Friday, December 21, 2012
Fajita Mac and Cheese
* 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
* 1 small half onion
* 2 bay leaves
* 3 whole black peppercorns
* 1 clove
* 1/2 lb macaroni
* 1 tbsp chili powder
* 1 tbsp paprika
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 1/3 cup AP flour
* 10 oz shredded cheese (I used a mix of pepper jack and cheddar)
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1medium onion, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 to 1-1/2 peppers, diced (I used one whole red and half a green)
* 2 cups of cooked and cubed or shredded chicken
* 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
* 2 tsp dried parsley
* lime wedges
1. Bring the milk to a simmer and add the half onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and clove to the milk. Allow the milk to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the milk and discard to solids.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 13 x 9 pan.
3. Cook the macaroni as directed on the package just until the al dente stage. Drain the pasta and add it to the 13 x 9 pan. Add the chicken to the pasta.
4. Combine the chili powder, paprika, cumin oregano and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
5. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium to low heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the strained milk. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes.
6. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Add the remaining cheese to the sauce a little at a time. Stir in the cheese and make sure it is melted before adding more. Stir in two-thirds of the seasoning mix. Pour the sauce over the noodles.
7. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cook 5 -7 minutes and stir frequently. Add the peppers and the remaining seasoning to the pan. Cook an additional few minutes, and then add the vegetable mixture to the noodles and sauce and mix well.
8. Combine the breadcrumbs, the parsley and last tbsp of olive oil. Mix well.
9. Sprinkle the noddle mixture with the additional cheese, and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.
10. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Allow the casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
11. Serve with the lime wedges- to be juiced over the casserole if desired.
Wow- we loved this! The original recipe didn't call for chicken, but I wanted this to be a main dish, so we added chicken. We used equal parts pepper jack and cheddar for the cheese, and it was fantastic. Hannah suggested we make it, and it definitely earned keeper status!
Posted by Elizabeth at 8:06 PM