Queso Mac and Cheese

My husband came across an ad for Frank’s Red Hot® Queso Dip Seasoning, and he was wicked interested, so…

we checked out our main market and… nothing.

Then we checked out our also kinda main, but back-up market and, again… nothing.

Enter Amazon, and, a six pack of mix and a day or so later, we were well supplied and ready to go a-queso-ing.

Or, whatever.

Thing is, we were not, currently, in the mood for queso dip, so I went to Frank’s web site in search of recipe ideas.

Bingo! Buffalo Chick Man and Cheese!

Except… I had other plans for chicken and a pound of pizza-spiced bulk sausage in the freezer that  I was wanting to use, so…

Queso Mac and Cheese! With Sausage!

•Olive oil
•2 cloves garlic
•1 cup shredded cabbage
•1 cup diced onion
•1 lb bulk Italian sausage
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste

•8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

Cheese Sauce:
•1/4 cup butter
•1/3 cup flour
•1 pkg Frank’s® Queso Seasoning
•3 cups warm milk
•8 oz shredded cheese

•2/3 cup bread crumbs
•2 tbsp melted butter

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 400º and apply cooking spray to a 13×9 inch casserole.

Warm the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the garlic, shredded cabbage, and onion and cook for about five minutes, until the onion and cabbage are just beginning to get tender.

Add the sausage and continue to cook, breaking the sausage up, for another ten minutes or so, until the sausage is cooked through. Stir in the Sherry Peppers Sauce and the hot sauce and continue to cook, stirring often, until and pan liquids are mostly reduced.

Transfer to a colander to drain.

Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in the same pan, then whisk in the flour and the queso mix.

Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute, then, set the heat to low and gradually whisk in the warmed milk.

Note: to warm the milk, place into a ‘wave-safe container, add a wooden chop stick (to keep the milk for super heating), and ‘wave for one minute.

Add the cheese (I used Colbyjack) and continue to stir until it has melted and you have a nice queso cheese sauce.

Stir in the cooked macaroni and drained sausage, then transfer to your prepped casserole.

Combine the breadcrumbs with the melted butter, then scatter evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the cheese sauce is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and let rest for five minutes before serving.

We went with a dollop of sour cream on top, but a bit of ranch dressing might could work a treat as well.

A very nice mac and cheese.

So very nice, in fact, that next time I might just stick (more or less) to Frank’s recipe and use chicken!

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