Ok. You’re probably looking at that title and thinking That sounds like the best thing ever, and I’m not about to disabuse you of that notion, BUT for me making it, this was a dicey experiment. Here’s the story. I said to Matt, “How does the phrase ‘Cajun macaroni and cheese’ sound to you?” and he said it sounded good, but I knew there were two things that might scotch this whole deal. One, there are bell peppers in it, and two, it’s a baked macaroni and cheese, which he doesn’t really go for. But I was hoping the name, the Tony’s, and the fact that there’s andouille sausage AND chicken in it would be convincing enough. I think it may have been. He ate it, anyway, and took some leftovers to work, too.
Me? Oh, I just think it’s awesome.
The recipe came from Bakeaholic Mama, which is why it’s a baked macaroni and cheese, clearly. You saw “bakeaholic” and thought desserts! Well that will show YOU! Sorry, sorry, I don’t know why I’m getting all excited about it. Although I’m pretty excited about the food. You should be too.
I halved the recipe, and it still made a huge amount; I also don’t really get along too well with recipes that tell you how much of a vegetable to use in cups, etc., which is – point of order – not how vegetables are sold. I need to know how many onions I’m going to need, and I imagine you need this information as well. Voila: I have provided it. This is all part of my strategy to keep myself useful to you. Another way in which I am useful: finding ways to do this in a minimum of pots and pans. It still fills up your sink, don’t get me wrong, but you might still have like one clean pot or pan rattling around your cupboard at the end.
Cajun Macaroni and Cheese
1/4 lb dry macaroni
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/2 tbsp Tony’s or other Cajun seasoning
1/2 a green pepper, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small tomato, diced
2 andouille sausages, sliced
1 chicken breast, cubed
chopped green onions to garnish
Cook your chicken breast in a large pan over medium heat until cooked through or nearly cooked through (it’s going to go in the oven, after all, so if it’s not all the way done it’s ok) – I salted and peppered mine, but that’s a personal choice.
Meanwhile, put the pasta on to cook according to package directions.
Drain it when it’s done and set it aside if it’s not time to use it yet.
When the chicken’s ready, or as ready as it’s going to get, take it out and add olive oil so that there’s about a tbsp of oil and/or chicken fat in the pan.
When the oil is heated, saute the shallot, green pepper, and garlic in it for about 7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Take the veggies out and set them aside.
Using that same pan, melt the butter.
When it’s melted, whisk in the flour until smooth and brownish. Beige?
Whisk in the milk in a swift stream, trying to avoid lumps.
When it’s thickened and starting to simmer, add your cheese and whisk that until it’s melted and evenly distributed.
Stir in the Cajun seasoning.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix everything – the pasta, the veggies (including the tomato, we haven’t forgotten about you!), the chicken, the sausage, and the sauce – together in a casserole dish.
Sprinkle another handful of cheese over the top, because why not?
Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown.
Garnish with green onions before serving.
Spicy, cheesy, satisfying, AND it’s even got vegetables in it. Miracle food.