Sunday, January 16, 2022

Joey's Spicy Sausage Mac and Cheese


 Many years ago, I went to my family's Pollyanna Christmas Party. As you can imagine, there was a ton of food ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts. That's just what we do! Anyway, this one particular year, my nephew Dan, aka Daniel Boone, brought a small crock full of warm sausage dip, and it was a HUGE hit. When I asked him for the recipe, he said it was super easy, only had a couple ingredients, and that he'll text it to me. Perfect!
 A few days later, I sent him a text, reminding him to send me the recipe. His return text was simply a picture of a pound of sausage, a can of Rotel tomatoes w/ chilis, and a block of cream cheese. That was it. Just a picture. He said "here's the recipe." LOL Well, I guess you can't get any simpler than that!
 Over the years, I kind of forgot about it, and never did get around to posting it. But then recently, as I was thinking of holiday party dips to post, that recipe came to mind again and I thought, OH! That sausage dip! I need to do that! So I browsed my pantry to see if I had any of the ingredients on hand.
And then the A-HA moment happened! 
I thought, hmmm... I bet this would make a SLAMMIN' pasta sauce. As I was browsing my pantry, I noticed, instead of Rotel tomatoes w/ chilis, I had a big jar of salsa. Instead of a block of cream cheese, I had a big block of Velveeta processed cheese. And of course, I had lots of pasta choices. 
Ok, so I could do a mac and cheese, kind of like Queso when you melt cheese with salsa, but then add sausage to it... YES! Let's do this!!! OMG it turned out so good! I couldn't believe it.
 So, instead of a picture, I'll tell you the easiest way to remember this recipe. You don't even have to write it down. It's as easy as 1-2-3: 1 lb Velveeta, 2 lbs sausage, 3 cups salsa! That's all there is to it!!! Who knew that something so simple could be so delish?? It makes the perfect cheesy ooey gooey mac and cheese, and you can throw it together in less than 30 minutes for an easy week night dinner. Cool, huh? 
So if you're a fan of spicy things, sausage, and/or mac and cheese, this one's for you. 
Thanx again, Daniel Boone, for sending me that recipe! 
Maybe sometime, give MY version a try!

1 lb Velveeta cheese
2 lbs mild Italian bulk sausage (or removed from link casings)
3 cups homemade or purchased mild salsa
1 lb large elbow pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in another large heavy pot, over medium heat, cook sausage until brown, breaking up large chunks as you go. Spoon away some of the excess fat, if needed. Add salsa and chunked Velveeta cheese. Stir well until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes ooey gooey. Add cooked pasta to your cheese mixture. Toss well. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese , if desired, and serve.
Note*- I didn't add ANY other seasonings. I didn't even salt the pasta water. There is already QUITE a bit of salt and other seasonings in the other ingredients. 

The main thing about this recipe is that it's SPICY! Even if you choose mild salsa, and mild sausage, it still gets pretty spicy when it all cooks together. So just keep that in mind. If you don't want any heat at all, try using just diced tomatoes instead of salsa. The sausage will still flavor the rest of the dish. Or, if you don't like sausage, you could use ground beef. The salsa will still flavor the rest of the dish.
 On the flip side, if you want A LOT of heat, go as hot as you dare! Use Italian HOT sausage or HOT salsa, or both! How adventurous are you feeling?? You do you!
If the sauce gets too thick, just add a little milk until it's the right consistency. 
If you prefer a baked mac and cheese, pour the whole works into a large casserole dish, top with Parmesan cheese, or even some shredded Cheddar, then bake in a 350ºF oven until the top becomes golden brown.


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