Apple Thyme Mac N Cheese..by my first Badass Guest Blogger!

Hey there readers!  I had asked for a little help from my friends the other day, to fill this blog with fabulous until I can get my head back in the game.  A big thanks to my pal Cara Ivey, from Sweet Hersey Living for stepping up to the plate and writing this awesome post for me to share with my readers!

For those of you who don’t know her yet, Cara and her husband have 4 kids, and her blog is about life as a mom on a budget.  Most of her posts are absolutely spectacular home cooked recipes, made on a tight budget.  These are impressive recipes, and let me tell you, I’ve tried a few and had marvelous results.

But Cara doesn’t just write any old food blog.  She uses lots of pictures, clear instructions and a good dose of humor.  Like Julia Child, I enjoy reading Cara for the writing just as much if not more than for the recipes.

Please enjoy Cara’s recipe and the hilarious story that goes with it.  I’m sure all of you who are parents can relate.  After you read here, please add Sweet Hersey Living to your reader, because you won’t be able to live without it after just one bite.  Thanks again, Cara!

DSC09334I’ve been making this dish for a little over a year now. There was a story behind why I made it today, but we’ll get to that in a moment. I found the original recipe in a Food Network Magazine but have changed it so much I think I can officially begin calling it my own. I usually save this decadant treat for when I really need some comfort food. It is a dish that makes me feel better about my day, my life, my rotten kids, my rotten hubby, ect.
Okay. Let me prepare myself for the story on why I needed comfort today.
DSC09341Hmmm… Hang on.
DSC09342Okay. Now I’m ready. Warning to the reader. It is quite embarassing for me and a little R rated. Read at your own risk, or just start scrolling down until you see pictures of food. You should be safe when you get to the food. I’ll be posting the G rated version over at my blog. I’ve gone the “clean” route with it…
As many of my readers know my husband and I have been married 7 years and have 4 beautiful children under the age of 7. We love them but they drive us freakin CRAZY! So I planned a little romantic dinner last night. We put the kids to bed and started our lovely childless dinner. The wine was flowing, the conversation was spectacular and we remembered that we do indeed still love each other very much. Needless to say we skipped dessert…. Yes after 4 kids we still enjoy each others. Ahem, “company”. It was spectaular! Fireworks! Kaboom!
Enter the 4 year old into the bedroom as I scramble to cover myself. Whimpering “I can’t sleep because yall are being too loud.” Kill me. Kill me now please. I’m ready Lord. Take me.
As I nurse my headache this morning I am wondering to myself “what did he see? Was he just standing in our doorway? For how long? Oh my God what if he stood there a while? Oh my GOD how can I ever look him in the eyes again?” . Then I start thinking “well maybe he was still half asleep and doesn’t even remember it! Maybe it was too dark and he was too sleepy to see anything!”. The whole situation has been doing massive damage in my mind all day long. So I made Apple Thyme Mac N’ Cheese to comfort myself. I chose denial, cheese, and carbohydrates. Can you blame me?
Now whip off your undies and let’s get to cooking!
DSC09311
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium high heat.
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Once your butter is melted add 6 oz. of smoked turkey sausage,
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2 diced apples,
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and 1 chopped onion.
Saute these items until the onions begin to soften. Then add
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1 tablespoon mustard powder, 1 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Cook these spices in, stirring for 1 minute.
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Add 1/4 cup of flour and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. This removes any raw flour flavor. You do not want raw flour flavor in your Mac N’ Cheese.
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Pour in 3 cups of apple juice. I just love the blurry effin picture. Don’t you? Sorry.
Keep stirring and cooking until the apple juice begins to thicken. This may take around 8 minutes.
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Throw in the cheese! 1/2 lb. of sharp cheddar and 1/2 ld. of monteray jack. Shredded. Obviously.
Oh wait! Don’t add all the cheese!! Leave a little behind from both piles. It’ll look wonderful on top.
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By this time your pasta should be ready and waiting to consummate its marriage with your lovely sauce. Just let what happens naturally happen…
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Cover your eyes and give them some privacy. It’s a beautiful thing…
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Pour the lovebirds into a large greased casserole dish.
DSC09327Top with a couple handfuls of cruched butter crackers, or panko bread crumbs. Now sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
DSC09329Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
Apple Thyme Mac N’ Cheese

  • 12 oz. shell pasta, cooked to al dente and drained
  • 4 Tbl. butter
  • 6 oz. smoked turkey sausage, cut into half moons
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbl. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 3 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 lb. sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 lb. monteray jack, shredded
  • 1 sleeve butter crackers, crushed (or sub with panko bread crumbs)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sausage, apple, and onion. Cook until onion begins to soften. Add the mustard powder, salt, thyme, and cayenne. Stir and cook until the spices become fragrant.
Add the flour and cook 2 minutes stirring constantly. Stir in the apple juice and cook 8 minutes, or until it begins to thicken.
Stir in the pasta and 3/4 of each cheese. Pour into a buttered, or greased, casseroledish. Top with the crushed crackers and remaining cheeses.
Bake for 25 minutes and allow to rest an additional 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with some greens to make your self feel better about eating carbs, cheese, and sausage for dinner. :)
You can find many more great recipes at Sweet Hersey Living  Yall stop by now! Ya hear? (I promise I don’t say “yall” too much.)

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24 thoughts on “Apple Thyme Mac N Cheese..by my first Badass Guest Blogger!

  1. When my daughter was four, she was mad that she had to go to bed because Mommy and Daddy stayed up and “had fun”. We shared a bedroom wall. I really don’t want to know.

    I would have never put apples with mac n cheese, but that looks good.

  2. Cara,
    First of all, excellent post. Second of all, doors have locks, but they prevent hilarious stories such as this. Third of all, and no offense, mac and cheese with apples in it sounds a little weird. Does it taste better than it sounds? Other than that the dish looks fantastic! Oh, and I don’t believe you drank enough wine in the making of this post.

    • Lynn thank you! Taking step by step pictures can be a bit difficult at times. The beef stew as to die for. They are not lying. And it freezes so well! I always make a triple batch so I have some ready for a rainy day.

    • Well he didn’t bring it up ALL day. He is a bit of a “I’m half asleep walking and talking” kind of kid. At dinner Ava, my oldest, told me she knew that Daddy pulled down my bra and underwear last night… I asked her how she knew. “Julian told me when I got home from school”….. OMG!! Then she says, “mom next time daddy does that you should spank him”! Julian chimed in with :yeah Mom. Daddy shouldn’t pick on girls like that!”… Oh lordy.

  3. Thank you CheekyDiva, for introducing me to Cara – what a fun post albeit embarrassing for you :). If I leave out the meat part, I could make it.. should be good too ;) Sigh.. that’s what happens when one keeps kosher!

  4. Ok yall!! Sweet Hersey Kisses has been cleaned out and moved to Sweet Hersey Living! Better site, better design, better pictures, better everything!! Please be sure to visit me!! The Apple Mac And Cheese recipe is there! :)

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