I’ve partnered with SocialStars and Johnsonville to share this Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese.
It’s a tasty grown-up version of a childhood favorite! #SausageFamily
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.)
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!
At 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!
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!
You 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!
What were your favorite childhood meals? Have you ever turned them into a grown-up version?
Chipotle Brats Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz. farfalle bowtie pasta
- 1 14-oz package Johnsonville Chipotle and Monterey Jack Brats
- 3 oz. unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp mustard powder
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 cups Pepper Jack cheese shredded
- 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.