Mexi-Macaroni and Cheese

I had seen this recipe on How Sweet It Is and thought it would probably go over well with my boys - we all love pretty much anything with cheese! :) We make a very simple macaroni dish with ground beef and canned tomatoes and I thought this would be a bit of a step up from that, but similar so that it wouldn't seem completely unfamiliar since my boys can be picky about things that are completely new or different!

I started with my counter full of ingredients: wheat flour, frozen corn, butter, minced garlic, red pepper, onion, parmesan, macaroni, pre-cooked chicken, monterey jack and cheddar cheese, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, milk, and panko bread crumbs.
I diced up a whole red pepper.
Followed by an onion.

Those made their way into the pre-heated olive oil in the nonstick skillet.

I measured out a cup of frozen corn, rinsed it in warm water to thaw and then drained it.
After the onion and pepper were tender, I tossed in the corn and minced garlic.

Next came the spices.
And my ever so happy kitchen helper dumped his hand shredded chicken into the mix!

The pasta had finished cooking at this point, so that was drained.

The pasta was then dumped into the 9x13 baking dish.

The chicken mixture was thoroughly mixed and heated through.

I added the chicken and veggies to the pasta and moved onto the cheesy sauce!!

Started with a little bit of butter melted in the pan (I just washed and dried the one that had held the chicken and veggies so my sink wouldn't end up piled SUPER high with dirty dishes after this one)!

In went the flour to the melted butter.

I made the roux and let that cook for a minute.

Next came the milk! I let that come to a gentle simmer.

Then came the beautiful assembly line of cheeses! Cheddar, monterey jack and parmesan... mmm.... cheesy!!

After taste testing the sauce and the chicken mixture, I decided I could add a little more flavor and put some chili powder into the cheese mixture (I went a little light on seasonings for the chicken mixture since I knew I could add more but if I made it too hot or spicy no one would enjoy it - I'm a huge spice wimp!).

The chicken mixture and pasta got doused with a yummy cheesy coating.

Then everything got mixed together gently and smoothed out evenly.

Finished off with some panko breading and a sprinkling of monterey jack cheese - then into the oven!

A yummy, gooey, crunchy, cheesy pasta concoction emerged 20 minutes later!

I really enjoyed this for something different than our "normal" mac, cheese and meat casserole dish - great compliment of ingredients and the crunchy panko on top added some great texture! The seasoned chicken was great and worked very well in this dish. The leftovers were gone in no time!

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Mexican Mac and Cheese
makes one 9x13 casserole dish

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 cups dry whole wheat elbow noodles
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup corn (frozen is fine, just thaw and dry)
1 TBS minced garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper (if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pasta water, bring to a boil, and cook noodles.

While noodles are cooking, heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and peppers and saute until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and corn and cook for another minute. Add shredded chicken and cumin, chili and cayenne, mixing to combine. Turn heat down to low.

Whenever pasta is done, drain it and add it to the chicken/pepper mix in the 9x13 casserole dish.

Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and add butter. Once butter is sizzling, add flour and whisk to create a roux. Cook flour mixture for about 1-2 minutes, whisking continuously. Add milk and turn heat down medium-low. Add cheeses and stir, allowing cheese to melt and and sauce to thicken. It will take about 5-8 minutes for sauce to thicken – keep and eye on it and stir every minute or so to ensure the bottom is not burning. Once sauce is thick taste and season with spices and/or salt and pepper as desired; add it to the chicken and pasta and mix to combine, stirring gently until ingredients are evenly distributed.

Top with bread crumbs and additional cheese if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden.


  1. Thanks for stopping by and finding me from Allrecipes! This recipe looks grea, and I think my kids would enjoy it also. I'm now a follower also, great to meet you!


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