Fiery South-of-the-Border Mac and Cheese


A few weeks ago I was looking through our local newspaper and this recipe for Fiery South-of-the-Border Mac and Cheese was one of the featured recipes for that particular day.  I have only ever tried three newspaper recipes over about the past 20 years ~ they just don’t ever sound very good to me.  But this one caught my eye.  I love Mexican food.  And macaroni and cheese.  So I thought this recipe had good possibilities for being tasty.  And it did not disappoint.  The salsa compliments the spicy mac and cheese perfectly.  My hubby and I talked about whether we thought a regular salsa would be as good and we both decided that it wouldn’t.  This salsa doesn’t have tomatoes but it does have a tasty flavor with just the right amount of spiciness.  So don’t skip making it ~ even if you are tempted to because it adds an extra step.  It’s easy to make and not at all time consuming.  And then the macaroni and cheese.  It is total yum.  Creamy.  Spicy.  Good texture and flavor.  We don’t usually like a bread crumb topping on our mac and cheese but the chips gave it a good crunch.  I’m not really sure if these photos do it justice. But give it a try.  Then let me know if you like it as well as we do.

*Makes 6 servings


8 ounces tomatillos {about 3}, husks removed and quartered
1 medium white or red onion, peeled, cut into 6 or 8 large chunks {I used a red onion}
1 serrano pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons water

Macaroni and Cheese:
8 ounces small elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2-1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces grated pepper jack cheese {about 3-1/2 cups}
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen {no need to thaw if frozen}
2 whole pickled jalapeños, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips


For the Salsa:
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Put the tomatillos, onion, and serrano pepper in a bowl and toss with the canola oil, kosher salt, and pepper.
3. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
4. Let cool a bit then transfer to a food processor or blender.
5. Add the cilantro and water to the food processor or blender and process until mostly smooth.  Taste and add more salt or pepper as desired.


For the Mac and Cheese:
1. Cook the macaroni noodles according to the package directions.
2. Drain and rinse with cold water.  Then return to pot.
3. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
4. Slowly whisk in the flour; stirring constantly until a paste forms.  Continue stirring or whisking until the mixture starts to darken slightly, 1-2 minutes.
5. Slowly whisk in the milk and salt; cook until the mixture starts to thicken, 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the cheese, one cup at a time, and allow all of the cheese to melt.
7. Stir the sauce into the pasta to coat well.  Fold in the corn and jalapeños.

IMG_66578. Transfer to a buttered 2 quart dish; sprinkle with the crushed tortilla chips.
9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

10. Serve topped with salsa and chopped cilantro leaves.


Here it is all mixed together and ready to eat.

This recipe was featured on:
Sweet Bella Roos
Kitchen Meets Girl


{Click here to see where I link up.}

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30 Responses to Fiery South-of-the-Border Mac and Cheese

  1. Jess May 9, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    This looks amazing!! Pinned it!

    • Lori May 9, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      It is, Jess. Give it a try.

  2. Leilani May 9, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Yum! This is my idea of comfort food: creamy AND spicy. 🙂

  3. Cathy May 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Looks yummy!

    I would love for you to share this and link up to my TGIF Link Party! The party is opens Thursday evening and closes at midnight on Wednesday night. Who knows, you just might be featured next week!

    Hugs, Cathy

    • Lori May 10, 2013 at 12:55 am #

      Well thank you, Cathy. I haven’t heard of your link party. I’ll pop on over.

  4. jamie@kreyv May 10, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    That looks amazing–and I’m not even a big cheese person. Yum!

    • Lori May 11, 2013 at 1:19 am #

      This mac and cheese has so many other flavors that the cheese is not predominant. So give it a try and let me know what you think.

  5. Angela May 10, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    This look amazing! I’m hosting a new linky party and would love to have you!


    • Lori May 11, 2013 at 10:12 am #

      Thank you, Angela. I linked up.

  6. Kim May 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    YUM!!! The salsa looks wonderful!

    • Lori May 11, 2013 at 1:18 am #

      It really was super delicious. I didn’t taste it with chips or anything else, though, so I don’t know how it is using it for anything other than this mac and cheese.

  7. Jessie May 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Pepper Jack mac and cheese! I bet it’s amazing. It’s my favorite cheese 🙂 My kind of dinner. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Wonders! And have a lovely day!

    • Lori May 11, 2013 at 1:17 am #

      You have a lovely day, too. I just love pepper jack cheese, too.

  8. Cathy May 11, 2013 at 1:06 am #


    I would love for you to share and link up at my TGIF Link Party.

    Hugs, Cathy

  9. sue May 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Love this! The T2 women are hosting a brand new link-up party TODAY at and we would love for you to come over and link up with us!

    • Lori May 13, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks for the invite. Linked up.

  10. Maureen May 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Love Mac and Cheese! Always looking for a different spin on an old favorite. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lori May 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      I do, too. That’s why I was drawn to try out this recipe. Give it a try.

  11. sue May 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Love your blog!! We wanted to thank you for linking up with us this past week and hope to see you back again this Saturday at One Sharendipity Place!
    sue @

    • Lori May 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Well, thank you. I’ll try to come back on Saturday ~ thanks for hosting your link party.

  12. Ruthie May 18, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Oh my… I love Mac and Cheese! This looks delish.. Thank you for coming to share at Super Saturday Show & Tell last week.. stop on by and share again today! I hope you have wonderful weekend! xoxo~ Ruthie

    • Lori May 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Thank you so much, Ruthie. I will stop by every week. Thank you for hosting your Show & Tell each week.

  13. Maria May 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    What a great idea, this sounds delicious! Love all the flavors you put in and how you topped it with the crushed tortilla chips!

    • Lori May 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      It’s delicious. Give it a try and then let me know how you liked it.

  14. Lisa May 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

    This looks SO good! I can’t wait to try it for my family. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with “Try a New Recipe Tuesday!” I hope you will be able to join us again this week.

    • Lori May 21, 2013 at 1:58 am #

      Thank you, Lisa. I linked up. Let me know how your family likes this version of mac and cheese.

  15. Lori May 21, 2013 at 2:00 am #

    Thank you so much for the feature. I hope your readers give it a try and love it as well as we did.

  16. Lori May 25, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for the feature, I am thrilled and appreciate it so much. Your blog is on my favorite list; thank you for hosting your link party.


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