Mexican Mac and Cheese

Cheese. It’s the one thing I have several different kinds of in my fridge at all times. Sometimes I sit back and think it might be gross how much cheese I go through… I really should join the Cheese of the Month Club. How fun would that be? Coming up with different recipes using all kinds of cheese. Mmm it would be heavenly.

Speaking of heavenly, this mac and cheese by Jessica from How Sweet It Is has a Mexican twist. And since I’m a sucker for any variation of mac and cheese, my daily question of “What do I want for dinner?” was easily answered. I even mixed up a quick guacamole to eat along side. I was tempted to mix it in, but decided against it. This Mexican mac and cheese wasn’t missing anything!

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

2 cups dry whole wheat elbow noodles

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup corn (frozen is fine, just thaw and dry) <– I used frozen

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1 cup grated Monterey jack cheese

1-1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Cilantro for garnish (I used dried and put on before baking)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta water, bring to a boil, and cook noodles.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and peppers and saute until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and corn and cook for another minute. Add shredded chicken and cumin, chili and cayenne, mixing to combine. Turn heat down to low. [Whenever pasta is done, just make sure to drain it and add it to the chicken/pepper mix.]
  3. Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and add butter. Once butter is sizzling, add flour and whisk to create a roux. Cook flour mixture for about 1-2 minutes, whisking continuously. Add milk and turn heat down medium-low. Add cheeses and stir, allowing cheese to melt and and sauce to thicken. It will take about 5-8 minutes for sauce to thicken – keep and eye on it and stir every minute or so to ensure the bottom is not burning. Once sauce is thick, add it to the chicken and pasta and mix to combine. Stir in sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spray a 2-1/2 quart baking dish and add mac and cheese. Top with bread crumbs, cilantro and additional cheese if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden (I broiled mine for 5 minutes at the end to get the Panko bread crumbs extra toasty).

Source: Adapted slightly from How Sweet It Is

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