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My first job out of college was for a large IT company that primarily serviced hospitals. I traveled for them often. Sometimes my trips were to exciting locales, and sometimes they weren’t. I generally judged a trip based on the local food. After 12 hours on my feet in a hospital, all I wanted to do was scarf down some delicious food, maybe a beer or two, and then hit the sack!
I didn’t expect to love Santa Fe, New Mexico. But I really did. I spent about three weeks there working on a project and feel for the city. The people there were warm and welcoming, and the landscape and architecture was stunning. So unlike anything this Midwestern girl had ever witnessed!
I was so surprised by the food. It was delicious, but unlike anything I had tried before. The people of New Mexico find ways to add green chiles into pretty much everything, and they are well justified because it is damn delicious. In my three weeks there, I ate green chile on burgers, in soup, on enchiladas, chile rellenos, burritos, and even on a pizza (wouldn’t recommend).
By the time I left, I swore “I’m never eating green chiles again.” That didn’t hold up. I’m so grateful for my time in New Mexico and I love incorporating green chiles into dishes. They are just one of those rare ingredients (like butter or garlic) that makes almost anything taste better.
This mac and cheese is a family recipe, from my husband’s maternal grandmother. She makes killer mac and cheese. The sauce is simple and decadent. It’s always perfect.
I add a little southwestern flavor to the traditional recipe. We love to eat this mac and cheese as a side for barbecue or any mexican dishes.
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese
- 2 tbsp diced green chiles (from can)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 8x8 casserole dish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta as instructed on package.
- For cheese sauce, melt margarine in medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stir in flour, dry mustard, cayenne and black pepper,and salt.
- Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook until slightly thickened.
- Remove from heat, add cheese and green chiles.
- Combine drained cooked pasta and cheese sauce in greased 8x8 pan. Cover with bread crumbs.
- Bake at 350 for 4 minutes. Then, turn oven to low broil. Broil for one minute, until bread crumbs are browned.
- You can serve this mac and cheese directly from the stove if you prefer.