Looking for an amazing Make Ahead Mac and Cheese recipe? This Sausage and Pepper Mac & Cheese is a great week night dinner – it’s great for busy families, new moms, or even a delicious hearty dish for parties and potluck!
There’s nothing I love more than Mac and Cheese… except for make ahead mac and cheese. You know, a dish that you can make up ahead of time and then just pull out at dinner time! Of course, it’s not the healthiest dish in the world, so we’ve got to veg it up a little and add some protein. You’re going to love, love, love this make ahead Mac and Cheese with Pepper and Sausage. Full of fresh red and orange peppers, smoked sausage, and lots of cheese, it’s a whole hearty meal in one dish.
What are the steps for make ahead mac and cheese?
- Boil the pasta; add the peppers in the last 2 minutes so they’ll be tender.
- Quickly heat the sausage in a skillet.
- Make the cheese sauce.
- Combine the pasta, peppers, sausage and cheese sauce.
- Cover with tinfoil and freeze for up to 1 month or refrigerator up to 3 days.
- From a thawed state, bake at 425-F degrees for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the dish is warm throughout.
Make Ahead Mac and Cheese Shopping List
- rotini pasta
- smoked sausage
- red and orange bell peppers
- whole milk
- cheddar cheese
- mozzarella cheese
From the pantry: red pepper flakes (optional)
Items You May Also Need:
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Make Ahead Mac and Cheese is a great dish to pop in the freezer ahead of baby arriving and perfect for delivering to a new mom. We’ve all had those days with a new baby when you are just too tired to eat, let alone cook. So double the recipe and make two casseroles. Keep one for your family, then drop in (call first!) to see the new mom with the other and you’ll be their hero (just don’t stay too long!)
Make Ahead Mac and Cheese
Sausage & Peppers Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound box of pasta
- 3 smoked sausages cut in bite sized pieces
- 1 red and orange peppers sliced
- 1 orange pepper sliced
- 1 ⁄4 cup whole milk half and half, or heavy cream
- 2 TBS butter
- 1 ⁄2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded and divided
- 1 TBS red pepper flakes optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large stock pot, fill with water, bring to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions. In the last 2 minutes of cooking pasta, drop pepper slices into the water to get tender. Cook remaining 2 minutes and then drain in a colander.
In a skillet, quickly warm the sliced sausage through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add butter to empty stock pot, and once melted, add milk/cream. Pour pasta mixture back into pot; stir. Add cheddar cheese and 1⁄2 cup mozzarella cheese to pasta in pot, stir vigorously to combine well. You should see cheese melting. Add red pepper flakes
Pour pasta mixture into a large greased baking dish. Spread evenly and then sprinkle remaining (1⁄2 cup) mozzarella cheese on top.Cover with foil and refrigerate. It can stay in the fridge for 2-3 days before baking.
When you’re ready to eat, preheat your oven to 425-degrees and bake covered for 10 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue cooking until it’s heated through and the cheese is melted and lightly browning.
Serve immediately and garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Make Ahead Mac and Cheese Recipe Variations
- Instead of sausage, try adding grilled chicken to the mac and cheese mixture.
- Play around with the veggies for different flavor combos. Broccoli, asparagus and eggplant are all delicious in this recipe.
- To up the ante on the smokiness, add smoked Gouda instead of cheddar cheese.
This is also a great inexpensive party food or potluck meal. Double the batch and serve it family style for a potluck or the big game. If you’re looking for something more elegant, portion it into ramekins and serve it tapas-style. Either way, it will be a big hit with everyone.