Southwestern Taco or Nacho Style Mac and Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I don’t know what is wrong with me but I have a definite pattern of opting to make comfort food on the hottest of days.  Yesterday was no exception.  One hundred degrees out?  Turn on the oven & get baking!

This dish is pretty simple & very customizable.  I used ricotta because I had some left over from my Zucchini Squash Blossom White Pizza with Goat Cheese and Ricotta and Mozzarella.

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Ricotta is better suited to lasagnas though & I might not use it if I didn’t already have it around.  I also opted to roast 5 jalapenos because 1) I have a convenient stove-top grill and 2) it was another opportunity to have another heating element cranking away in my already unbearably hot kitchen.

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Roasting peppers (or eggplant) can be done directly on the burners of your stove.  Just put them on a flame & turn until they are black everywhere.  Put them into a covered container for a few minutes so they “sweat,” and then rub the blackened skins off under cool running water.  Seed & mince the jalapenos & you are ready to go.

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I also made my own taco seasoning (more than I ended up using) but you could just use a packaged kind – if you prefer.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Blend:

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

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This is a pretty spicy recipe so go easy on (or eliminate) the spicy parts if you prefer a milder dish.  Also – if there is an ingredient or two that you do not have or do not like – lose it.  Or – like corn in your tacos or nachos?  Add some!   Want some cooked meat in there?  Add it.  This is a very forgiving dish.

Southwestern Taco or Nacho Style Mac and Cheese

Feeds a lot – 6 easily

INGREDIENTS

8 oz dry macaroni

9 oz vegan beef crumbles (or real beef)

1/2 red onion – diced

1/2 red bell pepper – diced

1-5 roasted (or raw) jalapenos – (I roasted mine as explained above & I used all 5) – minced (optional)

1 (4 oz) can chiles (I used hot ones)

1 (15) oz can black beans – drained & rinsed

1 (10 oz) can Rotel (or diced tomatoes)

2 TBS taco seasoning (packaged or use the recipe above)

Olive oil

1-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – minced (optional)

3 cups cheese (I used 1 cup ricotta & 2 cups grated cheddar/mozzarella blend but 3 cups of grated cheese is fine (maybe better) and pepper jack would be great) – or VEGAN alternative

Extra grated cheese to top the casserole (1-2 cups or so)

1 (4 oz) can sliced black olives (as garnish)

Raw jalapeno – sliced – as garnish

Cilantro – as garnish

Tomato – diced – as garnish

Avocado – as garnish

Pico de gallo or salsa as garnish

Corn chips – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook & drain the macaroni.

Make the taco seasoning – if you are not using packaged.

Roast the jalapenos – if you are using them roasted.  Mince & set aside.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the onion, bell pepper & canned chiles & fresh jalapeno (roasted or not) and chipotle peppers and heat until the onions & peppers are softened.  Add the beef & heat through.  If using real meat – be sure it is cooked through.

Add the seasoning & the macaroni & stir around.

In a large bowl, mix the black beaks & Rotel (or diced tomato) & then add the macaroni beef mixture.  Add the cheese you are using & mix it all up well.

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Grease a large casserole dish & put the mix in there.  Top with additional cheese & some sliced olives & jalapeno.  Cook for 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is all melted & bubbly & beginning to turn golden.

Garnish with your choice of olives, jalapeno, avocado, tomato and cilantro.  Corn chips might be a nice touch, too.

Crack a cold beer & get your eat on!

 

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Vegan or Vegetarian or Not – Spicy Beef & Cheese Nachos with Baked Corn Tortilla Chips & and Simple Guacamole

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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vromans front

vromans back

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First of all – a friend sent me this picture today.  It HAS to be ME – right?  Am I not the only cigarette-smoking blonde to ever “kill” Chucky?

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Here I am with Alex Vincent – then & now.

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At any rate – I am very pleased with that illustration!!!

So – this recipe requires two other recipes I posted today – the Purist’s Homemade Guacamole & Baked Corn Tortilla Chips.  OR – you can just buy some ships & use any guacamole you want – or skip the guac entirely.  Your call.

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I used these ingredients – Beyond Meat’s Vegan Beefy Crumbles & a can of hot chiles & a can of Campbell’s Cheddar Soup (so MY version was not vegan) :

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I want to say that Campbell’s has a Feisty Nacho Cheese Soup that would likely work better than my version of nacho cheese resulting from combining that 1 can of soup with that can of chiles & a tsp of sriracha.  I found the texture of the soup “cheese” to be more like a custard & not flavorful enough.  So – either try the Feisty nacho soup or use a can/jar of actual nacho cheese that you get in the chip aisle or – better yet – use REAL or vegan shredded cheese & bake the nachos in the oven the traditional way.  If you use the soupy cheese – you can just heat it stove-top & pour it over the chips.

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I used the Beyond Meat Crumbles but you could use another brand or even real ground beef.

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Spicy Beef

INGREDIENTS

11 oz vegan (or real) ground beef

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

olive oil (not required if you use real meat)

DIRECTIONS

If using vegan meat, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat & add the other ingredients & heat through.  Leave on the lowest flame to keep warm until you are ready to assemble the nachos.  If using real meat, cook it with the spices until it is done.  Keep warm until you are ready to use it.

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NACHOS

INGREDIENTS are really just suggestions. I used:

1 fresh jalapeno – diced

Jarred pickled jalapenos

Chopped tomato

Cilantro

Cheese (see above) – you can use vegan or real grated cheese or a jarred nacho sauce or devise one (as I did with underwhelming results) from a combo of cheese soup, canned chiles & a tsp sriracha.

Chips

Guacamole

OTHER IDEAS that I did not include:  Salsa or pico de gallo, sour cream (or vegan alternative), sliced black olives, black beans, refried beans, corn, diced red onion, shredded cabbage or lettuce etc…

DIRECTIONS

Once you have your chips (homemade or otherwise) & guacamole (ditto) – assemble your nachos.  If you went with a pourable version of cheese – simply heat it & pour it over the chips & add the other toppings.

If you used grated cheese (real or vegan) – layer the ingredients (but not the guacamole or tomato/salsa & jalapenos or sour cream – because those are better added once the nachos come out of the oven) & bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until your cheese is as melted as you desire.

Garnish as you will & shove that shit in your face!  Mmmmmmmmm!

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