YUM! Taco Mac & Cheese (Spicy)


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Last Friday I conducted a little kitchen experiment. When I told my (picky eater) husband about the kitchen escapade I was about to embark on he looked less than enthusiastic.

Me: “Babe, I’m going to make taco mac and cheese.”

Him: “You can make it, but I probably won’t like it.”

He ate his words…and two helpings of my experiment.

It was awesome and truly something I just threw together so I had no intentions of blogging about it. Then I tasted it and knew it MUST be shared. It’s creamy, spicy comfort food at it’s very best. Definitely not a guilt-free recipe but you can cool your mouth and clear your conscience by ending the meal with a scoop or two of my banana “ice cream“! Redemption in dessert – that’s a first!

For this recipe, I used leftover nacho cheese sauce that I made the day before. People, you really should make your own cheese sauce and ignore that jarred or canned or boxed “cheese” junk. Seriously, that stuff is like neonish yellow-y orange – an experiment all it’s own.

You can make your own cheese sauce in about 10 minutes with ingredients you likely already have on hand – butter, flour, milk, cheese.

Use different cheeses to please your palette. Make an Alfredo sauce with Parmesan, or cheddar and American for a classic taste. This taco mac & cheese sauce uses a blend pepper jack and Mexican. YUM!Image

Here is the recipe for the cheese sauce followed by the recipe for the Taco Mac. Hope you like my little experiment, gone oh-so-right!

Spicy Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste (easy on the salt because the cheese is salty)

Directions

  1. Melt the butter over low/medium heat
  2. Add the flower to the melted butter. Mix and cook for about 5 minutes, frequently stirring.
  3. Add milk and whisk briskly. Keep stirring until it starts to thicken.
  4. Add all spices and seasonings. Blend thoroughly.
  5. Once mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, slowly add the cheeses. Do not add in a big handfuls, rather small amounts whisking thoroughly with every addition. If you add it all too soon the cheese sauce will be lumpy and grainy.
  6. Drain the Rotel and add to the cheese sauce, mixing completely.
  7. Allow to simmer until sauce is silky and thick.
  8. Done! Use this sauce for nachos, dipping or for this yummy mac and cheese.

Taco Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 box of pasta (I used shells but elbow mac will work or any short cut pasta you have on hand
  • 1 batch spicy cheese sauce (recipe above)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips (I used tri-colored chips to make it pretty)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
  3. Cook ground beef with taco seasoning mix according to package directions.
  4. Mix together cooked taco meat, pasta and cheese sauce.
  5. Put mac and cheese in an oven safe casserole dish.
  6. Finely crush the tortilla chips. I pounded mine in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin.
  7. Toss the chip crumbs with the cheese and layer the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese.
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top gets browned and crispy.
  9. ENJOY!

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Even Miss Jax loved it and panted for more. It was a little too spicy for her so I only gave her a few bites. She gulped her water between forkfuls and grunted for more with a runny nose – poor baby!

3 thoughts on “YUM! Taco Mac & Cheese (Spicy)

  1. Pingback: Taco Mac & Cheese (Spicy) |

    • No, I mean flower. It adds a wonderful fragrant element to any dish. You should try it!

      Kidding! You are the first person to catch that typo…or at least call me out on it.

      Thanks!

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