Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mexi Mac and Cheese

Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE Mac & Cheese. My sister had seen Sandra Lee do a Taco Mac & Cheese on the Food Network and thought it looked good. It was raining today, making it a comfort food kind of day, so I decided to try my own version.

Mexi Mac & Cheese
serves 8

1 lb ground turkey
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
3.4 cup water (or what is called for for the seasoning packet)
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
1 tsp cumin (optional)
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 small onion diced
5 Tbsps butter (separated)
5 Tbsps flour
2 cups milk
4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 10 oz can of Rotel (a diced tomato & chili mixture) - drained
1 lb large elbow macaroni cooked
1 cup bread crumbs or crushed tortilla chips
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. brown ground turkey. Add the taco seasoning as directed on the packet, it may be a bit runny and if so just continue to cook until it reduces down. Add the chili powder and cumin, stirring to combine.
2. In a large pot heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat and saute onions until translucent.
3. Add 4 tbsps of butter and the 5 tbsps of flour to the onions & oil. Mix together until combined and flour is slightly brown. Whisk in milk and lower heat to medium, stirring until begins to thicken.
4. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese, one handful at the time. Add Rotel and browned turkey, making sure not to add too any extra liquid. Add in cooked pasta.
5. Pour pasta mixture into a buttered baking dish. Top pasta with bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake in heated oven for 30-40 minutes or until top is nicely browned and cheese is bubbly.

I added the cumin & chili powder because I found the spice packet I used didn't have enough heat and the additional spices made it just right for me. To make this more special I'm going to try topping it with crushed tortilla chips next time I make it. You can also sprinkle the topping with more chili powder to add even more heat. This was a fast and easy mac and cheese that served with a simple green salad makes perfect complete meal. Enjoy!

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