Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Week Full of New (Simple) Recipes: Tex Mex Mac and Cheese

Although I make it my goal to attempt a new recipe each week, there are seasons of life where we eat a lot of the same things over and over. I can always tell when we've been doing this because suddenly, making a grocery list is hard. Nothing I've been eating sounds good any more. I don't feel like cooking. In short, I'm in a rut.

It's easy to blame these ruts on sticking to the budget or having too little time. However, if I were to be honest, there are plenty of frugal and simple meals beyond tacos and spaghetti...they just involve me getting out of my comfort zone. And I dearly love my comfort zone, especially in the kitchen. Which is why I typically only try one new recipe each week. It's enough to inspire me, without overwhelming me. This week however, I plan to try 3 new recipes, which I thought I'd share.

Saturday night, realizing I hadn't planned for dinner, I found a delicious sounding recipe for Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken. However, it required marinating time, so I decided to try the recipe the following day and take my time with our first free-range chicken of the season.

That left me with nothing for dinner however so it was back to the drawing board. I needed something quick, vegetarian (since I had no meat defrosted) and requiring only the ingredients I had on hand. A quick look at led me to a tex-mex mac and cheese recipe that looked intriguing but used Velveta. I decided to adapt it to my usual mac and cheese recipe and it was a big hit with David. Here's what I did:

Tex Mex Mac and Cheese

Boil ½ box of macaroni noodles, drain and pour into 1.5qt. casserole dish

Combine over med. heat, stirring until mixture is melted and bubbling slightly
2 tblspn corn starch
2 tblspn butter
1 tspn taco seasoning

then add
2.5cups milk

Bring to boil over med/high heat stirring constantly. Let boil 1 min.

Stir in
1.5 cup cheddar cheese
.5 cup pepper jack

Stir until cheese is melted
then add .5 cup of salsa

Stir until combined

Pour cheese mixture over noodles, stir until all noodles are coated.

Sprinkle top with cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I served it with a side of oven-baked sweet potato wedges and we were both stuffed! Next time, I plan to cook up some taco meat and add that to the mix as well. As usual, I forgot to get a photo and we devoured the left-overs at lunch today.

The Lemon Oregano chicken is marinating in the fridge as I type...but that's another post.

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