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Spicing up an old time favorite

Hey guys! Sorry about the late post. Anyway, I don’t know if any of you watch PBS, but I am a huge fan. Every Saturday I watch all of the cooking shows. A few weeks back I happened to stumbleupon the Rick Bayless website. He is well-known chef, specializing in Mexican style cooking. That is all good and everything, but what made this stumble so great was he put a twist on something that lots of people eat every day. So, without further ado here is the website:


Salsa Mac and Cheese


2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa or your favorite salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound dried pasta (though elbow macaroni will do, I suggest you try cork-screw cavatappi or the spiral rotini or fusilli)


Pour 4 quarts of water into a large pot, cover and set over high heat.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and whisk until the mixture turns a deep golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the milk and continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, 4 or 5 minutes.  (Whisk diligently and there will be no lumps.)  Stir in the salsa, remove from the heat, then stir in cheese.  Continue stirring until all the cheese has melted.  Taste and season generously with salt, usually 1 1/2 teaspoons. Cover to keep warm until the pasta is done.

When the water has come to a boil, add the dried pasta. Stir well to keep the pasta from sticking together and boil until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.  Drain thoroughly and add the pasta to the sauce.  Stir until all the pasta is covered in the salsa cheese sauce.  You’re ready to dig in.


I didn’t really change anything on this recipe for when I made it, but I did decide to go with my favorite salsa instead of the fire roasted salsa. I chose black bean and corn, which was pretty good. It made the mac more savory; however, I would offer one little suggestion. I liked the flavor the the salsa, but I also was looking for a little heat (MmmM heat), so if you are like me grab a salsa that makes you sweat and then if you want add the black beans and corn yourself. I’m definitely going try that next time, but if you happen to do it before then I would love to hear what happened. Happy cooking!


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