Hello again! This is Julia from Julia’s Album – a blog full of dinner ideas and savory recipes. I love quick and simple weeknight meals, and today I am sharing an excellent, family-friendly dinner recipe I found in Better Homes & Gardens archives – Mexican Mac and Cheese:
This Mexican pasta casserole is so ridiculously easy to make and so tasty – you’ll want to add it to your regular recipe rotation right away! If you love Mexican flavors, and if you want a delicious recipe that takes no time to make and produces quite a lot of food (12 servings), then join me together in making this amazing Mexican Mac and Cheese:
I’ve made very minor changes to the original BHG recipe: I only added a can of black beans and some diced green chiles! I am also providing a gluten-free option for this recipe.
And, here are the changes I made to the original BHG recipe:
- I added 1 can of black beans (15 oz) to combine with the meat mixture. Make sure to rinse and drain canned black beans before adding them.
- I added half a can of diced green chiles (2 oz) to the meat mixture.
- To make the recipe even easier than it already is, I didn’t do layers as step 3 suggests. I just mixed everything together in one pan (the meat mixture, the beans, chiles, and cooked pasta).
- My personal tip: when making pasta casseroles, I ALWAYS rinse cooked pasta in cold water and drain it – before adding it to the casserole. That stops pasta from cooking and getting mushy in a casserole dish!
- If you don’t have Monterey Jack cheese, you can easily use half Cheddar cheese, half Mozzarella cheese instead.
If you want to make the original BHG recipe gluten free, do the following SINGLE substitution:
- Use gluten-free brown-rice penne instead of rigatoni pasta
And, here are a couple of step-by-step photos of the cooking process. This is what the dish looks like when everything is mixed in together (cooked sausage, cooked onion, green salsa, drained and rinsed black beans, green chiles, cooked pasta, and half the amount of cheese) – right before baking the dish:
Then, you top the casserole with the remaining half amount of cheese (remaining 2 cups):
Then you bake your casserole – it will look nice and bubbly right after baking, with cheese all melted on top:
Top the casserole with sliced tomatoes and chopped green onions – so good!
There are certain dishes that simply MUST make an appearance at my family’s Thanksgiving table, and macaroni and cheese is one of them.
There is something so comforting about a hearty bowl of macaroni and cheese. I think that’s why I immediately gravitated towards the original recipe of BHG’s Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese. The decadence of the dish spoke to me and reminded me of my mother’s classic that she makes every holiday. I knew I just had to try it!
I planned on making it just as the recipe called for until my oven randomly stopped working. I think all of the recent baking made my oven call in sick so I had to change plans right away. The new plan was to use my crock pot, and Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese was born. Let’s just say that things always happen for a reason, and this new change in plans was perfecto!
Not only must you add this to your Thanksgiving menu stat, but you must make it once a month just to remind you how delicious the simple things in life can be. This will save you so much time during the holidays. Just think about it: While you baste your turkey, make your stuffing, bake several pies and entertain your guests, this amazing macaroni and cheese will be tending to itself and ready in a few hours. You simple toss all of the ingredients into the slow cooker like below and let it cook away.
I only made the following changes to the original recipe:
- I replaced the elbow macaroni pasta with penne but you can definitely still use the macaroni for a more traditional dish.
- I added two large beaten eggs to the mixture to create more of a custard as it cooked away.
- I replaced the milk with 1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk and 1 1/2 cups of half and half to make the macaroni and cheese richer. It is for the holidays after all right?
- I tossed in a 1/2 cup of melted butter as well.
- I toasted the panko crumbs over my stove top in a saute pan with a tablespoon of butter until golden brown.
- I tossed all of the ingredients together in the slow cooker except for 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and the toasted panko crumbs. Once everything was combined, I topped the pasta with the cheese and panko crumbs and let it cook on low for 2 1/2- 3 1/4 hours.
- Cook less time if you want it super creamy and cook a bit more if you want the mac and cheese a bit firmer. Just make sure your pasta is nice and soft before stopping the cooking process.
This macaroni and cheese is really incredible. You will want to make this over and over again, especially since its so easy now. You can even have your kids make it. Now that is something to truly be thankful for.
Hi! I’m Stephanie, the girl behind I am a Food Blog. I love food, photography, and all things cute! I am a Food Blog is where you’ll find me whipping up dishes inspired by my favorite restaurants, takeout, or just whatever’s in my fridge.
It’s the middle of fall and I’m loving it! With cold, sunny days and the hint of winter in the air, I find myself craving cozy, comforting recipes that will warm me up from the inside out. I’m talking about hearty braises, steaming stews, and anything potato-based.
I am a potato lover through and through and have been known to make a big batch of mashed potatoes to eat as dinner. Not the most exciting meal, but definitely super-comforting and delicious. When I found the BHG Goldilocks Potatoes I was just a bit (okay, a lot!) excited. Essentially, they’re fluffy mashed potatoes topped with softly whipped cream and cheddar.
I made a couple of changes from the original recipe:
1. Into the mashed potatoes, I stirred in some roasted garlic, crispy bacon, shredded cheddar and green onions.
2. I added extra cheese on top of the whipped topping.
I loved the way these potatoes turned out – almost like baked potato soup, but even more comforting, if that’s even possible! The whipped topping melted down in the potatoes so keep that in mind – you don’t need too much milk or butter in your mashed potato base. I made these in tiny individual cups, which would be perfect as an appetizer for all of those holiday parties coming up. You can prep all of the cups, keep them in the fridge and bake them off as needed, because who doesn’t love a cup full of comfort?
More from BHG.com:
With the weather cooling down, I’m all about cozy-ing up with a hot bowl of pasta! Pasta to me will always be the perfect comfort food. So get comfy, tuck in, and get ready for some really incredible ways to celebrate that nip in the air.
I’m all about a creamy sauce on pasta. I cannot wait to try this Pasta with Pancetta and Vodka Sauce! Just a Taste’s Kelly says to not skimp on the vodka you use. Don’t cook with anything you wouldn’t drink!
What is your favorite dish to cozy up with? Let me know in the comments!
More from BHG.com:
Cheese is easily one of my favorite things in all the world. And I’m not just talking favorite food; I’m talking my favorite amongst all things. My mom told me that she had cravings for cheese when she was pregnant with me, so my love of cheese may have been preordained. In fact, I’ve recently created a few amazing cheese related recipes on my own blog include Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
Today’s post is in celebration of my love of cheese and was inspired by two different things. First, the October issue of BHG. In case you missed it, here’s a little peek inside.
These are cheese balls shaped and decorated to look like apples. Mind blowning. What a fabulous, yet totally simple idea. It’s all in the details.
I was also inspired by this recipe for Bacon Cheddar Cheese Balls from BHG online.
I followed the recipe as written to create my fall-inspired cheese balls. I didn’t have any pimentos on hand, however, so I did substitute chopped kalamata olives. That’s one of things I love about cheese balls – you can readily use any combination of flavors and cheeses to create a delicious spread. My one recommendation for a can’t-miss product: use high-quality cheese and shred it yourself. As much as I love the time-saving benefits of packaged shredded cheese, nothing beats freshly shredded for this recipe.
With the cheese ball mixture made and cooled, I shaped the ball into an organic / natural-looking apple. To complete the look, as in the magazine feature, I snipped a few branches from an apple tree in my backyard and tucked them into the top to simulate a stem.
Details and simple touches like this get me every time. This is what entertaining is all about. These are the small things that guests remember and can’t wait to repeat when they get home or tell their friends about.
Plus, it involves cheese, and who doesn’t love cheese?
Again, you can get the recipe for these cheese balls here. I hope you enjoy the recipe and the presentation.
Michael Wurm, Jr. – Inspired by Charm
More from BHG.com:
Hey guys! I’m Shawn from I Wash You Dry, where I blog about simple recipes with easy clean up. With school back in session, I’m all about no fuss dinners and the least amount of dishes as possible.
Who wants to spend more time than we need to in the kitchen?
Not this gal!
That’s why I love making one-skillet dinners like this cheesy One Skillet Baked Ziti and these mouthwatering Macho Nachos. When Better Homes and Gardens asked me to find a recipe on their site and recreate it, it was a no-brainer. This Chili-Pasta Skillet practically jumped right out at me and begged me to recreate it.
There wasn’t much that I altered from the recipe’s original state, just a couple things here and there to give it my own personal flare.
The recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes, but I pumped up the flavor by using a can of fire roasted tomatoes, which added a little more depth to this saucy dish. I also used my family’s favorite – black beans, instead of the pinto beans.
Known fact – my three year old daughter could put away a whole can of black beans if I let her. Which I won’t, but still, that girl loves her beans!
The original recipe calls for elbow macaroni, but I used these fun swirly and twisted macaroni instead. Our family also loves the flavor of a good marbled cheddar over our chili, so instead of the monterey jack cheese it called for in the recipe, we used the marbled cheddar.
We also topped it off with some diced green onions and other chili toppings like diced tomato, avocado and of course, some sour cream!
My favorite part about this hearty, complete dinner?
Oh yes, ladies and gents, even the pasta gets cooked in the same pan! Which makes for one happy Mama. And when Mama is happy, the whole family is happy. Make sure you check out the full recipe HERE, and don’t be afraid to make it your own!
Be sure to stop by my BLOG and say hi! See you there!