Mac n Cheese with Chicken Sausage and Arugula

One of my dearest old friends was in town from New York for an event he was working last weekend, and his time freed up for a visit on Sunday afternoon/evening. Just in time to help me meal plan and then watch the Oscars with us, which I’m sure is exactly what he thought he’d be doing on his free time in Chicago. What a sport! Anyway, his meal planning assistance involved suggesting mac and cheese for every meal, so obviously I had to work something into the week’s menu. My brother has always been a huge mac and cheese fan, too, and he used to use the boxed kind as a base and then cut up a ton of veggies and add them in, so that inspired my planning and cooking. I lightened up this recipe a bit and then added in some chicken sausage and arugula we had already. The result was so delicious. Bonus points for the fact that the whole thing is done and ready to eat in 30 minutes! I wish I were embarrassed to admit that we ate almost all of it, but I’m not at all embarrassed. You’ll see what I mean. Here you go.arugsausmac1

* 1T unsalted butter
* 3T all-purpose flour
* 1t dry mustard
* 1/2t paprika
* 1/2t Kosher salt
* 1 1/2C lowfat milk
* 1C Greek yogurt (I use 2%)
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 1/2C shredded cheddar cheese
* 2 links pre-cooked chicken sausage (any flavor, quartered lengthwise and cut into small pieces)
* a few handfuls fresh arugula
* 4C cooked elbow macaroni (from 2C dry)
* panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray an 8X8 (2-quart) baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

Cook the pasta to al dente in boiling water. Drain and set aside.

While that’s going on, melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in the flour, mustard, paprika, and salt, whisking constantly. Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk until all the lumps are gone. Raise the heat to medium and continue stirring until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Remove the pan from heat immediately.

Stir in the yogurt, egg, cheese, sausage, and arugula. Add the cooked pasta to a large mixing bowl, then pour in the cheese mixture. Mix thoroughly and then pour the whole thing into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle just a light layer of the panko breadcrumbs on top, then bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the broiler on for only a minute or two to brown up the breadcrumb topping, and serve. HE-LLO.

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