Thanksgiving with the Coast Guard: Applesauce macaroni and cheese

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and, of course, food! All this week, Coast Guard Compass will be sharing Thanksgiving recipes from Coast Guard food service specialists stationed around the globe.

If you’re still looking for that perfect side dish, a recipe for your main course or an amazing dessert, these Coast Guard food service specialists have got you covered!

Stay tuned all week as we share these original and creative fall favorites, enjoyed by Coast Guard crews throughout the holiday season. If you have any suggestions or fall favorites of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Petty Officer 1st Class Nichol Billow prepares a holiday meal for the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy. The Monomoy is currently serving in Bahrain in support of Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Nichol Billow prepares a holiday meal for the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy. The Monomoy is currently serving in Bahrain in support of Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Today’s recipe comes from Petty Officer 1st Class Nichol Billow, a food service specialist currently serving aboard Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy in support of Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. Enjoy!

Applesauce Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 4-6)

1 lb of elbow macaroni or any noodle
¾ lb of pork, turkey or chicken sausage removed from the casings
3 1/3 cups of whole milk
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
12 ounces of Gruyere grated cheese (set ½ cup aside for garnish)
8 ounces of cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup of flour
6 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of nutmeg
½ Teaspoon of pepper
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon
Pinch of Ground Cloves

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the apple sausage and cook until it is just cooked all the way through, breaking it apart into smaller pieces with a spoon while it’s cooking.

Applesauce mac and cheese, as prepared by Petty Officer 1st Class Nichol Billow. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Applesauce mac and cheese, as prepared by Petty Officer 1st Class Nichol Billow. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare the pasta according to the package’s directions. When it is done, drain it well, drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and shake it around a bit in the strainer to keep the pieces from getting stuck to each other.
4. While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, heat the milk and applesauce in a medium-sized saucepan over medium low heat until hot, but do not bring it to a boil, stirring every 3 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat and whisk in the flour right after it is completely melted. Continue heating the butter/flour mixture for two minutes, whisking all the while.
6. Whisk the hot milk and applesauce into the butter mixture and cook for two more minutes, still whisking. The mixture should begin to thicken at this point.
7. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, gruyere (except the 1/2 cup), cheddar, and the apple sausage pieces until evenly distributed.
8. Add the cooked pasta and stir until the pasta is covered in the cheese sauce.
9. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of the grated gruyere over the mac and cheese, and sprinkle a pinch of extra pepper over the top if you’d like (gives it a nice finished look).
10. Place the pan in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the macaroni on top just begins to turn golden brown at the tips.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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