Mexican Mac and Cheese

Photo from BH&G Website
In general, I try not to share recipes before I've tried them. There have been exceptions, and fortunately the recipe when I did try it was as good as it sounded. I am hoping this is another of those times.

I am a huge lover of Mac and Cheese, but my husband not as much. He'll eat it, but it doesn't seem to excite him the same way. So I am always looking for ways to scratch my itch while making it more interesting for him. In a Google search today this unique take on Mac & Cheese from Better Homes & Gardens caught my eye.

I love the use of a different pasta shape, as well as the inclusion of sausage and salsa to give it a bit of a twist.  And I love the fact I don't have to make a separate cheese sauce first. The cheese is just layered into the casserole when you assemble it. 

As my husband isn't big on raw tomatoes either, but okay with cooked ones, I may tuck some well-drained diced tomatoes into the to casserole by stirring them into the sausage and onion mixture instead of placing them on top. BE CAUTIOUS if you try this too, as raw tomatoes can release a lot of juice and make the casserole wet. I feel the same about the jalapenos and cilantro.  Nice on top as a decoration, but it might be fun to add extra flavour by tucking a bit of it into the casserole as well.

My version with the tomatos and cilantro tucked inside.
Not as colourful, but my husband's preference. 
If I have time to hit the store, I may be making this tonight! If you beat me to it, let me know your thoughts. NOTE - I have added my notes below for the changes I made.

= = = = 

Mexican Mac and Cheese

Ingredients -

12 oz.        Dried mostaccioli or rigatoni pasta (3 cups)
1 lb.           Bulk pork, chicken or turkey sausage (might try just shredded chicken next time too)
1 C            Chopped onion
1               16 ounce jar green medium-hot salsa (SEE NOTE)
2               8 ounces package shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mix in a few others for more flavour)
2               Roma tomatoes diced and drained for at least 10 minutes on paper towels
Chopped cilantro - From 2 T to a 1/2 cup, add as much as you like. 

Optional - 
Tomato wedges, sliced jalapeño peppers, and chopped fresh cilantro to sprinkle on top
Salsa (optional) to serve on the side.

NOTE - my husband can't tolerate spicy so I used 2 - 250 ml packages of Fontera Green Chile Enchilada Sauce. This is only 410 ml (about 14 oz) so you can add 2 oz of water or other salsa if you like. Mine was fine. I also used a mix of cheese - jack, cheddar and more. It's what I had.

Directions -
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Lightly grease 3-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.  In large skillet cook sausage and onion until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat, Return sausage and onion to skillet. Stir in green salsa. I added my diced roma tomatoes and chopped cilantro to it as well.  

In prepared baking dish layer half of the cooked pasta, half the sausage mixture, and half the cheese. (Note - if you want to add some of the topping into the casserole, I would stir it into the sausage mixture before layering in the casserole.) Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes. 

Top with tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro if you like or serve as is. For company I would probably add toppings to make it look more colourful. For just Glen and I, I left it unadorned. If desired, serve with additional salsa. Makes 12 servings.


Post a Comment