the pot. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Heat oil in large pan and saute onions and garlic 4-5 mins.
  4. Add sausage and heat for another 3-4 mins. If your sausage is not a "fully cooked packaged sausage," then thoroughly cook the sausage at this point. Check your package carefully. 
  5. Place onion, garlic, sausage mixture in pasta pot and set aside.
  6. Make sauce in same large pan used for onion mixture. Melt butter over med heat. Add flour and stir frequently for 2-3 mins.
  7. Slowly add milk, cayenne and paprika. Simmer 8-10 mins and stir often.
  8. Add 2 1/2 c shredded cheese to milk mixture. Stir till melted. 
  9. Add cheese mixture to pasta pot and mix all ingredients well.
  10. Pour pasta mixture into 9x13" dish. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and remaining 1/2 c cheese.
  11. Bake 20-30 mins till pasta is browned. If panko bread crumbs haven't fully browned, place under broiler for 3-4 mins. Keep an eye on it so you don't burn it.
  12. Let stand 5 mins before serving. Careful when eating as the pockets of hot cheese in the shells can burn your mouth. ENJOY!

1 comment:

  1. Yep! I'm certain that my boys will wolf that down like they haven't eaten for a week. It's on the list for a weekend coming up soon.


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