South of the Border Mac & Cheese

I love mac & cheese! I like it cheesy, creamy and sharp! That means a lot of sharp cheddar cheese for me.

I did not eat mac & cheese growing up. I was first introduced to it when I bought that little blue Kraft box many of you may know. It was good and “cheesy” and you could add tuna, vegetables, etc. and make it a meal. It was dorm food “Good Eats.” I later learned that it could be so much more and, as they say, the rest is . . . what I’m doing now!

I have collected mac & cheese recipes over the years, some that I like and some that I love. And there are many versions: the classic Fannie Farmer, the vegan Roasted Red Pepper, the Runner’s World Creamy Cauliflower. And there is this one: a South of the Border Mac & Cheese. This recipe is from Laura Werlin’s cookbook, mac & cheese , please! If you can find it at your public library or bookstore, take a look. She has a lot of delicious mac & cheese variations.

I like to use Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa and some crema Mexicana on top, but you can use any tomatillo salsa or green salsa, along with sour cream.

I’ll post more of my favorite mac & cheese recipes later, but I hope you enjoy this one. It is cheesy, creamy and spicy!


South of the Border Mac & Cheese

1 tablespoon salt

8 ounces elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons grape seed oil or vegetable oil

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups milk

12 ounces Pepper Jack cheese (or Monterey Jack or a mix of both), grated

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

2 jalapeños en escabeche (pickled jalapeños), finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, chopped

½ cup sour cream or crema Mexicana

1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

In a large (5-quart) pot, add water (2/3 full), salt and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, add the pasta and cook until tender, but still firm. Drain and set aside.


In the same pot, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir until you form a paste. Whisk for another minute or so until it starts to slightly darken. Lower the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook until the mixture thickens (about 5-7 minutes).


Add the cheese and stir until blended and the sauce is smooth.


Add the pasta, corn, black beans, jalapeños and cilantro and stir the ingredients until they are well combined.

To serve, place your mac & cheese on a plate and top with salsa and sour cream.

¡Buen provecho!


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