Mexican-Style Mac and Cheese

And here I am back on my once-a-week-I-can-finally-cook-on-Tuesdays schedule.  But the paper is in (for now, at least) and maybe things will calm down a bit.

Today was a (busy, at least for a Tuesday) day of memories.  Boston was definitely on my mind.  It seems somehow appropriate that the flowers and leaves started to come out today. On the one hand, everyone has been talking about it so much that it doesn't seem like it's really been a year.  On the other hand, it's been a long year.  Next Monday will be a very memory-filled day indeed.  It seemed an appropriate day to eat some Boston Strong ice cream.
However, being a busy day, me thinks that banana muffins with the three way-overripe bananas from mom are not going to happen tonight.
I did have time to make dinner tonight though, and I finally got to try Mexican mac and cheese!  I found it on Pinterest a couple weeks ago, and NES and I have been really excited about the cheese-jalapeno-corn-avocado (well, if you're me) combination recently.  NES made some great nachos with those flavors a couple weeks ago, and we've been hooked ever since.
So I finally got to make it tonight!  And the result is that I think I have a new favorite mac and cheese!  Maybe next time I won't be quite as frantic while I'm making it.  Oops.
Really, it was easy.  I just felt a step behind the whole time.

I made a few alterations: first of all, I didn't use black beans.  I honestly don't know if I would have even wanted them in there.  I like black beans, but I feel like they might make it too dry and just wouldn't fit.

I also didn't use the green chiles -- I used half a green cubanelle pepper instead.  I didn't feel like using canned veggies.
I also used a little less than half cheddar cheese with the rest Monterey Jack.  I wanted a little more sharp cheddar flavor, so maybe next time, I'll go half and half.  I just didn't feel like all Monterey Jack would give it quite the sharp flavor that is so good in contrast with the sweet corn.
I am a huge fan of how it came out.  I think I could have waited for it to cool a little more, and thus thicken, but I couldn't wait!  It was perfect with crumbled tortilla chips and avocados on top!

Mexican Mac and Cheese 
adapted from Gimme Some Oven

12 oz. uncooked small shell pasta
olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 green cubanelle pepper, chopped
9 oz. frozen corn
12 oz. can 2% evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. Monterrey Jack and/or cheddar cheese
1 avocado, peeled and diced
tortilla chips, crushed

Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente.

Around when you add the pasta to the boiling water, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the evaporated milk, egg, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup until well combined.

In the frying pan, add the garlic and cubanelle pepper once the onion is cooked, and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the corn, and saute for another minute.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add the veggie mixture into the pan with the pasta.  Add the milk and egg mixture, stirring well.  Cook about 1 minute more, or until the milk is heated through.  Add the shredded cheese and mix well to combine.

Serve hot with avocado and tortilla chips on top.  Serves 4.


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