Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tex Mex Mac and Cheese casserole

1 bag elbow macaroni
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes or similar style
1lb hamburger meat 80% lean or better
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 bag shredded medium cheddar cheese
1 bag Mexican style shredded cheese
1 stick unsalted creamery butter
6 tbsp flour
4-6 cups whole milk (nothing under 2%)

First things first. Prepare the water for the macaroni and place on back burner. Next brown and then drain hamburger meat. Add taco seasoning until meat is entirely coated. Cover and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When water comes to a boil, stir in macaroni.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour a tablespoon at a time and make a roux. Do not brown. Whisk in the milk and combine until blended. Lower heat and stir sauce until thickened. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, turn off heat. Add mild cheddar and whisk until blended into sauce.

Macaroni should be fork tender and white when ready. Drain off the pasta and pour into a rectangular baking dish. Add Ro-tel, hamburger meat and stir together. Pour sauce into pan and stir until all ingredients are blended. Spread the bag of Mexican style shredded cheese over top, pop into oven and bake until cheese bubbles and macaroni begin to harden.

This will serve a small crowd, or one or two people over several days. Can also be portioned and frozen for later use.

Quesadilla, pepper jack cheese, or even Velveeta can be used in place of medium cheddar. Other add-ins instead of hamburger meat can be prepared chicken and beef fajita strips chopped into small pieces. Ground turkey, chicken, or even vegetarian grinds can be used.

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