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Chipolte peppers make this smoky beef mac and cheese flavorful.
Rather than make a meatless mac & cheese, I had a small package of ground beef in the freezer–the not-quite-a-pound that was leftover after vacuum sealing all the full pounds I could get out of the bulk package I’d bought, so I thought it was perfect to use in here.
All right, I can hear some people going, “EEEWWW, canned cheese soup.” Hey, I hear you, but when you make mac & cheese without wanting to make the sauce from scratch, it actually stops the cheese from separating–Velveeta will do the same if you add a small amount to a cheddar sauce. Trust me, you don’t taste it in here because of the amount of real cheese you add. But if you want to make a sauce from scratch, that’s good, but for this dish, we’re going with speed here. Plus, they’re all pantry shelf items most well-stocked kitchens have on hand.
I found one large chipolte was good in this. If you want to add more, go right ahead! I used Mexican blend cheese, but a Colby or sharp cheddar will do too. And of course, evaporated skim milk may be substituted for the regular kind.
Make sure to serve with mass quantities of sliced green onion. It makes this dish sing.
Smoky Beef Mac & Cheese
- 12 oz lean ground beef
- 1 can 10 oz cheddar cheese soup
- 1 can 12 oz evaporated milk
- 3 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese*
- 1-2 chipoltes in adobo, finely chopped
- 2 tsp Adobo seasoning**
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2-3 green onions sliced
- Season with Adobo seasoning and brown ground beef in heavy skillet. Drain and set aside.
- Cook elbows in large pot to al dente stage; about 8 minutes. They should still have some "bite" in them. Drain and return to pot.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray or grease a 1.5 quart baking dish.
- Add the cheese soup, milk, shredded cheese and chipoltes to pot with macaroni. Stir and combine well. Stir in ground beef.
- Turn into prepared baking pan. Mix the Panko crumbs with the olive oil and distribute evenly on top of casserole.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and Panko crumbs are golden brown. Garnish with green onion slices.
- Serves 4-6
- *Colby or cheddar may be substituted
- **This product is available from Goya but if you can't find it, a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of oregano will do.
|Smoky Beef Mac & Cheese|