Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mac 'N Cheese, Southwestern Style!

One of the dishes I'm bringing to our beach house vacation is Mac 'N Cheese, Southwestern style!  I made it (and made it up as I went!) the other night when my daughter Tricia and her husband Jeff came for dinner. Katie and Bill had a night out with friends, so Henry and Pete joined us. Russ was here too, so every seat around my kitchen table was occupied (I love that!). It was one of those evenings when I worked late and hadn't shopped for dinner but wanted to serve something really delicious. I had all of the ingredients so it went together very quickly. It's a one-pot dish, served right off the stove, no baking required. I served it with broccoli and a big tossed salad, and they gobbled it up!


1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked al dente, and drained
4 tablespoons butter
4  tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups Mexican blend cheese
1 1/2 cups Italian blend cheese (I added this by mistake but it was great - so go ahead!)
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeño peppers, shredded
1 cup salsa, drained to remove excess liquid

In the same large pot that you cooked the macaroni in (now drained), melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking as the flour cooks for about a minute or two. Whisk in milk and turn heat up to medium-high. Bring to a boil, whisking the whole time, and simmer for a minute or two until the mixture thickens and big bubbles rise to the surface and pop slowly, as if you were making a thick pudding.

Turn off the burner and stir in salsa, mixing completely. Stir in cheeses until completely melted. Add cooked and drained macaroni, toss till completely coated with cheese mixture.  Serve from the pot.

It makes GREAT left-overs (confession: I ate it for breakfast the next day!)

This dish deserves a close-up!

I've been baking recently, too.  Here's the evidence!:

Baby Rafael's Baptism Cake

Shannon's Graduation Party Cake - she's headed to Hampshire College!