Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese

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It’s a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite! #SausageFamily

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This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!Two weekends ago, Laura and I packed up Robbie and headed down to Nashville to visit my sister and mom.  We go down to Nashville every summer to visit my family, and we were looking forward to spending a few days hanging out by the pool.  This was Robbie’s first plane trip, and let’s just say I’d give him a D+.  Perhaps a C- if I was feeling very generous.  But we made it!  (Turns out the little guy got an ear infection sometime during the trip, so that explains the fussiness.)

This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!Flights aside, we had an awesome time down there in Tennessee.  I’d forgotten how darn hot it is in the south, though.  I walked out of the airport terminal straight into a concrete wall of heat and humidity.  Umph!  Needless to say, we spent a good bit of time in the pool.  We also spent a good bit of time eating.  Isn’t that what you do on vacation?  I think my mother spent 2 days before we got there baking and cooking all of my favorite childhood recipes.  It was awesome!

Nashville-TripAt some point, my sister and I got to reminiscing about some of the go-to foods that we ate as kids.  I’ve already mentioned the powdered sugar doughnuts on Saturday mornings.  (And now that I have a kid who likes to wake up early, I totally get it!)  And then there was our version of sloppy joes.  Mom would toast up some buns and spoon leftover spaghetti sauce across the top.  Coincidentally, sloppy joes often appeared the night after we had spaghetti…hmmm.  In fact, I didn’t know what a true sloppy joe was until just a few months ago.  But hey, I loved that spaghetti sauce, so I was A-ok with our version of sloppy joes!

This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!Another childhood meal?  Mac and cheese with hotdogs.  I don’t think we were alone with this one, either.  Please tell me you ate mac and cheese + hotdogs as a kid?  It’s a classic!

Well, as my sister and I often do, we got to wondering how to make a more delicious version of that childhood mac and cheese.  We ended up going with a homemade creamy macaroni and cheese recipe.  And then I realized I could sub out the hotdogs for delicious brats.  Chipotle and Monterey Jack Brats to be exact.  And to mix things up a bit, I used farfalle (bowtie) pasta instead of macaroni.  This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!

Sizzling-Sausage-GrillYou guys know that I love to hop outside and light the grill whenever possible, right?  Well, for this Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese, I had the opportunity to try Johnsonville’s new indoor grill.  The Johnsonville Sizzling Sausage Grill is an indoor electric grill that makes cooking brats and sausages easy as pie.  Have you ever been caught outside grilling when a late-afternoon thunderstorm came along?  I have.  And I got very, very wet.  I looked like a cat that went for swim.  Now if the weather is being a bit ornery, I can just grill up the sausages indoors instead!

Laura and I both really enjoy Johnsonville’s Chipotle and Monterey Jack Brats, so it was no surprise that we really enjoyed this Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese, too.  We made this for dinner last week, and we ate it after Robbie went to bed.  Although we watched the nightly news instead of cartoons, this totally took both of us back to the childhood days of hot dogs and mac and cheese.  Enjoy!

This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!What were your favorite childhood meals?  Have you ever turned them into a grown-up version?

This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!

Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese

This Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese is a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 737kcal



  • Cook pasta according to package directions; rinse, drain and set pasta aside.
  • Grill brats in Sizzling Sausage Grill according to grill directions. Let sausage cool slightly, then cut into ½” slices. Set sausage aside.
  • Meanwhile, using a large skillet, add butter and place over medium heat.
  • Once butter has melted, add flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. (Note: The flour will turn light golden brown in this step.)
  • Pour milk into skillet, stirring constantly as you pour.
  • Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and mustard powder; whisk until well combined.
  • Once milk is hot, add cheeses and whisk until fully melted and smooth.
  • Add cooked pasta and stir until well coated.
  • Simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and most of the milk has evaporated.

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  1. Awwww….Robbie is such a cutie! You gave him a D+? The ear infection was the culprit, I guess. I’m sure he’d be better next time ’round and will get an A++ 😉
    Sounds like you had the perfect holiday and quite the spread of food. I totally agree…holidays/vacations are pretty much ‘eat whatever’ time. It is the thing to do! Worry about the calories after 😀
    OMG….yes to mac and cheese with hotdogs as a kid…totally. It was a staple, that’s for sure. I don’t eat many hotdogs these days, but definitely mac and cheese and definitely sausages. This is such a great grown up version of a childhood classic. Those chipotle brats sound delicious!!

    1. Yeah, the poor little guy had an ear infection, but we didn’t know about it until we got home. So the airplane ride must have been torture for him. I’m crossing my fingers that the next trips will be an A+! (Of course, the next trip might be when he’s 18…) Thank you so much, Dawn! 🙂

  2. Poor thing! It’s gotta be hard traveling with a little one. I used to travel weekly as a consultant and wonder how parents were able to do that. I can barely get myself in one piece to the airport. And brats? OMG. Do those ever bring back memories of growing up in WI!

    1. Yeah, we were pretty terrified to even go on the trip with him. He did ok until the trip back…but the ear infection totally explains it. Ah! You’re a WI girl! We just had a huge backyard party last weekend, and we had a friend from WI in charge of the brats…and they were amazing!! 🙂 Thanks, Megan!

  3. I have to agree with Dawn, Robbie is adorable, David! Gah – those ear infections are nasty little buggers! Lil Shashi had so many – and they were never any fun!
    But, what’s fun is reminiscing about childhood eats with your sis – and what is even more fun than that is actually eating those childhood eats, or a grown up version of them! Loving the idea to use farfalle pasta and Brats instead of hot dogs! BTW – my sis and I used to have ketchup, pasta and hot dogs – mac and cheese wasn’t a thing in Sri Lanka or even Abu Dhabi – at least as far as we were concerned!

    1. Yeah, I had my share of ear infections growing up, too…or so I’m told. I had to have tubes twice! I’m guessing Robbie is taking after me. We’ll see though…he is just a kid, and kids get ear infections. But kids also get delicious kid food. Just last night he had oatmeal and prunes! 🙂

  4. Hi David! That’s my kind of vacation, no agenda and plenty of good eats! I am always up for mac n’ cheese, especially with barbecue. But with the brats in this I could forgo the bbq! I love chipotle so I will be looking for these! Despite the ear infection Robbie looks pretty happy in that pool.

    1. Mac n cheese + BBQ is my kind of eating, Dorothy! In fact, we mixed some leftover pulled pork with leftover mac and cheese, and it was amazing. Why have I never made that one?? But the brats with this mac and cheese were super delicious, too. The chipotle flavor is hands down our favorite! And yes, Robbie had a great vacation…his first trip to TN!

    1. Thanks so much, Manali! He is indeed feeling better now…he’s been on antibiotics for a week. But his new thing is crying when you aren’t holding him. He’s so ready to be mobile…and we are so ready, too! (I think…haha…)

  5. I’ve recently had my first domestic plane trip, and I would give myself a solid D-. Trust me, I’m being generous right now haha. I love pasta and sure mac&cheese. I might have wrong understanding/confusing of the concept, but I have always considered mac&cheese a baked dish. But indeed, I don’t care about the terminology when it comes to comfort delicious pasta like this one! Good job, David!

    1. Well then you and Robbie can be travel partners next time, Ben. Haha! I actually don’t like flying that much myself anymore. I used to love turbulence as a kid, but now if the plane even thinks about rocking a little bit, I break down into convulsions. Oh well. It’s a necessary evil I guess.

      So mac and cheese is often served casserole (or baked) style. In fact, my Mom’s mac and cheese recipe is made that way. But I often prefer to make it stove-top. Maybe give both styles a shot and see what you think? Thanks, Ben!

    1. Pamela!! I hope you are doing well! Yes, I’m right there with ya. Bowtie pasta is so underappreciated. I know it’s not the traditional pasta for mac and cheese, but you know what? Who cares! Food is meant to be fun! Thanks so much for commenting. 🙂

  6. I’m sure the Nashville family loved your guys visit. How cool of your mom to cook and bake up the memories, too! This homemade creamy farfalle and cheese looks like comfort food 101, but add those brats… killer. Nice!

  7. Poor little dude- Ear infection! Let’s raise the grade to a B minus 😀

    Okay, breakfast sloppy joe sandwiches are totally the second best thing after cold pizza (seriously the best bit of spaghetti sauce). The marriage of brats, mac and cheese would give it a run for its money!

    1. Yeah, you’re right. I guess he deserves some extra credit due to the ear infection. That’s worth a solid C. What can I say? I’m a hard grader!

      I love cold pizza! Sometimes I would actually order more pizza than I needed just so I could refrigerate it for the next day. Delicious! And yes, the brats + mac and cheese are up there, too. In fact, I wonder if they taste good cold. Hold on…I’ll be right back… 🙂

    1. I totally agree…plane trips are rough on everyone. I used to love plane trips, but now I get totally freaked out by turbulence. But the rest of the trip rocked, so that was fun! Cheers to childhood favorites remade into adult favorites! Thanks, Kathy. 🙂

  8. Awwww your mom is an angel! Spending time cooking just for you. And little Robbie, I hope he’s all better now. My husband is a big fan of sausage and I really enjoy good mac-n-cheese, so I can tell this is our favorite dish! Yum!

    1. My Mom loves cooking/baking just as much as I do (heck, that’s where I got it from), so I suspect she enjoyed getting ready for the visit. I do the same whenever she comes up here! Robbie is indeed doing better…thank you for asking! But his new thing is crying/screaming because he wants to move. I just need that kid to hurry up and crawl…I think! 🙂 Thanks, Linda!!

    1. Yup, Robbie loved swimming in the pool…I think he thoughts it was a gigantic bath tub and he kept slapping at the water. It was hilarious! I think his ear infection is clearing up now, too, but we take him back to the doctor next week to confirm that. Cheers to adult comfort food! Thanks so much, Miriam! 🙂

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