Kickin’ mac and cheese


After making the green chili mac and cheese, I realized it was a little too easy. Shocking, I know. I wanted to do something with mac and cheese that would require more than one ingredient, and would really transform the basic flavor. I found what I was looking for when I found a recipe for mac and cheese with four add-ins.

Since I’d already experimented with adjusting boxed mac and cheese, I wanted to try the add-ins with mac and cheese made from scratch. I only needed a few ingredients overall:

  • 1 pound pasta, any shape
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack or colby
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ can Rotel tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped chicken
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

I started off by boiling the pasta and setting it aside once it was cooked. Then, I got started on making the cheese sauce base by warming one cup of the milk in a saucepan on medium heat and mixing in flour to the remaining half cup. Once the milk on the stove was warm, I stirred in the milk/flour mixture and whisked until it thickened. After turning the heat down, I started mixing in handfuls of cheese, making sure it all melted into the sauce. This is where I decided to throw in my special ingredients: chicken, canned tomatoes, chili powder and cumin. After making sure all of the ingredients melded together, I poured the sauce over the pasta, covering all of it.

Some people might say this is a whole new dish straying too far from mac and cheese, but, to me, it’s still a dressed up version of the staple dish. Overall, the dish was very flavorful and the addition of the tomatoes added a new level of taste. Making mac and cheese from scratch instead of using the boxed version was a good idea because I’m not sure the add-ins would have melded into the packaged cheese sauce as well as they did with the homemade one. This would be a great addition to any lunch or dinner. It’s perfect for my school lunch purposes because it does well even after being refrigerated. If you’re looking for a hearty, flavorful pasta recipe that’s durable, this is a good choice.