Mexican Mac & Cheese with text

Mexican Mac & Cheese

Chicken & Turkey Dinner Pasta

Mexican Mac & Cheese is spicy and cheesy and loaded up with chicken, peppers and sweet corn. This easy pasta recipe will make a completely awesome dinner.

Mexican Mac & Cheese with text

I’m writing on Saturday but you’re reading this on Wednesday, so I hope this is all still true. We’ve finally made it to inauguration day. Has it been the longest four years of our lives? Will I finally stop waking up in low-level fear every morning that yet another catastrophically embarrassing thing has happened in my home country? Will we even get through this day without crying?

I’m predicting I might actually shed a few tears at Kamala Harris’s swearing in. I know the Vice President doesn’t actually have that much power, but just to see a woman standing there will mean so much. I don’t 100% agree with Biden or Harris, but I respect them both. The world won’t magically be fixed on January 21st, but at least the doors to rational conversation can be reopened. I’m hoping for four years of peace and progress.

Mexican Mac & Cheese in a casserole with white napkin

What makes Mexican Mac & Cheese so awesome?

After four years of chaos, I think we deserve some comfort food. This Mexican Mac & Cheese is going to have you dancing with joy at the dinner table. We’re adding spicy cheese, some Mexican spices like cumin and chili powder, plus chicken, bell pepper, red onion, and corn. There are a lot of flavors all in one bowl, and I love it.

When we cleared out our kitchen for the remodel, I discovered lots of half empty bags of pasta in my cabinet, so I used pasta shells here, but any short pasta will work. In the US, you should be able to find pepper jack cheese no problem. If you live in the UK or another place where that’s hard to find, just find a good cheese with chilies. Works great.

Mexican Mac & Cheese from above

How to make Mexican Mac & Cheese

This mac and cheese is a little bit extra, so there is corresponding effort involved. Nothing difficult, just an extra step and an extra pan to wash. While our pasta is boiling, we’re going to maybe cook chicken and sautee some vegetables. You could definitely use pre-cooked chicken for this dish if you like or if you have some leftover. Either way, you’ll need to sautee your onion and bell pepper to soften them up. To the skillet, you’ll add garlic, corn, and spices, plus your chicken. And once your pasta is cooked, you can toss it with all this flavorful goodness as well.

We also need to make our spicy cheese sauce in the usual way. Butter and flour cooked together in a saucepan with milk slowly whisked in to create a thick and creamy sauce. Then we stir in a whole bunch of cheese. Bring all your components together in the skillet, then transfer that to a casserole dish and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. Practice self-discipline while you wait for it to cool enough to eat without burning yourself.

Mexican Mac & Cheese in a white casserole dish

Make it magical

I was pleasantly surprised to find that cheese is actually very magical. Turns out, humans have been making cheese for about 8000 years. Cheese brings positive energy to your dish, which should be obvious given how awesome I feel when I’m eating it. Cheese is associated with both earth and air energy. Use it any time you want to call in more success and happiness. (Source: Rachel Patterson)

Mexican Mac & Cheese close up

Whatever’s happening in the world, we still have to get dinner on the table. Make it awesome with some Mexican Mac & Cheese.

Looking for more awesome mac and cheese recipes? Try this Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese.

Print

Mexican Mac & Cheese

Mexican Mac & Cheese in a white casserole dish

Mexican Mac & Cheese is spicy and cheesy and loaded up with chicken, peppers and sweet corn. This easy pasta recipe will make a completely awesome dinner.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Tex Mex

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup macaroni or other small pasta shape
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 frozen corn kernels
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese or other chili-laden cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and spray a 8×8 baking pan or other small baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  2. You can use pre-cooked chicken if you have some on hand or prefer to pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store. If you’re starting from scratch with the chicken, you can cook it any way you like and then shred it. I find the easiest way to get to cooked chicken is to cut your chicken breast in into 1 inch chunks and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken on all sides until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to cool slightly. Once it’s cool enough to handle, just pull the small pieces apart with your fingers. I did this while the onions and peppers were cooking.
  3. Cook your pasta in well salted boiling water for about one minute less than the package instructs. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, you can get on with your veggies. Add your onion and pepper to the pan recently vacated by the chicken. Cook for about five minutes over medium heat or until the veggies start to soften.
  5. Add the garlic and corn to the pan and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  6. Add the now shredded chicken back to the skillet and turn the heat down to low. Add the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, you can turn the heat off under your skillet and stir in the macaroni to this mixture as well.
  7. In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, melt your better. Stir in flour and let it cook for 1 minute or until it starts to smell nutty. Using a whisk, add the milk a bit at a time, whisking to keep things smooth. You may need to turn up the heat. You want to keep it gently bubbling if you can. Allow this mixture to cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken. This could take five minutes.
  8. Add in pepper jack and cheddar, stirring until smooth. Add the cheese sauce to everything else in the skillet and stir to combine.
  9. Transfer your mac and cheese to the baking dish. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and bake for about 20 minutes until everythings hot and happy and lightly browned around the edges. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • You can skip the chicken in the recipe to make it vegetarian friendly. It will still be super awesome.

Keywords: Chicken, Cheese, Pasta, Spicy

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.