I’m a Wisconsin girl through and through. I never miss a Packer game, with or without Brett (as long as the Chicago stations pick it up), I say “I know, eh?” [insert typical Wisconsin accent here] and I absolutely love cheese and think that fried cheese curds should be served everywhere.
My husband and I were eating dinner last night when it dawned on me that we were once again eating macaroni and cheese. Homemade … non of that boxed stuff. It got me thinking about all of the varieties of mac and cheese that I make, which may fool us into thinking we’re not eating the same meal all the time. Regular mac and cheese, Italian mac and cheese, broccoli mac and cheese, cauliflower and Gouda mac and cheese, and Mexican mac and cheese which is very different from the queso mac and cheese we had yesterday. The list goes on and on … each with different toss ins and varieties of cheese.
There are quite a few people that look at me like I’m a little crazy sometimes when I talk about all of the different meals that we have. I’m not your average 27 year old. I cook. A lot. I hardly ever cook the same meal twice. I make a lot of things from scratch (exhibit A … cheese sauce varieties and again the spaghetti sauce blog).
Anyway, those were just my random thoughts for the day. I’m a huge Rachel Ray fan and make 30 minute meals just about every day. I thought that in the spirit of my cheesy bliss, I’d share last night’s mac and cheese variety with you today. Any other recipes anyone would like me to post??
Queso Mac 'n Cheese
By Rachael Ray (with my own adaptations)
½ pound short cut pasta of your choosing
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lb 95% lean ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups skim milk
2 ½ cups shredded smoked cheddar cheese (must be smoked!!)
Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving it a bit short of done (pasta will continue to cook in oven).
Heat a large skillet (big enough to mix pasta into later) over medium heat with olive oil. Add in ground beef. Crumble and cook until no longer pink. Add in onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander and some salt and pepper to taste. Cook until onions are soft.
In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the milk making sure there are no lumps of flour. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until thickened slightly, whisking occasionally. Stir in all but a small handful of the smoked cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Drain pasta and combine with meat. Stir in cheese sauce. Place pasta into a casserole dish, sprinkle with leftover cheese and place under the broiler for a few minutes until browned and bubbly.