Baked Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

posted in: Beef, Main Dish, Pasta, Tex-Mex        date:

Baked Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

We’re no strangers to one pan meals around here. You can’t beat them when it comes to relatively quick dinners with minimal clean up. There are some nights I want to cook really involved dinners, and there are other nights when recipes like this are more my speed.

This recipe has all the makings of comfort food – pasta, cheese, bubbling sauce – with a Tex-Mex spin. There’s a bit of heat, but Clara didn’t find it too spicy (or, as she says, “patsy”). We all loved this dinner so much that we got seconds, something that rarely happens in our house, and I was pretty happy to have leftovers for lunch a couple days later. You know it’s good when you’re eagerly anticipating the leftovers!

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) whole wheat elbow macaroni or shells

  • 1 cup frozen corn

  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey or Pepper Jack cheese

  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

  • Sour cream and/or hot sauce, for serving

  • 1

    Heat the oven to 475º.

    Heat the oil in a 12-inch, preferably nonstick, skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  • 2

    Add the beef and cook, breaking up any large pieces, until it’s no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the water, tomato sauce, and pasta. Increase heat, cover, and bring to a vigorous simmer. Stirring frequently, cook until the pasta is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

  • 3

    Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the corn, green chiles, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, and ½ cup of each of the cheeses. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the pasta, and bake until the cheese is melted, browned, and bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.

    Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with green onion and remaining tablespoon of cilantro and serve.

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    Easy and delicious one-pan meals are my favorite! Especially when there are leftovers for lunch the next day (though I’m pretty sure in the case of this mac and cheese, I’d need to make a double or triple batch to make that happen :)).

  • I am definitely in the one-pot mood tonight! I’m so thinking a cheese big flavored pasta dish like this!

  • The USA Kiwi

    Wow – what BEAUTIFUL photos! That pie looks amazing…

    • Thanks! Believe it or not, I took this on top of a ping pong table right before we walked into a party. I wasn’t planning to get a photo, but the lighting was just so good at that moment that I couldn’t pass it up.

  • That crust is soooo yummy looking!! Such an awesome pie!

  • Coleen

    This reminds me so much of a key lime cheesecake I used to make at a restaurant just outside of Philly where I worked. The crust was made of macadamia nuts and graham crackers — it was my favorite part! Using shortbread instead sounds even more delicious.

  • Key lime to me just screams summer…yours looks delicious! 🙂

  • Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    I love pie. Key Lime and Peanut butter are my two favorites IF I was pressed to choose. I am with you, I can’t have something like this in the fridge. I would end up eating the whole thing. Putting it in the freezer doesn’t work either. Sigh. I pinned this splendid pie with its toothsome crust AND the key lime bars you suggested.

  • Any time citrus is combined wit pie…I am SO INTO IT. Plus this is just a beauty. I’m not even sure I’d want to share it.

  • I made two of these a week ago, one for a pot luck at work and one for home. I was the only one without leftovers at the pot luck (and they were wondering why I didn’t bring in the second pie!) and my boyfriend shoveled down the second one. We love it! This recipe is a keeper.

    • Yay! I love when people let me know that a recipe was a hit, so thank you for sharing!