Craving Comfort: Time for Mac & Cheese with Sausage & Peas

Sometimes we just need comfort food. We crave comfort food. We think we will clean-out the chocolate section of Walmart if we can’t have some comfort food.

Last night I was in desperate need of some comfort food. My sad & stressed out body pleaded for some homemade mac and cheeses.

Only one problem: my husband won’t eat the stuff.

Yes, I know. . .how can anyone not like mac and cheese? It’s unAmearican. It’s sacrilegious. Luckily he had enough redeeming qualities that it wasn’t a deal-breaker discovery.

His intense aversion is the result of some childhood trauma {stomach flu & a box of Kraft?} so for the past 35+ years he hasn’t touched the stuff. When we first met he couldn’t even look at it. He graduated to serving it once we had a kid (because every other kid in the world loves the stuff).  When we visited Savannah, he actually tried Paula Deen’s heavenly, gooey dish and. . .he LOVED it.  But only because Paula made it. He trusted Paula more than me.

Yesterday, every taste bud and nerve center was crying out for some homemade m&c. I remember the smell wafting through the house when my mom would bake a batch. It was often accompanied by smoked sausage, split down the center and broiled until slightly crispy and browned.

I needed some. I didn’t have any Velveeta like my mom’s recipe called for. I turned to Panera’s recipe.

Because everyone (including my crazy husband) loves Panera.

It’s a pretty basic recipe. I made a few alterations and added smoked sausage and peas to make it a complete meal.

The comfort factor just oozed though the cheese, and the sharpness of the cheddar combined with the smokiness of the sausage warmed me from the inside. And the husband loved it.


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Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese with Smoked Sausage & Peas


1 (16-ounce) package of small shaped pasta (like shells or rotini twists)
1/2 package frozen peas
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (optional)
12-14 oz. package fully cooked smoked sausage (we like the turkey) sliced into rounds
4 tbsp. butter + 1 tbsp. butter
4 1/2 tbsp. flour all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk (any milk or cream)
cheese: 6 slices white American cheese, chopped
            and 1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
            12 oz. Sargento Chef Blends Shredded 4 State Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot sauce


  • Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • Prepare peas according to package directions. (I always just toss them in with the pasta during the last 5 minutes of cook time—probably a no-no, but works for me. If you do so, add 1 minute to total pasta cook time.)
  • Melt 1 tbsp. butter in pot. Saute the sausage and onions for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from pot with slotted spoon.
  • In same pot, melt remaining 4 tbsp. butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add cheeses, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  • Stir in mustard, salt, and hot sauce.
  • Stir in pasta, sausage, and peas. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).
  • Serves 4 to 6

2 thoughts on “Craving Comfort: Time for Mac & Cheese with Sausage & Peas

  1. Jenny

    Oh you may have given me dinner for tomorrow, so thank you! Love your blog, your writing style, your cheap table wine. Maybe, as Katherine said, we are two peas in a pod.

    -New Adoring Fan Jenny
    My recent post hope


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