Thursday, August 7, 2008

Southwestern Mac N Cheese

Well, it was only a matter of time before I made mac and cheese for the blog. This is one of mine (and my roomies') favorite go-to meals because it's delicious comfort food, but I've got a TON of fun variations to pack some nutrients in it to make it not quite so guilty. Tonight's is a southwestern spin on my favorite carb and dairy combo :)

Southwestern Mac N Cheese
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 ears corn, kernels removed
1 red pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 green pepper, halved, seeded and diced
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste 1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a pot of water on high and boil. In the meantime, place onions and garlic in a medium sized skillet and sautee on medium heat about 3 minutes. Add other veggies and seasonings and cook another 5 minutes, set aside. Once water boils, salt the water and add pasta.

While pasta cooks, heat a large saucepan on medium low heat and melt butter. Add flour and whisk together, let cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add milk and whisk to remove clumps. Let cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Next add parmesan cheese and stir; remove from heat and set aside.

Once pasta is done, drain and put in a large bowl. Add parmesan mixture and cooked veggies. Place 1/3 back in pasta pot (which has been greased on the bottom), then layer with 1/3 of the sharp cheddar/Mexican cheese. Continue layering, ending with the cheddar on top. Place in oven and let bake 10-15 minutes. When removed, add chopped cilantro on top.

I served this with a simple avocado salad to get even more delicious greens in, which turned out to be the perfect compliment:

Avocado Salad
1 bag salad mix

1 orange bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped

2 small avocados, chopped

1 lime, zested and juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup cilantro

Add all to a large bowl and toss to combine.

The happy vegetarian Brooks!


Anonymous said...

Dear Apron,

Your Southwestern Mac N Cheese sure looks tasty, much much more delish than any Midwestern Mac N Cheese (aka Kraft) I've ever made! Way to go, lady!

Love always,

megan said...

Hey! Your blog is awesome and this recipe looks so delicious! Megan P just recommended it - I'll have to try it soon. :)
- Megan S

Jack said...

So I tried to replicate your dish this past Saturday, and I must admit it was pretty tasty! 2 things though. Mine wasn't as cheesy as yours looked in the photo. :( Also, did you use a larger sized elbow macaroni?

Lindsay said...

Hm, that's tricky about the cheese. I've never been one for measuring, so my cheese count was more of an estimate. My apologies if I didn't write down enough! And yes, I used large elbow mac :)