Friday, November 02, 2012

Queso Mac and Cheese

         What do you do when you make WAAAAYYYY too much queso for the football game? Turn it into mac and cheese of course. I have not experimented much with mac and cheese in a couple years since I started watching my carbohydrate intake due to an expanding waistline. It remains one of the comfort foods I turn to when I really want home.

         Such a simple dish to make with so many variations possible I keep finding new things I like about it. I have switched to whole grain pasta I rarely endorse a particular brand (because I am cheap and normally stick to generic), but in the last few years, I discovered that the enormous distinction between generic and brand names when it comes to pasta and a few other items. I almost always use Barilla Plus whole grain pastas. They have a wonderful nutty flavor and solid texture that holds up to almost everything I want to do with it.

         In the case of queso mac and cheese, I opted for rotini as the pasta with grilled sausage for some added flavor (and to make it a main dish). Other than the pasta, the entire dish was put together with leftovers from previous cooking events. Putting it together and baking it, altogether, took about 1 ½ hours. The queso and sausage were done. I cooked the rotini to almost done, sliced the sausage. After draining the pasta, I mixed together the queso, pasta, and sausage then poured into a greased 9X13 baking dish (cake pan), covered with foil, and baked in a pre-heated 350° oven until heated through. In the last few minutes, I pulled off the foil and let the top brown.

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         As a queso freak, this version of mac and cheese helped satisfy that urge as well as my craving for home food.

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